“Social media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.” by David Alston
Guest blog post by Phil Echols
There are 330 million active monthly users on Twitter. Of those, 145 million, use the service daily (Twitter, 2019). That’s a lot of chatter. Now, more than ever, people desire to be heard and share something that might inform, inspire, and resonate with others. As the old saying goes, “We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. We should listen twice as much as we talk.” Here are a few strategies that I’ve found useful while growing my Twitter network and influence.
Balance withdrawals and deposits
One way to grow your Twitter network and influence is to spend time interacting with others tweets. Focus on interactions, not numbers. Examples of interactions include responding to questions, commenting on threads, “liking” tweets, and retweeting things your followers might find valuable or inspirational. There are a lot of “asks” on Twitter (i.e. Visit my, Buy now, Share our) and as beneficial as those resources might be, I equate those with withdrawals. It’s like walking past the person selling lotion in the mall. The lotion might be exactly what I need for my dry hands but your method of delivery makes me feel like you’re about to steal my credit card information. Are you praising and sharing as much as you’re asking? Be mindful of your ask vs. share and praise ratio.
Some Twitter users “like” tweets as a way to reference them later. Others might use it to acknowledge or validate a comment or resource. As your twitter network grows, it can be challenging to keep up with all the comments. I sprinkle “likes” like confetti as a means of interaction, almost like a virtual fistbump. If there are tweets I want to reference later, I save it by Direct Messaging (DM) myself. When checking tweets on the go, this is a great way to save something you might want to reference later when you have more time to craft a mindful response.
Be human/Show personality
Once you find your voice, go with it. Be authentic. Be yourself. Growing your connections and influence takes time. Trying to be someone you’re not, will eventually come to light. When we talk about our passions and things we love, our eyes sparkle, our face lights up, and the tone in our voice changes. The same happens on social media. People can read when a message (or tweet) is disingenuous or copied and pasted. The key to authenticity is finding your voice and monitoring the things that resonate with your audience the most.
Engage, Engage, Engage!
Use your manners
In the book Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk mentions no formula calculates how many positive interactions it takes to pay off in a sale or a recommendation. Every interaction is an interview and earning others’ trust is key whether you’re simply growing your network or selling goods and services. Gratitude is free. Without spending money, there are ways to build and strengthen virtual relationships by making others feel valued. Sending a “thank you” or an “I appreciate the RT” only takes 7 seconds, but the return on investment is exponential. First, it communicates a sense of appreciation to the person. Secondly, it increases impressions. It raises the visibility of your tweets. Finally, it models who you are to others, and when you finally do have an “ask” it increases the likelihood that your followers will respond to the call to action.
Revisit your lists
Twitter lists are a great way to target audiences and track your level of engagement. You created the lists and added certain people for a reason. Carve out time to scroll through your lists engaging in the conversations related to the list category. Let them know you appreciate their perspective by “liking” tweets, retweeting relevant content, and by connecting them with others on your list.
Connecting back to withdrawals and deposits, when is the last time you participated in or promoted a twitter chat other than your own or one your organization/school district is hosting? Occasionally, visit other twitter chats to contribute and learn. Be open to the ideas being shared and enter the conversation as you would physically face to face and not monopolizing the conversation.
A couple of things to be mindful of while engaging in twitter chats:
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
- When others contribute something that resonates with you, let them know.
- You don’t have to have the last word.
In conclusion, your identity, values, and beliefs are made visible through your words. Twitter can feel like a popularity contest when comparing your numbers to others. One of the best ways to grow your influence is to care about the people you’re interacting with and consider as many ways as you can to add value to your relationship. Twitter shouldn’t feel like a cold call. Focus on people, not numbers.