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Let’s face it: you may never admit it in public, but deep down you yearn for love, attention, and fame.
I have no doubt that you’d be exactly like this guy if one day you, too, got re-tweeted by Jay-Z.
The good news is that you’re not the only attention seeker out there: take a look around the Twittersphere and you’ll find that we’re all just screaming for recognition. The bad news is that most of us never get the love we yearn for. While Lady Gaga has thousands of prepubescent teenagers mimicking her every tweet, the average Joe’s tweets are drowned in the ocean of noise.
The harsh reality is that only a chosen few twitter users have influence (0.11% to be exact), so only a select few get to relish in their egocentricity. At NeoReach, we call this rare breed the influencers.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get four thousand retweets for posting about your new pair of Nike kicks? We think so too, so we’ve crunched petabytes of social media data to pinpoint what online behaviors lead to social media fame. In this article, I will let you in on our findings, but it’s up to you to go the extra mile and make it happen.
Do you have what it takes to be an influencer?
I. The TAO Methodology
Let me make one thing clear: I’m not going to follow you because you like your own profile; I’m going to follow you because I like your profile…and it’s your job to build a profile that I like. This goes for anybody in the world.
Pretty simple, huh? Well, the crazy thing is that most people are so concerned with tweeting the way they like that they completely dismiss their audience’s feedback (which comes in the form of favorites, retweets, and comments, or the lack of these actions). If you don’t make an effort to create content that people like, how can you expect them to pay attention to you?
To rise above the masses, you need to focus on creating exceptional content. That means that you need to understand what makes your audience tick. To guide you in your journey, we’ve developed the TAO methodology: Test, Analyze, Optimize.
- Test: Treat every tweet as a test. It is a shot in the dark and its success is only measured by its success in the twittosphere. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Inspire yourself from what other influencers are doing and leverage your own creativity.
- Analyze: Decisions without data are nothing. Meticulously track the performance of your posts and analyze how they relate to the following metrics:
- Content: What topic did you talk about? Where did you link to? Who did you mention? What hashtags did you use?
- Delivery: What tone did you take? How long was your tweet? What words did you emphasize?
- Optimize: With a data-driven mindset, you will gain invaluable insights into what makes your audience tick. Use your findings to perfect your tweeting. This step is oftentimes the hardest because you need to be honest with yourself about what worked and what didn’t, and open-minded enough to change your ways. The TAO methodology can only work if you implement your findings thoroughly.
Apply the TAO methodology in all of your social media activity, including whom you follow and how you build your profile. You can even apply it beyond social media to your everyday life: from how you pitch yourself to employers to the clothes that you wear. Put in enough creativity and rigor, and you’re learning curve will be exponential.
Now that you’ve learned the mindset…
II. Find your Niche & your Voice
Finding your niche and your voice is the one of the most important steps in your path to fame. It is what will inspire thousands of people you’ve never met before to follow you, engage with you, and recommend you.
1. Find Your Niche: Find the topics you’re passionate about and in which you are an expert. These can be as broad (basketball, comedy, and action movies) or specific (riding a monocycle while playing Mozart concertos with my trombone). You don’t need to be the main authority on these topics, but you do need to offer a fresh perspective and stand your ground.
2. Define Your Voice: It’s not only about what you say, but it’s also about how you say it. Use the TAO methodology to identify your most successful tweets and continue using that tone. The ultimate goal is to reach the point where your voice is so unique and memorable that your followers know it’s your tweet without seeing your username.
III. 9 Tips To Tweet Like a God
So you’ve got the TAO mindset and you’re perfecting your niche and voice. Here are guidelines for tweeting like a pro:
1. Post images: Posts with images get, on average, a 35% increase in retweets.
2. Ask questions: We found that, on average, questions drive interaction up by 15 percent. Make sure your questions are relevant, inviting, and engaging. Mention a couple relevant influencers for extra points. Twitip asked their followers how to ask better questions on Twitter and got these interesting responses:
3. Be opinionated: Sharing articles gets boring very fast. People will only engage with you if you have something new to bring to the table. Don’t be afraid of being controversial. It riles people up. But always stay classy and respectful.
4. Engage in actual conversations: The biggest mistake people make on Twitter is to focus all their energy on announcements instead of building relationships. Stop talking to people and start talking with people.
5. Spoil your followers: Your followers are your greatest allies – treat them as such. Answer their questions and retweet them when it’s relevant. As you turn into an influencer, remember how it felt to be a noob.
6. Post at peak hours: On average, the best times to tweet are at midday and in the early evening. But peak times vary wildly by account. That’s where the NeoReach analytics comes in handy (currently in private beta).
7. Post often (but not too often): There’s a clear correlation between the number of tweets you post and the number of followers you have. So, basically, you need to post often. About 4 times a day is a good benchmark. Make sure to retweet your own posts if you feel that they were lost in the noise and didn’t receive the attention they deserve.
8. Get retweeted by influencers: There are few things more effective than getting promoted by a relevant influencer. Engage them smartly by sharing great content and asking them to retweet you. HubSpot found that you quadruple your chances of getting a retweet by using the words “Please ReTweet”
9. Follow the hashtags: Twitter is a platform for open discussions. Find the trending hashtags and exploit them ruthlessly.
IV. Follow Relentlessly
This strategy will help you scale fast: follow people, and they will follow you back. Do this enough and you’ll build up a massive follower base. Do it the right way:
1. Follow the right accounts: The people you follow must be relevant to your profile (or they won’t engage with you) and be likely to follow you back.
2. Engage with the person ahead of time: Tweet at them or favorite some of their tweets to show them that you’re interested in what they have to say.
3. Thank them for the follow back: Direct message them to personally thank them for following you to set up a good relationship.
4. Unfollow ruthlessly: The hard truth is that you cannot follow everyone on Twitter. You have to prioritize. If someone you followed didn’t follow you back in the next couple days, don’t feel bad about going your separate ways.
Pro Tip: Building an audience is a numbers game. The goal is to get the most follow backs, so you’ll be actively following people, hoping they follow you back, and unfollowing those who don’t. As a rule of thumb, follow x new users at any one time, where x is equal to 20% of your existing follower base (for example, if you have 1000 followers, follow 200 new users). Wait two days to unfollow those that didn’t follow you back and start the cycle again. Make sure you always maintain a positive follower ratio (i.e. you want to have more followers than people you’re following).
V. Promote Across Platforms
To blow up fast, you need to look beyond the Twittersphere. Leverage all the existing social networks to make a bigger splash and cross-pollinate your followers across the different channels. In fact, 72% of Twitter’s top influencers publish a blog post at least every month and 61% write a product review at least monthly (Jeff Bulas).
If you own a blog, make it stupid easy for your readers to share your content on their social media. Do so by adding social share buttons on your main sidebar, your footer, and at the beginning and end of each of your blog posts.
Becoming an influencer is more than applying the tools described above: it’s about adopting a lifestyle of curiosity, creativity, and passion.
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At NeoReach, we help social media users find products and brands that make their followers smile and get rewarded for helping companies get more exposure. Learn more about our mission here.