By most people’s standards, I’m doing very well on Twitter. TwitterGrader currently gives me a score of 100% and has me ranked #265 out of nearly 2 million users it has analyzed.
I’m adding an average of a little over 30 followers per day, and have had days where I’ve added almost 100 new followers (#FollowFriday has been very good to me lately – thanks to all have included me in their lists).
I could toss up a bunch of other metrics here to convince you, but let’s just suffice it to say that, more or less, I’m “doing everything right” (I’m sure a few people will argue one or two points with me, but whatever).
But I want more followers. LOTS more followers. And so do you.and here’s why:
1. Only a handful of your followers are actually paying attention.
Some of your followers are heavy Twitter users. Guess what? They’re following a ton of people, and the odds of them actually picking any one of your tweets out of the noise of the thousands of people they’re following is very slim. Others are light Twitter users, and the odds of them actually being online and seeing your tweets in a timely manner is fairly slim also.
Even with nearly 4,500 “true” followers, I typically find that any one given tweet of mine generates less than 10 reactions – a reply, a retweet, a click-through to my blog, etc. [Point of clarification: I'm talking about first-order reactions, i.e., from my immediate followers. The network effect is typically much higher - anywhere from 20 to as many as 300-400 actions in the extended network after the retweets.]
That is a worse response rate than Google AdWords. It’s a worse response rate than cold calling. Heck, it’s a worse response rate than junk mail!!!
I’m not saying that means it’s ineffective for the time/effort you put into it, because it’s a) free and b) not terribly time-consuming. Still, point is, the response rate sucks. You need larger numbers if you want significant action in response to your Twitter activity.
2. More followers = more visibility = more “true” followers.
I couldn’t care less about my follower count for its own sake. It’s not a “badge of honor”. But there’s a basic truth about social media that Clay Shirky wrote about way back in 2003 in Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality: the sources who get more attention tend to get way more attention.
There are several reasons for this:
For one thing, psychologically, those with more followers are perceived by many to be more authoritative.
For another, there are dozens of tools out there that rank sources based on follower count (or at least that’s one of the metrics). So tools like TwitterGrader, TwitterCounter’s Top 100 lists, Twitterholic and others give more visibility to those with more followers. More visibility = still more followers.
And finally, if you have more followers, there are more people re-tweeting your posts, replying to you, etc. So their networks are exposed to you and more likely to add you.
Does it actually work? Anecdotally, yes it does. I had something I had posted about several times, even asking people for re-tweets. I got several – almost 20, in fact, but it took like 5 posts to get those 20 re-tweets. I then asked my friend @PerryBelcher to re-tweet it for me. At the time, Perry had a little over 10x as many followers as I did. Perry got 10 re-tweets off his one post. Now that’s obviously not proportional, i.e., he doesn’t have as much average attention per user as I do, but that just proves my point as to why you need larger numbers.
3. Even if you’re currently B2B or in a narrow niche, you don’t know what the future holds.
For the past six years, I’ve worked social media almost entirely from a B2B perspective myself. Some of my clients have been B2C, and I’ve advised them on strategies that I never implemented myself because I didn’t see them as a fit. My latest project, however, is a B2C play to a very broad potential market. Simply put, I can serve that project much better the farther my reach/influence is. Certainly, stronger relationships create all kinds of opportunities, but I also just simply need to raise awareness.
And relative to my goals, I’m practically starting from scratch. I want to have 10-15 times my current follower count on my personal account, and I’m starting from square one on the account I set up for that project, @AmerGuitarAcad.
Regardless of what your current job or business is, what does the future hold for you? And when suddenly you do find yourself in a position of needing a much larger network, do you want to be starting from scratch? Or already have a head start?
As Harvey Mackay says, “Dig your well before you’re thirsty.”
4. The celebrities are coming! The celebrities are coming!
Take a look at the Twitterholic Top 100. Everyone on there is a celebrity. Even if you don’t recognize their name, trust me, they are. They’re either a blogging celebrity, an author, a TV personality, a technology CEO or something. These people already have huge other platforms from which to announce their Twitter presence and rapidly grow their follower count. For example, my uncle, David Allen (@GTDGuy), has been on Twitter barely six weeks and already has about 175,000 followers.
The more celebrities show up on Twitter, the harder and harder it will get for you to reap the benefits described in #2 above. Three months ago, the Twitterholic list looked completely different. I mean, consider this: @GuyKawasaki and @Scobleizer don’t even make the cut any more.
The window of opportunity is narrowing rapidly. If you want to be on the high side of that power curve, you need to get there NOW!
5. It doesn’t cost anything to have followers.
The incremental cost of adding one more follower is $0.00. Not only that, there’s zero (or near-zero) time cost. You can rapidly grow your follower count in just 15-20 minutes a day. Now sure, you may have to follow more people to grow your follower count rapidly, and they may create more noise in your Twitter stream, but there are tools like TweetDeck that will help you manage that (just create a “high attention” group of people whose tweets you absolutely don’t want to miss).
There’s simply no downside, that I can see. By all means, if you think there is, say so in the comments below.
So of course this begs the question:
“How do I get LOTS of followers?”<
If you’re interested in getting new followers at the rate of 20-30 a day, here’s what I’ve done that has achieved that:
- Create value for your followers by sharing excellent content – a mix of your own and from others.
- Follow new people “organically” by adding people who send you @ messages, people on the other half of a conversation with the people you’re already following, etc.
- Promote others on #FollowFriday. If you’ve done #1, many of the people you promote will reciprocate and promote you.
- Participate in hashtag chats as a way of meeting new people, some of whom may follow you.
- Use Twitter recommendation engines like Mr. Tweet and TwitterGrader to find relevant new people to follow. Again, many of them will reciprocate and follow you back.
- Promote your Twitter ID on your blog, social networking sites, your email signature, business cards, etc.
For many people, those practices will get them all the followers they think they would ever want. But as I said, I’m interested in accelerating even beyond that.
So I’ve been studying the practices of Twitter users who are not celebrities (or at least internet celebrities), and I’ve found one person in particular who really seems to know what he’s doing: Richard Bryda, aka @BigRichB.
Rich has over 75,000 followers. That makes him the most-followed non-celebrity on Twitter. And he built that following all since last November, entirely on Twitter, i.e., no blog, no YouTube videos, no TV/radio show, etc. I’ve been watching him the past few months, and what he’s accomplished is nothing short of amazing. I’ve also had the chance to meet him in person, visit with him, and talk about what he’s been doing. Simply put, he has devoted the past few months to scientifically researching how to get more followers on Twitter.
This past weekend, Rich launched his info-product, Brute Force Twitter, which spells out over a dozen tactics he has developed for rapidly growing your follower count. I can tell you I personally won’t use every single one of these, but only one of them is a technique I’ve ever used myself, and even then, not to full effect. The rest of them, I never would have thought of.
I could spill the beans and tell you these techniques, but hey – that would be enormously disrespectful of the intellectual property Rich has spent countless hours developing over the past few months. And besides, if everybody had access to these techniques, you (and I) couldn’t use them to get on the steep side of that curve, right?
This is NOT a “how to get rich on Twitter” scheme. This is about helping you get more followers to support your business model on Twitter, whatever it may be.