I Need More Twitter Followers

When I first joined twitter, this seemed to be the name of the game.  Words like “high numbers” and “industry standard” were being tossed around.  And then when you get caught up in those twitter memes, it feels like your day is filled up trying to get people to hit the follow button.  It’s exhausting.  And I know it’s part of building a business, but still.  Exhausting.

So as I lurk around checking my favorite authors, what jumps out immediately is none of them have the same amount of followers.  The numbers aren’t even close, yet they’re all doing very well, so it makes me wonder how important it is to have a HIGH number of followers.  Not to be confused with a high number TARGETED followers.  I’m just talking in general because I’ve seen a bunch of accounts that will follow anyone for a follow back.

Recently I was followed by one of these accounts.  I check out everyone that follows me and the first stop is the bio.  My hope is to find something interesting to spark conversation.  This person’s bio was mostly filled with reasons he’d follow or unfollow you.  To me, that says there’s no interest in anything I have to say.  All I am is a number.  Screw that noise.

The whole thing has got me re-thinking my approach to social media.  To what, I don’t know yet, but I’m not going to stress over numbers anymore.  If everyone else has ten billion followers, that’s fine.  I think for the amount of time on twitter, with no book or any fiction out, I’m doing okay.  Eventually, I’d like a large number of followers, but I want them to follow me because there’s something interesting about ME.

What’s your approach to social media?  Whether you’re published or not, I’m wondering if anyone else feels like me.

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35 comments on “I Need More Twitter Followers

  1. I’d rather have people following me that are interested in what I’m tweeting about. Not all the time mind you. I have moments of rambling nonsense or twitter conversations with a friend but I try to keep my tweets interesting to my followers. Retweet links I think others will find interesting or fun and links to my blog of course. Hopefully I come across as close to who I am as possible, flaws and all and hopefully people think I’m an okay person for that and worth the follow.

    • Sounds right to me. I don’t know if you read Kristen Lamb’s blog, but you’re following her rule perfectly. She says tweets should be 1/3 promo 1/3 conversation and 1/3 reciprocation. I try to follow that mold, still working on it though.

  2. In general, I believe that a strategy built on communicating with people is the best strategy… If I follow someone’s blog, it’s because I’m interested in what they write about… twitter is different for me – I use twitter as a way to meet people, and I use blogs as a way to get to know them…

    One thing I can add about Twitter (and the main reason I actively try to build numbers) is because Twitter helps with your Search Engine Optimization (or at least I think it does)… If I do a search for my name, there is A LOT of other websites that pop up… my twitter usually ranks pretty high on that list (and it didn’t use to), which is useful.

    • That’s exactly the best strategy and what social media is about. In this day and age when public figures can interact directly with their fans, conversation is essential.

      I know google does link analysis for their search engine, so having more followers to chat with and link to you with @’s could drive your rank up. Like you, I don’t know exactly how this works, but driving traffic to whatever your site (twitter, facebook, blog) is the way to increase your rank.

      Agree about the blogs. Glad to be getting to know you!

  3. Dude, I was actually going to ask you about this very same thing. Where are you meeting all these people? How? The first time I “met” you on Twitter, you had 400 followers, and then here (like what, a month and a half later?) you’re over 700, LOL!

    This is sort of something I have thought about recently. I do follow people who interest me, and I follow back people who are honestly taking an interest and not just following me to advertise their book or blog to me. But a lot of it is just a numbers game, and my numbers suck. I’m at 95 followers.

    At first I was concerned. But then I realized that it’s just another way to do things and I am super slow to grow. I’m the same way IRL. The friends I have took forever to make, they’re few and far between, but they’re seriously good friends that I’d do anything for and who’d do anything for me. So I think I go at social media similarly, but without realizing that’s what I’m doing, y’know?

    • Yeah, I know what you mean. I sort of jumped into twitter before I had anything with a few friends I made through their blogs. What I had to remember was that I was trying to build a business, which is different from just making friends. I do feel like I’ve made some life-long ones, but that may not be the case with everyone. It’s simply impossible to be best friends with hundreds or thousands of people, which I don’t think means you’re unfriendly or anything, just the way it is. As in real life.

