‘Tis Better to Retweet Than Be Retweeted

give blogpostYou have thousands of followers, which means thousands of people are seeing what you are saying. But traffic to your blog has not significantly increased, your messages are never retweeted, and your Klout score is in the dumpster.

Do you want to build a stronger network on twitter?  Do you want to increase the number  of people who follow you? Do you want to increase the number of people who retweet you?

Try helping out your followers. The more you help your followers, the more they’ll help you. It’s as easy as that. If you keep 3 basic ideas in mind while tweeting, your twitter network will grow stronger.The concept may sound a little Zen at first, but trust me, it works.

To receive, give

You will not get retweeted just because you have a twitter account and 5,000 followers (especially if those 5,000 followers are spammers who are only pushing content). You may get recognized and retweeted if you are a celebrity (real-life or Internet) because you have provided content to your audience.

But even if you are not an Internet celebrity, you can still give to your followers and the people following you. Find out what your followers are saying and respond to them. Ask them questions. Retweet messages you think are interesting. Tweet their blog posts. After all you are following these people because you think they are interesting, right? Why not share what they are saying (provided it is interesting) with the rest of your network?

The more you give, the more you will receive

I know it sounds self explanatory, but there’s a good reason to keep this in mind. Responding and retweeting sometimes starts as a tit-for-tat sort of game where a follower will retweet you or respond to you for every time you retweet or respond to that follower. But if you can do this more than your followers, they’ll soon lose track of who’s ahead and behind, and you’ll notice yourself them responding to you and retweeting you more on their own initiative.

Keep in mind that other rules of retweeting and responding apply. Your followers will not retweet everything you say (such as “I’m eating a bologna sandwich”), but they are more likely to comb through your recent tweets and pick out the interesting stuff.

It is better to give than to receive

Here is where things get tricky. When giving, give to give. In other words, when retweeting or responding to someone, do it in the spirit of altruism. Respond because you have a question or you want to give that follower kudos. Retweet because you find that person’s tweet interesting. Not only will this strengthen your twitter network but this will also make your twitter experience better.

There have been many times where I give to my followers then receive a couple of direct messages thanking me, and that alone makes it worth it. If that’s the only recognition I received from giving to my followers, that would make it worth it.

That is the mentality you need to have when giving. But here’s the counter-intuitive part: the less you care about getting retweeted or responded to when you give, the more you will see it happen. This is because if you have that mentality, you are more likely to give on your own initiative.

If you give because you expect to get something in return, then you could retweet and respond until your fingers fall off, and it will not strengthen your twitter network. I don’t have any scientific proof to back this up. I just know it won’t work.

Of course, these steps alone will not guarantee a celebrity-caliber twitter account. But if you are doing everything else right, these steps may be the magic bullet that sends your twitter account to the next level.

Photo by Mr. Kris, http://www.flickr.com/photos/krislitman/493626935/
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