12 Most Important Aspects of Having 100,000 Followers
Like many of you who read this blog, I’ve been known to Tweet from time to time. Okay, I’ve been outrageously compulsive about it for two and a half years now. And all that participation and activity has enabled me to build a following of over 100,000.*
So… what’s the point? I have to say I’ve been asking myself that lately. It’s important that I flesh “the point” out for myself, and in doing so I’ve clarified a few things in my own mind… and I’d like to share them with you.
1. Have fun
The number one rule of business, and of life: if it isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong. That goes double for social media. Seriously, folks. Enjoy every minute of it. Don’t make it work! Instead, give it another four-letter word: PLAY!
2. Big deal… it’s just a number
Instead of followers, we should call each other “people.” Insofar as I improve the day or even the moment of a “person,” that’s what’s important. Chasing numbers is like chasing dollars: how much is enough? When will you ever be satisfied? Believe it or not, that’s not why I’m here. How ’bout you?
3. Have a goal
In other words, know why you’re engaging in Twitter. My original goal was to build an audience for my next book (um… whenever I get around to finishing it). That’s still my long-term goal, so having a lot of followers makes sense for me – but maybe not for you.
Maybe you’re just here to meet people with shared interests, or (who knows?) maybe you’re hoping for a love connection. Maybe you’re here to learn. You don’t need a zillion followers for any of those things. So I won’t judge you for having 60 followers, and I hope you don’t judge me for having a few more than that.
4. Be social
There’s no freakin’ way I could tweet all day every day just in hopes of selling a few extra books “at some point” in the distant future. The nice thing about Twitter, and the reason I’m so hooked, is all the rewarding interactions I have throughout my day, week, month, and year. The more you actually interact (rather than broadcast), the more addictive Twitter becomes.
Don’t rob yourself of the best part of social media. Be social.
5. Sow good karma
I wish I didn’t have to say this, but I feel that I do: be nice. We each have it within our power to make the world a little bit better or a little bit worse with every single thing we do. Use your time Tweeting to make the world just a hair better for those with whom you interact.
6. Dance with the date that brought you
I hear there’s a trend for people to gather a sizable following by following back, then dump most of those followers so they’ll look like a celebrity. Uh, whatev. If you build a following by establishing a reputation as someone who follows back, who respects his followers and is grateful for them, then don’t be a jerk. You aren’t kidding anyone. (Dan Newman’s take on this is definitely worth a read)
7. Ignore your critics; life’s too short
If somebody calls me on the carpet for something I say that seems inconsistent or just plain mistaken, I’ll listen – anyone who knows me has heard me admit a mistake or two and apologize when appropriate. To me, that’s a sign of honesty, and also of confidence; I like to think I’ve got a fair share of both. But sometimes we’re just going to disagree, even with other very fair-minded and intelligent people. And that’s okay.
There are other times, however, when we attract detractors, people who just like to harp, and who aren’t interested in another viewpoint. The less vanilla you are, or the more successful, the more frequently this will happen to you. So at some point, it’s time to move on. The trick, I think, is to quickly identify life’s career critics, and blow them off. They’ll always be there. Let that be their problem, not yours.
8. Build some real friendships
Looking over this list, I want to put several of these points at number one, this one especially. I guess it’s an extension of numbers 2 and 4 – “Have fun” and “Be social”. Here’s the thing: you’re going to find some remarkable people on Twitter. Folks who share your interests and folks who make you think (and laugh!), spread out all over the world. It’s the best ever! So… cultivate those friendships. Enjoy them. “Tweet-friends” today become “IRL friends” tomorrow.
9. Play around with it
Experiment. Explore. Kick the tires. Test boundaries. Make mistakes galore. This is how you learn! @Josepf, @Ty_Sullivan and I took a little flack for “The Tweet Heard Round The World” last spring, but you know what? Nobody got hurt, we helped a friend sell some books, and we learned a ton. Indeed, I wouldn’t be using Triberr if we hadn’t played with “The Tweet” first.
Don’t ever be afraid of failure. Be afraid of timidity.
10. Klout? What’s Klout?
Do you really want to let someone else decide what behaviors to encourage and which to penalize you for? To sum up your online existence with a single, inherently superficial number? You’re better than that. To me, Klout stands for everything that is antisocial about social media. (For more on why I recommend you #optoutofklout, #occupyklout, and #getalife instead, see my recent post, “The Only Clout I Care About”).
11. Your network is better than Google and Wikipedia in one!
You know what I do when I want to properly attribute a quote or find the title to a book I heard about that I can’t find on Amazon? I tweet out a question! In seconds, my question is answered, with links and helpful advice and… it’s sometimes overwhelming! This is the secret joy of a big network that carping critics never talk about – and it has become one of my favorite aspects of the Twitterverse!
12. Give more than you ever hope to get
This is so important to me that I saved it for the anchor spot. Be helpful! Sow good karma. The more reach you develop on Twitter, the more you can serve a few nice, deserving people through the power of a single tweet – so do it! Retweet a call for donations to a battered-woman’s shelter. Tweet out a blog post that really hit home, even though – no, especially because – only five other people have even read that blog. And when a rookie to our beloved medium is looking for encouragement or advice, be generous with it. What’s the point of influence if not to help?
The Preceding 12 things work for me, right now. If they don’t work for you, that’s fine! The only thing that matters: is what you’re doing working for you? If it is, you’re cooking with gas! If not, perhaps you should try a tip or two from my list.
Okay, now let me have it in the comments; I’m ready! Despite all my work in the realm of business leadership, my posts on social media seem to garner the most controversy. I guess I’ve asked for it.
*100,000 followers whom I follow back, which it turns out is more controversial than I ever expected. See 12 Most Compelling Reasons I Follow Everyone Back.