Posted in Business, SocialMedia

How to Manage & Increase Your Twitter “Following” @ No Cost

This blog is the result of a light bulb coming on after observing some personal angst/confusion about “how” to be an effective follower.  My last post on this topic “What IS a Follower” in 2010 still has merit.  But I’ve decided that another post might help those of you who ask “How do I get beyond the limit of being able to follow 2000 tweeps?”

Remember, like I said in another post in 2010 about “Why I Tweet” I’m not here to “sell you anything” or make you chase annoying adds about some quick get rich course.  I’m here to help minimize confusion and guide newcomers along this social media landscape.  I’ve been “Twittering” and blogging for several years now and enjoy sharing what I learn.

So, onto the meaty part of this post.  How can I manage my throttled Twitter “Following” budget and still attract new followers?  There are two ways to “follow” twitter users.

  • The approach of pushing the “Follow” button on a users’ profile may or may not result in them following you back.  Remember the value of a Twitter account is in increasing the number of people your message can reach.  Every time you push that button you move the total number of people you can follow to some strange ratio of following to followers ratio that Twitter has set on each Twitter account.  So how do you get more followers once you’ve reached the 2,000 limit or that magic ratio limiter?
  • Another technique of “following” involves a couple of additional steps but is well worth your time.  List creation is one of the best ways to recognize people their profession or passion.  By creating a List with a catchy title (category), you can add people to your list (in effect, a behavior that allows you to consume the thoughts (tweets) of people who interest you.  The best thing about this form of “following” is that it does not count against your follower limits.  You’re not “following” them using the button method, your following them using a more powerful method of expertise management.

For example, some day I will complete a lifelong goal of publishing a book.  So I used that goal and Twitter as a resource to create a “Writeminds” list.  On this list of authors (hobbyists, newly published, seasoned authors and publishers) I have added over 400 Twitter user accounts who have identified themselves as being writers, bloggers, authors, publishers, or screen/script writers.

Here’s the magic/value of this form of following over mashing the “Follow” button:  By adding a Twitter user to a list I accomplish four simple things:

  1. I have recognized the aspirations or activities of an individual for something they are devoted to or passionate about.  Who doesn’t love to be recognized for their desire to become something they are working towards?
  2. I have created a simple way to better manage my time in searching for content related to a particular topic; in this example what are writers working on, talking about, sharing, revealing?  Its better than Google search results–I can make contact with the horses mouth.
  3. I have established a connection with expertise I could not have easily encountered by walking through town or browsing the phone book looking for “people” who might have the ability to help me along my journey.
  4. I have created value for others!  Anyone can subscribe to my “Writeminds” list and take advantage of the resource.  My list of authors most likely will not be the same as your list of authors so you can create your own and subscribe to mine.

When you “follow” people by curating a list of Twitter users who identify themselves with something that interests you, you immediately expand your virtual family with other birds of your same feather.  You also reward the individual you “follow” by recognizing their contributions!  The best part is, because you have recognized another’s talent, time & effort, many can’t resist following you by the easiest method out there (mash the button).  So, your follower count begins to rise because others begin to recognize you as someone who is offering something with no expectations in return.

Social media for professionals is a value based proposition founded in charity.  Go out of your way to make someone’s day.  Build a list, start adding people to the list and watch your follower count grow!  The greatest benefit of this behavior is you now can quickly stay abreast of topics that interest you with these interest “channels (lists)”  you’re creating on Twitter!  If happen to make (in real life~telephone, email, in person) contact with the people you follow using the list method, feel free to spend some of your follower limit by mashing that “Follow” button.

I’m interested in hearing how this method works for you~please share.

Cheers,
Ed