I recently hit 5000 followers on Twitter, and I was surprised by how many people asked how I did it. I mentioned it in passing, like I would mention if we drove by the world’s largest ball of twine. I told my wife the answer is I didn’t do anything at all to specifically get followers and she said “Well, you signed up”. Fair point. Aside from that, I’ve never done anything specific to get followers. That doesn’t mean however that I didn’t do anything at all. Here are some reasons why people have started following me.
Being Visible In Public
I really enjoy helping people in the early stages of learning things. It feels very fruitful because they tend to learn big things quickly. It’s very very rewarding for me. As a result, I like to speak at WordCamps, and I enjoy creating content like videos and tutorials. After every WordCamp talk I get a little flurry of new followers. Usually 5 or 6. I don’t actually know how specific videos or tutorials have impacted my follower number, but I don’t think specific ones matter anyway. More on that below. Chris Lema does a lot more of this stuff than I do, and he’s at 24k+ followers.
This has been a big influence. I’ve never sought attention for it, because that’s the opposite of the point, but people still like having me on podcasts to talk about etc. People like it, and word gets around. Also, because it’s such a global thing, I’ve gotten a fair number of followers from a lot of places that would never have heard of me otherwise.
Being Active On Twitter
I tweet a lot. Hundreds of tweets per month. There have been months with more than a thousand tweets.
The Real Magic
Consistency. If I had quit doing WordCamp talks five years ago, I wouldn’t have NEARLY the number of followers I have now. If I had run HeroPress for 12 months and let it sit as a historical record, I’d be way less visible. I would never have spoken at WordCamp US. I would never have spoken at WordCamp Pune in India.
I started making WordPress training videos nearly 10 years ago. There are hundreds of them scattered all over the place out there, more than I can remember for sure. If I had made 20 or so and quit, they would never
A Word About Inertia
I really think once you start getting followers you start getting them faster. It took me more than 13 years to get to 4000 followers. It took 6 months to get from 4000 to 5000. I’ve gotten 24 in the last 4 days.
I don’t really use Twitter as a platform to say anything meaningful, so being able to say inane things to more people doesn’t feel very significant. Maybe I should start saying more meaningful things.