Get Thousands of Twitter Followers NOW!

I’ve been ‘using’ Twitter for a while now. I’m not the most prolific tweeter, but I get on there from time to time. I share some thoughts, I respond to the thoughts of others. I’ve even connected with a few fun people who I converse with on a fairly regular basis.

But – you knew there was going to be a ‘but’, didn’t you? – but I sometimes wonder what it is that drives people to Twitter.

One of the most confusing tweets I see is the ‘how to get 1000 more followers on Twitter‘ or  ‘my friend @XXXX is almost at 1000 followers. Please help by following him/her.’ My question is:

‘Why?’

Why would I want to follow someone just to make up their numbers? And, similarly, why are they so eager to have 1000’s of followers? I mean, what difference does it make? Does it make them feel  popular? More important? Better? Do they have something important to say that everybody needs to hear? Or is it the inherent collector in their personality that makes them collect followers instead of, say, stamps or thimbles or toby jugs? Or is it because – and this leads me to the second type of tweet that confuses me – they have something to sell?

Yep, I’m looking at you. You at the front. The one with your hand in the air shouting ‘Me! Me! Pick me!‘ The one whose every second tweet is ‘My book is avilable on kindle for $99,’ or ‘so-and-so loved my book, buy it here,‘ or . . . well, you get the idea.

I’m an author. I write books. I want to sell my books. Of course, I do. Occasionally I might tweet a link to where you can buy my books or, if I spot a review online I’ll link to it. I link to my blogposts a couple of times or tweet if I’m doing a library event but that’s pretty much it. I can’t  imagine anyone would want to follow me just to read a constant barrage telling them where to buy the latest Dan Smith novel. The spam-sell approach just doesn’t feel right to me and I have deep reservations about whether that kind of sales tactic works. If you kept seeing the same advert on the telly what would you do? You’d switch off or change the channel.

No one likes a hard sell and bombarding the Twitter stream with links to your latest book makes it boring to read. And this is, perhaps, where the two types of tweet meet. If you have 1000’s of followers and you follow 1000’s back, then you probably need to spam the stream to stop your tweets from becoming lost in the cacophony of other tweeters doing exactly the same thing. It’s one of those vicious circle thingummies.

Anyway, if I’m following someone who only tweets about what they have to sell, I unfollow them. I don’t use Twitter to read people’s sales pitches, I use it to connect with people. To converse with them. To laugh or share ideas. I use it for a bit of fun, not for the hard sell.

What about you? What drew you to Twitter? What repels you from it?

Oh, and as an experiment, I’m going to give this blog post a tempting title and see how many hits I get.

That’s all.

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15 thoughts on “Get Thousands of Twitter Followers NOW!

  1. Well said Mr Dan! Totally and utterly agree. Twitter should be about connecting with people – THEN I might buy one of their books because I like them and am interested in them. I now check timelines of people who follow me – if it’s a mass of links and self-indulgent nonsense I don’t follow back. I try to follow only about 500 tweeps too, any more than this and I miss people’s tweets in my timeline. If people unfollow me because I don’t follow them… hey ho!

    • I also look at people’s timeline before following. I’m not interested in reading people’s hard-sell or collecting spam twitter accounts that advertise herbal remedies etc. And you’re right about missing people’s tweets – I mean, I don’t want to miss any of your nuggets. Umm, no, that doesn’t sound right . . .

  2. You are spot on. I use Twitter to connect with people (some of whom are crazy enough to be writers ;-)), have a chat and a laugh, answer research questions and tweet links to my blog and to other people’s, too. What I don’t do is fill my timeline with aggressive self-promotional stuff, and I won’t follow anyone who does. It’s just… rude. Who needs it? If I buy a book by someone who I follow on Twitter, it’s usually because I interact with them anyway.

    As for having eleventy billion followers, I totally agree with you on that too. I’d rather have 10 genuine, interesting people following me than 1000s of spammy, boring ones. Quality over quantity, as they say!

    • Ah, you see, great minds think alike. And what would happen to the lollipop/bean-bag/purple dye conversations if they were lost in the murk of the eleventy-billion? Always a pleasure to see you commenting on my blog!

