How to win followers and influence people

In the years since Twitter became a mainstream social network I’ve seen hundreds of articles, keynotes and books talking about how to use social media.  I’ve heard so called experts stand on stage and not only talk about using social media in a fashion that is in my belief absolutely wrong, but also totally ineffective. In one instance I can recall a self professed marketing guru claiming that companies should use Twitter the same way Amazon does and “just tweet.. tweet tweet tweet and more tweets, tweet even if you don’t think anyone is listening.. tweet even if you have nothing to say!!!”. I hope you can see why I disagreed with his advice.

So, “what’s the right way of using Twitter?” Well, what if I was to flip that question on it’s head and ask you “what is the right way of making friends?”.. Confused? you may be, but in my opinion that is all Twitter is – it’s a social network where acting socially is the name of the game!

For years I’ve been using an analogy with social media that is to liken being successful on social media to being successful socially. I often use Dale Carnegie’s famous book  ‘How to win friends and influence people’ which was first launched in 1936 and has sold some 15 million copies as a basis for my be successful at social media by being social mantra.

The main message that Carnegie gave in his book was that people just want to be heard. We all know this is absolutely true. Most people on Twitter want to have more followers because more followers means more people are listening to what they have to say. In the real world do you like the person that just wants to be heard? Usually we don’t.

So the trick is to be more likeable, listen more, interact more. It’s not just about you!

Below I’ve compiled my top 6 tips for becoming more influential on Twitter:

Disclaimer: as mentioned above Twitter is a social network and revolves around peoples social interactions. What I may believe to be socially acceptable and likeable may not fit you. The important thing is that you align your social approach the same way you do in real life – be yourself.

1) Be Sociable

As is covered above the clue is in the name with SOCIAL media. Behave socially on Twitter how you would in your own social circles. Listen to what others have to say and make conversation with them about that. Credit people when they say something interesting and you repeat it (RT).

If it’s business you are using Twitter for the usual rules apply:- no politics, sex, or religion!

2) Be You

As with real life people can spot if you are trying extra hard to be funnier, nicer, or smarter than you actually are. Nobody wants to follow a pretentious fake person who is trying too hard.

3) Be Chatty, but not too much

Replies are a big part of Twitter, and many people tweet to engage people to reply. That’s fine, but you need to remember that potential followers will take a snapshot often of your last 3 tweets to base their decision on following you. If a majority of your tweets are you in conversation with someone they may feel less likely to follow you.

4) If you haven’t got anything good to say, don’t say anything at all

I mean that in two ways: The first is like the saying goes, don’t be unkind on Twitter. The second is don’t tweet unless you think you have something interesting to share. Trust me, less is often more!

5) Fill out your bio

Twitter Bio’s are something that seem to strike a chord with some people. You have 160 characters which are your best shot at telling a prospective follower why they should follow you. Just like all of this social stuff how you fill it needs to fit with your own personality, but some advice would be to put in your interests and something that may be interesting about you.

6) Quality beats Quantity

We all know tweeters that obsess over their follower count, or their Klout score, but, in my opinion those metrics focus on quantities rather than qualities. For instance what do you think is better having 1000 followers who are all relevant to you, your industry or company OR having 100,000 followers who are a mix of Justin Bieber fans, spam accounts and people that are just following you because you follow them? Klout scores work the same by taking into account your ‘influence’ based on quantities not qualities.

In summary winning followers I think is just the same as making friends. It’s not about how many friends you have or how many of them hear about your weekend. What’s important is that social connection that makes 2 friends (followers) glad to see each other.

I’d really like to hear your feedback on this article, keeping with the theme please tweet me about it on Twitter :).