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Connect NOT Collect : Use social media (Twitter) the right way

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been busy trying to launch a few projects but this morning I read through some links posted on Twitter and one of them reminded me of a conversation that I had recently.

The conversation was about how to gain more followers. Not only on Twitter but on LinkedIn and Facebook Pages as well.

I’m not a big proponent of collecting followers on any social platform. I actually think that it can dilute your social marketing efforts quite a bit. In fact, the anecdote that I often share to illustrate this is an old Twitter account that I had a few years ago.

I spent lots of time and effort to build this account close to 10,000 followers. I used auto following apps, social recommendation apps, auto posting apps, etc. It wasn’t too hard to get those followers because, like a lot of Twitter users, most of them were looking to build their follower count too.

At first, I thought it was great. I had lots and lots of people that I could leverage for whatever my social media goals might be. I thought about the cliche 1% conversion rule. If I could convert just 1% of 10,000 (100) on a $10 product I would make $1000 with a single tweet. Even better, a $100 product, I would make $10,000.

If I wanted a big jump in my subscriber base, I could round up people pretty quickly.

It always sounds like a good plan.

However, I wasn’t seeing those kind of conversion rates at all. I would tweet a link and check bit.ly to find that maybe 10-20 clicks happened. Of those, no conversions were happening.

I worked on headlines like crazy. I worked to analyze what the people who did click were interested in. I worked hard to provide valuable content. I tried my best to utilize Twitter for what seemed to be a golden opportunity.

It rarely worked.

I burned myself out on it.

One day I sent out a Tweet asking my “followers” to simply reply if they were real people who were reading my tweets.  I got some replies. 2 to be exact.

2 people out of ~ 10,000?

I abandoned my account and stopped using Twitter altogether.

I probably overreacted a bit by giving that account the boot but I was just sick of wasting time on Twitter. I was sick of putting in the work to find new people to follow and getting new people to follow me. I was sick of looking at such a large number in my follower count and knowing that they weren’t real connections.

Like a lot of people though, I knew that I had gone about it all wrong.

So, recently I’ve started using Twitter again and it’s proving to be so much more valuable to me. I don’t have many followers. I don’t tweet incessantly and when I do, I really don’t pitch anything except for my blog posts here and there. I only follow people who actually tweet valuable content.

The only possible drawback now is that I actually USE Twitter. I actually click links and read the content. If I get a follower, I go check out their history of tweets, click the links and read the content they shared. If it’s good, I follow back.

If I read a particularly good tweet, I re-tweet AND thank the person who tweeted. If it’s really good, I post it on my blog with link back to that person’s profile.

If somebody asks an interesting question, I answer with my best possible answer. It isn’t really surprising the conversations you can spark up when you use social media to socialize.

Sure, it takes time but it’s time much better spent connecting rather than collecting.


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Related posts:

  1. Using Social Media: The ONLY thing you MUST know.
  2. Social Shout – 2/7
  3. Social Media Definition – What is Social Media?
  4. 2,000 Followers, 0 Tweets? No thanks.
  5. Content Marketing vs Social Marketing

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