HOW TO LIVE IN THE AVIARY AND AVOID THE BIRDSHIT
You have to fly with Twitter as part of your social networking strategy. I know a lot of people are resistant to this. “I don’t want to do that Twitter thing.” Or “I’m not one those people with the Twit, the Tweezer, the Twizzler, whatever they call it. I don’t do it.” And perhaps in several years Twitter will not be the place we all want to spend time, but for the moment the aviary is an important rung on the ladder to social networking success.
I spent part of my afternoon rummaging around on various friends’ blog sites and surprisingly I found many had no links to their Twitter page. You have to group all of these things together.
And then I went on some Twitter pages and was surprised to see very few followers on many, sporadic Tweets and sometimes the dreaded egg, and these are interesting people.
There are a few basic rules and ways to work the Twittershpere.
First off, fill in your Twitter page so it looks interesting and reflects you or whatever it is you are selling or pushing or promoting online.
I don’t care if you design handbags, make wine or are a plastic surgeon it has to yell what you do. The worst thing to do is keep that egg up. Nobody wants to follow an egg, eggs are great in the nest, in an omelet, but get it off your Twitter page. If you want to fly under the radar, put a photo up of something that isn’t your face. But lose the egg.
I will not follow anyone with an egg. I just removed ten eggs off my feed. I figure if they can’t get it together to do something more original than what Twitter sticks up there, I cant be bothered following them.
No one is born with a Twitter following, outside of one of the future Kardashian kids: So clearly people build up to the thousands by doing some work. And yes it’s work, much more in the beginning than after it gets rolling.
The first thing you do is start to follow people who do what you do.
The whole paradigm of life online is so different from that in life on the street.
Say you had a hardware store and Hal across the street had one too, now you would not put a sign in your window advising people to try Hal’s, or a sign saying Hal’s Hardware Rocks.
We have always lived with the idea that competition meant if someone did what we did then he or she could/would get business away from us. The notion of built in generosity towards our competitors is not part of our nature, especially in these economic times.
When I spoke at Jell Pulver’s 140 Conference last summer: a great treat. I said “Be generous online, it’s so big there is room for us all.”
So if you start with that as a template, go follow all the people, well not all but a lot, who do what you do. If you are an author, follow other authors, follow book bloggers, bookstores, publishers; if you write in a specific genre go deep into Twitter and find the people who do what you do, then you see who follows them, that is your fan base and you follow them. And you see who the people you admire follow and you follow those people and then you see who those people follow and you follow them and you keep going until you are following up to five hundred people who are in “your world.”
And then you start retweeting what they have to say. And you go into settings on your Twitter and click to automatically follow anyone who follows you. And then when you get the notice they are following you, you thank them and take to retweeting some of the things they say. You also need to reference them in your Tweets. Start doing #FF FridayFollows, this is people suggesting people they like to follow. This stuff goes a long way. The people you are being generous to will in turn often times start following you. Go on people’s Twitter feeds and look for #FF and you will see what I mean.
It all feeds into itself. Example I once tweeted about Lucy and SillyBandz a kid craze from a few years back. I think I even uploaded a photo. Within two hours the head of Silly Bandz was following me, his competitors were following me. Now if I were in the toy business this is exactly what I would have wanted. Not being in the toy business I let them go after a time. But I kept following them for a good year and I retweeted them.
If you are in the fashion business then you follow designers, fashion bloggers, online magazines, people who are doing exactly what you do and you friend them and promote them and do all the things you might not do if you were say only brick and morter store.
We all live with this notion that if you get the job then I don’t. This isn’t about that. It’s about connecting to like-minded people who do what you do and all forming kind of a daisy chain that allows people to grow their brand.
I can’t even believe I just wrote that, but I have grown to believe in it as I have watched it work.
If you find it daunting to have to comb through hundreds or thousands of Tweets a day, Twitter has a feature that allows you to make lists. Have one list of your most important work follows and each day take a half hour and see what they are saying and how you can participate in the dialogue and retweet some of what they say.
Then have your guilty pleasures list, the place you go to just hang out and read fun stuff. And then have your news list or whatever your other interests are. But it’s very hard to get to see all your independent bookstores when you have to plow through 60 CNN Tweets, and 5o Anderson Cooper and 40 Gawkers, if you follow Gawker. Yes, I follow Gawker. But breaking them up does make it easier and saves a ton of time.
Be generous. Pay if forward it will only come back to help you. But not insincerely, it has to come from the right place. Don’t retweet something you hate just to blow smoke up someone’s ass, it doesn’t; work that way.
Do it from your heart. Do it with passion and do it everyday with enthusiasm. I promise you you will see results.
PS – Four Minutes after I posted this this person started following me. Now if I was in the aviary business it would be a good thing. Shows you how fast it can work. Not always the way you want it to, but he picked up the word aviary. Also notice he has only tweeted once. He is not someone you want. But you cast the net wide enough….