  3. A lot of Twitterati (yeah, I kid you not!) make a career out of it, and having more followers leads to more success. For example, my brother-in-law works is the Marketing Director for a newtech startup. Much of his success depends upon building his profile within that sector or niche. By increasing his profile, which includes Twitter followers, he increases the opportunities to be consulted by business journalists for articles, to be invited to speak at trade shows, to represent startups on various trade bodies, etc. All of his activity online (including but not limited to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, his blog, etc.) therefore has a certain value to him.
    This is all personified by a measure (and internet site) called Klout (http://klout.com/home). One’s Klout score is influenced by metrics like how many Twitter followers (and who those followers, in turn, are). The higher the Klout score, the more impact one is considered to have on the sector. Yep, it’s all really quite beyond me, but this is just one example of why Twitter uses may want to maximise their following. It leads to more… stuff.
    Another example is his wife, who works for a major international PR agency. She uses her blog and other media (such as Twitter) to reach as much of the global and local markets as possible. She needs to be able to build brand awareness, and again to influence as much of the market as possible. Increasing her Twitter followers is a crucial part of this.
    Yet another example is the ‘professional’ blogger. This is where a ‘freelancer’ who builds up a certain profile ends up receiving no-strings attached ‘freebies’ (yeah, right) or even payments to push certain products through their blog, but in a seemingly amateur or word-of-mouth channel. These guys are masters at making out that they love the thing they were sent for free! And it stands to reason, the more impact or the greater the profile of your Twitter/blog/Facebook presence, the more likely you will be sent shedloads of free stuff, some of it very expensive (free smartphones, watches, fashion items etc.).
    It’s akin to the dark arts for many, and is yet another example of how everything on the internet is at some time used by corporates who want to use it to increase revenue. (Which business these days doesn’t have a Facebook channel?)

    So, can it be applied to your sphere? Why not? The more followers you build up, the bigger the audience you reach, particularly for forthcoming publications. Someone who enjoyed Dry Season who signed up to follow you would probably be very interested to hear about the Child Thief. Authors might run various competitions, discounts, or other marketing methods through Twitter. The bigger your following, the more successful each campaign might be. Moreover, you build a dialogue with your readers, hook them in closer by making them feel you’re giving the personal, caring treatment. Word of mouth then does the rest for things like Twitter, etc.

    I don’t do this myself, I’m too old for all that crap. But I see the success of those around me who do obsess over Twitter followers. I may not want that sort of attention myself, but they seem to be doing all right by it in their world.

    And if Twitter seems to stretch the limits of one’s understanding in that respect, check out sites like pinterest (http://pinterest.com/), which takes the concept of ‘following’ those who have bought things, or seen things, or want to share about the widget they bought yesterday and where to find it, to an extreme.

    It’s a very crazy world, and it’s set to get a whole lot crazier.

  4. I get the thing about creating customer awareness etc, and understand that the more followers I have means the more people I can reach with news etc, but I wonder how many people buy books based on the number of times the author tweets ‘buy it now.’ Isn’t it more likely to turn readers away, thinking you’re just an annoying peddlar? I want people to be aware of me and, more importantly, my novels (which are fab, go and buy them all now), but what I don’t want is for them to see the cover of the book and think ‘Oh God. HIM. He’s that bloke who’s always spamming my twitter stream with hashtags and buy-it-nows’ – which is what I already think about one or two authors I’ve come across on Twitter. No, I’d much rather they think ‘Oh, I chatted with him on Twitter the other day. Seems like a decent guy. I think I’ll buy his book, see what it’s like.’

    Maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Maybe I need to be more aggressive but, y’know, it doesn’t feel like the right way to do things. You’re right about trying to build a dialogue – that seems like a far better way of using Twitter. And don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a large following of people connecting. That’s great. But you’d lose them pretty quick if all you did was sell, sell, sell.

    And I’m not so sure that tactic works anyway. Twitter doesn’t sell books. Word of mouth does. Being in the slots at Waterstones and WHSmiths does. Being on MASS media does – the telly, the radio. And being famous for large breasts seems to help quite a bit too. So maybe I’ll reconsider those silicone implants.

    As you say, it’s a crazy world and yep, I think it’s going to get a whole lot crazier.

    I blame it all on epublishing. Clearly, it’s the devil’s work. And you, Mark, are one of his impish minions.

    • I think you have it right. You can pimp yourself to Twitter and get thousands of followers, but keeping them onside is a different matter, and you’re right about being careful not to alienate them with ‘spam’. Getting the numbers is a different game to keeping them!

      I agree about word of mouth selling books. But here’s a point of view that, like it or not, does have some truth in it amongst Generation Y: Twitter/FaceBook/etc. is word of mouth. You only have to see how certain tweets go viral to see that in action. Twitter is the digital equivalent of the water-cooler conversation (on a global scale). “Say, did you see that video/read that book/hear that track?”

      And again, the likes of Youtube IS the mass media now. Did you know that in 2009 Youtube overtook the TV as the main advertising media? Here’s a BBC report about that on… yep… youtube! 🙂

      Youtube now has channels that you can watch entire shows on, TVs are being made with Youtube browsers built into them, and of course Youtube is linked to users through their Facebook, twitter and other social media accounts.

      With respect to my being with the Dark Side… ever considered putting adverts in your ebook editions? Might be quite an earner you know? [Only slightly tongue in cheek!]

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