One more thing for today. Before you embark on an effort to gain a large Twitter following, ask yourself three more questions:
- Why do I want a large twitter following?
- What sort of following would I like it to be?
- Who do I know that I can tweet with?
It takes time and attention to build and maintain a large account. To each their own, but bragging rights aren’t a good enough reason to justify the effort to me.
The click-through rate on Tweeted links is so low, it’s not going to affect your traffic very much for a long time. If you think you can build a following of two or three thousand and make a big difference in your daily blog visitors, think again. I suppose it’s possible, but it isn’t likely.
I tweet because I enjoy it, and because I find it useful for a few very specific things.
My answer to the first question is that it helps me find bloggers, writers, people who work in visual media, and activists who are looking for folks with similar interests to engage with.
That makes my answer to the second question self-evident. I want my following to include a lot of people who share those interests, but I don’t limit it to those interests.
I’ll follow just about anyone back, provided their accounts meet a few very reasonable standards, which I’ll discuss in a future post.
My answer to the third question at this point is that I know dozens, if not hundreds of people to tweet with. It wasn’t that way in the beginning, though.
I transitioned from just publicizing links and tweeting an occasional joke to growing a following of exactly the sort I’m looking for by tweeting with two other people who are invested in my success as a blogger.
In December, during the Christmas break, I started tweeting status updates about the blogs to @parttimemonster and @quaintjeremy every night after I finished the next day’s posts. I shared links to other blogs with them occasionally and used #blogs, #writers, #artists, #creatives, and #wordpress. I tweeted with Jeremy to #comics and with Diana to #equality.
I retweeted a few other bloggers. I started following the twitter accounts of blogs I was following on wordpress. I also learned to hashtag judiciously just for effect. After about a month of that, bloggers started noticing us and my follows picked up a tiny bit.
Mid-January, @halfeatenmind added me to my first list of bloggers. I followed the whole list. About half followed me back over the next week or two, and my account hasn’t really stopped growing since.
IMPORTANT: If you’re new to Twitter, or just have a small account, don’t go following hundreds of people from lists just yet. Wait for the next couple of installments before you do that. If you don’t understand Twitter’s spam policies at least a little, you can get your account suspended that way.
Note – This series will get more advanced, but I had to start at the very beginning. Most of it is drafted, and I’m not going to string it out for a month. I’m posting them as close together as possible because I think they’ll be more useful that way, but obviously not going to post three a day again. And tomorrow is a special day, so think about all this stuff and look for another installment sometime in the next week. In the meantime, Part Time Monster has several Pinterest boards that you might find useful.