      Professionally a large network of targeted followers helps you get information you otherwise wouldn’t know about. That’s why I love RTs. Sometimes the information comes from people I hardly know, but it’s information I’d never have known about. Kind of like meeting someone on line at a store, having a quick conversation and then going on your way. Your paths may never cross again, but you’ve had an impact with each other.

      As to where my followers come from? I don’t know, but I’ll give it a guess. I’m on over a hundred lists and I know people will sometimes go to those for possible followers. I also try to tweet with popular hashtags to put me in front of more eyes. You can also experiment with the search function and make up hashtags, sometimes you can find cool streams of like-minded people. I also think it’s about visibility outside of twitter. I have this blog and keep a regular schedule with it, try to be more active on facebook and recently guested on LM Stull’s blog. All of that has helped build my followers because you never who’s reading what you put on the internet. I’m surprised over and over again by who responds to my tweets and reads this blog because I don’t know where they came from.

      I’d suggest putting yourself out there without the expectation of making a long lasting friend, but just having a good interaction in that moment. I’ll leave it at that before this becomes another post, but feel free to ask any more questions and I’ll do my best to help out.

      • Thank you for the tips! I will definitely ask when I think of stuff.

        I do think the problem with Twitter is that everyone comes at it like a business. They all want a lot of followers because you never know who’s listening. Well then you have a bunch of followers, but how many of them are actually listening?

        I’ve noticed that many people who follow a lot of people can really only respond to a few, usually people they’ve connected with in some way. And unless you have that connection, they aren’t going to actually listen to your retweets or your suggestions. It’s just going to be another tweet to them.

        This probably would make another good post or two, lol. Twitter is a weird beast!

  4. I’m kind of picky about who I follow. Since I created a twitter account mostly to learn more about writing and interact with other writers rather than my everyday ‘RL’ friends, I mostly just follow writers whose bios are interesting to read. Many of them are nice enough to follow back, once they see that I’m not a spammer (hell I hardly tweet, I just read people’s tweets and blogs, and just occasionally share a blog post or thought of my own).

    And a consequence of said ‘pickiness’ is very few followers. 😛 But the only thing that bothers me about that is that there are so many awesome, educated writers out there who I’d probably love to interact with, and I haven’t as yet followed them! So I try to add one or two people every week. Not more, because I like to talk to them and read their stuff, and I like to remember who they are rather than go on random orgiastic following sprees.

    I generally steer clear from people who say “Follow me cuz I follow back!”. 😛

    • That’s great Radha. It’s all about what you’re comfortable with. There’s no set formula. In terms of being overwhelmed by all the talent, I have a couple of suggestions. Tweetdeck is a great way to organize your followers with it’s columns feature. Also you could use the list function on twitter. I have one for people I talk to frequently because once your numbers go into the hundreds, people can get lost in the stream.

    • I started (a new account) for the same reason. To interact with more writers.

      Adding one or two a week is a great idea. Very reasonable and simple to implement.

  5. Oh. My. God. You. Are. So. Right.

    I too feel the same way. Just because you have big numbers does NOT mean they are dedicted to you or to the product you have to sell. It is all about quality, in my opinion, not quantity. I too try to avoid spambots and peeps who aren’t at all interested in me (although believe me, I have a fair enough on my stream, but at least twice a week I try to go through and weed them out as best I can). I was just discussing this the other day. People who are only intersted in #teamfollowback or are spammers are going to do nothing for your platform. They aren’t going to retweet you, most likely, and bets are they certainly won’t buy your book.

    So, I think you are going about it the right way. Try to build your relationships as you are, get as much as exposure as you can on different blogs and social media sites and the numbers will come.

    Personally, I think you should have billions of followers, but that’s just me 🙂

    Another great post!

    • A billion? I’m trying to wrap my head around getting to a thousand. Maybe as a condition of following you, your followers have to follow me!

      I do find it odd that some are in such a rush to build a network, even though they spent months or years writing their book. If there are benefits to this tactic, they’re short lived in my opinion.

      I think everyone’s got a little spam in their stream, but even if that makes up 10% of the total it’s okay. I’m still in awe of how you manage all the peeps in your network.

