Sometimes when people start out on Twitter, they feel as though they are shouting into a crowded room. I think this is because people are accustomed to the easy Likes tossed around on Facebook and we aren’t thinking about how Twitter works. We expect Twitter to act like another platform. Almost every single thing you post on your Facebook (profile, not page) will have at least a Like. On Twitter, people do not give away favorites, replies, or retweets so easily, which can lead to a sense of isolation.
But it is not hard to build connections on Twitter. You know how I know?
Because Vanilla Ice once retweeted me.
Though it was likely Vanilla Ice’s assistant, that moment was the unimagined culmination of so many of my 7th grade dreams. It also illustrates this great fact: Twitter makes the world small. It is a tool for connecting that reaches people in a way that email and Facebook cannot.
If you feel like Twitter is shouting into a crowd that doesn’t care, chances are that you are ACTING like Twitter is a crowd and you are shouting. You shout with links to your content and with a photo of your breakfast and more links to your content. You may be ignoring how Twitter works.
Perhaps this is because you have heard that you should post your content multiple times a day on Twitter. (You should.) But you also need to interact. You need to retweet Vanilla Ice or (a better idea) the people in your field. You need to reply to Tweets that resonate. Let Twitter make the world small.
The first way to do this is to find great people to follow and then share their content without expecting anything in return. Be intentional and share things that are relevant to the audience that you want to build.
If you are not sure what kind of audience you want to build, this is the time to stop, get a sheet of paper and do some brainstorming. Without intentional goals, you may not make connections or build the wrong kinds.
As with all social media platforms, you want to be a creator of content and a curator of content. The first is obvious: if you have a blog or an online space, share links to that content. Your email list signup. Your latest blog post. Old blog posts. Your Instagram photos. Your Pinterest pins. Your books on Amazon.
Want to get my workflow for using Twitter in 15 Minutes a Day?
As a curator of content, think of yourself as the person in charge of hanging paintings in a gallery. You want to give a variety, but each gallery has its own vibe and sense of space. Don’t be one-note, but there should be a sense of wholeness. A theme. Something tying all the shares together.
You don’t simply want to be a robotic retweeter. Share with spice. Be yourself, or at least, be the persona or brand that you want to portray online. I consider my persona an authentic but edited version of me that best fits with my online goals. I try to pepper my feed with tweets that contain no links: questions, observations, smart aleck remarks.
In the same way, I like to share a mix of scheduled content and live content. A few times a week I sit and do a batch of auto scheduled tweets, sharing from lists I’ve created on Twitter. (Read more on my process in this guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog.) Some relate to writing, some relate to social media, some relate to food, and some are just people I think are interesting or funny.
To make connections, sometimes you have to forge them. This is much less work than it sounds. Respond to interesting tweets. Say thanks when someone shares your content. Be a PERSON. Not that hard, right?
Twitter still has a different level of interaction than Facebook. Each social media platform has its own personality. Don’t expect something from Twitter that it won’t give.
Do you feel like Twitter is a crowded room that isn’t listening? Or has it made your world small? Share your Twitter thoughts in the comments like a civilized human.
Oh, you wanted me to give you tips? Here are some fabulous people for that.
The Twitter Smarter Podcast with Madalyn Sklar
50 Tweetable Tips from Hubspot
5 Ways to Increase Your Twitter Interaction from Social Media Examiner
7 Counterintuitive Twitter Tips from Buffer
3 Myths about Social Media for Authors from Tim Grahl