A Follow on Twitter Isn’t “Social” or “Networking” …Talk to Me!

Talk on TwitterFor even those brand new to Twitter, each day we pick up a few new followers.

Some find you because of your branding,  LinkedIn profile or business card. Others by actively checking their stream, watching who their friends are re-tweeting or via a Twitter chat. Some just follow back after you’ve worked hard to expand your personal network and followed them.

We Follow the Relevant

As I’ve written before about why people follow on Twitter, the primary reason (assuming you are not Ashton Kutcher or Justin Bieber) is…  relevance. Something in your bio that  leads others to believe you have, or can have, a virtual kinship.

So we follow. Regardless of our goals. Or how far along we are in job search or how close we are to accomplishing our goals. We follow.

But then what?

Turning Relevant into Relationship

Without engagement, the initial value of relevance is lost. Because we’ve never talked to each other… because we didn’t care enough to turn relevant into relationship.

This happens often on LinkedIn when people are lazy. Glad for the new connection, they stop there thinking, “I’ll build that relationship later”. But that seems to never happen. Instead, we collect more connections… and never get around to building a relationship.

Twitter is different. Or rather, for the benefit of your job search and personal network, Twitter should be different. On Twitter, each of us has this incredible opportunity to start, build and maintain online relationships – all based on that original relevance.

Twitter Isn’t Passive

YouTern CEO Mark Babbitt has over 27,000 followers on Twitter. Yet he estimates that maybe 5% of those actually reach out. Or share content. Or… talk. To get the most out of Twitter – in Mark’s case, job search advice and a potential career mentor – you must be an active participant. You must engage. Yet most of us don’t.

If you are currently using Twitter in a passive fashion, here are some ideas to begin using this great platform with more of a purpose:

Pick a few of these five actions and do them right now:

  1. Send Mark (or me!) a friendly @message like:  “Hey @YouTernMark – saw you in a post today. Here to talk.
  2. Re-tweet this post (see the sharing buttons to the left) and then add: “—> yes, more talking please!
  3. Send this post to a friend just learning to use Twitter and say: “@<Twitter handle>: Thought of you re: ways to use Twitter…
  4. Ask a question, say good morning or send a relevant link to a mentor or influencer (a post you wrote or like): “<@Twitter handle>: Thought you might enjoy this…
  5. Invite others to be actively engaged, perhaps in a Twitter chat: “<@Twitter handle>: See you on #InternPro chat Monday?

I’m sure we could come up with another 20 ways to to establish a “talking relationship” instead of a passive “follow”. THAT is both “social” and “networking”. THAT is what you must do to get the most out of Twitter.

Oh, and one more thing…

Please stop with the automated direct messages after I follow you. Honestly, that is like the licking both sides of the oreo and handing it to someone else to finish. I don’t know a single person who likes that. Do you?

Be active. Be social. I don’t collect followers… I build mutually-beneficial relationships.

And I’m not alone.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Tim’s Strategy!


Tim_AuthorAbout the Author: Tim Tyrell-Smith is a career, marketing, branding and strategy coach focusing on small business, non-profits and individuals. A veteran executive in consumer marketing, Tim spent 23 years growing premium brands including Nestle Quik, Mauna Loa Macadamias and Meguiar’s Car Wax. Follow Tim on Twitter!


Image courtesy of socialstrand.com. Thank you!



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