How to be Someone People Want to Follow on Twitter

I don't like the word guru, so I'm not one, but I do use social media a lot. It isn't just a hobby for me. It's actually part of both my day job and my freelance work in addition to being part of what I do to get my shop out there in the world, and after participating in all different kinds of social media for years, I've learned a few things. In no particular order, here are some things you should NEVER do on Twitter (or at least do carefully) and positive things you can do instead. Please don't think that I'm free of these sins simply because I know better know. I've done pretty much all of these at some point or another, and it's fair to say that most of us have. 

In this post, I'm going to mention Hootsuite a lot. It's what I use for social media management, and I happen to think it's pretty amazing. Even the free version is powerful, and for $10 a month, you can go pro. Nope, not advertising here (I'm not even an affiliate, I swear!), but I am heartily endorsing what they do. There are other programs that do similar things, but it's the one I know and use. So get used to hearing about it.
  • Don't auto post. This means no linking your Facebook to your Twitter account. This means only sometimes sharing your Instagram posts. This definitely means that you should NEVER EVER have an automatic direct message set for when people follow you or do anything else. It's terrible. People hate it. We all hate it. Even you hate it, if you're honest with yourself, so don't do it.

    While you may share the same content on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, linking them is rarely the most effective way to do that sharing. It ends up spamming people with weird, out of context Facebook comments. Want to post to all your social media accounts about the same thing at the same time easily? Use Hootsuite. Seriously, you just sign up, set up your accounts, then you select what accounts you want to post to. Cleaner, easier, and less spam-tastic because it shows up a lot prettier in your timelines. It will even send you alerts to help you post Instagram stuff, which is pretty huge.
  • Don't post a million things in a row. Space it out. It's great when familiar names come up in my timeline, but not when they come up twenty times in a row. You're excited about the thirty new items you just posted on Storenvy, and so are we, but if you post thirty links all in a row, that unfollow button will get hit. A lot. Rather than RTing a dozen posts at a time, use something like Hootsuite to help you schedule posts. They even have a feature that lets you autoschedule. Seriously, you just choose the option, click it, and it picks a good time based on user interaction and such to post it. Bam. Done. This way rather than blowing all your content in a half an hour, you can space it out over days, weeks, etc.
  • Don't follow people only to get them to follow you. We all want to get noticed, but following someone just so they follow you when you don't have any interest in their content doesn't help either of you. Follow people whose work excites you or who post content that you want to share. Maybe they put together awesome tutorials, or they love all the shows you love, and you want to get to know them. Are they your ideal customer? Cool! Chat with them about shared interests, and they may want to check out your work too. Pick people who you want to interact with because that's the whole point of social media - being social.

    The same goes for RTing and liking posts. Don't do it simply to get them to do it for you, and don't like and RT everything because then it stops meaning anything. How do I know if you really enjoyed something I said if you've liked everything I posted for the last week? Be genuine in your attention to others. Isn't that what you want from them?
  • Don't just advertise. So you're at a party (if you're an introvert like me, just pretend for a second that you're enjoying it and actually talking to people) and you're standing in a group. One person in the group is doing literally nothing but talking about their store. That's it. They won't shut up about the new sheets they just stocked or how awesome they are. Another person in the group mentions that they run a jewelry store specializing in stuff with puppies on it. Then they ask you what kind of dog you have, and the two of you realize you own the same breed.

    Which conversation do you think you're getting more out of? Which one will you talk about? What information will you share? Yeah, it's probably not gonna be about guy #1's sheets. The point is, no one wants to hear advertising all the time. Even if you do sell online or have a great blog or whatever, you'd darn well better post about other things and interact apart from that or you're going to lose followers. At best, you'll have followers who simply ignore you, and that's just as bad.

So what's the takeaway? What's the secret to being good at this whole Twitter thing?

The transformation is complete!
It's just like your mom always said - be yourself. Be real. Be honest. I'm not saying lay it all out and tell your followers everything about you, though you certainly can if that's your brand. In addition to sharing your business, share you too. Talk to people about what you like, and ask them what they like because one sided conversations are dull. No one wants to be talked at, they want to be talked to. They want to know that if they ask you a question, you're going to answer. They want to be heard. We all do. 

Go forth, tweet, and have fun. Happiness is contagious, so go spread some around the Twitterverse. And, if you want to, say hi to me while you're doing it.