5 Secrets to Being Successful on Twitter

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There has been a lot of friendly competition around the Inman News office lately around Twitter – how many followers each of us has and why. In between the laughter, and joking, it’s made me think – why do some people get more followers faster than others? Why are certain things re-tweeted more than others? What can someone do to “be successful” on Twitter – and what does “success” on Twitter really mean.

Being a social media director, I’ve seen a lot of “social media gurus” who claim they know it all about Twitter, yet when I look at their feeds all I see is someone talking all about themselves – what they have to sell, what product they are pushing or how great they are.

Can you sell on Twitter? Sometimes.

Can you get more web traffic? Absolutely.

Can you build a brand? Without a doubt.

Can it be all about you? No way. No how. Never.

The truth is – success on Twitter is so much more than how many followers you have. That only tells part of the story. For a long time, I was focused on those numbers. How many followers. How many re-tweets. How many likes. How many unlikes. If you look at those numbers long enough you start to go crazy. Then something pretty cool happened. The more I tweeted, the more I focused less on the numbers, the more people I met, the more I enjoyed it, and the more I saw the tremendous value of it.

I know there are some people that are reading this that may be thinking “Katie, I don’t get it. I’m a busy Realtor. I started a Twitter maybe account a year or so ago. I think I have 20 followers, but really what’s the point?”

Sound familiar?

Let me tell you – being an independent contractor in any business, especially real estate, is lonely.

One of the biggest benefits I have seen with Twitter is the camaraderie and support with people who love this industry all over the world. In my eyes, that is a huge benefit. But let’s face it, we don’t just want to sit around and just tweet with other Realtors. There are people right now in your community, in your town talking about things that are relevant to you – local news, local events, hot spots around town, and yes people who are moving to your city or town. Go into Twitter and type “moving to _____” in the search field and you’ll be surprised at how many search results come up. Does that mean you should instantly Tweet them and say “HI! I’m a Realtor!!!!” No of course not – you wouldn’t do that in real life, so don’t do it on Twitter.

Seriously, don’t even think about it! :)

The point is that Twitter is like the Chamber of Commerce mixer. Remember those? You went, had a drink and came home with 10 business cards. But now, you get to stay at home, be in your PJ’s, and “collect” followers that you can connect with. It’s the same networking we’ve always done – it’s just done a little differently now.

But let me tell you the BEST part about Twitter for me…

As I go to Agent Reboot events all over the country – the cities may be different, some of the speakers may be different, but one thing remains the same; there is always someone that I had never met “in real life” that greets me with a hug.

Why? Because I haven’t just blasted out tweets. Because I don’t shamelessly self-promote myself. Because I’ve taken the time to notice people.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? Don’t people – don’t you and I – just want to be noticed?

That’s the power of Twitter, and it’s one of the reasons I love what I do.

So how do you jump into the conversation? How do you get people to start noticing you and engaging with you? There are definitely a few “secrets” that no one ever told me when I first started on Twitter that can really help jump start your Twitter fame!

1. Don’t use all 140 characters. I was in Seattle earlier this year when my friend Dale Chumbley reminded me, “Katie, I’d re-tweet you more if you didn’t write such long tweets!!” DOH! I had forgotten that so simple but golden rule. Don’t use every single space. I know 140 characters isn’t very much to begin with. So if you fill up that whole space and then someone tries to re-tweet you – there will be too many letters. If it’s a good tweet, some people will take the time to edit it – but most won’t. See if you can keep your tweets to 50 characters max!

2. Re-tweet a lot. We have a joke in the Inman News office – it’s all about the re-tweet! That’s right! You want people to stand up, notice you, follow you, and engage you? Then re-tweet a lot! Re-tweet 15-20 things a day. Re-tweet interesting articles, follow hashtags (like #agentrb or #icsf) and re-tweet things people are talking about. The more you re-tweet, the more people are likely to re-tweet you and take notice of you! Here’s a bonus secret – don’t re-tweet 15 things in a row (unless you want to annoy the heck out of your followers). Re-tweet 15 things but use my favorite app HootSuite and schedule out those re-tweets – once a hour so they “drip” out over the course of the day. Now instead of impacting a few people who happen to be on Twitter at the exact time you are on, you are impacting people at different times of the day.

3. #FF. I love Friday Follow. Every Friday pick 10 people to mention for #FF. Recognize people you enjoy following. Twitter is a very giving medium. You need to give, give, give if you want to receive anything back. Some of the people I have engaged with and talk to the most started with a #FF.

4. Post content you like to read. We all subscribe to email newsletters right? Well before you delete them all every morning, look at one or two in your inbox and make it a point to tweet out a couple things from those emails – interesting articles or tidbits of knowledge.

5. Don’t get so caught up on what to say. Don’t over think things. Post something if it’s interesting to you, but don’t spend too much time worry about everything you post. Be smart, if you wouldn’t say something on stage or in a crowd, don’t say it on Twitter.

So those are just a few of my Twitter keys to success. What are some of yours? In the spirit of Twitter, please share and leave me a comment below!

Written by: Katie Lance, Social Media Director, Inman News, @katielance