Today, I’m honored to welcome Lonny Dunn of ProNetworkBuild. Lonny is an amazing social media networker and the author of How to Use Twitter for Local Business, the only book ever written on how to build a large local following on Twitter and make meaningful, useful connections with Social Media. I’ve personally watched him grow Twitter accounts by over 50k followers within the past year. And they were real people, not just followback teams or bots. Today, Lonny is sharing his wisdom on why Twitter accounts that aren’t actively growing are stagnating.
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Enlarging Our Audience On Twitter
By LONNY DUNN
Twitter suggests we follow people when we open an account. But, strangely, for various reasons, people stop following. Maybe they hit a plateau or lose interest? Not following new people on a regular basis means we are not using Twitter properly. The reasons are highlighted in the short film clip above. Our audience is basically dying off faster than we can get new followers. As soon as we get 100 new followers, within a month, only 25 of them may still be active daily users.
We must pick a time to follow new people regularly. If you are a big fan of FollowFriday, then start following on Wednesday, and again on Thursday. If you follow 1,000 new people over the course of two days, you can expect at least 250 to follow you back, and about ten of them will say “Thanks for the Follow.” Engage those who reach out. An alternative system may be to follow 200 new people daily, stick with it, and create a pipeline of energy.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone:
Writers tend to be supportive of other writers for example, but we are not exactly enriching the greater world if we are only supporting one another. We need to try following various groups and sample which groups work best. Sometimes I type in “Like My Facebook” into the Twitter Search feature. This means there are people who are crossmarketing on Facebook, and I will tweet to them, asking for the same kindness. Or we could look up “Pinterest” in search. We can use the Search feature to begin writing down names of accounts with like interests. Follow their Followers.
I use Tweepi to follow new people.
It is a free tool available to anyone, and I do not use the “Paid” version. At Tweepi.com you can log on, skip Step 2 and go right to “Follow New Tweeps” button. Also, it is important to click “Columns” and then Number of Followers, and Friends. I also click the Follower Ratio. I never follow anyone over 125% following ratio.
Did you know that your tweets appear at the top of the new follower’s timeline?
What a boost! After following you, your next tweet will pop up on the top of their list. What better form of advertising is that? People who do not follow regularly don’t even realize this feature exists. It is like an auditorium, or movie theatre which rotates a new audience everyday or at intervals. When networks are expanding, they take on a life of their own. When they are stagnating, they burn out and lose influence.
Learn to Unfollow
This is important, especially when trying to get around Twitter follow limit of 2,000. When you reach this point, you will want to unfollow unproductive people, or those who haven’t tweeted in months to free up space for active tweeps. I use Tweepi for this. An article on this subject is available on my blog, Building An Audience On Twitter.
Pick a Number and Stick with It
Twitter’s daily follow limit is 1,000 which takes about an hour. You might not want to devote this much time to increasing your audience, but that gives you a good standard to work with. Whatever number you set, be disciplined and stick with that number for at least a month. After a day or so, you will see that new people spreading your content for you is far more exciting than older non growth accounts retweeting you.
Engage, Engage, Engage
As new people follow back, some will thank you for following them. Many of these are implying that they have followed you back, a good sign. The more we practice one on one engagement, the better we get at it. Keep engaging. It is NOT cool to tweet them a link to your blog, and ask them to send it out. We must plant and sow before we harvest.
I will take questions you might have below. Instead of saying “Great Article, Lon” take this chance to ask some questions that you might have of a technical, strategic, or tactical nature. I will be glad to help you as best as I can, and in any way that I can to enlarge your audience. Do you have a reluctance to grow your account? Having problems figuring which accounts to follow? Let me know, and I’ll answer your questions. Bookmark this page. Maybe you’ll benefit from other people’s questions.
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Lonny Dunn wrote The Thesaurus News online stockpicking newsletter from 1995 to 2001, focusing on Telephony Stocks, and Wireless Infrastructure. Since then, he has helped small to medium businesses grow their online presence, managed Twitter Accounts for Celebs, and taught people how to use Twitter effectively and properly. You can upload his latest book, How to Use Twitter for Local Business, using the free Kindle for PC application.
Lonny Dunn tweets at @ProNetworkBuild. Be sure to say hello. He’s one of the finest tweeps in the Twitterverse.
Thank you, Lonny!
