I’ve written about this topic before, but don’t be fooled by the headline. This is going to be a different twist on what I've previously written.
Over the weekend I was talking to a friend of mine about 2013 goals. She wants to reach 1,000 Twitter followers by the end of next year, and she has a long, long way to go to get there.
I recently hit that milestone after deciding to make a push for it last summer. It wasn't intentional. I just realized there were things I could do to get more followers, and I did it by watching what people with lots of followers and what they do.
I’ll lay bare those "secrets" in a second. But I asked my friend and I would ask you the same thing: Why do you want 1,000 Twitter followers? What does this abstract metric really mean to you? How will you mobilize your army of followers in a meaningful way?
If it’s to "make more sales," you should probably think again. As I reported earlier this month, clickthroughs from social media links don’t impact sales, even on Black Friday. So, the rest of the year it’ll be even less likely. Mind you, the previous link and story is directly addressing people who buy something immediately after that first click.
Still, you can’t count on it.
But the deal with Twitter and getting more followers is all about your goals and being honest with yourself about them. You also should have a clear understanding of the way Twitter works, which is that anyone can opt out the instant you start annoying them.
And this is the Internet, so people are easily annoyed and will readily flip the channel because, guess what, there are infinitely more people who "get it" if you’re seeming out of touch or obnoxious.
You need to reverse your thinking. I’m reminded of a Cracked.com piece from earlier this week: 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person.
You should also read it because it flips the thought process on things about which people commonly like to gripe. If you want more Twitter followers, you should be asking yourself: How can I be worthy of having more followers?
The answer is actually pretty simple. Be a human. You get out of it what you put into it, so don’t just shove links to your work on it. I rarely tweet out articles I’ve done unless I’m exceedingly proud of them and think my friends would like to read it.
You need to weave a textured tapestry that is genuinely interesting and uniquely you. Comment on current events if you have something original to say. Don’t try to make your company seem "hip" or "cool." Be worthy of actually having followers and then, guess what? You’ll be followed.
Be patient. And do make sure you think about what you want with these followers in the first place, and don’t be too bummed or shocked if someday Twitter recedes into the background and is usurped by something else.
Remember the arms race of friends to stock up on MySpace? Yeah, nobody cares about that anymore.
But for the time being, go forth and be a leader to your followers.
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.