If I could start Twitter all over again, what would I have done differently?

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I’ve been using twitter for over 3 and a half years now..

Looking back and reminiscing at the “old times”, I’ve seen how much Twitter had changed and how it had helped to propel me in business.

I can’t help but to look back and think what I would have done differently if Twitter somehow loses all of their data and I had to start it all over again.

What would I have done differently if Twitter deletes my account one day because it changed its mind about me?

Perhaps thinking about it would help those who have not journeyed as far as I have on Twitter.

So, what would I do differently, you ask?

1. I would take my time.

When I started using Twitter, one of my biggest mistakes was that I didn’t really take the time to build relationships with others. Back then, I was in the rat race to grow my followers.

Mid-way through, I asked myself why would I want so many followers…and I couldn’t come up with an answer.

It was one of my biggest mistakes but also one of the best opportunities. I learned about the importance of building relationships and most importantly responding to every tweet I’d get. I was lucky that I had managed to realize this, because it changed my direction and priorities and has brought me to where I am today.

My mistake was also a blessing in disguise, because after changing my strategy, I ended up meeting some of the most remarkable people on Twitter.

I suggest that we should all have a goal on what we’d like Twitter to be for us, rather than just aimlessly exploring without any direction.

2. I would still follow my followers, but I wouldn’t follow every one.

The way I see it, Twitter is like a business conference or a never ending party. You’ll meet different types of people.

This means you’ll meet the ‘salesmen’ who wouldn’t stop talking about their businesses or you’ll meet amazing people who loves helping others.

When I started being on Twitter, there were no function to list our followers. If you were to follow all of them, your Twitter account would be too clustered and you might miss out on important information.

With the listing function, you might be able to categorize your followers more efficiently, but this is only a small solution, because sooner or later you’d get too many lists and information would cluster again.

Through this madness, I realized that I needed to choose who I would follow. I would still follow most people; however I would be more selective.

3. I would build my Twitter list earlier. . 

When i started using twitter, there wasn’t any twitter lists. Before that, I remember that “bookmarking” people on my toolbar and visiting them daily to see what they were posting was how I used to cope up with these interesting people.

If I could change that, I would start listing people earlier. I would list who are the top dogs in my niche, people who shares my articles, people who have taken the time to engage with me, and many more.

3. I would engage with people early on.

If I could change, I would definitely increase my engagement. I would take my time to build a solid base of 2,000 followers first, and then I would use tools like buffer to schedule my tweets and focus on engaging with others.

Having mentioned all these, the good news is, there really isn’t a right or wrong way to use Twitter.

The ‘even better’ news is, as Twitter grows older, and as ‘Tweet-ers’ grow too, there are plenty of advise you could get to improve (cough* askaaronlee.com).

Some users are successful while not engaging with others at all; some are successful only through sharing tweet. The difference is how you view ‘success’. How you use it is entirely up to you.

What about you? If you could have done it differently, what would you have done?

Photo Credit:  by Jamiesrabbits

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  • http://www.blogasajob.com/ Benjamin Thompson

    A good fresh topic – I am relatively new to my new twitter handle (I have tweeted extensively elsewhere before) so I can apply these myself today. Definitely agree with not following everyone but your point 3 about making lists is a great idea.

    I am currently working in a number of different niches – I can therefore make a list of the best people in each niche: Bloggers, Authors, Publishers, Entrepreneurs, Lifestyle Designers, Fitness Gurus etc.

    Thanks Aaron!

  • Pingback: If I could start Twitter all over again, what would I have done differently? | Incredibilii()

  • Gina SuuperG Stark

    A thoughtful and thought-provoking post. Thanks Aaron! I’ve been “rethinking” my own Twitter experience lately, hoping to streamline and focus on quality over quantity as well. Cheers and long-distance hugs! Gina

  • Christina Reed

    I enjoyed reading this Aaron. Like you, I’m also reminiscent of ‘the old times’…engaging seemed less complicated; more organic back in 2010.

    This resonates well as I’m sure many are re-thinking their strategy especially on the issue of who to follow and why.

    If I could request a do-over I’d focus more attention on those who are genuinely interested in my work as opposed to focusing on ‘influencers’. We are often so preoccupied with looking up that we forget those who are right by our side.

  • Dave

    Great stuff, Aaron. However you’ve done it, you’re right at the top of my list of favorite people on Twitter. I’ve learned many things, and at the same time, have enjoyed your genuine friendliness!

    Best, Dave

  • http://trucklicense.net/get-cdl Freedom Jackson

    Very interesting post. I am on my way to the 2000 followers but I don’t think automating the posts will help.

    Isn’t that the same as using a bot?

  • http://twitter.com/stephanhov Stephan Hovnanian

    Neat perspective, but here’s my take on it: you talk about building solid relationships but how solid will they truly be if they’re limited to 140 character spurts and in a public forum? If you say, “you could DM” then why not just exchange email addresses & move the conversation off of Twitter? I do actually believe it’s a numbers game on this particular platform, whereas the “deeper” relationships can be built (sans-email) on a not-so-fast-moving network like G+, LinkedIn or even Facebook, each of which has a longer character limit or more in-depth messaging capability.

    But your point about the lists is spot-on, it’s a very good practice as you grow your audience.

  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2

    I’m with you on the regret of not engaging with people when I first started out.

    When we started I was head over heels in love with Facebook and didn’t want to spend time engaging only 140 characters at a time with no dynamic ways to share pics or videos. I didn’t enjoy the experience and I still enjoy Facebook more but I love people – especially people with interests in doing and becoming more who find the information I provide valuable.

    And this is what I have to remember – it’s not about the platform, it’s about connection with fellow spirits on the journey. :)

  • http://twitter.com/RGBSocial Matthew

    Thanks for the post Aaron – The points you’ve made here are important for us all to reflect on. Personally, I think it’s very important to establish your Twitter-specific goals before diving in, particularly if you’re tweeting for business, or on behalf of a brand. This is a mandatory first step so that success can be measured, and to keep your Twitter use focused.

    Currently I’m working on maintaining a strategy of staying laser-focused on digital and social media marketing, both with my tweets, and by ensuring that the people I follow are going to be highly relevant to my niche.

    Anyway, thanks again for the post.


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  • Judy

    Thanks for posting this. I struggle with helping teachers in my graduate course get a grip on Twitter. I agree engaging in conversation is important for making Twitter more meaningful. I also noticed you cited Buffer. I am surprised how few people use this tool. Starting with Buffer has made by life on Twitter much more manageable. In addition to scheduling tweets, it has numerous other advantages, including pinning pages, pinning tweets, and then easily adding to the pinned info before tweeting it out. Another point I would make is that early users don’t need to know about tools like TweetDeck.

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