By Mike Stiles
Do you have Twitter-envy? Come on, admit it. You’ve been tweeting like a madman for months and have rounded up a grand total of 35 followers. Meanwhile your friend just started tweeting last week about nothing but pickles, and has 20,000 followers already. Yeah, pickles. What is Twitter if you are not going to leverage your tweets for self proclaimed fame and fortune?
How are they doing it? Do they have surefire secrets they aren’t telling you? Is it a conspiracy? Is your Twitter account broken? Yeah, maybe that’s it. But just in case it’s not, here are some tips to give your tweets a fighting chance of appealing to more people so you can get that number of followers up to at least say, 40.
1. Write incredible tweets. Your friend has clearly mastered the pickle subject. Do you know how many tweets there are a day? Over 140 million. If you aren’t focused on a niche topic, find one. If you are writing on a niche topic, get even more nichey. Remember, no one’s likely to retweet you unless you can make them say, “Man, that is great!” You have to be that good.
2. Assimilate into the Borg. The Borg is your target audience, and there should be little to distinguish you from them. Think like them, use their terminology, know what they like, know what they hate. Your audience can sniff out a poser really quickly.
3. Get their blood up. Ask them questions, stir up a little controversy or debate for cryin’ out loud. Don’t just ask for their opinion. Get their opinion by blurting out what your opinion is. Be interesting, not safe.
4. Buy them off. If there’s something of real value with a good “cool” factor you can use to incentivize people to follow you, use it.
5. Make other people famous. Guess what? When you mention someone in your tweet, they’ll think it’s a brilliant tweet, and will spread it to as many people as possible. Make human nature work to your advantage.
6. Think about your posting schedule. Find your sweet spot as far as how often you post, but be consistent. Avoid streams of one tweet right after another…unless you make clear you’re live-tweeting from an event or something.
7. Put at least a little thought into your avatar. If you’re gorgeous, use it. If you have a recognized logo, use it. Otherwise, find something that’s catchy and interesting at a glance.
8. In your Twitter profile, say who you really are and what you really do. If you’re cutesy, coy, vague, evasive, or say nothing at all, you haven’t given anyone a reason in the world to follow you.
9. Promote your Twitter account. It’s okay, really. But be very clear about all the enriching goodness they’re going to get if they go to it. They aren’t going to do it just as a favor to a total stranger.
10. Make your tweets unique to Twitter. If you’re pushing out one message across 5 platforms, it’s obviously not optimized for any of those 5.
11. Keep it short. If you max out your 140 characters, there’s no room for people to retweet you.
12. First in wins. If you know a bit of news in your field and you notice no one seems to have tweeted it yet, get it out there. Suddenly you become the cited source in all retweets.
13. Rewarding links. If you’re going to include a link, shorten it of course, then make sure it leads to something that won’t make them regret having clicked it. You don’t want a reputation as the “lame links” guy.
14. Get your ratings. Find a tool that will tell you how each of your tweets did so you’ll know what’s working and what’s a waste of yours and everybody else’s time.
15. Cool it with the hashtags. Only use a hashtag if your tweet falls under a category or event and you know people will want to read it if they search for that term. Make it clear, make it useful, and if you made one up just to be funny, make sure it’s really funny.
Only other thing we know to tell you is to make sure you follow your friend’s pickle tweets so they’ll feel obligated to follow you in return.