Most tweets fall in the woods without making a noise. Ignored, completely ignored. You’ve probably read this Wired article revealing 71% of all tweets generate absolutely zero reaction by the tweetosphere… no RTs, no response, nothing. Did anyone even read them? Who knows. If you’re on Twitter to listen and get news-fixes from your trusted sources, that may not be a problem, but if you’re like me – seeking the added value of networking and conversations - then that’s pretty much your biggest issue with Twitter.
HOW DO YOU GET HEARD IN A CROWD?
For most, Twitter feels like Grand Central Terminal at rush hour. A big crowd of strangers moving past you, each individual with his own agenda. Come back an hour later – new crowd. Very hard to find the right people to engage with, and create meaningful dialogue.
In my first months on Twitter, I struggled. I would post my thoughts, retweet interesting (to me ) links, and maybe interact with a handful of nice tweeps who I randomly stumbled upon. My experience of Twitter is completely different now: I’ve created relationships with a large group of amazing active users who also seek engagement and interaction. The value I get out of it has increased ten fold.
A WIKI POST – STRATEGIES TO HAVE A MORE ENGAGING EXPERIENCE OF TWITTER!
I have experimented, but I don’t know all the answers, so will start this as a collaborative post… My thoughts starters are below, and I’d ask my readers and friends to post their own thoughts on how to make the most of Twitter if your objective is to interact.
TWO STRATEGIES THAT DON’T WORK – THE FIREHOSE & THE TOURIST.
Here’s two type of users I’ve noticed, as I’m sure you have. The first is the Firehose. Someone who pumps out tweet after tweet with links to his own content, without ever responding to anyone. You’ll spot him easily by noticing short bursts of 4 or 5 tweets, all with links, all only a few seconds apart. Most probably automated – don’t answer, you’d probably be talking to Hootsuite! Some people do this and also interact – the only way to know for sure is to check their timeline. Those who never answer back are… Firehoses. I won’t judge, but if you want interaction on Twitter, this can’t work, so don’t mirror your behavior on them. The Tourist is the polar opposite… someone who comes on Twitter on a Monday, then comes back on a Friday the following week. Very few people will invest time to get to get to know someone who simply never shows up. You need to be on Twitter somehow regularly… not to say spend all your day (like some), but it’s better to be active 10 mn every day than one full hour only once a week.
THE HOLY GRAIL – BEING A LIGHTHOUSE
Here’s who I’d like to be. Someone known for having a point of view and original ideas others gravitate to. A Lighthouse is a user who shines a beacon that others navigate towards… someone who will start conversations… stimulate followers with fresh thoughts… yet value interaction with others to fuel their own thinking. Now, I’m not there, and my guess is I won’t be for a while. But I sure will try and mirror some of my own behaviors on such lighthouses. If you want good examples of Lighthouses, you’ll want to follow people like @unmarketing (Scott Stratten), @thebrandbuilder (Olivier Blanchard) or @JessicaNorthey (Jessica Northey).
A GREAT WAY TO START – PAYING IT FORWARD
A great way to start is to pay it forward. Don’t wait for others to mention and retweet you. Follow people you find interesting, respond to their questions, retweet their content, mention them in your tweets. Very soon you’ll be known as someone who likes to interact and you’ll be brought into more conversations. After a while, if some users still ignore you… dump them and move on. Life is too short and the crowd is too big.
THE MOST EFFECTIVE (I FOUND) – USING “MEET ME HERE!” SIGNS
The fastest way to get interactive on Twitter is to join chats. Here’s a full list. Chats are great because they’re “by appointment” and “by interest” – show up at the designated time, and use the designated hashtag in your tweets (e.g. #LeadershipChat or #MMchat), you’ll be sure to have a dialogue with users who do want to engage on topics you care about. Follow them and continue the conversation after the chat.
I can’t conclude this post without mentioning #usguys! I won’t tell the story again, it’s in an earlier post. Using the #usguys in your tweet, at any time, is like wearing a badge that says “I want to have a conversation”. Quite a powerful statement – and it works because a growing number of tweeps use a #usguys search as their starting point in Twitter, rather than their full stream (I know, I do)… So I don’t need to run it past Wired or their research company to know that the 71%-of-tweets-ignored rule does not apply to #usguys. In fact, I’m pretty sure that number is zero.
MORE IDEAS IN COMMENTS PLEASE!!!
I still find it hard to find the right people in the crowd… those who will join a conversation. How do you do it?