Shootin’ the Bird

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Written By Bill Eisenhauer

Bill is a technologist, marketer, and microentrepreneur who helps people transition from trading time for money to building a portfolio of cash-flowing digit assets.


  • How and why I rebooted my Twitter; smart idea or dumb idea?
  • What are basic Twitter growth strategies?
  • How to create a Twitter growth strategy by giving them what they want.
  • My permissionless growth strategy experiment

I wrote last week about communications leverage, but I should admit that I killed off a small amount of my leverage recently.

After 15 years on Twitter, I decided to nuke my tweets and my followers.

What was I thinking?

And was this a good idea?

Blowing Up the Timeline

After I took the Ship 30 for 30 course, I had learned enough about myself to realize that I enjoyed writing and I wasn’t far away from naming and claiming my identity.

The problem was that my identity didn’t match my previous content which was software engineering (ish) and fairly random otherwise.

And of course, the followers I had accumulated were there for whatever that content was.

In hindsight, I’m not sure it was the right thing to do, but I punted it all into social oblivion.

I downloaded my tweets for posterity and then deleted them all en masse. That mostly went well until I later reviewed a couple of threads and discovered that the download didn’t handle threads very well. Oops!

So here I am living life after shootin’ the bird.

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Zero Followers

To be honest, I had already been on the decline with Twitter in the months prior and just figured I’d restart it when I was committed to a strategy.

But boy, zero followers is pretty lonely!

I’ve got the profile outfitted pretty well—it says what I’m writing about and provides a link to my newsletter page which is pretty much the baseline call to action that I hope Twitter folks take.

No-Effort Growth Strategy

All I am doing at the moment is posting to an ongoing thread containing my newsletters. But with zero followers, those posts get nearly no impressions. It’s pretty sad, but this what zero communication leverage looks like.

I’ve also started to post the occasional book review. But again, hardly any impressions even though I’ve hash-tagged.

Then the other day, some lost soul followed me.

One follower!

So my interim strategy is really that there is no strategy. I occasionally will like or reply to someone else’s tweet or post a link to my newsletter or reviews.

With no strategy, it’s a long, low-leverage grind to build up your following; your distribution asset.

So what to do?

Conventional Growth Strategy

To seek good advice on generating a Twitter following, I first consulted Steph Smith’s advice from her Doing Content Right book. And also the Art of Twitter course that I have as well. These are some baselines strategies I’ll start to deploy:

  • Join smaller communities. I need to see out and find a few communities and the people within them. For me, I think these are solopreneurs, small SaaS builders, agency people, and marketing and copywriting folks. I may also look into the folks that believe in asset acquisition and that general wealth philosophy. Unless there’s a more obvious way, I’ll probably create lists for these folks.
  • Set notifications to enable real-time participation. When conversations break out, I need to be there either right away or at some point. I need to start to be recognized in these communities.
  • Create threads and retweetable tweets. Unfortunately, it’s a chicken and egg problem, but good content is essential for attention. Attention is not necessary for good content, though. I can always retweet or reference good content opportunistically, so there is no reason not to bring it from the start.
  • Reply to and quote large accounts. But high-quality tweets that actually add to the conversation. I want to always come from a helpful, constructive stance versus a needed, desperate stance.

These are the usual strategies, but of course, they are low leverage and I consider more advanced strategies.

Thinking Two Moves Ahead

I cannot remember where I learned this, but remember a quote:

Understand the incentive systems at play in the room.

That is to say, it’s worth considering deeply what everyone wants out of the exchange.

My Wants

So me first, and to no surprise, they are asset-based:

  • Followers
  • Email subscribers.

Essentially I’m looking to build my distribution asset which ultimately is my email list. Followers are connective tissue to more subscribers.

And subscribers will eventually have a lifetime value (LTV) as buyers of my eventual offers and my current and future affiliate recommendations.

If I get enough of them, they’ll also be the eyeballs that attract sponsorships.

Their Wants

So back to the Twitter and those big accounts, what are they looking for?

I actually think we’re all looking for the same thing, but they are closer to their final form.

But it’s also possible they just want to sell their products or affiliate recommendations and there’s less going on in the back end.

It must also be said that some folks just want to feed their ego, so they are mainly looking at impressions and reach.

My Value

With no real distribution, I don’t have much to offer but entertainment and some helpful “bait” to help them hook more of what they already have.

Here are some value ideas:

  • Testimonial tweets for their products. I actually like sampling other people’s products and testimonials, so I’ll probably look for folks that need this type of help
  • Joint venture value exchange. I DM them, ask them what they want more of, and deliver it in a coordinated way
  • Permissionless value exchange. I DM them, they don’t respond, and I deliver value in an uncoordinated way.

Obviously, I’m using the same exact strategy that many of these newsletters talk about—tapping into someone else’s flow.

Large accounts have followers and I’m looking to do a form of cloning to quickly get access to them.

A Permissionless Example

To finish this out, I’m going to test this little idea out sometime in the next couple of weeks.

It’s a permissionless experiment because I’ve emailed this particular person and received no reply. I don’t know what I don’t know, so I’m moving into the permissionless lane.

So here’s the idea.

For a newsletter writer who only sends their newsletter via email, I’m going to take their content and put it in a PDF.

They have links to their courses in their newsletter, but I will replace those links with my affiliate links. If sales happen, we will share the profits.

I’m also going to add a bonus chapter which promotes my newsletter or provides ideas and affiliate links for solving the next problems they might have. Hopefully I get subscriptions and sales.

On Twitter, I’ll make an offer of the PDF in reply to one of this person’s tweets. For a Like and a Follow, I’ll DM them a link to my landing page where they’ll enter their email address to get the PDF.

If successful, I get the assets I’m looking for and maybe some sales too.

Will it work?

Stay tuned!

— Bill

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