Do you remember those days? Kids who sat at the cool kid table during lunch felt obligated to demonstrate certain behaviors to remain at the table. Those who were not at the table observed what it took to sit there with that group. While some kids imitated and embraced the game, others avoided these kids all together.
If you’re not embracing your social media followers, you’re still in middle school sitting at what you think is the cool table (or trying to get there)—and you’re losing thousands of followers, views, and potential advocates because of this hold over attitude from childhood.
Reasons People Use Twitter
Let’s consider why people sign up for social media accounts.
1. I want to make money.
2. I want current information and opinions.
3. I want to be entertained.
4. I want interaction with others.
5. I want to influence.
There is a common thread through each of these motivations. That’s right. “I.” People on your Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, You Tube or Twitter accounts participate for self-gratification—even if that’s on behalf of a mission or charity. In your real life (the one you physically attend), ignoring the person who wants “two minutes of your time” or not responding to the secretary who says, “Good morning,” might be expected behaviors of you because of your perceived status in your world—however large or small that fish bowl may be.
But, in the big bowl of social media, anyone can be a celebrity and anyone can be a flop. The real gems of social media achieve the above five goals for themselves and others (and have more fun) with the following best Twitter practices:
Follow Back Real People.
Look at who’s following you. Go over to the other person’s page. Preview his or her bio and last ten tweets to decide if he or she is legit. Then, follow back. Remove the person if he or she annoys you, spams you, or plays the unfollow game.
Celebrities and celebrity social medians, search your name to find out what people are saying about you. Just by following them, you’ll build bridges with both fans and critics. Following others doesn’t mean you’re endorsing them. People know that if you follow a lot fans, you don’t know them all personally.
Respond to Mentions.
For some social media users, the online sense of community begins to parallel real life. Maybe you’ve met some of your followers at conventions or know them through business. Now, you have a face with a name. If you know the person and don’t care to associate with him or her, ignoring or blocking that person’s Twitter or G+ mentions is okay. However, remember that social media is its own world. You may do more harm to your goals than good by being a social media jerk. If you rarely see the person in real life, how much of a threat does it really pose to be polite? Are you sure you aren’t the problem?
If you don’t know the follower and don’t respond to his or her mention, you taint your brand. Absorb that statement. Giving the cold shoulder makes companies, executives, and celebrities look bad. When fans take the time to participate in live tweeting sessions for their favorite TV shows, movies, conferences, or books and receive no response, it’s a turn off. Respond appropriately after someone takes time to comment on your blog post, tweet, meme, or picture. Better yet, maintain the relationship by revisiting the person’s page a few weeks down the road and commenting on one of their tweets. You’re doing a terrible job promoting if you ignore the people you’re trying to sell. Communicating demonstrates that you’re human and worth admiring. If you have people who perform social media tasks for you, make sure they know your parameters and Twitter’s best practices. Newbie Twitter user Kevan Lee puts it this way,
“When someone retweets you, mentions you in a tweet, or favorites one of your tweets, they are seeking a connection with you. From a certain perspective, this is a truly humbling event. Someone has valued you and your profile enough that they want to connect. It’s kind of an honor.”
Challenge yourself to interact by starting a conversation. You might make a friend or long term fan and learn something new. If you’re the social median for a business, find customers by searching for your products’ or services’ keywords. Then, start conversations about how fans are using the products or services. If a blogger writes about your brand, reach out to that person and thank them (or at least connect with them via social media.)
Do not play junior high cool kid as a celebrity or executive. Be a leader. If you’re asked a legitimate question or someone offers a compliment or interesting observation about your brand, unless you have legal reasons not to do so, take a moment and respond! You’re human and your fans want to see it. If you are not human, can’t afford a really good ghost tweeter, or hate being social, stay off the medium.
Unfollow Automated Accounts.
Unfortunately, after a social media account grows to a certain size, fake accounts will follow you for a period of time in hopes that your followers will follow the fake accounts, too. This helps fake accounts to build followership so the owners of those accounts can tweet out articles with links for SEO and promotional reasons and have armies to boost numbers. This industry is big business. Don’t waste your time on the game. Generously add real followers, but ignore the profiles asking you to buy followers. You can usually spot them by their numbers. Anyone who has say, 150K followers, but is following 5K, is probably a short term follower of your account. Within a couple weeks, they’ll drop you and then repeat the cycle later if you drop them.
When you add fans, your stream fills up with content. It’s now time to create lists. Create categories based on the type of content you really want to read. You don’t have to follow someone to have him or her on a list. Create lists for your hobbies, passions, charities, news, industry associates, or hard core fans. Now you have the option to read everything in your stream or to visit certain lists.
Twitter for Celebrities
You have the potential to be a better celebrity or executive in the social media world than you are in the real one. Start minding details and tweeking habits to better connect with your fan base.
If you don’t consider yourself a VIP, remember that social media is a level playing field. Anyone can become a social media VIP, just by fulfilling the needs mentioned above, while being a courteous communicator. Don’t live in middle school forever. The world is so much bigger. ~Jean