@djoneslucid, is over two years, but I only started using it consistently in mid November of 2011. Since then I went from 3 to 573 followers. So what makes me such an authority with so few followers? Well, it is not the number that I focus on but the type - loyal Twitter followers. What is a loyal twitter follower and how do you get them? Keep reading.
What Is A Loyal Twitter Follower
The simplest way I can define this is to describe myself. There are certain people on Twitter who I retweet without reading their articles. I also communicate with them outside of Twitter and willing promote their ideas and products. When I logon I look for their tweets that I missed and retweet them. When I communicate the old fashioned way, with my mouth, I talk about them and promote their ideas. Why? Because I really like these people based on our common interests. This is the best definition of a loyal Twitter follower. I would take 1000 of these over 100,000 passive followers any day, those who forget you soon after they follow you.
Auto Responders Are Not the Answer
Entrepreneurship and business is about making real connections with real people, which is why I hate auto responders. The auto responder basically says, "Thanks for following but I don't have time, nor do I care to learn who you are. Oh, and get ready for me to start selling you a bunch of stuff!" As a techie, I love automation but there is no way to automate forming meaningful relationships.
Don't get me wrong. I love tools like Twuffer for automating tweets in an attempt to reach the largest audience and people in different time zones. But when it comes to one on one communication, automation is a massive fail. Most people hate them anyway.
My Simple Tip - The Answer to Auto Responders
For me, this tip is common sense but takes a great deal of effort. I send a personalized message to everyone who follows me back. The message includes their first name along with something about their profile or website. Most importantly, I start the message with their first name so they immediately know this is not just another auto responder. Then, I mention their profile.
The name part is so important because people are likely to open a Twitter message that starts with their name. When they open the message and see that you also mention something about their bio or website, it illustrates you took the time to learn about them. This sends the clear message that you see them as more than another Twitter number to brag about, but someone you find genuinely interesting. Here is an example of a typical message:
"John thx 4 following! From ChiTown huh!? Me too! As a 'trep u may like my blog and upcoming book here:"
Sincerity is a Must
For this to be effective you must be sincere, which is something I cannot fake. I blog and tweet about subjects that relate to entrepreneurship, leadership, inspiration and business in general. Therefore, I follow those who have similar interests and tweets. This keeps me interested and makes me want to engage them. I cannot pretend to be interested in booger eating contests or other topics that are of no interest to me. So follow those who truly interest you.
It is Not Easy, But..
It is totally worth it. I have made some fantastic connections with some really incredible people. I remember spending over an hour sending personalized messages to new Twitter followers and questioned whether I could really keep it up. Then I said to myself, Look, these people took the time to follow you. The least you can do is take interest in them and respond with a personal message. That day I committed to do this for every Twitter follower who follows me back, and to be honest, I love doing it. I will continue this practice even if I reach 10,000 followers. Don't believe me? Click the Twitter button to the right to see for yourself. And no, this is not a trick to get you to follow me.