I’m often asked how I built a Twitter following of over 100,000 people. That’s a simple question and my answer usually is, “It’s a sign of a misspent youth.”
The real answer is that building followers takes time and comes via trial and error, researching, posting and engaging with others on Twitter.
Consistently, the follow-up question is how do I keep up with all the people I follow? The simple answer here is that I don’t. There’s no effective way to keep up with everyone I follow, so the best advice I can give is to utilize Twitter Lists.
When Twitter first announced the Lists feature I wasn’t too keen on the idea. I thought any change to the core Twitter platform would complicate the user experience. What I and others found is that Lists enhance the experience and make Twitter much more useful, powerful and practical.
Creating and maintaining Twitter Lists is an investment of time that yields results. While I’m not an example of using lists well, I’ve felt a need to share my knowledge from experience of lists hoping that others will find this valuable. Heck, maybe they would add me to one of their lists? < Shameless plug there
Setting up lists helps organize followers into areas of interest. This link will take you to all of my lists. Here are some examples of my lists are:
- Don’t Miss
I’ve found these categories to be handy and easy to navigate, though my lists need some cleanup and reorganization. Assigning people to more than one list is handy too.
I have a couple of Follow Friday Lists of the people I’ve connected with and I recommend others follow them too. Getting added to my #FF lists isn’t difficult, but I do look for those who are real, engaging and what they tweet is usually substantive. I’ve also created a subset in a list called Don’t Miss. My Don’t Miss list includes those that I don’t want to miss a single tweet from. Years ago I had an RSS feed with a short list, but Twitter disabled the RSS capability. The Don’t Miss List is a remedy for this issue.
Organized lists are even more useful combined with Hootsuite or Tweetdeck or other Twitter tools as the columns are displayed by list.
Favorites leads my list usage for all sorts of reasons. Yes, it’s great to categorize some as Favorites to come back to later, but there’s more. Here are some of the ways I get more out of this list:
- Retweeting – I found it’s fun to go back in time a looooong way and then RT something I marked as a favorite months ago. Usually it gets a fun reaction from the person who tweeted it and you can start a conversation, share a laugh and reconnect. This is one of my ways to use the Favorites list.
- Reading Later – Often I may have interest in reading an article included with a tweet, but don’t have time at that moment. I’ll mark these as favorites to revisit and read later.
- Recalling People – handy if you want to remember or recall a person to engage with later.
- Ego Tweets – I’m blessed to have followers who share their very kind praise with me. Hey, these are the “atta-boys” on Twitter. These can tell others who you are and you’re worth following. They surely help me know I’m executing on the vision I have for Twitter and social media in general. Yes, ego tweets make me happy!
Be aware that others have visibility into your Favorites list and any public lists you maintain.
You can put a Twitter account into a list without following them. Why would you do such a thing? It’s a great way to follow someone’s Tweets without actually “following” them. For example, perhaps you want to follow a competitor…
Please feel free to share your tips with other readers in the comments below and thank you for stopping by!