Friday, 18 July 2014

Building a Twitter follower base

Building a Twitter follower base Ashutosh Garg Everyone is talking about building a base of followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. There is absolutely no doubt in the fact that reaching out directly to a group of followers is the only way to deliver your message quickly, efficiently and without too much wastage. As a new entrant into the world of Twitter, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had built a base of over 280,000 followers in less than 9 months. What did I do to build a twitter base and what were my learnings? Understand the medium well Twitter is an easy yet very complex medium to work with. It is very easy to start tweeting but it is a challenge to keep your message limited to only 140 characters. Once you are able to do this you realise how pithy your communication can become. It took me a while and a lot of reading on the net to understand what I could achieve with this medium. Everyone has a lot to say so how will you get heard in all the noise? Set up your account carefully, select your photograph and the background and establish your own security norms. There are many sites that will help you to understand your followers and unfollowers. It is definitely worth your while to visit some of these sites to understand the twitter analytics that is available for free. Decide on the subject / subjects that you wish to tweet about This is important. If you decide to tweet on any subject, remember that you must have enough to say and say it with confidence and credibility. The subject is not the issue. That is your choice. What you say is important for your large base of twitterati who you hope to have as your followers. Followers will “follow” you but your challenge will be retain your followers. It is very easy to follow you but it is equally easy to unfollow you. I decided to tweet on Startups and on Work life balance on a regular basis. Build a database of what you want to say Once you start to tweet, you will be surprised at how soon you run out of things to say. It would help to create a spreadsheet with what you have to say on your selected subject. Thoughts on what you wish to tweet about will keep coming to you. Keep making a note of your thoughts so that you don’t forget. Once you have your data base ready, tweeting becomes easy and you have a lot to tweet about! Don’t hesitate to tweet something again because your audience may have missed out your tweet in the spate of tweets that he / she maybe following. Avoid using foul language and stay away from controversy. If you don’t like someone else’s treat, “unfollow” the person instead of reacting to the tweets. Tweet frequently It is important for people who read your twitter feed to see you regularly to stay connected. Your followers must feel that they are connected with you. Therefore, based on your trial and error, you will be able to understand the best time that your tweets are read. I found that my tweets are read, retweeted or favourite in the mornings at around 7 am, in the late morning around 12 noon and in the evening around 7 pm. Remember that your tweets are reaching a global audience and time zones need to be factored in. I have also found that it is better to tweet three or four tweets at a time. When you do this, you get a “significant share of page” for a few moments for new followers to notice you and hopefully start following you. When people respond to your tweets, it is a good practice to respond to them. An engaged follower will “favourite” or “retweet” much more frequently, thus spreading your message to a large follower base. I am not suggesting that you thank every follower that you have or question every follower who has “unfollowed” you! Retweet The general unwritten custom in the twitter world is if someone requests you to retweet, you do so without wondering why you should give access to your followers. Of course if you find the content objectionable, you are within your right to block such a follower and retweet anything. There is nothing that could be as exciting as seeing your tweet being retweeted by a large number of your followers. Twillionaire Twillionaire is a term used for people who have one million plus followers. More than 85% of people have less than 1000 followers. Don’t compare the number of your followers with film stars, politicians or cricket stars. They are public personalities and people follow them so that they don’t miss out on any aspects of such high profile lives even though they may not have anything significant to say! Build your base of followers slowly and surely. From a small base you will suddenly see a lot of people following you and your base will grow every day. Happy tweeting. The author is the Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of the bestselling books, The Corner Office and The Buck Stops Here. Twitter: @gargashutosh