  6. I’ve had a twitter account for a while, but it’s mostly just for friends and family. In fact, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I attached my actual name to the account. Then I stumbled on to Kristin Lamb’s blog, where she eschews the merits of networking for authors — even for authors who haven’t released a book for people to be excited about. Authors like me.

    Ugh. It seemed like a popularity contest. But it’s one of those things that I can’t be negative about until I try it, right? Maybe I’d like it!

    So a couple of weeks ago, I hit up the #writing feed. I looked through a long list of tweets and checked bios. I picked two people who either had similar interests or didn’t spam the world with annoying tweets. Two seemed like enough. I’ve picked up a couple of others as well, but I now have 30 people following me and I still can’t decide if I like this or not. I just keep thinking to myself that there has to be a better way.

    I didn’t answer your question (lol) but that’s my two cents.

    • Fear not Jen, your cents is still welcome around here.

      When I started building my platform, I was only reading and commenting on blogs. It was a great way for shy me to make one on one connections with the bloggers and learn something. I took those new friends with me to my twitter account and went from there. Then when I started blogging, I brought people there from twitter. They all feed off each other, so twitter is a useful tool. I’ve been enjoying the chats we’ve had! Some other good writing hashtags are #amwriting #writegoal and #writechat. You could do a goggle search for more, there’s a lot.

      And speaking of Kristen Lamb (because I think she’s awesome) you should definitely get her book We Are Not Alone. It’s a quick read packed with fantastic information.

  7. I too took a long time to warm to Twitter, purely b/c for the longest time I had no idea what I was doing with it. Now, as a published author, it’s usage on one hand is failry elementary as a marketing tool. However as I started following particular people (namely other writers) I started taking an interest in what they were doing and in a lot of cases, I really like what they are doing. So I began to retweet them and talk about them to my followers as a kind of ‘pay it forward’ thing. I really enjoy the conversations I have with my followers but I don’t seek to have huge numbers of people following me. As my esteemed colleague above me – LM Stull – says, it’s all about quality not quantity. And for me – it’s all about paying it forward.

  8. Okay, this is the thing. I still really don’t get Twitter. Some people (like you) actually make sense, but there are some people who tweet CONSTANTLY and their tweets sound like a lot of nonsense. And there’s not a lot of conversation. (I know a lot of people hate Facebook, but I actually have conversations with people there…under my real name.) I’m just now getting what #FF is. LOL. I had a few people @ me, so I clicked on #FF to see what the conversation was about. If I’m not mistaken, that’s just something to get some of your Twitter follows to follow people you know…right?

    So that’s my take on Twitter. I have just a few followers, so that makes me not want to tweet much because what’s it accomplishing? Do you find that the more you tweet, the more followers you get?

    I also have the same thing happen to me. People follow me that have some kind of “agenda”. I never follow those people back.

    I really didn’t mean to hijack your blog.

    • It’s a balancing act with other social media for sure, Lauralynn. I find Twitter to be like the groups on FB, where you’re not FB friends with everyone, but you can still converse under the umbrella of a certain topic. Twitter is just on a bigger scale and if you follow the right people, you will have good conversation, just in snippets.

      One helpful trick, courtesy of Kait Nolan, is to automatically send a welcome message to anyone who follows you. It’s a great ice breaker to find out what your followers are interested in.

      I don’t know if my followers are only as a result of what I tweet, it helps, but I’ve never seen the number go up significantly as a result of what I’d consider a good tweet.

      The #FF and the like I have mixed feelings about. They’re not what I’d consider spam and can be helpful used a certain way.

      Based on the popularity of this post, I think I’ll do a Twitter series in the near future.

  9. I used to only follow people I knew or people that interacted, but now I return most follows. It means that it can be difficult to see what everyone is tweeting all the time, but I use hidden twitter lists to divide people up in tweetdeck so I won’t miss the people that interact the most.

    • I do a similar thing because I follow most everyone that follows me. It’s the only way to keep up when you get a high number of peeps.

      I like the hidden lists. You’re like ghost. “What! Where did India come from?” And that concludes my goofy thought for the day.

