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Holy Crowdfire!

Since YouTube is not going to plan in terms of subscriber numbers I decided to give Twitter a bit of attention. After all, with my goal of community and communication, rather than raw numbers, I figure Twitter can deliver that better as the communication is more continuous and immediate.

The other idea is a certain percentage of Twitter followers will become viewers of videos and subscribers to the channel? In short, there was nothing to lose by growing the Twitter channel.

Related Video

This video is related to this topic as I discuss my nine month anniversary on YouTube but focus a large part on Twitter.

How To Do It?

I know what I needed to do, the problem was how easily it was to do. I realise I’ve not gone for a narrow brand or narrative when it comes to my social media. I’ve gone for the geek culture thing across media, games, pop culture and life sort of deal. Despite this, there is quite an easy target customer you can imagine (and admittedly many YouTube channels that cater to them) as people interested in one tend to be interested in another.

I’m looking for the person interested in genre films, plays games of one type or another, especially tabletop stuff, and just has a certain geek pop culture bent. They’re legion on the Internet, right?

The issue is how to find them and engage with them en masse? Well, I figured I should search for keywords in the first instance. Then I thought of another method: look for the followers of big accounts that are my target ‘market’. At first I did this by putting people in lists so I could see their tweets and try to engage in conversations.

That didn’t seem to work, but I was sure I was on to something.

This Crowdfire Thing

I was aware of Crowdfire the same way most people become aware of Crowdfire: those annoying direct messages you get when you follow someone. It’s not something I’d recommend.

It did lead me to checking out Crowdfire and it does a whole lot more stuff than just sending automated direct messages! Basically, it demonstrates and allows you to utilise the strategy I was trying to use but wasn’t executing well.

Crowdfire does a host of things, but this isn’t a review so I’ll focus on the key things:-

  • Tells you who your fans are (people who follow you that you don’t follow back)
  • Tells you who your non-followers are
  • Tells you of recent unfollows and follows
  • Tells you of inactive accounts
  • Allows you to identify people to follow by listing accounts who follow particular accounts (and easily follow them)
  • Allows you to identify people to follow by listing accounts based on keywords (and easily follow them)

The power of this should be obvious as it makes a lot of the variables visible that are involved in maintaining a well pruned and engaged Twitter community. While there are a few exceptions the aim is to have an account of only active users who follow you back – but just not in some lame ‘follow for follow’ strategy.

In short, Crowdfire allows you to find your target follower and engage with them.

The Engagement Process

The great thing about my current Twitter growth process is it is both mechanical and repeatable. The normal problem with mechanical and repeated processes to up social media numbers is they result in a hollow upping of the number but little actual engagement return.

This isn’t the case with how I’m doing it now as it’s resulting in a Twitter feed that has richer conversations I’m engaged in.

The principles are:-

  1. Target people to follow through keywords and the followers of people who are your target market who have big accounts
  2. A percentage of those will follow you over a period of time
  3. Over time remove people who don’t follow you back
  4. Over time remove inactive accounts

Amazingly this works. I’ve doubled my Twitter followers, have conversations with more people and it’s all been great. The follower count is still growing. I believe I’m also getting bleed over onto the YouTube channel, though even if all my new subscribers are from new Twitter followers you’re looking at a less than 10% translation.

Not only that, at about 0700 in the morning Crowdfire presents me with a process that takes about 15-minutes that involves sharing new articles it has curated, following more people based on follower of followers and keywords, post youtube videos over a time period, present keyword tweets for me to like and so on. As a result each morning it expands my engagement through a quick, automated process that saves me time.

Lean and Mean Twitter Feed

What this results is a very lean and engaged Twitter account. It has grown continually through following people who are likely to be your target interest group. You then keep it lean by unfollowing those who don’t follow you and removing ‘dead’ accounts.

This will mean your following and followers numbers should be largely at parity. There will always be some people you want to follow regardless of what they do and there are facilities in Crowdfire to manage these people (essentially whitelisting and blacklisting).

At first it seems odd ruthlessly removing people who haven’t followed you back as part of a growth cycle, but it makes sense. You want a two-way process. The accounts you follow but aren’t engaged in a two way conversation are what generates the ‘talking into the void’ feeling of Twitter.

You want to reduce that.

Does this feel a bit like how a brand or company might organise its approach to Twitter? Yes. I think it makes sense though and if the last two weeks have been anything to go by the numbers are going up and the community and communication factor is going up along with it.

Everyone wins. Well, other than those people not following back, but I’ve come to realise I shouldn’t care about them too much.

And, Finally…

Crowdfire has become one of those essential tools, and I do pay for it, on which my approach to social media growth is based. You can survive without it. You could take the approach I’m using without it. It just would be a whole lot harder and time consuming, which I’m not sure many of us have. I know I don’t. I’m also sure there are other tools that do similar or perform parts of what Crowdfire offers.

I’m really enjoying Twitter at the moment so it’s all working for me. I’d even go as far to say it is Twitter at the moment that is keeping things running as it’s allowed me to get what I want out of social media while YouTube has proven a tougher nut to crack.

About Ian O'Rourke

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