Hi Lonny –
This was a very helpful post! I just learned about the 2000 follow limit yesterday. (I’ve been actively using Twitter for less than 4 months. I have been resistant lately to increase my following limit because I often feel overloaded by the chatter on my feed (& keeping up w/all my social networks). Also, some people just do retweets & don’t offer their own tips for readers. Therefore, as you have suggested, I have begun to unfollow my less active tweeps.
Picking out what tweets are helpful gets difficult with so many followers, especially if I have skipped a day. My writing has taken such a backburner, that I’m afraid of getting sucked into twitter. I guess, I’ll have to use my timer for setting limits on the different times of days I’m on twitter.
I also will check put Tweepi & the other resources you have included in today’s post.
A writer logged onto my blog to tell me it was taking her a couple of hours to “hover, wait, hover, wait” and with Tweepi she unfollowed 200 inactive Tweeps (to free up space as you are trying to do) in a few minutes. She was very pleased with the results. I gather all my mentions on Saturday, in case I have missed any. I use FFHelper for that (Free) and if you read the New Feature alert, you can see that you can scroll from page to page, and accumulate the mentions. I am not talking about using the “Tweet” feature, but just accumulating all the tweeps names, one by one. At the end, I generally have 300 to 400 mentions. (FFHelper stores up to 8 day’s worth) This saves me about ten hours during the week hovering over people’s accounts. When I am done, I cut/paste all those hundreds of names onto a word doc, and then tweet them in shoutouts the following week. I still have some from April I am working on!! LoL But you know what? Using this system, I have saved valuable time for other things. AND I never fail to capture a mention. So yes, those two free tools, Tweepi and FFHelper as an accumulator tool has helped me immensely, and those whom I train.
Very helpful post. I’ve got about 2500 followers, and I try to take a couple of hours throughout the week to seek out new people. LIke Monique, it’s really easy to get overloaded by chatter and constant links. I try to use hashtags to better control what I read.
How do you recommend a genre writer (thriller/suspense) branch out and find likeminded READERS, not just writers, on Twitter?
Great question. I would not entirely give up on following writers. I have managed writers accounts for years, and I consistently go back to the well, and follow more. I do know that you can type into search (probably the most overlooked and undervalued asset that Twitter has to beat Facebook, G+ etc) and type in for instance, #ScriptChat #SuspenseChat #ThrillerChat and other variations on this theme. Suspense is something that crosses all demographics. Who doesn’t like a great thriller/suspense read?
A couple of ways I would approach it would be to get involved with “Influencers” which is a perfectly legitamate way of promoting yourself on Twitter, and highly recommended by Twitter itself, and the experts, such as they are. When you ReTweet bigger accounts, eventually they notice you and they will feel obligated to ReTweet you. Sometimes we have to hitch a ride on someone elses work! LoL I am actually writing a blog post for this week on ReTweeting others to get noticed. It’s in the can, and ready to go, I just have to post it.
Another way to get noticed is in Search to the larger world through Bing, Google, Yahoo!. Now, the interesting thing here is a nifty little trick that still works. You’d create a slide show of your work. Nothing elaborate. But a short 30 second Intro to your Thriller. I say it’s a nifty trick, because YouTube for instance (owned by Google) still allows for “Title Stacking” That is when you submit the “Title” of the YouTube Video – call it: Thriller Suspense Novel and then in the Description you also include Thriller Suspense Novel, Stacy Green Writes Suspense Thrillers (Then Your Amazon URL). This simple technique is not yet forbidden by Google’s algorithm. I put my brother’s Notrary Closing Service on the first page of Google in 5 hours using this trick, and he’s competing against companies that pay thousands of dollars a month on Google Adwords!! Not too bad for getting noticed on search. Don’t forget MetaCafe, Yahoo Videos, Bing Videos, etc. We can do it all for you if it sounds too complicated, but once you do it, you’ll have alot of fun trying and perfecting it. So have a go at it yourself.
Wow, thank you! I don’t do much on Bing, Google, or Yahoo, because I’m always worried about spreading myself too thin. However, I’m going to look into them now. And thanks for the info on Twitter. Those are hashtags I hadn’t really thought of!
Thanks, Lonny (and Piper)! This is very helpful. I really struggle with Twitter because I don’t feel I have to time to properly devote to it (right now I just use it as a way to connect with other bloggers/writers, or to see what my favorite celebs are up to!). But I am trying to make more of an effort to give Tweet ‘shout outs’ to bloggers when they run a contest or write a post I especially enjoy. I guess ultimately I’m okay without a big following; since I can’t keep up with THEM, I wouldn’t expect them to keep up with me!
