Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

How I attracted 8000 Twitter followers in 14 weeks!

As this morning saw me attract my 8,000th ‘follower’ on Twitter, I thought it was a good time to share with you, how I have built my network of Twitter Associates thus far, (I don’t like the word ‘followers’.)

Some background

Whilst a few social media / marketing people have more followers than me, I have attracted almost all of my followers in just 14 weeks – NOT 12 months or 2 years!  I also did this without the benefit of thousands of blog readers, legions of ‘fans’ or famous blogging friends. 

I have also managed to build a targeted network of Twitter Associates, not just NUMBERS!  My network on twitter is composed primarily of; business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers and those linked to marketing, PR or social media. (The exact same people who use my marketing services.)

I believe building a network of Twitter Associates is not just about attracting numbers!  It’s about attracting people, who are in your target group and then earning their trust.

The three key words here are people, attract and trust.

People

The people I associate with on Twitter are NOT my followers; they are my equals.  We are part of the same online network.  I refer to them as my Twitter Associates, because we associate with each other on a level playing field, using Twitter.  The only time I use the term ‘follower’ is (like in the title of this post), when I need to give people a quick point of reference.

You see, this is a two way deal with me, I follow all those who follow me, unless they are spamming me of course. With me there’s no tribes and no leaders – just people who want to connect!

Does an equality-focused approach actually work on Twitter?  Well, there’s anywhere between 1 and 3 million people using Twitter, (apparently).  As I write this, I am high in the top 1% of all Twitter users, based on ‘followers.’  I don’t say this to impress you, but to impress upon you the effectiveness of treating people as equals and with respect!

This means communicating rather than dictating.  It means engaging people and listening to what they say. It means taking time to help people no matter how many followers they have, just because you like their work.  It means becoming part of a network or community, without feeling the need to lead it!

Think of the people YOU buy from, enjoy the company of and recommend to people.  These will tend to be people you trust, people you like and people you value – NOT people who treat you like some dumb ass follower!

Attract

There’s been a lot said about the power of attraction, with some referring to it as the law of attraction. Whatever your thoughts on the subject, we know that cause and effect play a major role in every area of our lives.

If we want to attract people, we first need to make ourselves attractive to them!

On Twitter, the most attractive people are those who share – rather than just self-promote.  They are the people who take time to answer questions and engage people in dialogue.  They are the people who look for ways to connect others and help them thrive.

One of the fastest ways to attract the interest of another human being, is to show your interest in them first!  We all like to feel valued and when another person takes time to notice us, it makes US feel good!  Don’t wait for people to follow you – develop your network of Twitter Associates by looking for great people and FOLLOW THEM FIRST!

This means that you not only attract more people, you ALSO get to develop a network of associates who are the kind of people most suited to you and your business.

Use the Twitter Search facility to identify people who ‘tweet’ about things you are interested in, and follow them. Then, introduce yourself and add something of value to the conversation!

Trust

We live in an age where; diets promise we can lose 20lbs in a month, we can have rock-hard abs with just 3 minutes exercise a day and where we can become rich in weeks (if we just buy that $29 ebook!)

We expect results immediately, yet developing trust takes time!

Paradoxically, I believe one of the reasons my network grew quickly, is because I took my time!  I am simply not influential enough to develop a network that big, that quick, all by myself!  I rely massively on the help and co-operation of others and that only comes after people trust me enough to recommend me to their Twitter Associates.

I see people using auto-responders when I follow them, with links to sales pitches – because they come to twitter expecting immediate results! Who is going to recommend someone like that to their Twitter Associates?

I get people I have never heard of, telling me to send a message to my Twitter Associates, recommending they follow them or visit their website/blog!  Who is going to recommend a person like that to their Twitter Associates?

I mentioned earlier, the importance of treating people with respect, as equals.  This is a great way to earn people’s trust and their good will.

When this happens:
- People will recommend you to their Twitter Associates.

Also…
- People will go and visit your site or blog.
- People will enquire about your products or services.
- And people will buy from you. I’ve recently sold over $30,000 in services / products via people I met on twitter.

Your tips, ideas and suggestions!

This post is based on my experiences and observations as a twitter user.  I’m certain there are many, many more ways to develop a valuable network via twitter…

AND this is where YOU come in!
What kind of things make you more, (or less), inclined to press someone’s follow button?  Share them here and please feel free to include your twitter username, if you would like new people to discover you!

…. and if you found this useful, don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed!

JOIN ME!

Jim Connolly

I help small business owners make massively more sales and boost their profits. To see how I can help you and your business, read this.
JOIN ME!

131 Comments

  1. Great approach Jim, and it worked with me. You’re in my A Group (on TweetDeck.) I’ve been on for 3 weeks, and look for people who have the same interests, and who give good Tweets. And have a healthy dose of followers. Thanks for the associating!
    @BertDecker

  2. Very well said and I agree. Twitter is about connecting with people. I spend a good deal of time replying and helping others, when I can. I don’t purposely set out to hit a certain number of followers, or even to gain as many as I possibly can.

    I have 3 key things I check before I follow someone: whether I am seeking people to follow, or they have followed me – I check these 3 areas to find a common interest. If a common interest there, I follow.

  3. Sheila Langston

    November 29, 2008 at 22:43

    Doesn’t this just include spammers and auto-followers as well? It’s pretty easy to get to 8,000+ followers if you follow every single user who follows you?

  4. Hi Jim,
    I read peoples profiles, and read their listed url..
    I find common threads to follow..

    Thanks!

    http://twitter.com/dee_hausker

  5. Sheila,

    It’s the exact opposite.

    Also, your follower count is based on who follows you – not on who you follow.

    You can follow 100 people, your follower count will be zero, unless they are interested in you.

  6. Great post and excellent advice!

    I believe in following back when others follow me first too, however, I have unfollowed some when I discovered nearly all their tweets were just self promotional.

