How NOT to Get Me to Follow You on Twitter

I have come to really like Twitter.  So much so that I have to tell myself to take a break once in a while so that I can get something done.  Twitter levels the playing field and allows anyone to share what’s on their mind or what they’re doing.  It’s a great way to extend your ministry, bless others, and create connections.

Where Facebook is about affiliation (who you know or have known) Twitter for me has become about affinity (what do we have in common?)  I really like finding others with common interests and passions and following each other.

That said, unless you’re a major public figure, you’re probably finding followers the way most people do; by searching for like-minded individuals, following them, and see if you get a follow back.  If you do, you’ve made a connection.  Good day!

So let’s say you’re trying to expand your Twitter community and you’re having trouble getting people to follow you back.  Here are some reasons why this might be happening:

1. A user name that’s difficult to understand. Zboy1509YO might mean something to you, but it doesn’t do a thing for me.  Try keeping your user name as close to your real name or organization’s name as possible.

2. No picture. The Twitter bird is cute but I don’t want to see that graphic all up and down my time line.  Use a picture of YOU.  I’m interested in connecting with other people, not their dog, car, or favorite beverage.

3. Incomplete bio. I’m going to let you in on a secret.  I like to follow people back who share my same interests and affinities.  If I see that you’ve followed me, I’m going to check your bio to see if you’re someone I’d like to follow back.  Add a link to your blog (not your sales presentation) there.  If there’s no information there, I’m going to assume we have nothing in common and not follow you back.  The key is to make me work as little as possible to find out if you’re someone I would like to follow back.

4. A protected profile. Sometimes I like to read a few of your tweets before I decide whether or not to follow you back.  You send me a follow.  I click on your name to see your Twitter profile and I see a padlock.  “Tweets are protected.”  How do I know you have anything interesting to say?  I’m not taking any chances on a protected profile.  No follow back!

5. All of your tweets include a link. If I see links on all of your tweets, chances are I won’t even read them to see if they’re interesting.  When 100% of your tweets are links to your web site, chances are you’re only interested in driving traffic or selling something.  I’m in it for interaction and community, not to read 140 character commercials every few minutes.  With that said, I do follow those links when posted by people who have other things to share too.

6. You’re building a fan club. One of the worst Twitter travesties I’ve seen is when people thin out the number of people they’re following to cause a greater gap in their followers to following ratio.  Look, if you’re a major celebrity, it’s understandable to have 100,000 followers and only be following 25.  The sad thing is that I’ve seen people in ministry drop followers to appear more popular (or something).  It’s one thing to unfollow others who aren’t following you back but come on!  Unfollowing people who are following you because you want a Twitter ego boost?  Shame!  Twitter is about connection and community, not about building up your fan base. Ministers should be especially aware of this.  So, if you unfollow me, don’t expect me to keep following you back.

The key is to represent yourself with clarity and, as I said earlier, make it as easy as possible for people to discover if you’re the kind of person they’d like to follow back.  It’s about affinity and community, a really cool thing in this day and age.  Keep building your community (not your fan club) and we’re in for a great time together.

What are some things that cause YOU not to follow back?

Add a Signature!

One great way to encourage people to visit your web site, read your blog, or follow you on Twitter is to add a signature to all of your outgoing email messages.  In addition to your name and organization, you can add links for your recipients to click on that lead to these things.  Here’s how to do it…

1. From the main Microsoft Outlook window, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Mail Format tab.

2. In the Mail Format tab, click the Signatures button.

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3. In the Signatures and stationary window, click New.

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4. In the Enter a name for your new signature box, enter a name.

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5. Under Choose Default Signature pick the email address you are associating with this signature.

6. In the Signature text box, type the text you want to include in the signature.

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7. Highlight the text you would like to link to your web site or blog and click the Insert Hyperlink button (the little globe and chain).

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8. In the Address field enter the web address you want to link to.  Make sure to add the “http:// ”

9. In the Text to display field make sure the text reads exactly the way you want it to in your signature.  Do this after you input the address, because it will change to match the address field when you’re not looking!

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10. Click OK.

11. At New Messages and Relies/forwards select the name of your email account.

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Click OK and you’re done!

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Your signature will now appear at the bottom of all your outgoing emails!

I hope this little tutorial helps!  Enter your email address in the subscription box on the right to be notified when more helpful hints are posted!

QC Social Networking Workshop

I had the pleasure of leading a social networking workshop for Quad City area church and ministry leaders.  During this session, we covered blogging, YouTube, and integrating the two.  Below are some of the videos we created and posted to YouTube…

Brand It (Personally)!

“Our pastor blogged for the first time!”  The email came with much excitement.  When I went to the blog, there were already four comments.  A discussion was on and it was obvious that people were excited to read what was on their pastor’s heart (and it wasn’t even Sunday).

Often times, churches and ministries work hard to create a brand for their organization.  A clever name, a slick logo, and a flashy web site.  That’s good, but people are looking for connections first; connections with other people.  That’s why “personal branding” is so important.

When the pastor gets out there and develops connections through social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and a great blog, it fosters connections with his congregation and beyond.  He shares his heart and it builds trust.  That trust makes it easier for people to connect with the vision of the organization and, ultimately, the organization.

I know it may seem awkward.  It might seem like you’re setting yourself up as some sort of celebrity, but that’s not the heart of personal branding for ministry (although it may be for some, but it shouldn’t be).  Upload a great picture, send some friend requests.  Follow, get followers, follow back (you’re building an online community, not a fan base).  Upload a video, and blog about what God is doing in you.  People want to connect with you, so let them.

Let your brand lead them to your organization’s.