I sent an email out to my newsletter before I went into launch mode for Membership Site Mastermind that was promoting the virtues of Twitter. I was hoping to introduce some new people to Twitter and increase my followers with the enticement of a behind the scenes look at the launch I was about to do.
Here is the first part of the message I sent out –
Twitter is a service that lets you communicate with other people using up to 140 character messages.
The best way I can describe it is like micro-blogging combined with instant messaging.
You’re not going to “get” it until you try it, so I’ll stop trying to describe how it works and you just go use it.
You can sign up and begin following me from my Twitter page here (it doesn’t cost anything) –
Go to that link, click the “Join today” button and then begin following my updates (or “tweets” as they are called).
You can then start sending messages and following other people too.
If you want more help, see the video from Gideon Shalwick on how to use Twitter –
Why Should You Care About Twitter?
Twitter is another contact point with your audience and as such can help you in all the ways that knowing other human beings is beneficial.
You can use it to…
- follow important people in your industry
- influence your tribe
- send traffic to your blog or website
- sell your products and services
- sell other people’s products and services
- keep up to date with friends and family
- participate in the conversation
- become famous
- and more…
Although hesitant initially, after Twittering for fun at first, I started to realize how incredible Twitter is for business too.
Simply put, you can’t afford not to use this tool if you want to stay current and be a participant in your market and not just a consumer or observer.
Participation leads to insights, which leads to you developing a more intimate knowledge of your industry, and more importantly, a more direct influence over the important people in your industry, namely –
- Other experts/mavens
- Your audience
To put this into practical perspective, I use Twitter to send traffic to my blog posts. I use Twitter to promote affiliate products (I’ve done thousands in sales already). I use Twitter to stay connected with other top Internet marketers and to connect with my people – my followers.
It’s a great tool, but like all things requires work to get going, so you should start now.
What was interesting was the feedback I received after I sent this email.
A few people replied saying that I should follow back everyone who follows me. I was warned from acting like a “celebrity” and not using Twitter how it should be used, as a social media tool that breaks down barriers.
My initial response, which I sent back to a few people who wrote to me, was that I don’t necessarily agree that you should automatically follow everyone who follows you. Choosing to follow someone should be because of the value they offer. I don’t read the blogs of every person who reads my blog, they choose to read mine because of the value I offer, and I think Twitter should be the same.
Because of my current status of not-autofollowing everyone who follows me, I have a much lower subscriber base of around 7,000 people, where many others are reaching 10, 20 and even 30,000 followers very quickly.
The title of this article is a genuine question that I don’t have the answer to.
The way I see it, people who build an auto-followed subscriber base might effectively be creating what we would call an “untargeted” list. Your followers are not there for any reason other than wanting you as a follower to fatten up their follow count, so they won’t be paying attention to you or responding to your calls to action (clicking your links in tweets).
If you take this even further, people are using software scripts to go around and automatically follow the followers of people they follow (phew!) and since lots of people autofollow back, all you effectively have to do is follow other people to increase your own followship.
Okay, so that sentence is totally whack, but it does make sense. At the heart of this issue is the reason why you have people follow you and I think my argument is sound: You want people to follow you because they are actually paying attention to what you tweet. It’s a value exchange.
However, and here’s where my dilemma really begins: Some people will not follow you – and even use software to remove you from their followship, if you don’t follow them back, on principle.
As one of the replies to my email stated – Twitter is like a party, you are there to interact socially with everyone and it’s not about status – it’s meant to be a level playing field.
I don’t agree with that claim because any social environment online mirrors our society, where it’s not a level playing field. Those who have more “value” based on societal conditions – like celebrities (how wrong we are to place value here) – have more attention.
For people like myself who have established themselves as a big fish in a small pond, we are rewarded with more followers, regardless of whether we follow back.
I’m not sure which way to go with this situation right now. I’d like to increase my follow count, but I want legitimate people who pay attention to what I tweet, plus I don’t want to lose those who would follow me with genuine interest, but won’t if I don’t follow them in return.
You can follow lots of people and use a client like Tweetdeck to filter people into the groups you want to pay attention to, thus using the auto-follow function and still keeping in touch with who you want to is possible, but it still doesn’t feel right to me.
For the moment I find new people to follow based on who sends me replies and who the people I currently follow send replies to and talk about. I use it as a sort of slow referral networking tool, taking human recommendations of other Twitter users to find good people who offer value.
Twitter is intended to be used as a communication tool for direct one-to-one communication and broadcast communication from one-to-many. As a marketer I want to broadcast to as many people as I can who are interested in what I offer. As a social media tool, just like having lots of Facebook friends who you don’t really know, you can dilute the true purpose of the tool if you simply go for numbers rather than relationships.
Then again, am I harming relationships by not following back everyone who follows me?
What do you think?