How I Got 10,000 Followers on Twitter & Why It Might Not Matter
According to Expanded Ramblings, the average person with a Twitter account has tweeted around 300 times and has just over 200 followers. On the other hand, I have tweeted over 12,700 times and have just over 10,200 followers. It puts me only 51,100,000 behind the number one person on Twitter: Katy Perry. According to Twitter Counter, the top ten accounts on Twitter are:
- Katy Perry
- Justin Bieber
- Barack Obama
- Lady Gaga
- Taylor Swift
- Britney Spears
- Justin Timberlake
The list offers a fascinating insight into why something like Twitter exists. The top ten are seven pop music singers, the President of the United States, and two other social media sites. So what does it all mean when a regular guy gets 10,000 followers? It might mean a great deal and might mean absolutely nothing at all.
Twitter represents potential influence. Not real influence but the opportunity to influence others. Twitter influence is like having a radio show that is also broadcast on a website. You have real listeners (the hundreds or thousands listening in real time) and potential listeners (a few billion people with access to the Internet at the moment you are broadcasting). Twitter is much the same… potential influence.
It reveals the innate desire to be connected. Like all social media, the issue to be faced is whether you are in it for the “social” or the “media.” For the most part, I like Twitter because of the interaction with others that I would never have otherwise. It has afforded me the opportunity to create friendships with people whom I would have never known existed in other parts of the world.
It can be a game to play. On some days, Twitter is just a puzzle for me to solve. It’s a game for me to play. You can follow the patterns, know when is the right time to tweet to get lots of retweets, and how to leverage your subject matter for maximum readership. To put it bluntly, you can game the system. A few years ago when the Black Eye Peas did the Halftime Show for the NFL Super Bowl, I decided to tweet non-stop and without remorse about their performance. And it was wonderful. The banter back and forth with others was fun and I gained a new level of momentum in Twitter followers. It happens like that; find an event that many others are engaged in and tweet away.
Help is needed along the way. If you want a large following, then you will need help. Along the way, other social media mavens have helped me to gain a hearing from others. Specifically, Ed Stetzer and Trevin Wax have helped me get noticed by retweets and pointing people to my postings (or ramblings).
If you get help, then you should give help. As others have been kind to engage you along the way, you must do it for others. With Twitter, people will wear out on you if you constantly beg for retweets and never reciprocate. Remember, the word “social” is important here. People want to engage not just be inundated by your pithy banter.
Know the audience that you want to reach. For me, I interact with a few slices of the population. But, if I have to choose to whom I’m trying to interact with the most, it is three groups: leaders (specifically, church leaders), Christians looking for daily encouragement, and sarcastic people. Granted, the third group also covers much of the first group. Nevertheless, these are the three groups to which I tweet toward the most. When you tweet, treat it like a conversation which starts with knowing who is in the conversation.
Be intentional. To dovetail on the previous point, the primary way in which I’ve seen people grow in influence on Twitter (and other social media outlets) is by being intentional about their content and their audience. You’ve got to find a target and aim carefully. Simply blasting out your random ideas constantly will frustrate people because they never know what they’ll get from you. Know why you are there and then stay on task.
Tweet for the good of others. Twitter has become a powerful tool for communication and mobilization. Sure, you can encourage others by poignant quotes from J.R.R. Tolkien or Dietrich Bonhoeffer. But, it can be used for so much more. News, requests for aid, prayers offered, and mobilizing people in the midst of disaster are all possible. We need to tweet for good.
Twitter is a fascinating slice of our real lives. It represents the connections we want to have. My final encouragement is this: Ensure that you use Twitter as a means to an end and not the end itself.