    I dont mind a link once in awhile but as you said this is about building trust and friendships first.

    Twitter is one of the hottest social networking sites and very powerful when used correctly.

    Joanne

    http://twitter.com/joanne_ott

  7. Bert,

    Thanks. Your advice is sound, in my opinion.

  8. Hi Jim,

    To steal and change a line from Forrest Gump, influential is as influential does.

    The fact that you take the time to help someone else adds value to them and certainly influences them. Showing people how to do Twitter right is important, and I’m sure this post will have influenced many people.

    I believe like you do, that you build a castle a brick at a time. I’ve added about 200 to the list I’m following in the past week, but only about 120 came back. So, I’m converting 60 percent.

    I’m told that a big disparity with far fewer followers than those followed is a bad sign. Don’t know. I figure I’ll just do the searches and keep going. If I wind up following 15,000 and have 10,000 following me, is that a bad thing?

    Best wishes.

    Jerry

    Keep it coming.

  9. I’m @tadahmom on Twitter. I first joined on the 12th of November. You were one of the first people I followed. I began to model you, posting relevant posts, thought provoking posts, and engaging with people. You are a class act to “follow”

  10. Building respect and gaining trust takes time. This is not a numbers game. These numbers represent real people with real hopes & dreams and real wants & needs, just like yourself.

    The one thing that I tend not to agree with is an automatic followback of people. Twitter is an amazing platform that facilitates many different uses. What I want may not be what you want. I may say something that works for others but they may not be saying something that works for me and vice versa.

    As you said, like attracts like. I make it a point to reply to just about everyone that makes the effort to contact me. Speak with me enough AND add intrinsic value to my day, then you have EARNED my followback. I have done it myself with others that I am interested in engaging and adding to the conversation. After a bit of valuable back and forth they added me back.

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease, but the defective wheel gets replaced. Meaning, make your voice heard but make sure what you have to say is to add value to the conversation not just to hear yourself speak.

    What do you want out of your connections? Are you hearing or are you listening?

  11. Damien,

    Yet again, you make a VERY good point!

    Whilst I follow people who follow me, I should have made it clear that I un-follow people who are as Damien suggested.

    Thanks for adding to the post and the debate!

  12. I REALLY Like you Jim – Your post today was right on target – for someone relatively new to Twitter it gives me great hope for us newbies! I also totally agree that the TRUST thing is UP really BIG – we are moving into a time energetically where our capacity to “see” when someone is sincere and “feel” when someone is a “BS artist” is being amped by the Universe. We are all going to be pretty transparent before we know it – when I can “see” through you – then I know whether or not I want to do business with you – for anything – whether it’s on line or off.
    Thanks for being a beacon!!

    Peace and blessings,
    Amethyst Wyldfyre
    AWyldfyre on Twitter

  13. Jim,
    An astounding accomplishment! You are a man that practices what you preach. Your comment above that you searched for Twitterers that had similar tastes as yourself, but I am not able to figure out how to search for people by subject. There must be a way. Would you be able to enlighten me please.
    Best regards.
    Rich Hill

  14. Rich,

    Try entering key words used by people who share your interests. See what comes back.

    Then, check out the person’s profile and if it ‘feels’ like a good fit, follow them.

    You can always un-follow afterwards.

    Hope this helps.

  15. Absoultely!!!

    Twitter is not about just promoting about yourself, it’s about CONNECTING. Sharing information and resources and contributing to the community is how you build relationships and an awesome reputation!

    Thanks Jim for a great post!

  16. Evening Jim – I enjoyed reading your perspective on using Twitter. I find the people in my community to be very similar to yours and have found Twitter to be a great place to meet the brightest people in business on the planet. There is a tremendous amount of resources, contacts and business opportunities available to those that reach out and connect with folks in the community.

  17. Staci,
    Connecting is key!

    Mark,
    I agree, Twitter’s a great place to meet people and also to learn.

  18. Kendra Kellogg E-Advocate

    November 29, 2008 at 23:15

    Great post! Thank you for the advice. Big question though- how on earth do you keep up with that many associates on Twitter??

  19. Kendra,

    Good question. The way you use twitter alters as you grow your network.

    I use tweet desk, which allows me to see what’s happening in ‘real time.’

    Also, I tend to engage more with people who send me direct @jimconnolly tweets.

    Finally, there’s only ever a small percentage of people, at any one time, who want to tweet with you. If everyone answered everything, no one could follow more than a dozen people!

  20. Jim you have put in the time and effort. I very much admire the fashion in which you have accomplished this feat. Kudos to you.

    I remember that you followed me http://twitter.com/salonmaire when on the surface it would seem I wasn’t in your target market. You were among my first associates, like that term, here on Twitter.

    I have enjoyed learning the various strategies people use, yourself included, to build and filter here on Twitter.

    I prefer when someone has a website and profile that gives me a sense of them as a person. I am still following a few people who are clearly self serving…by that I mean they think that they are too important to respond to genuine conversation. They don’t follow back if you can’t increase their bottom line.

    It is very interesting to see how some of the “nouveauguru twits” sometimes look to gather an audience rather than develop relationships. I haven’t yet developed a theorem on this one. Wonder if you or your readers have any thoughts?

    Eventually, I will probably stop the one-sided associations. I have a modest number to keep track of and find it fascinating to watch and observe. I prefer to spend my time and money with authentic people.

    It is no wonder to me that you have 8,000+ associates and have increased your business because you really fulfill the know, like and trust factor!

  21. Maire,

    Yes, you are in a VERY definite niche!

    Because I work closely with a number of womens-wellness trainers and authors, I find work like yours really interesting.

    We also chat quite a bit and connect as people – which is also really important!

  22. Great post! I’m new to Twitter and still trying to find my voice and get advice/mentors in internet marketing. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to the wall – especially when I ask a question and never get a response from those who are the experts. They have such a massive following I feel like I get lost.

