Here is an instant messaging exchange that I had with a TwiTip reader yesterday.
Reader: “I want to grow my Twitter follower numbers? Can you help me!”
Darren: “Can I ask you a question?”
Darren: “Why do you want more followers?”
Reader: “Everyone wants more followers don’t they? I want to be more connected and to have more followers.”
Darren: “Let me ask another question – Why are you using Twitter?”
Reader: “I am using Twitter to get more connections. I want to connect with as many people as I can.”
Darren: “But why? What’s the purpose of that?”
Reader: “Because it means I’m a more powerful Twitter user. Tell me, how do I get more followers?”
Darren: “I’m still not sure why you want more followers or why you’re using Twitter?”
Reader: “That doesn’t matter – I just want more followers.”
This conversation went on for another few minutes – I won’t bore you with the details (we went in circles) but I think it illustrates an issue that I see many Twitter users having – they don’t know why they’re using the medium.
I can relate to this. In my own early days of using Twitter I didn’t really know why I was using it either. I saw everyone else doing it and while I was a little skeptical of the medium thought I ’should’ at least give it a go. I had no real outcomes in mind and as a result – it showed in my Tweeting.
My first few days (if not weeks) of using Twitter were unfocussed and scattered. As a result I didn’t really ‘achieve’ much. Sure I found a few followers – but because I didn’t know what I wanted to get out of Twitter I didn’t really get much.
It took me a while – but I slowly realized that I needed to be more focused in my use of Twitter and to work out what outcomes I was hoping for.
Being successful at something is very hard if you don’t know what you want to achieve. It’s much easier to hit your target…. if you know what it is.
What do are you aiming to Achieve with Twitter? What are Your Twitter Goals? – AN EXERCISE
Here’s a simple yet useful exercise.
Grab a pen and paper (or open up a blank text document on your computer) and spend the next 3-4 minutes answering the question of ‘what do I want to achieve with Twitter?’
At this point don’t be realistic – just brainstorm as many things that you’d like to achieve with Twitter as you can. There will be time for being realistic and to refine your list later.
Here are a few suggestions for what you might including in your list:
- I want to build my personal brand
- I want to be seen as an expert in my niche of (insert niche here)
- I want Robert Scoble, Gary Veynerchuk and iJustine to notice me
- I want to drive traffic to my business
- I want to find new readers for my blog
- I want to meet my future wife
- I want to document my passion for (insert favorite hobby here)
- I want to communicate what I’m working on with my workmates
- I want to find friends with similar interests to me
OK – the list could be long and varied. People use Twitter for all kinds of reasons (I’d actually love to see the reasons you come up with in comments below).
Once you’ve got your list spend a few more minutes prioritizing what you come up with. Which are the key reasons for using Twitter?
Try to identify one primary reason and a couple of secondary ones that you’ll focus your use of Twitter upon. I find that if you have too many goals and objectives that things can get fuzzy. Pick 2-3 at most to start with (you can always refine this later).
Note: you might find that some of your objectives clash. For example if you want to use Twitter to ‘find a wife’, document your passion for motor racing and drive traffic to your ‘pet reptiles’ blog – you might want to consider having multiple Twitter accounts for your different objectives.
The key is to have some objectives in mind when starting out with Twitter. Once you have these goals and objectives in mind you are in a much better position to use Twitter effectively.
With these objectives in mind you’ll find that other aspects of using Twitter begin to fall into line.
- what your Tweet about will become clearer
- who you follow and interact with will make more sense
- the type of keywords that you track (using a tool like Monitter) will become obvious
- the way and places that you promote yourself will become more evident
- the decision of whether you broadcast or converse (or do both) will become easier to make
- you’ll make better choices on the types of Twitter tools you need to use
- how often you should tweet will become more obvious
What are your Twitter Goals?
PS: let me finish by saying that having twitter goals need not be a formal thing. You don’t need to sit down and write a list or have strict guidelines for using Twitter. Twitter is a playful and fun medium and there’s lots of room for expressing yourself in many ways – however if you do want to use Twitter to achieve something – it’s good to at least have thought through what your overall objectives are.
There’s no need to over think it – but do at least ponder it for a few minutes. I know when I began to do this Twitter really took off for me as not only a ‘fun’ tool but a ‘useful’ one.