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Tweeting is all about being heard, which is why most users want big followings. After all, what’s the point of broadcasting your ideas to the world if the world is actually just your mom?
I follow a lot of tweeters -- some because they’re my friends, others because they have an interesting perspective or simply for entertainment value. I wanted to know their secrets: How do you build and keep a dedicated Twitter audience that cares about what you have to say? Here’s the deal:
Twitter Tip No. 1: Study the masters.
If you’re fairly new to Twitter, be aware that you’re entering an established culture and that it’s easy to embarrass yourself if you don’t tweet thoughtfully. Former NYU fellow Nir Rosen learned this the hard way after tweeting some insensitive remarks about the sexual assault of fellow journalist Lara Logan. Maybe you don’t have as much at stake, but before jumping in, spend a few days observing how some top users share content and engage in Twitter conversations.
Twitter Tip No. 2: Create a great profile.
Twitter gives you a small space in which to describe yourself to potential followers, so use it wisely. Be specific about who you are and what you tweet about.
Twitter Tip No. 3: Don’t be obnoxious.
It’s easy to look like an overzealous self-marketer when you’re trying to grow your Twitter audience, and nothing turns people off faster. Market yourself like a pro by including your Twitter username in your email signature, website and social pages, and chime into Twitter conversations without asking for anything in return (more on this below). If people are interested, they’ll follow you without being explicitly prodded by you.
Twitter Tip No. 4: Focus on the content, not the number.
You get followers by targeting people who are interested in what you have to say, says Ji Hyun Lee, who blogs at Politics of the Workplace . “If your content is informative, engaging and appropriately sourced, people will follow,” she adds. “Racking up followers just for numbers’ sake is a useless proposition. You want your Twitter followers to appreciate your offering and then share your content to all their followers.”
Share information and content that will have broad appeal -- or targeted appeal if you’re tweeting about a niche subject. But unless you’re a celebrity, nobody really cares that you’re eating oatmeal or just started a load of laundry.
Twitter Tip No. 5: Tweet often, reply often.
Approach Twitter as a conversation. Reply thoughtfully and genuinely. When people reply to you in turn, your username appears in their timeline. This exposes their entire following to your username. Just don’t tweet and reply so often that you dominate your followers’ feeds. Even useful content can overwhelm.
Bottom line: Keep it real. On Twitter -- as in life -- be yourself, be nice, be engaged, be passionate. That’s what Twitter is all about it. And if you use it appropriately, your audience will come.
Photo: Getty Images
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