    What is neat though is that now people are starting to follow me who are interested in the same things so I can follow them back. While it can give your ego a little buzz, my next feeling is to amp my game so that they get the most value out of connecting with me.

    Trust is HUGE here to connect and develop a relationship.

    @Sanitra

  23. Sanitra,

    Some good points there – thanks!

    You already follow some smart people, like @chrisbrogan, who is extremely generous with his time.

    Never be worried about asking questions, just make them answerable in 140 characters.

    I often get questions asked of me which are REALLY deep – which would take waaaaaay more room than is available on twitter.

    Keep in touch and dm me if you get stuck, or email me through the contact tab above!

  24. There is a reason why your on alltop, You are a guy that understands the very human side of business and marketing. It’s all about input and sharing ideas, that’s what makes twitter great. I’ve been one of your twitter associates for a while and you always put up great ideas and content.

    http://twitter.com/againer

  25. Very interesting post. I am new to Twitter and the Social Networking arena, in general.
    I have found it to be both advantageous and disappointing.
    I haven’t actively sought out “followers” on Twitter because I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it yet!
    Fortunately, some wonderful people have befriended me and I now know that, just as in “real life”, I will be listening to(reading) what other Tweeters are saying and choosing to follow them because of who they are.
    As a business owner I know that the only way to succeed in business is to build and maintain relationships and help make others lives better.
    It’s really the only way to make it in life!

    Unfortunately, everyone here at Twitter isn’t quite at that place.

    http://twitter.com/therealginger

  26. I have had quite a few marketing/blog specialists follow me because they see I follow a few and then they unfollow after i follow so they keep more followers than they are following (that was a tongue twister, lol). Just an observation…or maybe they all coincidentally weren’t interested in my tweets ;)

  27. Bridal Inquirer,

    There’s a number of possible reasons why they do that, like the relevance of what you tweet about, frequency etc.

    The next time it happens, why not ask?

  28. Wow, Jim.

    I really admire you. Phenomenal information here.

    I love the term “Twitter Associates.” I can see that there is NO Ego here. The most successful individuals on and offline keep their ego in check.

    I’m glad I landed on your blog today. Thanks to my buddy Danny Arrington.

    I appreciate you, Jim. I look forward to keeping up with you here and on twitter.

    Dali Burgado
    @daliburgado on Twitter

  29. Dali,

    It’s hard to have an ego, when you are born and raised in a slum / ghetto with nothing.

    You make a good point, I look forward to connecting with you!

  30. Thanks for the blog post, and for the thoughtful language. I have avoided DMs to people saying “thanks for the follow” because I wasn’t really comfortable with the language… and didn’t identify why until I read your post.
    I do like being connected though, and that is exactly how I will proceed from now on. I’m looking forward learning with you.

    Jo
    http://twitter.com/JoGolden

  31. Jo,

    Learning together is part of the fun – that’s why I find your blog:
    so useful.

    Thanks Jo.

  32. Jim,
    Once again you’ve posted sound and wonderful ideas!

    I use “common interests” (and I have way too many interests!) primarily as my definition in who I wish to follow. I follow back about 95% of those who “associate” with me (great terminology you’ve used), but do not follow those who are so obviously using me to build their numbers but do not offer anything of interest to me.

    Thanks for an excellent post . . .

    beth
    http://twitter.com/loongirl

  33. Jim;
    Another good article, it is nice to see a PR / Marketing professional who promotes an idea and philosophy rather then the usual same 10 MLM get rich quick on the internet schemes that seem to be every 5th blog or site I look at.

  34. Beth,

    Common interests is the key. Just like any other network, you need people around you that are compatible and fun.

  35. Robert,

    People are often amazed when they come here and see no paid advertising / banners on the blog.

    Thanks for the comment!

  36. Great advice. It is always interesting to me to find out the reasons people follow other people.
    Twitter has bought me a lot of business but even with only 100+ followers/associates I find it very difficult to keep up with the volume of tweets. I can’t imagine what the volume of 8000+ looks like.
    http://twitter.com/johningz

  37. man this was one of the Best articles I have found relating to twitter.. I will start to practice some of your techniques!

    STRAIGHTALK
    Norman Flecha

  38. I enjoyed your post and learned a lot from it. I am really new at this and I am afraid that I am not very helpful because I am not sure how to help!! So I hope people are patient while I learn. I hope to write the kind of tweets that I like read – tweets that show some balance – show some of the person’s personality and some of their daily life as well as sharing helpful info and links. I also search for those with common focus or interest.
    Thank you very much.

  39. These are exactly the same techniques that I teach when build a strong face to face network. People wanted to treated respectfully and appreciated online or in person. Great post!

  40. Thanks for the advice! It is very useful.

    @iKyleR

  41. Interesting post.

    I mainly use tweetdeck as my client of choice.

    If I see someone already in my network having an interesting conversation with someone not in my network, I will click on that persons name and the first thing I look at is their “about me” blurb below their photo and if that piques my interest then I will add that person.

    Sometimes I’ll just go by a person’s username, if they have a quirky sounding name then I will follow that person.

    I also check where they are based, so I can confuse them when I say “good afternoon” to their “good morning”, (joking on that point :) )

    Even if they do send an automated message pitching me their product, I’ll click on the link and see what the fuss is about. See if there is a nice juicy piece of steak to hook me.

    I am cautious of people with a very low update number, lots of people following them, without them following a whole load of people in return,it is almost like they’ve set up a twitter spam account.

    Trust is a very important aspect, you betray my trust and you will have to work extremely hard over a very long period of time to regain that trust again, and even then I’ll still be on my guard.

