ON TWITTER yesterday I asked whether or not people are actively trying to build their following. The responses varied from yes to no to a handful of people who mistook my meaning and said, “I’m here for engagement. I don’t care about the numbers.”
Engagement is what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about implementing tactics to increase your followers count without merit. I’m talking about your real followers, the ones who want to see your content. Your readers, your peers, your colleagues, your fans.
Let me put it this way:
Are you trying to develop an audience? If you’re a writer, the answer is likely yes.
So why do I care? Good question. The truth is, I’ve had something on my mind for a couple weeks now, and I’ve struggled to figure out what to do about it.
If you’ve been following me a good bit of the time I’ve been on Twitter (this is Day 36), then you know I’ve been very fortunate with the rate at which my following has grown—and not just my following but the engagement levels and reach of my posts. (It’s the same with my blog, which gets most of its traffic from Twitter—it hit the ground running and I can feel it all accelerating, perhaps exponentially.)
All this time I’ve been trying to figure out why it’s going so well for me. After all, I came into this blind. I hadn’t used social media in several years, I was a novice at Twitter, and I’d never had a real, active, organic following in my life. So what am I doing right?
I’ve been jotting things down all this time, noting what works and what doesn’t, trying to do a little better each day. All that information is starting to pile up, and now I’m trying to figure out what to do with it. I started the How to Twitter Effectively series so I can share bits and pieces of—whatever—wisdom, but there’s so much to discuss, and the problem I’m having is figuring out how best to communicate all that I’ve learned to those who want to hear it.
I could just turn it into an ebook, but then what? Sell it? I’m no marketing guru, and to be honest I don’t think those types of how-to books about social media are useful. Even if the ideas and tactics are fantastic, they’re not easy to put into practice. Why? Because it’s not about having a bunch of tricks up your sleeve. It’s about developing a feel for it. Like riding a bicycle or playing darts. And that’s hard to communicate with something as impersonal as an ebook.
What am I getting at here?
I want to help people do better on Twitter. Or one person, maybe. Someone who’s really, really serious about it. Someone who understands what a great tool Twitter is. Someone who knows that I’m not just lucky—and wants to be mistaken for lucky just like I often am.
With all that said, I’ll pose a modified version of the question that inspired this post:
Do you want to build your following?