(These tips are based on my own experience and reflections — your mileage may vary. Nothing in life is a sure thing apart from death and taxes. While I’ve given these a slight Salesforce spin, they should be applicable to a number of domains)
1. Curate your posts
Don’t just retweet more influential accounts — anyone can easily achieve the same result with a twitter list containing those accounts. Before retweeting a link to an article, read it and make sure that it will be useful and of interest to your followers — just because it has the #Salesforce hashtag doesn’t mean it’s any good. Ideally look for content around the cutting edge — examples at the time of writing include Einstein and Salesforce DX. Your (re)tweets should be the top stories, not just filler.
2. Add insight
After you’ve confirmed that a story/link is good enough to go to your followers, add a few words to put you own spin on it. If you think it’s a good idea, don’t just say so but say why. If you think it’s a bad idea, say that. Your posts don’t have to be a constant stream of “everything is awesome” affirmation — don’t be afraid to be critical as long as you are constructive.
3. Follow the right people
Chances are that in any space there will be existing influencers and thought leaders. Follow them. If you start out with a high quality feed and only send on the best of it, pretty soon you’ll have a world class feed. The right people doesn’t just mean those that support your view — make a point of seeking out and following people you often disagree with. You might find that your change your mind on a few things and it’s always good to get out of the echo chamber. In the case of Salesforce this means not just following the Salesforce executives and evangelists, but a healthy cross section of the competitors.
4. Create your own content
If you want to be taken seriously as an influencer you need to be producing your own content, not just riding off other people’s efforts. Links to your own blog posts, Medium articles, GITHUB repositories of cool solutions. A great example of this is Trailhead. I find that if I tweet anything with the #Trailhead hashtag it gets a lot of interest, typically a thousand plus views. However, if I write a post about Trailhead covering the latest innovations and, crucially, some of my ideas about how it could be improved (insight again) then I’ll see four or five times the engagement.
5. Forget about the numbers
If all you want is a large number of twitter followers, you can buy them. I’m sure I’m not alone in receiving a large number of DMs promising me 25k followers for $25 (usually from accounts with around 150 followers — nothing like eating your own dog food). Few of these followers will be real and none of them will have the slightest interest in Salesforce, so you’ve gained nothing. A small, engaged audience is preferable to a large number that aren’t listening to a word you say.
Just one more thing …
Columbo style, here’s a final tip.
People aren’t haters just because they disagree with your opinion
This is something that many people in the UK (a selection of politicians, so called “celebrities” and elements of the media) seem to have forgotten. Twitter isn’t simply a broadcast platform — your readers have the right to reply and critique you.
If somebody doesn’t agree with, or even like, your content, all that means is they think you are wrong. The key question is why do they disagree?
- If it’s because they have reasoned arguments that point to a different conclusion, you’d do well to listen to them. Deciding that this somehow constitutes harassment or abuse is simply shutting down the debate.
- If it’s because of your gender/race/sexuality/political alignment, or their disagreement comes in the form of ad-hominem attacks and threats, don’t be afraid of the block button. Take it from me you can’t reason with these people — if you try you’ll just end up angry and disappointed.
I’m better known in the Salesforce community as Bob Buzzard — Umpteen Certifications, including Technical Architect, 5 x MVP and CTO of BrightGen, a Platinum Cloud Alliance Partner in the United Kingdom who are hiring.
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You can find my (usually) more technical thoughts at the Bob Buzzard Blog