  10. You had me a zombie fighter. Seriously 😉

    I agree. This whole push for platform building is exhausting. I’m not one for just being a face on someones blog or a face on twitter–I want substance. Yet, it’s hard to find. So many are willing to settle for a quick “I’ll follow you if you follow me.” What’s the point of that?

    I also hate justifying my worth by my follower count, blog comment count, and blog followers. Some day’s I’m yippee people like me and other days I feel like a loser. But it is what it is.

    I know people who have over 500+ followers on their blogs and that many more on twitter, yet their comment count is tiny. I know others with less than 100 followers and their blogs are happening places–parties going on.

    Great post.


    • Thank you, Angela! You hit the nail on the head regarding content. It’s the MOST IMPORTANT thing. I pretend someone new is reading my blog or twitter or facebook whenever I post. What will they think? Have I posted something interesting? We all work hard to perfect our books, but sometimes (and I don’t know why) the same attention is not given to our social media writing. To me it’s like a book cover. People will evaluate you based on it and if there’s no substance to it, will move on.

      Hope you’ll be coming back for more partying!

  11. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m ambivalent about social media in general, and I think all of the various tools and sites have advantages and disadvantages. I am a Facebook hater for a lot of reasons. Mostly it was because of all the drama there, but I’ve mostly extricated myself from that. Now, they changed the function of the site again, and as a new “feature,” we just hit enter to post comments. Um, dudes, it was fine the way it was. Now I have to remember “shift+enter” to leave a blank line in my comments. Urgh….. So I’m kind of thinking of taking a complete break from Facebook…

    As far as Twitter, it used to make my heart race–literally–to open TweetDeck and try to follow what was going on. I did fall for the “follow me, I’ll follow you” thing for a while, but it was killing me. I unfollowed a ton of people–not because I hate them, but because their conversations and content were’t relevant to me and what I’m doing.

    But then… If you follow/follow back and end up engaging with more readers that way, would that be helpful? I don’t know. I feel like all I’m doing on Twitter right now is talking to other writers. That’s nice and all, but most of them won’t buy my books. And yeah, I know it’s not all about who buys my book, but that is the goal, right? To get people to buy my book?

    I like blogs. I like that I can find blogs about almost anything and talk to people there.

    I dunno… I can’t tell if any of it’s working, to be honest. I keep going back to Konrath’s advice: Just keep writing and publishing, writing and publishing….

  12. It’s a tricky juggling act for sure. We are building a business, but social media is supposed about being social. I’ve been thinking maybe Twitter and Facebook are a little like 24hr conferences. When we go to those, there’s a good amount of networking for business purposes, but you usually walk away with a few new friends that happen to be in the same business as you.

    I’m attempting not to write off Facebook because I hated Twitter in the beginning and now I love it. I just wasn’t using it effectively and I figure that’s my problem with FB. It seems the groups on there are more my style and I’ve been trying to be more active on them. I think, like Twitter, I’ll eventually get the hang of it. I’ve definitely gained new readers here and Twitter followers (that I chat with) because of it.

    Agree about write and publish. Number one priority. The social media I do the best I can after I fulfill the number one.

  13. Trying to get a ton of followers doesn’t make sense IMO. Just do what you do as a writer, and if you get a bunch of followers- great. If you don’t- great. At least you’re projecting an honest persona and not trying to win an empty popularity contest with a ton of follow-bots. Too many people think Twitter is supposed to be high school. They follow you with the sole expectation that you follow-back, and when you don’t, they unfollow you. They’re not interested in content. They’re only interested in numbers. That mentality isn’t useful to me. I don’t believe every word of the social media hype.

    I wrote a blog post about this last week. 🙂

  14. […] post was also inspired by this discussion here on Andrew Mocete’s blog. Seriously, if you want to see how someone can network and gain a […]

  15. You couldn’t have said it better. I’ve been trying to twitter (doesn’t that sound silly?) as part of the networking to promote my recently published civil war novel. But I get lost in what it is I’m supposed to be doing and then there’s such a limit on word length that I wonder if I would be spending my time better on Facebook’s author page and on my blog. Anyway, I’m in total support of your thoughts. If we’re writers, shouldn’t we be writing more than networking?