  42. I have learned an incredible amount of info in an equally incredibly short time about twitter and the new wave of marketing. I have many more projects going than there are hours in a day and greatly appreciate your realness. I just don’t have time for “fluff”. I do have time for real people. Even more than sales, my purpose is to share a message so “getting the word out” is not only important but something I see as life or death. Thank you for your help.

    blessings, Penny Raine
    http://twitter.com/pennyraine

  43. Hi Jim, I like your writing style. I tend to follow people who provide value in their tweets through engaging links and questions. Much like you. I feel the discussion, trust and relationships that develop from it is where the real value is on Twitter.

  44. Some great comments here.

    It’s interesting to see different people using slightly different strategies to build their twitter networks.

  45. You give such great information and I really appreciate all that you do. My question is – how many hours per day do you spend on Twitter? And then how many hours on your blog? And then, when do you find time to do your consulting (which I assume is what pays the bills)?

    I’m very new to internet marketing and am still trying to find the balance – both from a time management standpoint and how to generate business without a “sales pitch”.

    Thanks again for all you do!
    @MrsMoneyMerge (twitter id)

  46. Sue,

    Some brilliant questions there, thanks!

    I work in Marketing and Twitter is part of that. This means I have Twitter on all day. However, I tend to only ‘use’ it 3 times a day – about 20 minutes at a time.

    Blogging is something that I do a few times a week. I write whenever I feel I have an idea worth sharing.

    Consulting – you are wrong! It’s not how I make my money. I have a number of income streams, most of which do not require me exchanging my time for money.

    Twitter and blogging are just a part of what I do.

  47. Jenna Papakalos

    November 30, 2008 at 16:37

    Jim,

    What a great blog post. Thanks for sharing. It’s good advise to follow.

    Some of the previous comments refer to Twitter as a fantastic learning tool. As a learning professional who lives for social media, I believe these folks are right on the money!

    I’ve learned so much from Twitter with people sharing resources. I’ve helped individuals and companies use Twitter as a learning tool as well. This would not be possible without my connections being as wonderfully informative as they are!

    Keep the blog posts coming and I’ll keep reading.

    Jenna Papakalos

  48. Thank you for a thought provoking post, Jim. I am in agreement with your opinions on who to follow -not follow. Each stream must have a use, and be used for that, and not subjected to spam and blatant self promotion. I always read a person’s tweets before following. If they tweet nothing but spam, they don’t go on my list. Perhaps I will never lave a list in the 1,000′s, but to me that is not the goal, anyway. The goal is to connect, and interact.

    Peace,

    Alden~

  49. Alden,

    Thanks for the comment. Sounds like you are developing a quality network – nice!!

  50. Jenna,

    I learn from Twitter every day. I ask a lot of questions and find the variety of insights is amazing.

  51. Very impressive and comprehensive post.

    I have found a number of resources just by following interesting people on Twitter. I am now using it to find employees too.

    For me it comes down to meeting people who are in my field or who seem interesting. I see Twitter as old school networking with a web 2.0 twist..

    BTW – Twitter Associates is a great term and I am glad to be one of your associates.

  52. Excellent article, Jim.

    In this age of fast this and fast that, people tend to forget the most important aspect of marketing – creating and nurturing trust and relationships between a buyers and sellers.

    That’s what social networks are all about, ‘creating and nurturing trust and relationships.’

    I’m far more willing to consider a product or service recommended by a friend than some bot slamming my twitter timeline with affiliate links ;-)

  53. Thanks for another fine post. Still trying to get my head around Twitter but do love the knowledge I receive

  54. Jim, I’ve been blogging for years, but have since started to seriously get into social media. Twitter is one of my favorites. I’ve found a lot of very interesting conversation (and people) I otherwise would never have come across. And some rewarding resources, like this site. Thank you!

  55. Josef,
    Thanks for the comment and it’s great to hear Twitter is useful for you.

    Eddy,
    Absolutely – Relationships are vital to the success of any business!

    Cindy,
    Stick with it!

    Shannon,
    Love the design of your blog – Thanks for your kind words!

  56. Byron Van Arsdale

    November 30, 2008 at 18:02

    Jim:
    Thanks for another great article and for modeling service, straight talk, and attraction! It is amazing to see how quickly and how large you were able to build a tribe.

    Thanks for blazing the path!
    Byron Van Arsdale
    @headset

  57. Byron,

    Thanks for the comment, but my network is very definitely NOT a tribe.

  58. I will add to the “people to people” interaction vs “people to software” one other metric, and that would be: “all about me vs sharing others”. Twitter makes for a great place in which you can become the amplifier of the voices you know and follow. And still have the liberty to express yourself.

    Funny how this twitter-related blog posts galore is spreading nowadays, I just had 3 twitter-related posts on my blog in the last 3 days. Interesting :-)

  59. Dragos,

    Thanks – I think it’s because the user base of Twitter is getting larger?

  60. Jim,

    There’s obviously a Twitter momentum going on these last few months. Nice being part of it :-)

  61. Jim,
    You’ve done a tremendous job building your associate network.

    I’m also not keen on the word “followers” but think the word “fan” is OK because it is something that is reciprocal. I’m a fan of many and have fans as well.

    And from reading comments on this post and others, you certainly have fans and I’m one of them because you message is a genuine one.

    Jesse Luna
    http://www.twitter.com/jesseluna

  62. Hey Jim,

    Great post! This article has inspired me to blog about social capital and building a quality social graph with reference to your work.
    http://www.socialmediamarketinguk.com/?p=61

    Thanks,
    Tom.

  63. Hi Jim,

    Twitter is pretty Awesome. I have been on about 12 weeks myself and have 6,230 Followers

    I don’t have a Big list or anything like that. I did it the Old Fashioned way … I follow a lot of people and interact

    Jack Bastide

  64. Hi Jim
    Thanks for the post – your feedback confirmed what I’ve been starting to realize the last few days. The new social media is still new to me, but I’m starting to see clearer. Thanks for sharing!

    Astrid

  65. Great stuff! I am fairly new to Twitter, & absolutley love the interaction aspect…like walking through a crowd and chatting as you go!

