All Push, No Community on Twitter…For Some
I have been on twitter full-time now for 3 months as of this post and I wanted to share some thoughts about the platform. My experience so far has been not as awesome as I would have hoped for. There are lot of tweets that bombard my stream, and it’s difficult to digest so many links, ebook offers, or calls to save someone from an illness with a GoFundMe link. Given, part of this is my own fault for several reasons such as not using lists, friending everyone back, and not vetting more people closely to mention a few.
Learning a new platform takes time and I wanted to be seen and heard without putting in loads of work and taking years to build. That’s not to say I am doing #F4F and other useless tactics. The goal with this is to connect with as many like-minded people and build my personal brand while giving something of value back to the community.
This isn’t a tutorial by any stretch of the imagination. This is more of a 3-month check up on how progress is being made on Twitter and a sense of success or not.
Disclosure & How I Am Doing This
Let me be upfront on how I utilize twitter. I feel this is important because I maybe doing it wrong and you may have some advice for me. I use tweetdeck to manage 5 accounts. That’s my personal one and 4 of my websites. I use Unfollowers to manage followers and unfollowers as well as finding people to follow based on keywords. It helps automate things and sort through people that might have similar interests with me and the accounts. I currently follow for follow 99.99%. I know, it’s bad form, but I am trying to rapidly grow the accounts in hopes that I will be a bigger fish in the sea of others and then can focus on curating my following.
Automation Ruins Twitter
At first I thought that I was going to find community on twitter and have conversations. Now, I will concede that I have met several people that I enjoy conversing with, but the overwhelming interactions have been completely automated. After trying to search for keywords and hashtags to connect with like-people, I realized that the twitterverse I am being exposed to is not the normal experience. People build relationships one at a time, and I respect that method of establishing relationships even if it is the slower path to brand awareness, or as most people refer to it…friendships. I am trying to speed up the process and it wasn’t made for that.
I started by automating a thank you message for follows and a direct message asking to visit my site . I thought that was how everyone did it. Then I noticed that rarely did anyone respond back. The people who took the time would ask if it was a bot or a real person. They were shocked when I replied with normal conversation! I knew that it wasn’t normal when people were engaging much less so I have since removed any automation beyond a simple thank you with no link or upsell attached. Once the barrage of automation stopped people began engaging a little more but it gets lost in the amount of pointless tweets.
Now that I don’t automate like I did when I started, I notice all of the automation being pointed at me. I suppose it’s like quitting smoking then you realize how gross it smells when you walk by someone who does. I have never smoked so it’s always been gross to me.
My account has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few months and it continues to grow with people that I have interests in common with. I am at the point now that I am filtering a bit more of who to follow and unfollowing accounts that I believe to be bots or spammers. This is a tough decision because I am still trying to grow and I can’t spit on a tactic that I used to achieve the same goals as everyone else is using on me. That doesn’t mean I can’t openly talk about how automation ruins Twitter. I use the tools to find like-minded folks, but not to automate the entire process.
Those that are using it to automate the entire process are losing a lot of opportunity. I never click on the links, I ignore any DM that has a link in it, and rarely do I even bother looking at the wall of SPAM. In the next 30 days my goal is to unfollow the automation and build strong relationships and see if I can become a normal Twitter user. It’s just something about pushing links and marketing that makes me want to use a different service, but I know there is value here.
Everyone is on Twitter to push and post a “Hey over here”, and the community aspect is nothing like other platforms. At least this is how it is for me at the moment. I know deep down inside that it’s the way I am approaching Twitter and not the service. I probably have no idea what I am doing still, but I am not reserved in admitting that. I try to spend a large amount of time on a platform to learn the in’s and out’s so I can help others down the road. If you have advice then please let me know in the comments. I ask that you don’t just say “Here is a link where you can read more”, because I won’t click it.
Over the last 3 months I have been able to add more members to my communities than I ever did with Google Plus and facebook combined over the last 2 years. People actually click links on Twitter. I was blown away by how much conversion I achieved by tweeting out my content. Facebook almost never converts to clicks to any of my sites and Google Plus is tied with Pinterest in being basically useless. I have yet to break down the numbers for Quora but plan to at the end of the summer.
It would be very difficult for me to walk away from Twitter with such amazing results in a short period of time. So my choices are to either keep going to way I am going, or remove the automation for a better experience with engagement. I think having that core followership will help me build out a better and stronger reach to my websites and also meeting real people that I want to talk with! As of right now though, automation is killing the mood a bit.
Should You Use Twitter?
Yes. Don’t use it without some kind of tool like Crowdfire though. I have been using Unfollowers but it just has limited options at the moment and I want to have a VA help me find the people I should be connecting with. I would never let anyone else write or respond to my tweets, but having a team member help me sort through my Twitter accounts would be a huge win in organization and direction. If you are using facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest or another platform to do your building and not Twitter then I would challenge you to take a second look. I was pleasantly surprised to see it pay off. The key is to not automate everything even though it seems so easy to do, and avoid those that are automating everything. Find real engagement where you can and add value to conversations.
I always try to retweet great content, and link to original content that I create from time to time. My bigger wins will be when I create more video and infographics. I am getting there, but it can be challenging. Twitter is tough and I am studying it harder each day.