Picking Favorites to Improve Social Media Skills and Build Audience
Someone I follow on Twitter mentioned a site called Twibes. On going to the site, you enter your Twitter user name. Twibes fetches your follow list (for those who don't use Twitter, the list of people whose 140-character messages you elect to receive). You click on the "10 people who you think deserve more followers." I stopped after that, because next it was going to send messages to all of them, asking to sign up in turn and put me on their lists.
Although it seems like another form of virtual mutual admiration society, in the process of trying the site, I realized something: It was pretty easy for me to choose the top ten. And as I picked the first few, I noticed the criteria I was using:
- Doesn't send out dozens of tweets, but sends out enough that I'm not surprised to see something from them.
- If mentioning something personal, is at least witty about it.
- Might provide links to material that I find particularly interesting.
- If provides links, gives enough of a description that it makes me want to read.
- Doesn't limit links to their own writing.
- Represents a person, not a company or organization.
- Shows some personality in their tweets, not lines that could come out of a text book.
Yes, there are lists of the things you "should" do on Twitter, or Facebook, or in a blog. But forget about the often repeated didactic collections often espoused by those who are trying to promote themselves as experts in social media. Not all people have the same tastes, and you're never going to satisfy everyone. What you can do is start with understanding why some things appeal to you. When you do, you're probably on the way to knowing how to attract kindred spirits, who might enjoy your work.
You could apply this "list of ten" (or 20, or 30, but not too many) to anything else in social media. What are your top favorite blogs and why? Not the blogs that you monitor for a beat or another professional purpose, but that you actually enjoy reading? What web pages are your favorites? It's a human and genuine way to distill the qualities that you might want to emulate.
I suspect there's another level any of us could take this. Are any of your list of favorites one of the "big" names that gets many followers? (Alas, my own tastes seem to run to the relatively obscure.) If so, then you might spend a little extra time seeing what they are doing, because not only are they reaching you in an authentic way, but they're pulling in a lot of different people. That might be due to notoriety of one form, but other factors could aid in the process.
This approach won't guarantee you more traffic or attention. However, it might help you improve the aspects of your online work that tend to make people want to read and come back, and that's a foundation of building an audience