    I look for like interests…from what I am interested in and also if I have a way to help someone else.

    Im looking forward to your newsletter!

    @intentional_mom

  66. I found your blog via Twitter- great stuff for any business owner- thank you!! Twitter is my latest addiction, I look forward to reading more from you in the future!

    Kara Edwards
    http://twitter.com/karaedwards

  67. G Allan Roberts

    December 1, 2008 at 01:38

    I am amazed how organized your blog is… this is very nice.

    I am new to Twitter but I have already made some great friends.

  68. well written Jim (as always) – I keep forgetting to use the search to find people who think like I do! Thanks for that reminder.

    I also believe Twitter is like a great conversation with friends. It’s a place to discuss, share, point out things. Everyone once in awhile you might talk about your business. Those that only talk about their business make me crazy!

    @debworks and I’m into travel, green products, shopping local

    thanks again Jim

  69. Wow, Jim – I had no idea you’d attracted so many follow… I mean, associates ;-). I know I am one of them for the very reason you expound upon here – treating people as equals, listening and responding, and continuing the conversation. (OK, I’ve used that phrase twice in the last 10 minutes now – might have to expand upon that idea for my own blog post). I particularly like the idea of “twitter associates” – I don’t particularly like referring to people as followers, either, and was looking for a better term – I think you found it for me!

  70. Great blog and I agree with all what your readers said.
    I am fairly new using twitter and do not have many twitter followers yet.
    I do check websites before following people who follow me.
    With your advice I will reply to twitter comments, as I have just found out how to do it.
    Bloggers I love as I am a blogger myself. All the best for the coming year.
    Elsie, New Zealand.
    http://twitter.com/kiwinana

  71. Great post, Jim. When you I returned your follow, you sent me a personal tweet. Several, actually. Very nice… from the get-go, I felt like you cared. Still love reading your tweets.

    I don’t follow people whose tweets are all automatic links to their blogs. And I usually don’t follow those who are following a ton of people, but have few people following them.

    I like your approach of “taking your time.” Naturalness is often most effective in everything.

  72. Wow – so many great comments!

    It’s clear that a lot of people are getting a great deal from twitter.

    Some really useful tips here too.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  73. Jim,

    Great post today! I think one of the biggest downfalls many companies have when using Twitter is the urge to shove their product/service/brand down everyone’s throats. All they do is talk about themselves and why you need them. Not only does this hinder meaningful conversation, but it makes people less likely to look at their site and/or recommend it to any of the Twitter Associates.

  74. Eric,

    You are so right – I see it all the time. It’s hard to connect with someone who’s not listening, right?

    Thanks for the comment.

  75. Nicely done Jim! Trust is definitely the point where you want everyone to get to. After that, everything is smooth sailing!

  76. Tate,

    Trust is certainly a pretty good place to start. Thanks for the comment.

  77. Jim,

    Great post. You have done a great job of attracting associates to your twitter stream… I would say “textbook” but as of now I am not sure there is a “textbook” way of doing what you and a lot of others have done.

    Great work and continued success!

    - Doc

    http://twitter.com/igobydoc

  78. Doc,

    Thanks – Always nice to hear from you!

  79. Rowell Dionicio

    December 1, 2008 at 23:36

    What I got from this article is “less is more”. Twitter is a great tool for marketing yourself but to gather a mass of followers means providing quality tweets.

    I’ve already begun to ignore the people who only twitter about their blog. I think it’s fine that they do it but they dont engage in conversations.

    I stumbled upon your Twitter just from another page and saw that your content provided informational posts and came to the conclusion that your Twitter follows the same path.

    I look forward to reading and communicating with you, Jim.

  80. Great blog. Twitter is a great place for folks with the same interests to gather. I love it!

  81. Great stuff!

    We did 15,000 followers in one week and wrote up our own case study:

    http://tinyurl.com/6yy6dw

  82. 15,000 followers in a week, should be called “How to attract crap very quickly!!” Why does that not sound appealing?????

  83. excellent piece. plenty of interesting discussion. pitched a new client via twitter and made the sale. in 140 characters the pitch caught their attention. they sent contact details back. so i really like the idea of Twitter Associate. have a wonderful day. M

  84. I’m interested in how you manage the sifting through all the tweets to determine which warrant a response from you?

    Also, you look like John Travolta!

    @scraplesspress

  85. Well put post.

    Although I’ve been a professional editor-writer (and photographer) for the past 30 years, I’m still learning this new-fangled “social networking” thing. I’ve created a few blogs (the easy way, most likely not the recommended way) and I’m having a lot of fun with Seth Godin’s Squidoo website creation paradigm (one of which I’ve used as my “intro” website). As a “writer/editor” for major corporations (mostly in their IT departments), I’ve learned some of the “techie” stuff… but not enough to really apply it to creating my own website(s). Also, with a degree in biology rather than marketing or business, I don’t have much to offer others other than the fact that I’ve bungled along with many different business ventures over the past 30 years.

    The current economy is whip-sawing a lot of us and forcing us to reconsider how we create an income. Being an “employee” won’t cut it any more (or at least not a whole lot).

    My skills in editing and writing can be applied through online means to clients who don’t have to be “local”–and this is good. But I have to figure out how to reach potential clients… and the web seems like the best approach.

    Like you said, there’s a *learning* curve involved… and there are things you have to know about “Net-etiquette” –how not to be “spammy” or “pushy” and how to offer good information. I think that those of us who are new to the medium stumble on this one… we may have good intentions, but we wind up making a mess of things.

    I (like others who want to work “online”) have to figure out what we have to offer that other folks would love to get. Whether it’s information, durable goods, or consumable goods…. once we have *that* figured out, we have to figure out how to get the word out about our offer…

    As you can see, there are lots of things that many of us are still trying to figure out. I feel overwhelmed sometimes thinking that I’m chasing my tail.

