This week, Sarah Robinson of Escaping Mediocrity, interviewed me as a guest on a webinar for her course, Building Meaningful Online Relationships (that support your meaningful work). I talked about several key relationships that rocked my business that came about from my being active on Twitter. Actually, I find it amazing that Twitter and Facebook bring more visitors to my site than Google does, and I get a lot of Google traffic. This all happened in less than one full year of “really” being on Twitter.
One thing that stops people from staying on Twitter long enough to have the magic happen is they are not following the right people. I am going to tell you how to remedy this so you can get started with finding those people on-line that you may want to develop a relationship with in the first place.
Of course, you have to actually get on Twitter, complete your profile and include a good bio with a smiling photo of you. Then you are ready for what may take a bit of sleuthing to find your “right” people to follow. Start by going to a site like Listorious to search for people in your niche to follow by using using key words for your niche (we had a Digital Minute on Listorious a few weeks back). Another great way to add interesting people to follow is to find someone in your niche, a colleague or really even a competitor, who you know is a Twitter power user, and go to their Twitter profile and pull up the list of people they follow. Go through and follow those people. Don’t just follow their list all in one, since that does not put the individual Twitterers’ tweets into your Twitter stream. If you have a profile photo and some tweets under your belt then about 30-40% of people you follow will follow you back.
Don’t worry too much about quality of your follows at this point, but don’t bother following them unless they have a profile pic and some tweets. With either of these methods, you can always unfollow people later. Unfollow anyone that really annoys you or spams or just tweets out quotes or is really off base with their subject matter. You can also use a service like TwitClean which brings up a list of people you follow and categorizes them according to some helpful variables and then you can do some housekeeping and unfollow people right from that app.
For the first week or so, hang out on Twitter about ten minutes twice a day to get the feel for how people are interacting. Go there enough to get a sense of who you like. Check out their websites, read their posts, and leave comments. They will start to notice you too and, if they are not already following you, they probably will.
Once you have some action in your Twitter feed stream (I use HootSuite to track my various social media feeds all from one control panel) you can read what people are writing, click on their links and, if you like what you are reading, retweet them. Interact with people and answer their questions if you can be of help. The 80/20 rule applies. Be interested in others 80% of the time. Get known for being helpful, re-posting interesting things or for your funny quips with people. Post your own info less than 20% of the time. If you start to develop some Twitter relationships your Tweeps will retweet when you put something out of your own.
Make a list of people you would really like to know or do business with. Start to cultivate relationships with them by doing more of the above, retweeting, commenting on their blog posts, reviewing their books, and sooner or later you will find ways to interact directly. Keep doing this. Don’t be pushy. It will surprise you how it works. You will be amazed at the opportunities you have to meet people on-line that you would never know in real life (IRL). Then the time will come when you actually can meet some of them IRL. The thing is, at that point you will feel like you already know each other and then the magic happens.