What to do if someone famous RTs you (& other tips to raise your Twitter game)

My relationship with Twitter has always been a one-sided affair. I love the medium for its breaking news and cultural trends, but cultivating a following never seemed worth the cost of adventure. And then this happened:

Although I am still only the ‘aspiring micro-influencer’ I always was, the euphoric feeling of having my article retweeted by a national treasure like Margaret Atwood had me chasing down Toronto-based Influencer CamMi Pham for advice. With a blog that attracts millions of visitors worldwide and a personal Twitter account that once out-trended Justin Bieber on his birthday, CamMi knows a thing or two about creating and sustaining engagement. So I had to ask:

What should you do if someone famous retweets you? Send a thank you tweet. If they follow you, reach out via DM and see if you can start a relationship.

What’s the hardest hurdle to overcome when attempting to build a following on Twitter? There are so many noises on Twitter now, it is much harder to stand out than 5 years ago. In the past, if you tweet was featured in a trending hashtag, you could gain a lot of followers. That doesn’t work anymore. You need to have a very clear brand and stand out.

Your (blog/Twitter) content is your product but it’s personal too. Who do think about when you write? I write for myself first because if I didn’t, I’d lose interest and start hating what I do. Second, I write for my reader because if there is no market for the work, there is no way to monetize it. Third, I write for paying advertisers and brands: the right ones understand what I’m doing and find me.

What’s your recipe for finding Twitter Love? I think of Twitter as a relationship funnel. At the top of the funnel are the many people I reach out to and connect with. In the middle of the funnel is where I qualify my leads, figuring out who I like and who I don’t. At the bottom of the funnel, are the 4% of people I spend 96% of my time with, the ones who add the most value, whom I wind up partnering or becoming friends with.

With posts like How I hacked Tinder and became the most hated woman in Toronto, you aren’t afraid to serve yourself up at troll bait. Do trolls ever serve a positive purpose? Friends can be your worst enemy in that they make you feel too comfortable and special. People who challenge you and make you think, even if they are annoying, make you better. If you can convert a troll into a friend, you’ll have that friend for life.

Best advice for building a Twitter following? When creating a list of people to engage with on Twitter, everyone always goes directly for the big fish. When I started, my strategy was to connect with the influencer’s assistant, wife or best friend and talk to them instead. Eventually, the influencers would notice and wonder who is this kid talking to my friends? And they’d start following me.

This said, if you have a budget to hire a growth hacker to grow your Twitter, do it. My team looks at what social groups your connections are part of and plans a strategy that builds a bridge of additional mutual connections to these groups. Once you build a large enough bridge to a group, you will hit a point at which the quantity and quality of the bridge of mutual connections establishes you as “trustworthy” to the rest of the group. Your organic growth will significantly increase. A growth hacker can help you scale so much faster.

Any other tips? Try to get a verified account, it will help your growth a lot. Also, quotes are still doing very well on Twitter, even better with a quoteimage. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, hire a virtual assistant to create quote images and schedule them for you.

What do Influencers know that the rest of us don’t? Real influencers don’t care about being influencers. It is not how many followers you have, but how strong your real network it. You know you are a real influencer when you have a strong network that has your back. It doesn’t mean anything if you are popular but have no influence. Twitter is like any social network, it comes and goes. The only thing that is going to last are the relationships you build today.

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