Yes, I have noticed this. I think the average audience for a writer is probably 300 to 400 and then something clicks, and they realise their timeline is getting rather dull and void of content, so they enlarge it after some months, then stop. CeeBee308 for instance has 200k followers, LukeRomyn has over 100k.
One thing that is important to realise is that when someone follows you back, your next tweet will appear on the top of their timeline. So even if you are only following 50 people per day, and 10 follow back? You will be right up there on the top of their timelines!
Each new connection is engagement. Each engagement is enriching our online experience, but also our lives.
Well, I’m going to say “great post, Lonny!” anyway, LOL. I have to admit that I’m not sure about how big of a following I feel comfortable with. It already feels too big for me to actively engage with each one – I probably tweet a few dozen tweeps at most in the course of a week.
I agree that it’s important to keep growing, and not stagnating, but I don’t do it as deliberately or in the huge numbers that you describe (never heard of tweepi – I’ll have to check that out). What I’m doing these days is using the WANA column a lot – following folks who are part of tweet chats where I can see they are kind, funny, and/or want to help others. I’ll also check my followers list from time to time, and follow back new folks who have followed me, but not all of them – if it’s a pure self-promotional business, then never mind. Also, to get out of my “fellow writer” comfort zone, sometimes I’ll check out a hashtag of other interests, such as #garden, and check out and follow folks who are tweeting about that sort of thing.
How do you manage to engage and track so many followers?
I get asked that question a lot, Kathy. I don’t. Nobody can. No matter how small an account, it is absolutely impossible to see every tweet that everybody in my Timeline posts. That holds true when I sat on Twitter for 9 months with under a hundred followers, (I did that, I literally thought an account grew by osmosis, and I would get a gazillion followers because of brilliant wit) as it does today. So the size of the account is not important as far as “engagement”. Does GaGa, or Kutcher really engage? Of course not. They probably don’t even know where the inbox is! LOL But more importantly, the statistical likelihood of any of us seeing any one Tweet in real time is pretty nil. Of my 100,000 thousand followers, how many are on Twitter right this second? 5,000 maybe? And how many are tweeting exactly right now at this moment? 200? OK… So we back that down a bit. Let’s say I am managing an account for a company and they are following 2,000 accounts. Not large, supposedly manageble. The same rules apply. They can neither see every single Tweet live, nor should they expect anyone to see theirs. It’s random. Whatever is flowing across the screen live at that very moment, we grab, we ReTweet, and we send back out. When we ReTweet we are engaging, people thank us, we say no problem, and we move on to another one that catches our fancy, it’s fun, and I don’t take it all too seriously.
I call it: “The Roulette Wheel We Call Twitter”.. LoL I think we need critical mass, however. This post came about when Piper mentioned that she thought her timeline was getting a little stale, and someone mentioned that was because only 25% of Tweeps are still active after 90 days. So we have to realise this, and keep adding to it. I know it sounds rather bleak when I put it like this, but nobody’s home. It’s like knocking on the door of a vacant house. That is what any timeline looks like after a few months, or half a year.
Great post! My numbers are nothing like yours, but I love reaching out and engaging new people. I’ve met SO many cool new friends that way.
After reading a book or watching a movie I like, I usually search for it and follow other fans. Sometimes we’ll connect! Sometimes not. But like you said, it’s easy to unfollow.
Thanks for the Tweepi recommendation. I’ll start using it!
Cya round the twitter sphere, Lonny! =)
You can skip the Step 2 about logging in each time, and just get to the “Manage Account” and Reciprocate (that’s following back people who are following you) and Unfollowing the Unproductive Tweeps.
There is a “Columns” Feature that everyone reading this should click as well that REALLY REALLY helps the most. (not yelling, but there are no italics) You click “Columns” then Bio, Last Tweet, Following Ratio, Friends, Followers. What this does, is break your entire list down!! It’s great! I cannot overstate how much time this saves me. And even if you aren’t cleaning out your account of 500 deadbeats who haven’t tweeted in 6 months, it’s still useful information.
BTW: When you unfollow an unproductive tweep, remember, they won’t know. They aren’t on twitter, remember?
Hi Lonny! I will admit I sighed when I read this because my main presence is on Facebook but you are inspiring me to try harder to talk to folks on Twitter (as soon as I write “the end” on draft 1 on Wednesday LOL)! Your advice, basic and simple, of engaging is very sound.
