This is for everyone from small business owners and individuals with clear career aspirations to bloggers and any person who wants to establish repute in a specific area.
My son, Garret, is an aspiring baseball writer and an autodidactic analyst of the sport. As a high school student, he set out to establish himself in the industry out of absolute obscurity. Just over a year later, he writes for a reputable online publication about the Detroit Tigers and has amassed a Twitter following of over 500 people interested in his work. This small prominence has already opened other doors for him that will further advance his career. How did he rise from nothing to gain a large but intimate and interested Twitter audience? Let’s hear it from him:
GC: The first thing, for me, was simple: be active. Things happen from there. On Twitter, most of the people you want to network with are actively seeking out other smart people with similar interests. I didn’t go around pleading for followers—I just did my best to project valuable information about baseball. Once I was discovered, my first followers shared my work and the size of my audience snowballed from there.
DC: You mention that you “didn’t go around pleading for followers.” Can you expand on that statement and explain why it’s important?
GC: Self-promotion is needed to an extent, but there’s a fine line. For one, you want your followers to want to be there. Natural followers—the ones who found you themselves—are also the ones who have the most genuine interest in you and the ones who will promote you to their followers. Ideally, people will know you exist without perceiving you as arrogant or annoying. In order to accomplish this, I’ve made a conscious effort to promote, in addition to my work, articles and insights not my own. This strategy has proved beneficial in more ways than one.
DC: What ways are you referring to?
GC: First of all, my followers are pleased because I’m providing them with topical material and possibly introducing them to others in baseball analysis whose activity they may want to keep an eye on. Next, I gain appreciation from the authors of said material and potentially gain them as valuable followers and contacts by plugging it. Of course, for this to apply, it’s important to credit the author (but then, it’s always important to credit the author), like so; “check out this piece from @hypotheticalbaseballwriter on why MLB should expand replay to all fair/foul calls: (link)”.
DC: Do you have any other Twitter advice?
GC: Stay professional and on topic. Your followers are there for a reason—whether it’s your absurd knowledge of avian migration or your expertise in muscle car restoration—and they generally aren’t interested in your dog’s grooming appointment or the poor service you received at dinner last night. If you want to be taken seriously, stick with what you know and what your followers can benefit from. Lastly, always use spell check (which most internet browsers now include) and make sure to fix those mistakes that application won’t catch. (Granted, it is Twitter—informal by wide perception—but that’s no excuse for mixing up “your,” and “you’re,” even if you’re not a writer.)
That’s great advice, Garret!
While Twitter might not have been something you considered before, I highly suggest you give it another try. Let us know how it goes for you, we would love to hear about how you have become Twitter Famous. You can tweet @gotwww or post your comments below.