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Jeremy Morgan

Mostly Coherent Ramblings of a Silicon Forest Software Developer

Twitter Success Series - Part 1. Build Your Tribe

By: Jeremy Morgan

Are you wondering what the trick is to making it big on twitter? Have you heard the success stories and wondered how to get in on it? This article describes a general strategy that could help you make the most of this social networking phenomenon. This is the first part of the “Twitter success Series”.

Why Twitter?

If you are an SEO, Marketer, or Entrepreneur and aren’t on twitter, you’ve already way behind. I could post a bunch of boring statistics and news articles, but I’m sure by now you’ve heard it’s the next big thing. It’s exploding popularity is bringing people together in way we’ve never seen before.

Twitter is the new Zeitgeist. It’s the cultural revolution at your fingertips, and it’s communication at the speed of light. Memes and Ideaviruses spread within minutes instead of days, and through sites like Twendz, you can keep your finger on the pulse of the web. It sound’s corny, but it’s true.

I too was a little hesitant, but I decided to focus some effort on building a base, and it’s filled my inbox and brought many more people to my site. Let me share what I’ve learned.

Get Social.

The whole point of using twitter is communication. You don’t want to just sit and read everyone else’s posts, but you also don’t want to just post things on your wall. You want communication, and you have to ensure that you have open and active communication between you, and your “followers”.

Add Value.

The old buzz phrase from the 90s is back. Unless you are a celebrity or some kind of industry leader, it’s likely not many people will follow you. So how does a lowly web geek from Oregon like me get followers? Adding value. Here’s how I do it.

  • Know your audience
  • Post Valuable links to items that will be useful to your followers
  • Post a combination of current events AND useful how to type links
  • Don’t just post links to your own site! Make the majority of links elsewhere
  • Don’t focus too hard on one topic. Mix it up
  • Get Personal, don’t just post links

I’ll explain some of these in detail.

Know your audience.

Out of the 1700+ followers I currently have, they can all be broken into a few categories. The majority of them are SEO/Marketing types. That is by far the largest group. Then I have some PHP programmers in there as well, some web designers, a few car guys and poker players. The rest are either people who I know in real life, or spammers who randomly follow people (don’t do that, I’ll explain later).

If that sounds like a rough overview of my personal and professional interests, you’d be right. That’s because I either follow people who talk about those things, and they follow me back, or they have followed me after I made a post about one of those things. Every time I post about something and throw in a hash tag I get more followers.

While this is a pretty diverse audience, I feel like I know who they are, and what they want. If I started posting a bunch of stuff about politics or basketball, it’s likely many of them would ignore it. Focus on learning about your followers and tailor your posts to them.

Post Valuable links to items that will be useful to your followers

When posting links to valuable sites, make sure it’s something useful, that they will enjoy, and Re-tweet or pass on to others. Make sure it’s stuff that will help them, and they’ll be waiting on your next tweet. The more likely someone will say “that is awesome” the more likely they will re tweet, and spread it. If this is one of YOUR links, you’re starting something viral. Post content with this in mind.

Post a combination of current events AND useful how to type links

If you notice, I like to post a combination of “how to” type links, as well as “here is what’s going on links”. My SEO links in particular follow this pattern. I’m either posting about how to do something, or something that is going on in the SEO world you should be aware of. You should keep a decent mix of these two types of posts. You can lean in either direction, but don’t focus on just one type of link.

Don’t just post links to your own site! Make the majority of links elsewhere

This is an important one. No matter how awesome or relevant your site is, don’t just post links to your site. People will get tired of seeing your logo on every tweeted link you send. Plus, it makes you look like a spammer. Post your own links when you have something good you want to share, but mix it up, throw in a variety of stuff and you’ll keep your audience satisfied.

Don’t focus too hard on one topic. Mix it up

The same theory applies here. No matter how great the posts are, you have to mix it up, keep things interesting. I mostly post about SEO and Marketing, with some programming and design stuff. But yesterday I posted a video of a guy doing freestyle stunts with a caterpillar. People loved it!

Get Personal, don’t just post links

I’m not going to fool myself into thinking even one person cares what I had for breakfast. But when I bought a giant burrito at the intel cafe and it took up the whole plate, I had to take a picture. Keeping things personal reminds people they aren’t following a robot link aggregator or a business. It’s a person behind the tweets, and that’s important.


In conclusion, the first step to building your “tribe” of followers is to post great stuff. Be unique. Be remarkable, be different. Give your twitter followers a reason to follow you, and make them antipate your next tweet.

Just doing this alone will help you build a following. But in the next installment of this article I’m going to talk about how to find your followers.

Want to follow me on Twitter? I give a lot of tips on Marketing and SEO as well. Follow me Here

Stay Tuned!