    Thank you again for your wise post. It’s making me reconsider what the heck I’m doing.

    Best regards,
    Dave Gardner

    @fanihiman95376

  86. Nice post. Great to have someone spell out the techniques. Your numbers and success proves it. We just have to treat others how we want to be treated.

  87. Hola Jim

    I followed your link from twitter, was nice to link up last week and I am enjoying your twittering company :)

    Thanks for sharing and I too love meeting new people and engaging, you learn so much and it is great fun.

    Laters and be well

    Simone

  88. Jim, I think I love you!

    What a wonderful philosophy. I too, believe in the law of attraction.

    I love the term Twitter Associates…follower does sound a little degrading.

    I am a Twitter newbie, but since I have signed up I am following everyone that is following me. Simple reason is because they have taken the time and effort to follow me.

    What great post! You Rock!

  89. I am glad I found this blog. It have alot of good information on it.I am on twitter @crumcake

  90. Crystal - Davronstaffing

    December 5, 2008 at 19:23

    Thanks Jim for this information. I am fairly new to twitter and still learning how to really utilize Twitter. This information will really help me better my twitting skills. Thanks again.

  91. Very good post Jim. I follow people who give informational tweets pointing me to an interesting site or service or who have an interesting observation on life. I’m trying to do this in my tweets. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of noise on twitter and you have to try and cut through it. I couldn’t follow someone who is tweeting all noise.

  92. Jim, I had a 1-week period where I added 33% of my “Twitter Associates” (love the term!). Why? Because I had the time to engage many people in good conversations. When I’m not ACTIVELY participating in conversations on Twitter, my network growth is static. It’s a 2-way street and I think you’ve proven that point repeatedly.

  93. As always Jim, you amaze me. You’re RIGHT ON about relationships. Twitter is no different than “in person” relationships, honesty and respect should be number one. That’s why I follow you.

    http://twitter.com/zipporahs

  94. Aloha Jim!
    What a gem I found…you are walking your talk and shining bright for others to see their own brilliance. This fast paced online world is a challenge for me yet living on a small island it is necessary to build my business and I love finding new people to engage with. Love your posts and well simply your Being!
    Be well, I look forward to our association.
    Aloha~ Gina
    @starlightlife on Twitter

  95. Gina,

    You are extremely kind – Thank you. I am glad you find the blog useful and I look forward to connecting with you.

  96. Jim,

    Congratulations on hitting on a topic that is of interest to most Twitter folk.

    That, said, as each day passes I’m just a wee bit skeptical of what you’ve offered up here and methinks there is more to the story.

    I’ve been working pretty hard at it for a few weeks and generally add an average of about eight a day to the list.

    Conversely, you would have had to average 10 times that to get to 8,000 in 14 weeks.

    I’m guessing that you got some help from big Twits that provided some major spikes in associates. Being an attentive, friendly guy is great, but will that draw 80 new people a day? I have my doubts.

    Especially so in the early days and weeks.

    You gave general info on how you achieve your figure, but now I’d like to know specifics in greater detail on what you did and what results you got from it — as if an outside auditing firm was looking at your success.

    I know you may not want to spend the time or share the details, but this would prove invaluable to thousands who are doing — in general terms — what you suggest, but are not seeing anywhere near the same results.

    Just a thought. I enjoy your site.

  97. Jerry,

    I REALLY enjoyed reading your comment – It’s a pity you chose not to let us know your twitter name, as it’s a great way to gain additional followers.

    I just wanted to quickly answer your points.

    I have never (to my knowledge) had any of the major twitter people ask/invite people to follow me. Why? Because I don’t know anyone on twitter with more followers than me!

    I did have a chat on twitter at the very beginning with Robert Scoble, which helped me get my first 100 followers – but that was it!

    You also seem to have missed the importance of combining twitter with a blog/website that has high-value, ‘viral’ content.

    Let me explain:
    I write a blog post here and one of my followers really likes it. He or she ReTweets it to their (say 100) followers. 10% of their followers do the same, and then 10% of THEIR followers do the same etc. By making it REALLY clear that I am twitter user, these thousands of readers get the chance to join me on twitter. I make sure to mention twitter regularly on the blog and I even provide a button on my sidebar, which people can use to go straight to my twitter profile.

    So, even in the very early days, by combining useful tweets, as mentioned above, with an interesting blog, I was able to make myself visible to massively more people. I mentioned this at the end of this post: http://jimsmarketingblog.com/2008/11/10/focus-on-people-not-hits/

    Your ’80 followers a day’ is also not how it happened. I started off VERY slowly, but today I get hundreds of new ‘followers’ most days. A tweet today that reaches a potential 9500 people will generate more interest than one at the beginning that reached just a few.

    I hope this helps fill in a few blanks and thanks for asking one of the most interesting and valid comments yet posted to the blog!

  98. Hi Jim,

    Well, that’s a little more detail and appreciated. I’m just preparing my blog now (posts in the can and awaiting setup). Of course, that will start with a zero audience.

    However, following your model I will hope that you will post it to your Twitter account and that I’ll be able to pick up some early subscribers (see, I’m learning from you).

    Then, I suppose one thing will lead to another.

    Here’s my Twitter info:

    http://www.twitter.com/jerryroberts

    Thanks for the reply.

    Jerry

  99. Jerry,

    I have just checked and you already have hundreds of followers, even though you have no site linked to your twitter profile yet.

    That’s pretty impressive! I had only 160 followers when I started this blog! (Less than you have now!)

  100. Jim,

    At the very beginning I started doing what a lot of people do, just finding someone in their purported niche and started following their followers.

    That led to mixed results, about 60 percent followed back. I think many people just forget to follow those who follow them, and eventually out of sight is out of mind.

    I haven’t figured out a way to go back to those people and ask them to follow me, as Twitter doesn’t allow direct contact to those who don’t already follow you.

