Slightly over two years ago, I decided to join Twitter. I didn’t have a blog. I wasn’t on Facebook (I’m still not really, but that’s the subject for another time). I wasn’t a celebrity.
About a month after joining Twitter, I launched this blog in December of 2011. Leadership Insights is now two years old.
Learning from Others
Learning how to use Twitter was my first goal. All around me were experts. My friend and best selling author and social media expert Michael Hyatt was encouraging me to join. For some reason still unknown, his Twitter feed was embedded into my desktop even without me joining the service. I was able to see him Tweet for months. Many of those tweets made no sense because they were replies, but I learned by watching.
Then I attended a Preds game with another friend, best-selling author Karen Kingsbury, and her family. Karen graciously sat with me, walking me through the ins and outs of Twitter and how she used it to connect with her loyal fans. I think I was looking at her phone more than the ice during that game because I don’t even recall who won.
Yet another best selling author friend came to visit Nashville, and I sat with Margaret Atwood at dinner and received another tutorial. Her use of Twitter was vastly different, and so I began to see how personal style was important.
That was the first few weeks, but many others with huge numbers of Twitter followers started to give me advice.
I began to blog and wrote a post on Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Twitter Any Longer; later I wrote 13 Tips for Twitter Effectiveness. Last year, I even wrote a note to Santa for my Twitter wish list.
Never did I think I would be near 200,000 followers in just over two years.
You think, well, sure you had all these amazing friends and that’s how it started. I thought that, too. After several friends with many followers sent notes to “Follow @SkipPrichard,” I thought I would be on the way. The reality was that it barely moved my numbers. Then, after a month or two, my followers started dropping. I would get to 300, then go backwards.
Finally, I decided to not think about it. My goal was not numbers but to really use the service to connect with others, to share, and to learn.
A few things I learned along the way:
You will get out of it what you put into it. The best way to learn is by jumping in.
Decide: What’s your purpose? What do you want to get out of it? You may just want to watch and listen. You may want to share or meet new people.
Upload a picture. Don’t be an egghead!
Have a follow-back policy. Are you going to follow everyone back? Be highly selective about who you follow? It’s up to you. Remember you can change your mind later.
Make sure your bio reflects your purpose. Make it clear why people should follow you.
Follow people you’re interested in.
Watch out for spammers.
It’s a resource. Once I was in a camera store trying to decide what to buy as a gift. A quick message to my friend and world class photography instructor @SkipCohen and I had my answer. Another time I was in New Orleans looking for some good gumbo. Ten minutes later we were in a restaurant ordering the best gumbo in the city.
Learn. So many opportunities to learn.