12 Steps to Earn 100,000 Followers
Social media results come from three things in equal measure: good karma, daily practice, and a ton of experimentation to see what works (or as I like to call it, “kicking the tires”).
I wrote an earlier version of this article when I had recently reached a really cool, completely arbitrary milestone of 100 thousand followers on Twitter. Now that I’m nearing 350,000 do you know what I’ve found? This advice has stood the test of time. I hope you find these steps as useful as I have. And remember, regardless of the number of followers you have or ever want, #1 is the only tip that really, really matters.
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?
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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.
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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. Don’t ever be afraid of failure. Be afraid of timidity.
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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, “Klout and Kred are Anti Social. Opt Out With Me.”).
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 ten times before you ask.
This is so important to me that I saved it for the anchor spot. This isn’t just for Twitter, either. In the Social Age, your reputation – good or bad – gets around and stays around. Build a reputation as a relentless giver. People will line up to ask how they can help YOU!
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.
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Image credit: moopralad / 123RF Stock Photo
Editor’s Note: This article has been repurposed from 12 Most, with permission.