Social Media


The Secret Ingredient for Social Media Success: Elbow Grease

Many people would like to know the ingredients of the secret sauce that will get their Twitter and LinkedIn follower lists to grow. I just started using these services a few years ago, and I have tried some things that proved successful. I have learned from other successful users as well. Here are a few ideas that have worked for me.

First, here’s an update on my current status. When I wrote about this topic in July, I had 100,000 LinkedIn and 40,000 Twitter followers. Now, three months later, I have 110,000 LinkedIn followers and nearly 46,000 on Twitter.

As good as this may seem, my social networks are not growing fast enough for me. I want a gazillion followers on both services and I want them overnight. Don’t you?

The Whole Truth?

I know many people with hundreds of thousands of followers. They have been doing this for many years. How do I reach their level? They get a consistent flow of newbies. That’s good, but how? I get a regular flow of newbies myself. So how can I increase the flow to reach their numbers?

Time is one of the key ingredients. These successful social media users are not celebrities. They are not known by the masses. They are average people — ordinary people. They are unknown by the masses, yet they have become successful. They have become so successful they can attract new clients just by the size of their follower list.

When I’ve talked with them, I have found they employ many different tactics. Whether they have revealed their top secrets is the question. Another is whether their tactics will work as well for you.

Ask people how they became successful at anything, and many will stand up straight and tell you what they think. However, sometimes the answers they give don’t reveal the actual reasons. Sometimes they don’t really know.

I have learned there are many effective ways to get LinkedIn and Twitter followers.

Develop Your Expertise

I have learned a few key tricks of the trade that I want to share with you now.

Become an expert. Why do some authors of how-to books become successful? They do so by building their name as an expert in a particular area. If you wanted to build something, and you were shopping for a guide in a bookstore, and you saw a variety of books by different authors, which would you choose?

You would choose the brand name you already knew. If there was nothing there, you would next choose the brand of an expert in the field. You would less likely buy a book by someone who is not an expert. That just makes sense.

It’s the same with Twitter and LinkedIn. Everyone has an opinion. However, we want to follow people who seem to know what they are talking about.

So, one way to grow your list is to market yourself as an expert in an area that followers are interested in. Show yourself to be a leader, and that will take you a long way.

Find Your Niche

You don’t have to worry about the entire marketplace. As many bestselling authors might tell you, your audience will find you. Every author’s audience is different. Every author has a different set of readers, and all it takes is a few hundred thousand readers to be successful.

Be very active. If you want to grow your follower list, don’t pay any attention to your friends and family who only have 20 followers each. They don’t understand the power of social networks.

Follow the leaders. Post all day, every day. This means you must invest time and energy. It can be exhausting and draining, but continual posting is one sure way to make sure your postings spread, and your numer of followers grow.

There are all sorts of Twitter and LinkedIn tools available on the Web to help you do just that. Think of them as social network assistants. Some cost money and others don’t. You can find links, add them to your posting list, then have them posted throughout the day without your being there to push the button.

Post everything. If you write or create, post. If you don’t, find others who post and repost their stuff. Post news stories. Post announcements. Just post. The more you post, the more of an expert you will appear to be — and the bigger an expert you appear to be, the more you will attract other users.

I have found that the more followers you have, the faster your network grows. It takes on a life of its own. So, if you only have a few hundred or a few thousand followers, don’t expect rapid growth. But if you stick with this and expend the effort, day after day, your list will grow, and that growth will accelerate.

Make It Your Mission

Unless you are a celebrity or an overnight star, it may take time to build your list. Spend time every day building your list. Invest in yourself. I have been actively doing this for two years. I have plenty of followers, and I want more.

Have an insatiable appetite to grow your follower list. Put it high on your list of things to do. There are so many ways to build your list. What works for one doesn’t always work for another. It depends on what you do. It depends what your goals are.

A singer has a different type of followers than a business person or an author. Even singers find they attract followers differently. Do you think every follower likes the same kind of music? Of course not. They attract different followers in different ways. Actors and CEOs attract different followers than accountants or your local insurance agent.

Customize Your List

Different followers for every social media user is the key. Don’t expect to duplicate other users. It won’t happen. You must build your list, slowly and consistently, every day.

There is no one single best way to build your follower list. Find people similar to yourself and start to follow their followers. That is one way to grow your list, slowly but surely.

Jump in and get started — the social media water is great. Twitter and LinkedIn eventually may be viewed as fads, but even if that should be the case, they are important today.

Don’t think that once you find the growth tools that work best for you, that the situation will remain the same forever. Every spring eventually dries up. Keep looking for new ideas to continue to grow your lists of Twitter and LinkedIn followers.

To do so is often worth the effort, as you’ll be rewarded with increased business, power and influence.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

Jeff Kagan

Jeff Kagan has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2010. His focus is on the wireless and telecom industries. He is an independent analyst, consultant and speaker. Email Jeff.

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