It happened! Since the end of May, I have been on a quest to attract 1,000 followers on my Twitter account before the end of the year. Now, I know that is not the loftiest, nor the most valid, goal I could be striving towards, but for someone who is still quite green in this social-media-for-personal-brand experience, it seemed like a good place to start. After all, what good is producing great content if no one is listening?
I have been documenting my progress as I go, analyzing the results and adjusting my plan accordingly. It has really been a worthwhile exercise that has shown gains in my professional life. By demonstrating social media savvy with my personal accounts, I have positioned myself well to be a trusted advisor for senior management and other decision makers entrusted with public relations and marketing in their organizations. And, I’m betting it can do the same for you, especially if you are just starting out in your career.
How did I get there?
Well, there were some ups and downs. In the beginning, I was steamrolling through to my goal, gathering momentum with every tweet. I wasn’t getting tonnes of engagement with my posts, but at the time, I wasn’t bothered because I was gaining followers at a pretty good rate.
Then it started to fall apart. I actually stopped tweeting for about three weeks because I was overwhelmed in other aspects of my life. Something had to slip, so I let social media go by the wayside. My blog fell dormant and my tweets came to a halt.
How did I get back on track?
What I did learn, is that people will hang in there. I had lost some followers, sure, but the vast majority didn’t click that unfollow button. It probably has more to do with the fact that few people actively manage the people they follow than it does about the quality of my pearls of wisdom, but I like to think that they were put off by the lack of activity either.
Once things got back on an even keel, I went took stock of all the tactics that I had adopted to this point and made my plan of attack:
Fine tune your tweeting schedule
You’re never going to reach everyone all the time. It can’t be done. But, if you have some insight into when most of your followers are online, you have a better chance of getting noticed in their feed. I use Buffer to schedule my tweets, and I had been using SocialBro to figure out when I should be sending them out, but Buffer now has a new feature that will analyze your followers’ activity and adjust your schedule accordingly. Now, as a business person with business related tweeting, I kept my tweeting confined to the work week. I knew this was an artificial construct, but it hadn’t worked against me to this point. I decided I would experiment and start tweeting on weekends. I saw an immediate increase in both engagement and follows.
Retweet top performing tweets
Buffer is also quite adept at analyzing your tweeting performance. Retweets, likes and clicks are tracked so you can see what works and what doesn’t. So, now that we know that you can’t reach everybody, and that a certain tweet is popular, send it back out there to reach the rest of those people [and the ones who joined since you last sent it … it’s going to be new for somebody!]. Put top performing tweets back in the queue so they get maximum exposure.
Original content is overrated [for growing your following]
I had read a great deal about creating the perfect content mix, ensuring that you have equal parts original and curated content, but guess what? It doesn’t really matter. People are looking for great content, no matter where it comes from. You are no more or less a credible source if you happen to be promoting your own content or if you have scoured the internet on their behalf. If creating is a burden, drop it. If you feel the world needs your opinions, blog to your heart’s content. But for the sake of gaining followers, it will not be the thing that gets you there. There are entirely other great reasons to create content – personal branding being one of them.
So there you have it, one more thing to add to my list of accomplishments this year. Let’s see … that brings my list to … one. Well, there’s still a couple months left. 😉
What has worked to grow your audience this year? Is there anything else you would recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments below.