Thursday, July 23, 2015

Seven Rules of Social Media and why wet floors are always dangerous...

Along the way to getting over 212K Twitter followers and over 9k connections on LinkedIn, there have inevitably been questions like "How did you do it?" 

Well, in the interest of answering that question, en masse, here are seven rules to building a large audience.

Rule One - Follow your followers! 

Accept all those who reach out on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc.

No matter how important you are, you're not more important than others. 

There's some perception that by having a big following and just a few that you follow, you've become a social media badass. I'd say it's more like jackass. Get over yourself. Follow people back. 

Rule Two - The "best time to post" is anytime a potential client is online.  

Yes, there are statistics that support that at certain times you'll get more engagement.

Yes, you should use that data, but don't become a slave to it.  

Remember: clients aren't statistics, social media isn't a Super Bowl ad, and it's harder to catch fish when everyone is on the lake.

If you get a client out of a tweet or an update, it's a win. Maybe your new client had insomnia, maybe they were on Twitter while on business on a different time zone. Who cares. Be willing to spread out your updates, and catch clients when and where they are.

The cost of an update is close to zero. So if you post one at the "wrong" time, it's not like you wasted a lot of money. Be willing to keep content flowing out. Some people will warn you that it's too much. For the record, I post over 100 tweets a day, and usually multiple updates on all platforms daily. My followings continue to grow rapidly.

When it's the best time for you to update is probably pretty darn close to the same time for the other people in your market. This means your update is vying for attention with many other people's updates. You may have a better chance of getting attention when others are more quiet. 

Rule Three - Don't Compare Yourself to Others

It's lovely to have a bunch of followers, especially if they are engaged in what you are doing. 

But it doesn't happen overnight. It takes patience, and effort. You need to provide something that people find it worthwhile tuning into. 

Nothing makes the journey less pleasurable than spending a bunch of time comparing yourself to other people. And, in many ways, nothing is more pointless.

There are people on Twitter, like James Altucher that have a lot less followers than me, but kill me in terms of actual, actionable influence. So, the numbers aren't the only story.

Have a solid message, be consistent, focus on quality and the rest will happen over time. The quality of your connections are much more important than the quantity.

Rule Four - Don't use hashtags unless they're relevant.

#Some #people #seem to #think that #more #hashtags are #better. 

Wrong! They're hard to read, and if they're not likely to be searched upon, they're a waste of time. 

My one exception to the rule is when I use them as a kind of "context" indicator. Like #kidding or one of my Twitter favorites #FunAlarm. But in that case, they're always at the end anyhow, and only used in special circumstances. 

Hashtags are a tool. Use them as one. But crowding your updates with them is pointless.

Rule Five - Don't Engage with Trolls

If you spend any amount of time on social media, you're going to encounter a troll. 

Someone who is sufficiently miserable to want to share it with the world. 

No matter how pointed or personal the attack, let it go. They don't hate you. They hate themselves.

"That tweet makes no sense", "What a stupid update". "You're a fraud". I've heard so many that I've lost count. 

They sometimes seem like they are talking to you, but usually not. They just want attention, to engage their anger with someone. 

There is no upside to engaging. You're not going to change them, and getting into an online debate is rarely pretty. 

Let it go. You'll save lot's of time and aggravation.  Devote that to pleasant people. 

Rule Six - If the content isn't yours, show where you got it. 

This one makes me kind of crazy. People so often seem to think: "If I pass this as mine, I'll be a star". Well, not really.

If people notice it, you seem like a complete goofball. Really. It's a big world out there, but not as big as some might think. Many people recognize other people's content. 

More importantly, being someone who gives attribution makes you much more likely to get engagement from the people whose content you share. That's the whole reason to do social, and the way you build alliances with people. 

Share your sources and you'll make progress much faster than people who pretend they found everything on their own.

Rule Seven - Have fun. Be yourself. This isn't brain surgery. 

There are elements of social media which warrant thoughtfulness and caution. Because once you put something out, it's not so easy to get it back.

But please, please, please remember, try to have some fun. Be yourself. You are different from anyone else in the world. The more you hide that fact, the less you seem different from others, which is makes it harder for people to decide to engage with you.

Don't just show your brag photos. Show some goofy photos as well.  Like the one above illustrating why wet floors are always dangerous.

We actually took "Earnie the Eagle" on a road trip as a gag. Important stuff.

What you think is funny may not always resonate with people. You may think that a rubber chicken being referred to as an eagle is dumb. But some people will laugh, and it shows a side of me that's not so serious, and maybe a little at odds with being a "business guy". 

Whatever it is that works for you, it'll make being on social media more enjoyable. No matter what happens, having fun is always a good thing.

In Summary:

These seven rules aren't the only ones but they will help you build a following. You'll need to post great content, engage with your audience, and a bunch of other things. But these seven are important elements. Plus, you now have a better appreciation for the danger of wet floors. Use that information wisely. 

One more Rule: 

If you want to get the most from your social media efforts, I highly recommend free Twitter tool -  it automates your posts and gives you access to top flight content. It was designed by me for my own use, but is now available to the public. Did I mention that it's free? Sign up today. 


  1. Over-sharing can also be detrimental - I don't let that stop me!

    1. LOL. A bit of personality is a good thing. :-)

  2. Trolls.....trolls everywhere XD

    1. Yep. They need some natural predators. That always thins things out.

    2. natural troll predator = shares positive, fun content & won't engage them, like you say. Good advice!

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  5. Thanks so much. I shall take this advice!

  6. Thanks... really appreciate this. I'll probably repost it on my bbm channel someday. Thanks

    1. Thanks. Please share it, that's where the value is.

  7. Great article and quite helpful for a novice like myself. Can you explain why Twitter has capped my following at 2000?

    1. Sorry for the massive delay. Twitter caps everyone at 2,000 initially. It's just a way to prevent too much gaming of the system. For example, you'd follow 100K people, then cut back to who returned the favor and then do it again and again. Hope that helps.

  8. Tim thank you for such a simply inciteful article. Tried explaining these things to a client once, he just didn't get it. Oh and for the record Tweekjukebox Rox... Have a great weekend.

    1. Thanks for the compliments. Much appreciated.

  9. Excellent! One thing I'd like to add: Use correct spelling and grammar. Not every word that ends in "s" needs to have it preceded by an apostrophe. 😉

  10. must you always follow back because you are being followed?

  11. Hey Tim,
    I so loved your thoughts about the perception that is quite common - if you're following the same number of people as those who follow you, it's bad. And I have shared the same perception for a long time. But since a few months, I have noticed that it isn't really based on some solid facts or research. Just a stupid perception that needs to be changed.

    I have never heard someone saying that it's okay to do 100 tweets a day but I am glad you said that. I am going to follow it and share the results, which I am pretty sure would be better than share only 10 tweets a day rule. :D

  12. You should mention that hashtags aren't needed at all unless you want to tag the post with a relevant topic. Like #quote or #leadership. No need to hashtag any of the words in the post itself, Twitter indexes the key words for searches.

  13. You should mention that hashtags aren't needed at all unless you want to tag the post with a relevant topic. Like #quote or #leadership. No need to hashtag any of the words in the post itself, Twitter indexes the key words for searches.