For many, it seems Twitter (AniTwitter, especially) is not much more than a tool for repeatedly running game on themselves, and that’s depressing to see. Most people probably shouldn’t even be on Twitter. There’s no reason for it. Who cares about your thoughts? Nobody did until Twitter, and most people still have no reason to.
Unless you’re out to provide value for people.
And if you’re here, if you’re interested in what Otaku Entrepreneur stands for, then you’re out to provide value, and Twitter’s a good platform for that if you’re able to avoid the pitfalls that the platform itself constantly tries to herd you into: Pitfalls that diminish the power of your own voice, expose you to content you don’t care about, and demolish your mental health.
And to be clear, we’re not aiming for a massive follower count or anything like that. Worry about that after we make sure Twitter doesn’t destroy your psyche while you’re growing your personal brand.
Don’t Be A Follower
I recently started a new Twitter account for a brand I’m growing, and the first place Twitter sent me was the Explore tab.
This tab is useless to us and is an example of how the platform deliberately leads users down the wrong path. Same goes for that stupid Trending panel on the right side of the web app. I personally set my trending topics location to Tokyo, just so I don’t even see whatever Twitter thinks is oh, so important to talk about.
Why deviate from what you’re already talking about to add your voice to the millions of people talking about whatever the hot topic is? It makes no sense. When everyone’s talking, no one’s listening, and all you’re really doing is opening yourself up for harassment, all the while making no friends, making no money, and slowly making yourself miserable by drowning out your own voice.
Own Your Own Space
Back when I joined in 2010, AniTwitter (as it existed), was mostly the neutral zone between everyone’s various anime blogs. We’d converse, network, sometimes argue, and link up our articles whenever they posted. Whether we were on Blogspot, WordPress.com, or our own websites, everyone had their own space to go back to, independent from Twitter.
Twitter has been a marketing tool for me since day one. I’ve lost sight of that a couple times over the years, but its primary use to me is now and has been as a marketing platform, and that’s the proper way to use it if you’re interested in getting anything out of it. If your brand is only on Twitter, you’re making yourself incredibly vulnerable.
Not only that, but Twitter is a notoriously terrible discussion platform on its own. I’ve certainly made some friends on Twitter, but those relationships usually transition to a non-Twitter platform in pretty short order.
Aggressively Curate Your Feed
Don’t feel obligated to continue following someone who’s tweeting or retweeting things you don’t want to see into your timeline. It’s your timeline. “Twitter toxicity” is, in part, self-inflicted. There’s something to be said about tolerating differing opinions, but at the same time, Twitter mercifully gives you the tools to curate your feed. Use them.
Uses the lists feature to further curate you feed. Put in the work to make sure you’re actually getting value out of your timeline. Otherwise, what use is it, especially if it’s feeding you garbage all the time?
Make Sure You’re Heard
Your followers’ timelines move fast, and if you truly believe what you have to say is valuable to them, you’re doing them a service by retweeting your own tweets. You might even do it multiple times a day, to include people in other timezones.
I’ll sometimes retweet the same tweet daily for a week or more, if it’s important that it gets maximum exposure. I did that for the tweet I made announcing this blog, as well as for the one detailing my “Opportunities in the Otaku Space due to COVID” report. There’s only upside to this. You’re only offering value to more people by doing this.
Be A “Brand Twitter”
Have a point to your Twitter, and keep it consistent. Don’t be one of these randos posting your idle thoughts or responding to whatever some major influencer is saying. Provide value. Give people a reason to follow you and read your content.
Have discussions, but don’t argue with people. That’s a waste of your and everyone else’s time. If you’re focused on creating value, you shouldn’t have time for that anyway.
Use Twitter correctly or it will use you, and you won’t even know it’s doing that. If it’s not providing you value and offering you the opportunity to do the same, you’re doing something wrong. Find out what it is and correct it. Your mental health is at stake.
(For further reading on how to not shoot yourself in the foot while using Twitter, Ed Latimore has an excellent write-up on how he grew a large and high-quality Twitter following organically.)