On Twitter, You’re More than Just a NumberBy
It was bound to happen. We live in a society that judges people based on their appearance, their age, and material possessions – did you really expect Twitter to be any different? True, there are more than a few users who will judge your Twitter status or efficacy strictly by the number of followers you have. They tend to collect followers like baseball cards, and fancy to count themselves among the Twitter elite. Well, that's all well and good, I suppose – but more isn't always better.
The Pulpit, or the Parlor from a purely logistical perspective, how many genuine connections do you think you can cultivate, nurture and maintain – without spending every waking moment feverishly typing 140-character pleasantries? I don't know about you, but the notion of trying to keep tabs on twenty thousand of my closest BFF's sounds more than a bit daunting. In fact, it sounds downright impossible. Even as I say this, there are sure to be some Twitter users who would vehemently disagree. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
For my part, I prefer to interact in a parlor, as opposed to a pulpit-style atmosphere on Twitter – and in order to do that, you can't focus on developing a congregation. Instead, you focus on developing a camaraderie. This mindset will likely prevent you from ascending to the elite Twitterati status, but it won't prevent you from being successful.
The most important things to remember about Twitter are:
* Be yourself. Mama said it best, and she was right.
* Be engaging. Offer insights, ask questions, and join the conversation.
* Be helpful. Retweet posts from others. Your followers will appreciate it, and so will the original poster.
* Avoid the pushy sales pitch. Folks buy from those they know, like and trust.
* Be grateful. Thank those who help you, and those who offer value to you.
* Recognize other Twitter users, and recommend them whenever you can.
* Remember the 80/20 rule – 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers/prospects. Of course, this isn't to say that those folks with tens of thousands of followers aren't successful (just look at Barack Obama) – but it is a safe bet that the dialogue between user and follower is dramatically different.
Like anything else, your mileage may vary. At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that Twitter is a tool, and the manner in which you use it will determine your overall success.