Every engagement, everytime we ReTweet someone, we are reaching them, acknowledging them. The same endorphins are released from a ReTweet as from a “Like” on Facebook according to the medical researchers. But Twitter allows up to 1,000 follows a day! That’s a lot, and I mean A LOT of traffic. So even if they don’t follow back, they’ll scroll over your Facebook page, and your traffic rate will go up. Even if they don’t follow back on Twitter, they’ll click your profile link. Just following a thousand a day last week, we ran a test: We purchased an ad for $200 on a site that caters to FB and Twitter users. Almost 12,000 hits per day. Then we opened the graph on the advertising site, and saw we were getting about 35 hits per day on the landing page. When we opened up the landing page analytics, guess what? We were getting 600 page hits from Twitter!! Twitter beat out paid advertising, and Twitter is free. So it’s the following that generates the traffic, not necessarily just the tweets.
I enjoyed reading your piece -and no one does Twitter like Piper there. I think for a lot if us, it feels like a bit of a time suck. El is being modest down there. She has nearly 5K engaged readers on her Facebook Fan Page. And they can go and see her stuff whenever they want. Unless you have put someone on a list, you won’t see their tweets easily. I like to just chat with folks on Twitter rather than do the FF list-thing. I don’t know how much people REALLY pay attention to those long lists. That said, when Piper introduces me to people, I’m like: “Ooooh! Piper likes this person! Cool beans. I’ll give a follow.” just like in real life, those often turn out to be the best contacts. I need to figure out a better way if tracking my favorite posts. So far I haven’t found the right tool. And I do know there are some readers who really don’t like to be bombarded with automated tweets. Like I’d lose @NinaBadzin if I did that. I’ll check out Tweepi. Can you tell me how it differs from TweetDeck?
Tweepi is a following tool with statistics, that you simply cannot get from Twitter. At a glance you can look at people’s: Following Ratio, Friends, Followers, Last Tweet, Even Klout Score. My son puts stock in Klout, I don’t. However, he only follows people with high Klout scores, he says they follow him back. I generally WILL NOT EVER follow anyone with over 125% follow ratio.
You set that up by Logging into Tweepi (Free) then “Follow Tweeps” and you have to type in a name of a list. Use my name, ProNetworkBuild. I’ll be your guinea pig. Then you can click “Columns” and click off the ones I mentioned above.
Tweetdeck is more for rapid fire scrolling through your timeline and presetting tweets when you are not home. You can use SocialOomph (Free Version) for the same thing, and a new up and comer in this space that competes with TweetDeck and SocialOomph is Buffer, which allows predetermined tweets when you are asleep, on vacation, or out of the house.
Why is that important? So people don’t think you are inactive, and unfollow you.
I have never been big on “trying” to get a following on Twitter. I don’t auto-follow-back or ask for followers. But I do try to engage people, particularly those I find interesting. My comfort zone has probably been the #MyWANA tag for some time, which has been helpful, but I think it is so important to reach out to other tags (whether they be genre specific or otherwise) to meet new people. I am happy with the following I’ve developed for someone not trying to develop it, and I really think it has been instrumental in increasing the readership of my blog, which will hopefully be readershi[ for my novel someday!
i appreciate you all r working around Twitter, and these other accounts that are designed so that you will not be allowed to communicate with new people. edu i am doing, r important facts. if i send my blog of edu to one new person, only one, Twitter will cancel my consciouspi account. they use adendums in their rules to be unfair if they want to be. facts i need to tell you, are not only free, but Twitter rulers are in trouble for censoring; due to the extreme importance of the information. [Yale university is in the true for allowing econ. New Deal era facts to be treated as if not scientific fact; thus econ facts disappeared from the scene].. ;… further, it is an anti trust lawsuit to prevent self publishers from advertising free, as the net should have. the net used to be better. [they knew they could create an email like a weekly reader, — book button, music button, et cetera; along with easily being able to attain email addresses. As they vilify emails being handed out as if home addresses, using security concerns falsely. on one hand is the other, but free speech comes first. better offadvertising with the dejavu accounts from the past. they did know they wre changing it so that you cannot advertise. is sinister. working around their collusion now. to prevent you from advertising is against the law. please do not accept as okay. it is criminal intent to create the internet in the way they did for censorship reasons and to protect the big time book, music companies from having any competition from the little guy. their nerve so big, that i am supposed to get an agent. what nerve.