Ask Ceil – Follow You, Follow Me

Dear Ceil,

I wish there was a way to get 4000 new Twitter followers overnight. What could we possibly do?

A Huge Telecommunications Company

Dear Company,

First, let me ask: Are you sure you’re a company? I mean, do you have an office building and a staff, or maybe a big meeting of investors every once in a while. Go ahead and check. I’ll wait.

(I mean, what if I gave this company all this advice, and it turned out to be some guy from New Jersey? That would just be embarrassing. I once read a story about something like that. Let me look. Ah. Found it. You really have to read it. Click right here. It’s HI-larious! You can also click here for a shorter, less funny version.)

Ok, so now you’re sure you’re a big company. What do you do?

Well, first, I would probably do a whole lot of marketing. Important: Make sure you use the right Twitter handle when you advertise. You might inadvertently send all your new followers to someone halfway around the world! The internet is a big place, so be careful. I mean, all those marketing dollars spent… yes, you really should be careful.

Second, you’re going to make some mistakes. No problem. Twitter’s a forgiving place. You see, the people of Twitter only have short-term memories. It’s a symptom of reading 140 characters at a time. In five minutes, they’ll forget you ever made a mistake. So how do you get more followers from this piece of advice? Tweet anything you want! The more absurd, the better! People will pass your name around like a plate of Grandma’s potatoes at dinnertime. If there’s one thing Twitter can’t resist, it’s ridiculousness! Mistakes are par for the course.

Third, and it really can’t be said enough: Kittens. Make sure that many, if not most, of your tweets contain pictures of kittens. The internet just can’t resist it. And if you can combine kittens with something topical, say, the release of a hugely anticipated movie, all’s the better.

Dear Ceil,

I just got 4000 followers yesterday because everyone thinks I’m a telecommunications company. What should I do now?

Gobsmacked in the Garden State

Dear Gobsmacked,

With 4,000 followers, the world is your oyster. You really can pretty much do anything. As a matter of fact, have you given any thought to becoming a telecommunications company? I mean, if that’s what the people expect, go ahead and give it to them.

What will you need? Well, first you’ll need some advertising. “What?” you ask. “Won’t I need lots of technical thingies?”

Not at all. First you need to establish your presence. Get people really excited over the prospect of having you as their telecommunications company. Show tons of graphics of people having fun on your phones and loving life. Phones at the beach. Phones at the spa. Kittens on the phone. (Have there been any studies of the marketing impact of kittens? Someone, somewhere, should get right on that.)

When you get everyone all excited, you build buzz. When you build buzz, you get investors. (See any tech IPO from the 90’s.) Once you have investors, then you can buy the technical thingies. And it won’t matter how good of a communications company you are. Have you ever seen anyone yet who absolutely loves their phone company? No! They’re going to hate you right from the get-go anyway. So, really, you’ve got as good a chance of success as anyone else.

And when it’s all over, maybe you’ll have 40,000 followers! Maybe 400,000! Of course, none of them will like you. But at least their disdain will be limited to 140 characters. Heck, if you’re very lucky, many of them will have a good sense of humor about the whole thing.

Ceil Kessler is a writer, analyst, marketing and social media consultant, and lover of home-baked banana breads. Read her other work at, or here at the Nose. Follow her on Twitter at @ceilck. (Yes, we’re sure that’s her handle.)


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