Ashton Kutcher has 5.8 million Twitter followers and appears to “tweet” a 140 character (or less) message 4-5 times a day at least. Britney Spears has 5.9 Twitter followers even though she “tweets” what appears to be just about 4-5 times a week on average; and she even has help doing that.
Certainly being a big name celebrity doesn’t hurt, but what these two Twitter aficionados have demonstrated is that consistency with Twitter updates is one of the cornerstones to attracting followers. That’s all well and good if you don’t already have a full-time job; but as most mere mortals soon discover– Twittering consistently and frequently can be a lot of work.
How do they do it?
Well, I can’t speak for them (having an entourage probably helps), but for the rest of us, it helps to rely on a little bit of automation and a little bit of strategy. At least, that’s what we do at Outskirts Press to find the time to manage a somewhat realized “social networking footprint” while still devoting the majority of our time and resources toward efforts that benefit our clients the most (ie., producing award-winning books).
First let’s discuss the automation. We use three aggregators frequently: Ping.fm, Feed Burner, and Tweet Deck. The first two are among the “tips” I discuss in detail in my upcoming book “0-60: Accelerating Your Online Marketing Efforts” and they also play a role in my upcoming presentation on the same topic at the Self Publishing Book Expo in New York on the first Saturday in October.
Ping.fm allows you to broadcast a single message simultaneously to about 50 different social networking sites. It requires an up-front time investment to set-up those sites initially with a profile, password, username, etc. But once those sites are set-up, Ping.fm allows you to “participate” on all of them relatively efficiently. Of course, part of the advantage of Web 2.0 is that it is a “two way conversation” and that is where Ping.fm has its drawbacks. Sure, it is very efficient at initiating one way correspondence, perhaps too efficient, because those messages then require some manual participation to moderate and respond to the “two way conversation” that results. Managing 50 social networking sites is beyond our company’s resources; perhaps your company is in a different place. So we pick and choose the channels we invest time and energy in. Not coincidentally, they are the most “popular” channels like Twitter and Facebook, etc.
Feed Burner and TweetDeck offer similar time-saving social networking tools, albeit in a different capacity than Ping.fm. And that’s why we use all of them, rather than being able to rely on just one.
Automation and aggregation are only half the battle. Strategizing and scheduling the composition and distribution of social networking messages is equally important and we will discuss that next time.