    • Well, I wouldn’t want to count Twitter out completely. If you look at it like putting up short status updates on Facebook, you might get into it. What I don’t agree with is seeking out followers for the sake of numbers. These people are not likely to support you. But if you were to talk about something history related with a hashtag like #civilwar, you might find other history buffs who in turn may be interested in your novel.

      I’d love to just write, but no matter which way you publish, a part of the job is networking. But when I do network, I’d like it to be as productive as possible and not a mad dash to up my numbers.

  16. Hi, interesting read, this topic. Somewhat new to twitter myself, I find myself not knowing what, or why I’m on it. I planned to just write things, random thoughts, which led to sarcastic jokes, but then some days I’m feeling low, and want to write regular things. Usually I don’t care about follower numbers, since I’m not promoting myself or anything, it’s really not important, but somedays I DO wonder why I’m not getting more. I really haven’t found my “niche” yet in twitter. I have a few topics that are very important to me, but yet I hesitate to put those in my profile, because it seems if your profile is too stuck on one topic, your followers only want to hear about that, and are turned off anything else. The whole thing is odd to me really. I’d rather just read about regular people living their lives without any major agendas, and it can be hard to find those on twitter; so far anyway. 🙂

    • There’s still a lot of fun to had once you get the hang of it. How much do you interact with other people? Once follower numbers go up, a stream will get very busy and your tweets may get lost in the mix. Also, hashtags are useful to put in some of your tweets. For example, I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan. If I’m talking about something related to him, I’ll hashtag his name. Then anyone watching that stream will see it. If you want more info on the subject, you should check out Kristen Lamb’s blog. She posts about twitter every Tuesday. http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/twitter-tuesday-1/

      • Hi, thanks for your response Andrew. I bookmarked the link, thanks. Some days I interact with some people, and some days I don’t. I have had a lot of fun on certain days, and there are definitely a couple people I’ve enjoyed very much so far.

        As far as social media goes for myself, I stayed away from Facebook until about 3 months ago, then decided to give in. I’ve found my opinions of a couple people have changed, and I know a couple people have changed their opinions of me, good and bad. I find myself not being very honest on FB, at least not forthcoming about real problems, etc, in spite of the fact that most of those people know me personally, as I wanted to keep it private enough that I felt comfortable expressing myself, and yet I find it’s somewhat easier on twitter to say things, knowing that only one RL person really knows me there.

        Anyway, sorry if I strayed off-topic for this blog, I realize it was more about writers, etc. I agree numbers aren’t important at all, and it’s really interesting to see why and how people are using twitter. Maybe I’ll stray over to your twitter and give you a “hey”. Have a great nite! 🙂

  17. at the beginning of the year my followers stood at about 75 but its a curious thing I have noticed once numbers reach a certain point they suddenly bound foward. I investigate every one who follows – I want to know more about them, look at their tweets blogs etc – I think the main reason i like twitter so much is because i find such a lot of amazing blogs to read. Then I myself follow folk within all the various interests I have, science, food, permaculture, garden and crafts etc they keep me up todate on what’s happening – I also follow people who are experts in various subjects I am researching for books. The largest group by far are the writers. I do not follow automaticaly and I have found that those who just want to sell themselves or their products will de follow after a few weeks anyway so that saves me having to do it.

    It is time consuming and I am behind in my follows but I limit myself each day – to folows – the stream – reading others stuff and retweeting – I enjoy it. Have met some great people learnt a great deal – not sure it does anything to help sell books but I’m not sure that social networking is always about selling sometimes its about getting yourself recognized around the place, making buddies and learning stuff that maybe will help in the future.

    I find the new FB very irratating – driving me mad with its top stories how dare it tell me what my top stories are – it hasnt a clue what i enjoy or judging by its choice it doesn’t!! Twitter mabe fast but I am becoming to enjoy it more.

    • I like your attitude. Since I wrote this, my opinions and approach to Twitter has changed. Before I tried very hard to be on everyday to keep myself out there, even when I didn’t have much time. This resulted in hardly any book writing time. These days I do what I can. Some days I have more time than others, but writing is the priority. I still think about how my activity will help my platform, but mostly I’m having fun with it.

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