By KP Kelly, ARCH Digital Media’s Twitter Organic Growth Specialist
We all have similar socializing skills in kindergarten.
We’d walk right up to someone and say, “Hey, I like your shirt! Will you be my friend?
We had it down back then. We had no reservations. No hidden agendas. If we wanted something, we asked. We teamed up quickly and helped each other out. It was the kindergarten way.
Then, we grew up.
So when it comes to building relationships on Twitter, I say: channel your inner kindergartener.
Building relationships on Twitter is vital to growing your brand and accomplishing your social media goals. Without relationships, your Twitter account, or any social media account for that matter, is simply a billboard. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had much success or fun standing and talking to a billboard.
Most of us realize that building relationships is vital, though many struggle to do so.
Here are 5 tips to help you channel your inner kindergartner and grow your Twitter relationships.
1.Take the Initiative
This is the equivalent to the kindergartner walking up to another kid and saying hello.
You can’t develop a relationship if someone does not know you exist. You also can’t assume that just because someone follows you that you have a relationship.
Maybe they are really interested in you, clicked follow, and will initiate a relationship with you. However, most of the time, people simply follow based on your tweets. Starting a relationship is the next step.
If there is someone on Twitter that you want to have a relationship with, follow them and initiate a conversation. Say hello.
For example: @carlosgil83
Carlos was one of my first Twitter followers when I started out on Twitter. He direct messaged me and tweeted at me saying hello. And he followed up with a tweet to me once in a while.
If you follow his Twitter feed, you will see that he often reaches out to various people and initiates conversations. I am now connected with Carlos on most every social network and interact frequently. We even tweeted and Snapchated each other our attempts at growing a “Movember” beard. It all started with a follow and a hello.
Action Step: Find one or two targeted followers on Twitter today, follow them, and say hello or ask them how their day is.
This seems like simple enough advice, right? It’s not followed often.
If you met someone in person and they said something nice to you, you’d instantly say, “thank you.” The rules of social interaction don’t change when it comes to online relationships. If someone retweets your tweet, thank them. If someone follows you, thank them. This simple act goes a long ways towards growing a relationship.
People will interact with those who take the time to thank them.
For example: @KimGarst
Kim is a social media powerhouse. She’s busy, has many followers, is tweeted at and retweeted often. If you see Kim and I interact periodically on Twitter it may seem natural because we both have large online followings and in the same industry.
However, Kim interacted the same way with me when I had 100 followers. She did not always have the time to thank me for a retweet right away, but she always makes sure to thank me. She also goes one step beyond that and will ask me how my day is or ask me a question in her thank you.
That little trick of asking a question along with the thank you is genius. It initiates a conversation, which builds a relationship.
Action Step: Find one or two followers who have retweeted your content or mentioned you and thank them. If you don’t have anyone who has, then find someone who has tweeted something that added value to you and thank them for posting that content.
3. Be Authentic
I often find it annoying when people say, “keep it real.” Though, I admit, that applies to growing relationships on Twitter. You can’t be a robot. Be yourself.
You don’t have just one interest in life, so why would you tweet about just one topic, over and over? Nobody wants to be friends with the person who only ever talks about one thing. Be yourself.
For example: @StaffingQueenN
Nicole is one of the most impressive female entrepreneurs out there. She owns a rapidly growing and successful staffing company, and lives in San Francisco. If both of us only tweeted about our jobs, we’d have never connected.
However, we found a common interest in basketball and being fans of the Golden State Warriors. We then found more common interests, such as tweeting about the same television shows like Shark Tank. That created a Twitter friendship. Recently, we both started to lead Twitter Chats about our areas of expertise, and both took time out of our days to be active participants and support each other’s efforts. That would not have been possible if Nicole was not authentic.
Action Step: Find one or two of your followers and tweet at them about a common interest that has nothing to do with what either of you do for a living.
This falls right back to that kindergarten attitude. Kids help each other out. It’s rather interesting. We think of kids as inherently selfish with a world view that only revolves around themselves, yet, it’s their instinct to willingly help each other.
To grow a relationship on Twitter, you have to help people. Help can come in many forms. Part of helping is providing valuable content that adds value to your followers. Another part is, when you see someone asking for help, take the time and give the help. Too many people are on Twitter to take. Be a giver. You’ll stand out, and your relationships will grow.
For example: @fondalo
Robert is the owner of BundlePost, an amazing tool that plays a large role in what I do everyday. However, I knew Robert through Twitter for two years before I became a BP customer. I became a customer because his product fulfilled a need I had, but also because a relationship was formed.
The relationship was formed mostly because Robert was helpful. If I tweeted out a question, he’d offer his reply and help. When I had a cause to share or a blog post I wanted to gain high viewership, Robert would help share that content. His helpful attitude helped grow a relationship, and now Robert has me as a life-long customer.
Action Step: Go through your Twitter stream and find one or two people that you can help right now, be it retweeting their tweet, liking their facebook, or whatever it may be.
5. Have Fun.
I can’t believe I have to give this piece of advice, but it’s crucial. It is “social” media people! Social! Who wants to socialize with someone who is not fun? Kindergarteners have fun in most everything they do. Why did we stop doing that when we grew up?
Have fun talking about your interests, but also have fun posting and talking about work. Add some personality. Relationships can’t grow without some fun and you certainly won’t attract new followers if you aren’t having fun with Twitter.
For example: Not to toot the ARCH Digital Agency Horn, but… Toot toot! If you look at the Twitter feeds of each Specialist on the ARCH team, you’ll find fun and personality in most of our tweets. We have fun with it. It’s part of what brought us all together, and it’s why we built relationships and get along well. We are good at what we do. We present ourselves as authorities on our areas of expertise, but we have fun online and we develop relationships with other people who like to have fun.
Action Step: Have fun! Post a joke. Reply to one of your followers and add a bit of your unique personality in your reply. Post a selfie and poke a little fun at yourself. Have fun on Twitter!
There are all sorts of technical tricks and tips on how to attract followers. But when it comes to building relationships on Twitter, channel that inner kindergartener in you: Take the initiative; Be thankful; Be authentic; Be helpful;
And, please, Have fun!