    I could track them down if they have a Website, but that’s a major chore even with only 110 people on that “not following” list.

    Or, I could unfollow from them and then refollow and see what happens. Still, lots of work and I’m better off developing content for Twitter and my blog.

    Now, I work hard at posting good content in several topic areas, including about half of it directly tied to my (upcoming) blog focus.

    I post 24 hours a day, courtesy of TweetLater (http://www.tweetlater.com), retweeting about a dozen meaningful articles into what I hope is a different audience in different time zones. That takes maybe 45 minutes a day.

    I try to add a personal touch to those article tweets.

    In addition I exchange replies and DMs with people. All told, I’m spending an hour a day on Twitter.

    I’m adding about eight followers net. That includes a couple who unfollow, almost certainly because they have to see my ugly mug so often in their stream.

    Guy Kawasaki says not to sweat those losses as they’re not long term folks anyway. You have to listen to somebody. So far it’s him and you I’m hearing.

    Best,

    Jerry

  101. Jerry,

    Stop focusing on the numbers! As I still have no idea what line of work you are in, it ‘might’ be a niche, in which case you will automatically attract fewer people.

    I have no idea why you are using automated tweeting services – twitter is all about people, and people are not keen on automated services! If your software sends out a tweet and people respond, they might be pissed that you are ignoring them – when the reality is that the machine sent it automatically and you are at work or asleep!

    I also suggest you focus on whatever your core area of expertise is – and not tweet in several different topic areas as you say you are currently doing. Let people learn who you are first, then expand.

    Try the personal approach, stop worrying about numbers and focus on what you do. I have visited your profile, read three of your comments here and read your tweets and have no idea what you actually do?

    My advice is to change your twitter bio, so it says in one sentence, what you do for people. Then, focus on building relationships with people who share your interest.

  102. Aloha and Oh My!
    I must share my curious Twitter story.
    First I am so new at all this I do not even know what tweet stuff Jerry is speaking of in his post.

    Yet last night I went and decided I had to get something going to get out into the bigger world (live on a small island) and let people know I am alive and well and perhaps have something to offer them at some point. Not to mention learn as much as I can from the plethora of fabulous info out there such as this site, which I found through Twitter!

    So I look at my floundering Twitter account and see I have 5 followers ok I said and started looking around (searching my interests) AND started following people that were showing up. Jim Connolly being one of them.

    Woke this morning to 116 followers and right now I have 176. Big thing for me is I feel connected already! People have gone to my site left messages and many DMs. Just great people and we are all connecting as best we can.
    I am shocked to have this move so fast yet am enjoying the ride.
    Be well and show us your passion Jerry! (see me on twitter http://www.twitter.com/starlightlife

    Aloha~ Gina

    PS going to go follow Jerry right now ;)

  103. Jim,

    The bio, since rewritten at your suggestion, is now more focused on the overall picture — helping managers and other workers coexist and then thrive in the workplace.

    The mechanism has been via a business magazine I publish and training, both of which were mentioned in the bio. A blog is ready to be launched that will consolidate much of my content.

    A lot of others were pretty clear on what I do based on their queries, but sorry you missed it.

    I use the automated service, TweetLater, to just schedule the posts. I can’t be connected all the time, even when awake, so this gets my tweets noticed by people who are tweeting when I’m elsewhere or asleep.

    This was suggested by Guy Kawasaki and it has boosted the number of followers.

    All I can give Twitter right now is about 30-45 minutes in the morning and 15-30 minutes later in the day or evening.

    I don’t have a preoccupation with the numbers. If I did I would spend all day following everybody else’s followers, including yours, and could have thousands inside of a month.

    I’m trying to bring value with every tweet, whether that’s with a link or replying to somebody else’s post.

    I like your strategy and will use that while awake and able to reply/converse.

    As the Twitter stream flows by rapidly, not using the scheduler would mean having no presence to a huge section of Twitter in the other 23 hours of the day.

    Can’t see how that would help me.

    If there was a way to capture tweets from my niche without having to dig through thousands of others, that would be great.

    Hope that explains it.

    Jerry

  104. Jerry,
    You are clearly just focusing on numbers and as such using that software is fine for people like you.

    You are totally missing the point though, because social networking is supposed to be about people.

    Im not followng you.

  105. Look at Jerrys tweet feed and it reads like a robot is posting. Using that program to tweet makes what he does sound like broadcasting or billboarding because hes not there to get the conversation going or even take part.

    I would totally unfollow him, had I been stupid enough to follow basically a robot.

  106. Yep. Just checked out Jerry’s feed and its just a bunch of broadcasts. Spammer – block him from the blog Jimbo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  107. First, Gatecrasher.

    How on Earth did you come to the conclusion that I’m spamming???

    1. That’s insulting.

    2. I spend a lot of time looking for articles that I think people might have interest in.

    3. I’m not selling anything, not linking to my site. In fact, the only people benefitting from my efforts are bloggers whose posts I’m highlighting.

    So, how is this spamming?

    I’m not promoting myself, just that I have varied interests and I share those.

    As well, IF YOU READ my stream, you would have also seen that I answer replies personally and not as a robot.

    You have misread my intent and unfairly labelled me here. I have openly described what I do, how I do it, and why I do it.

    If I was spamming, would I be discussing that?

    Jerry

  108. Frankie McG,

    As stated, I use the software to put up posts that I think people can use, and it gets to them in the hours that I cannot.

    Why is that such a crime in your eyes?

    I answer all replies to me and try to source info that works, or maybe is humorous.

    You find that sinister?

    I clearly pointed out that if I was after nothing but numbers, I’d be adding 500 a day from other peoples’ follower lists. I’m not doing that.

    Twitter is about people and I’m adding value to them. I’ve got a stack of replies and DMs that tell me other people think so.

    THEY like the hours I’ve put in to source posts. They get something out of it.

