I spoke with a couple of friends about Twitter who had great questions about how to engage (on Twitter).  One asked how to find relevant friends to follow and how to get people to follow him.  The other asked me why I was continuing to clog up his feed with multiple tweets about my latest newsletter, blog post, or podcast.  I figured it might be a great chance to answer both questions:

  • I rarely open Twitter and just start drinking from the firehose. Most of the time I only read things which have been “tweeted at” me (look for the twitter handles at the end of posts).  You can’t count on the fact that people will see what you post so that is why “tweeting at” someone makes sense.
  • I use Twitter to gather the specific information tweeted at me and to publicize the content I’m generating (newsletter on Sunday, podcast on Monday, podcast blog on Tuesday, Wednesday book blog post, Friday blog post). Or I’ll find someone’s blog or newsletter and subscribe to it.
  • It’s important to figure out why you are using Twitter. I don’t post selfies or tweet out random information.  I don’t follow Katy Perry, Tom Brady, or politicians.  I follow education-related content providers and educators.  Just like I don’t follow schools and companies on Facebook.  That’s for friends and families.
  • Whenever I am tweeted at, I generally “like” it at the very least. But most of the time, I retweet it.  Both actions help spur connections on Twitter—literally by drawing attention of my followers to something else but also influencing the Twitter algorithm.
  • Want more followers? My recommendations:
    • Pick a short Twitter handle.
    • Find people/organizations to follow. Use the search bar and look up organizations and people.
    • Open those profiles and see who they follow. Then follow those people.
    • Find out who is following you. Follow them back.  Find out who they follow.  Follow those people.
    • Like and retweet tweets you like. The more active you are, the more likely it is you will build connections.  When my tweets are retweeted, I make sure to “tweet at” those people next time I have something to send out
    • Open your notifications and see who is liking and retweeting you. Follow them.
    • When Twitter recommends people, follow them.
    • When someone puts twitter handles in a tweet you like, follow those people

I’m not an expert on Twitter.  I’ve never mastered lists, I rarely do Tweetchats, I don’t taunt foreign adversaries, and for the life of me I can’t get some people to follow me.  But I figure they use Twitter for different purposes than me.  You can do all this in one hour a week–gathering content, publicizing your content, and making connections.  Become a lifelong learner.