Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How To Gain More Twitter Followers

Earlier today, I wrote:

"My goal is to write a book before the end of March. My goal is to spend no more than a week from start to publication, spending as much time as I need in order to get it done during that week. My goal is to give it away to you for free here on HumbleLibertarian.com.

What's a goal you have? Something you may have been putting off for years? Something you could accomplish in one month if you were determined? If it's near-term enough of a goal, and specific enough of a goal, and you share it in the comments below, feel free to tell me how I can help you and I'll do whatever I can.

If it's a libertarian / news / politics-related goal, my manner of help would be easy to determine. I could promote it, introduce you to someone via email, (etc.). If it's something apolitical like quit smoking cigarettes, start exercising, learn guitar, start a business, gain more Twitter followers, learn another language, eat a paleo diet, or something else, I'll still be happy to find a way I can help."

@stphnadkns commented:

'I'm just starting in a lot of ways. I've spent the better part of 5-6 years steeping myself in the ideas of liberty, but I haven't done much to get "out there." I think I have a lot of things to say, but I haven't done much to say them. So it's hard to know just what kind of project it is I should look to jumpstart. Do you know what I mean?'

My reply:

"I do know what you mean.

Part of my problem is I have so many things to choose from that I feel overwhelmed and don't know where to begin. Do I go with this book idea, or that one? Or that other one?

Another is that I'm such a perfectionist that I build up a huge idea of a perfect thing in my head and feel daunted.

Here's a question: What are some of the things you want to say?"

And finally...

"Haha. I guess if I knew that I'd go ahead and say them. I can say that I'm very interested in both Austrian Economics and libertarianism, but as you say, those two subjects alone encompass an outrageous amount of potential topics. And, like you, I feel somewhat paralyzed by fear of looking stupid or putting out bad work, even though intellectually I know that I shouldn't feel that way, that everybody starts by putting out what they might consider to be subpar work but it's a process toward improvement.

Here's a question though - I have a hot 16 or so twitter followers. I've never really tried to do much with twitter beside read others' thoughts and retweet the occasional link etc, so it doesn't surprise me in the least. But I think I'd like to begin to attract more followers. How did you develop your twitter following?"

For the benefit of all:

How To Gain More Twitter Followers

Short answer:

Use Twitter a lot! The more you use it, the more using it teaches you how to use it. That's really true of most things. The key is to move! Take action. Ideas don't have consequences. Actions do. Tweet early. Tweet often. The more you tweet, retweet, reply, and follow, the more success you will have.

Specific answers:

Local events

I used Twitter a lot back in 2009 and would live tweet at any political event I was at. There were TONS of Tea Party protests / rallies to go to that year, but you can still go to Liberty on the Rocks meetings, YAL state conventions and activist events, and other libertarian events in your area. You can also go to non-libertarian political / intellectual / educational events as well.

At an event, I would take photos and tweet them from my iPhone. I would tweet quotes from speakers and audio clips from speeches. A smart phone is your best friend when it comes to Twitter. More on that later. The value in this is you're creating original content and disseminating information about what's happening locally to the global libertarian / political network.

Media events

If you don't have a local event to attend in person, just wait for a big media event to happen on television and live-tweet that. I often tweet heavily from my laptop during a presidential #SOTU speech, or major policy speech. Tweeting constantly during #StandWithRand last week was a golden opportunity for libertarian Twitter users to connect with the wider political community on Twitter (and each other, of course).

Use the hashtag everyone else is using for the event in order to be seen. Read their tweets using the hashtag in order to be part of the conversation. You might find something you'd like to retweet or reply to. You might end up getting into a debate. I don't have a problem with debating people on Twitter, but I do keep it civil and know when to give up on trying to reach someone if they're more interested in being uncivil or deliberately dense than having a good-faith discussion about a disagreement.

Smart phone

For heavy tweet sessions during a media event I definitely use my laptop while keeping my eyes on the idiot box (excuse me, television) --or while switching back to the live stream of the event on another tab. It lets me do some more heavy duty tweeting.

But at live events, you'll need your smart phone. I also used my smart phone to tweet a lot in 2010 (which was a year of heavy Twitter use for me). I could wake up and tweet for five minutes before getting out of bed. I could squeeze some value out of those awkward, unusuable moments of time throughout the day when waiting in line at the grocery, at the bank, at a doctor's office, (etc.) by tweeting on my smart phone.

Best Twitter app for iPhone by far in my experience? Twittelator Pro. Well worth however much I paid for it on the app store.

#HashTag

#Use #these. #They #are #awesome. They help you get seen by other people using and watching them. Keep an eye on them. They help you find people who are interested in the same things you are. Use them to find other Twitter users and follow them.

A good place for libertarian Twitter users to start: #tlot (top libertarians on Twitter) #tcot (top conservatives) #topprog (progressives) #libertarian #ronpaul #c4l (campaign for liberty) #cfl (ditto) #yal (young americans for liberty) #randpaul #teaparty #hhrs (hugh hewitt radio show) #gop

Back when I used Twitter more actively, I would also frequently tweet using the trending topics, but always make it related to my interests and that of my followers.

Follow

The more people you follow, the more follow you back. Only follow people whose tweets you are interested in seeing in your stream though. There's some limit on how many people you can follow a day without tripping Twitter's spamdar. I don't know how many. Use your Google powers to find a knowledgeable blogger who's more up to date on this than myself. But if it's 100 new follows a day. I'd do like 80 new follows a day to get hooked up with other social media warriors out there and let them know I'm there.

I used to also "flirt" a little with users I'd follow-- I wouldn't just follow. I'd follow and retweet something they tweeted that I really liked, or reply to one of their tweets. I used to do the same when people followed me. Give a lot and you'll get a lot. Like I wrote at the beginning, be super active and engaged. Growth will follow. The more you tweet, retweet, reply, and follow, the more success you will have.

Tools

TweetDeck. Social Oomph. TwitterFeed. These are my favs.

Google

I have a little over 5,000 followers, but I'm a pretty small fish on Twitter. There are a lot of serious power users on there with 150,000 followers. This is the best advice I can give, but there's better out there. Use Google to find it. Spend three hours one day Googling for how to use Twitter successfully (be discriminating between what sounds sketchy and what sounds sincere and legit... you'll know). Read all you can and absorb it. Do what works for you.

Questions? Clarifications?

Ask away! I'll answer below.