    I’m not selling anything. I’m bringing value.

    If you don’t want to follow, fine.

    But I hope you’re somebody with a sense of fairness.

  109. Sandy Elms,

    You missed the whole point of TweetLater, which is used by a lot of Twitter users.

    You said “Look at Jerrys tweet feed and it reads like a robot is posting. Using that program to tweet makes what he does sound like broadcasting or billboarding because hes not there to get the conversation going or even take part.

    I would totally unfollow him, had I been stupid enough to follow basically a robot.”

    First, TweetLater is a scheduling tool. Nothing more.

    I try to be creative with the intro to a post, but just generally give the opportunity to learn more if the reader wants to. If you find that robotic, c’est la vie.

    Sandy, I don’t have the ability to be on Twitter very much. Maybe you do. Maybe you can sit online hours a day and catch every tweet that goes by and develop relationships that way.

    Most of us don’t have that luxury.

    My model is to provide as much value in the time I am there. I do participate and converse where possible. Some of it deals with my specialty, some just on things I’m interested in.

    I have always focused on providing information for others before asking anybody to even think of working with me.

    What I find highly unfortunate here is that you and a couple of others have completely overreacted, taking innocent Twitter posts, all with good content and good intent, and making me out to be Hitler.

    I spend an hour a day looking for good, decent content to inform and amuse, and you criticize me for that???!!!

    There are people selling all sorts of things, using lewd language, racy innuendo, and whatever else, and you want to slam me for researching and providing clean content that many people feel is worthy?

    I don’t disagree with Jim or his methods, and plan to try some of them.

    Maybe you might want to read up the thread to see that.

    Jerry

  110. Dear Jim,

    I found your post and your motivation to tweet to be in the spirit of social media which is to help others and to reach out on a personal level. This is what excites me the most with this medium and it is where nice people finish first!
    Thank you for the tips and openness. If people keep it real, it will have huge payoffs.
    Best,
    Wendy

  111. Very qoooool!! “Equal me and I will equal you on Twitter!” I think it’s very humble and yet true!

    One way to see if people are just broadcasting without regards to others’ tweets is to just send a personal message (if that’s allowed).

    Twitter is sneaky in a way cos you can disallow direct messages and nudges!

    Has anyone checked Twinfluence.com ? I have a feeling that it’s not only in the numbers as explained in the site made by fellow Twitterer GuyHaven that makes your tweets more (or less) reached.

  112. P.S. Errata – it’s not GuyHaven it’s GuyHagen

  113. I’ve taken a few hours of flight training in the past, and one of the important topics when using the radios is to listen first before transmitting. I believe the same is true of jumping into a social community. It’s important to first take a look at what others are saying before jumping in and being that “dumb ass” follower or poster. Your concepts here on searching for relevant topics is spot-on. Find topics of interest and start responding to people with meaningful and helpful information. I’ve learned a lot from people near me by posing simple questions that contain keywords that others were looking for.

    As for those “dumb ass” posts, we’re all human. It’s certainly acceptable to act like one every once in a while. People will understand your frustrations, and it may actually net you a few more followers by posting your real feelings of the moment.

  114. Twitter is an incredible tool. It has helped me learn so much about social media. With the decline in traditional media, we must find ways to connect with people beyond our geographical area and Twitter allows for community building/sharing. There are many talented people out there. Great tips, Jim. I will put them to use.

  115. I am new to Twitter and these are really great ideas to help me get started. Thanks so much.

  116. Thanks for sending me this link, one of the few blogs I’ve found useful for using twitter for business.

  117. Excellent articles and advice. I’m completely new to this, as of today, and am excited to incorporate Twitter in my online marketing plans!!! Thank you, Jim!

  118. I really like what you’re saying here Jim, it’s true, honest and has integrity. I don’t have heaps of ‘associates’ or have anything to promote but have l use Twitter for education so that I can offer the best marketing advice to my clients.

    After reading this I was very pleased that you chose to follow me on Twitter and you’ll see I’ve reciprocated already :-)

  119. Thanks for the follow Jim! You are right on!

    I am an IT psychologist keen to have have people ‘live life easier’ through technology.

    Lots of associates means more people can:
    - Bounce ideas off each other
    - Share
    - Ask questions
    - Get help
    - Learn
    - Have fun

    That makes the world a better place..

  120. Another excellent read. It all seems like common sense, I don’t know why people throw this all out the window.

    Thank you so much.

  121. you have started a very interesting topic and people are actively participating..this is really gr8 :)

    I think it is always helpful to provide the best content & updates on twitter…By this way we can get the good no. of followers.

    thanks

  122. Great info! Thanks for the helpful tips for a newbie on twitter!

  123. I digg the term “Twitter Associates” that just makes sense. {Fist Bump} at ya’

  124. Thanks for the article. I haven’t been on twitter long, but I already see what a powerful tool it is.

    http://www.stopprocrastinatinginfo.com

  125. Now that I have read this post, I will certainly follow more of the people who follow me and actually visit their blogs just like I am doing now with yours. Who knows, I may learn something new!

  126. Love learning new things and this blog was definately a wealth of knowledge — thank you and I will subscribe and follow you!

  127. I like to check out their tweets to see what kind of tweets they generally to see if it’s mainly self promottion or not as well as their url and description of themselves before I follow.

  128. Home run man. I really appreciate your honesty.

  129. I 100% agree

    Anyone interested in direct marketing please view my blog

    http://directmailpurl.blogspot.com

  130. I like to see that someone is not just doing posts, but actually using the @twitterassociate on their page.

  131. This is a fantastic article on good practice and very insightful!

    You raised an interesting point about “followers”, “fans” and associates. I agree that “followers” gives the wrong impression to most Twitterers (or tweeters?) that they have an army of minions to do their bidding and buy their products.

    I’ll be using your awesome tips to grow my Twitter Associates from now on!

Comments are closed.