Whether you got on Twitter to promote your new company, meet peers or just find out what everyone's talking about, you quickly learned that those with lots of followers, who tweet a lot, talk to people and get retweeted, seem to have influence. You might have even figured out how this type of influence might benefit you and so you've decided to try to get some for yourself.
But how do you do it? Here is a quick, easy to remember, formula that will help you build the kind of Twitter influence you want. All you have to do is: ENGAGE, INFORM and RETWEET.
This just boils down to talking to people. If you're shy, remember; people are on Twitter to connect. If they post something, it's an invitation to respond. They want to hear from you.
It's not too fun to spend your time and energy posting things that never get responses. If they post a link that you enjoyed, reply to them, thank them and tell them why you enjoyed it. If they make a comment you find funny, reply and tell them. If they post a picture you liked, reply and tell them why.
You can also just post a comment yourself about what you are doing or what you thinking, but please try to make it interesting. Nobody wants to know that you're rushing off to take little Johnny to soccer practice. But if you just got back from the U2 concert and Bono crowd surfed right over you, by all means tweet! Inquiring minds want to know!
Twitterers tend to be information junkies. We can't get enough! So, if you want people to take notice of you on Twitter, there's no better way than to tweet links to information that is useful to them. It's very likely that anything you find useful, your followers will find useful too.
But if you want to be more specific about the type of followers you attract, make sure you are tweeting information that's useful to them. For instance, I'm particularly interested in connecting with people in the events industry, so most of the information that I tweet is about that. I subscribe to the RSS feeds of events industry related blogs, and follow Twitter searches and Google news alerts on events industry keywords, so that I can find the most up to date information that my followers (and I) will find useful. I tweet between 10 and 20 links (on events news, social media, self improvement and things I just find interesting) per day.
This might be the easiest yet the most important thing you can do on Twitter. One click, and you've forwarded useful information to your followers while at the same time supporting and publicizing a fellow tweeter. Remember when you retweet, you are saying that you think what this person tweeted has value, thus implying that the person himself may be good to follow.
Retweeting allows you to promote someone AND inform in one click! So don't be stingy. If you see ANYTHING that you think your followers would appreciate, retweet it. The good turn you do someone today, will likely come back to you tomorrow.
A couple of final notes. Because social cues are so limited, it's important to be especially courteous on Twitter. Always thank people when they retweet, mention or recommend that others follow you. Also, be very careful about promoting yourself. The soft sell approach is best. We don't want to think that the only reason you are interacting with us is to sell us something. And finally, be yourself - but be the open, genuine, curious, accepting version of yourself. If you are, you are bound to make many friends, learn a lot and experience the success you seek.