The first person that I met face to face because of social media was Calvin Lee. To meet Calvin first out of all of the possible people on social media was a pretty big deal for me since he’s so well known. Los Angeles’ resident Twitter Master was a pleasure to meet and hang out with, and he took the time to come out on multiple occasions to meet up with me when I was in town a few years ago. Since then we’ve hung out whenever I’ve been on the west coast and whenever he makes the trip out east and we always seem to find good food and laughs. He’s a good buddy of mine who has been a great supporter and is always there when I’ve needed help. Whether it is going on a photo walk or finding some cool place to get some good food, you can always assume that if I’m in Los Angeles, I’m going to be calling Calvin to hang out. I consider him a good buddy of mine and had the chance to ask him some questions on a topic that’s right up his alley, Twitter.
Me: When and how did you get started in social media?
Calvin Lee: My first tweet was way back in June of 2008. I joined around the 4th of that month. It feels like such a long time ago. It all started from pressure from all my friends that were on Twitter. Initially, I really didn’t like Twitter. There were too many “Too Much Information” (TMI) tweets. I dropped Twitter after a month. I didn’t find any value being on it.
I gave Twitter a second chance, mostly prodding from my friends. I tried a different approach this time by adding value; finding the good stuff and sharing them with my followers. At that time, I only had 300 followers with a niche in graphic design.
I would share the good stuff about design and reshare other peoples good stuff too. I build up a following. I went from 300 to 5,000 within 3 months, gaining about a 1,000 followers per month. It was quite surprising to me. Pretty crazy.
Me: Everyone knows you as the Twitter Master, what advice do you give to new users on Twitter that are looking to build a strong following?
Calvin Lee: Here are a few examples of what I do. It may not work for everyone. The important thing is be you and trust your gut.
A. You must add value in social Media. It’s like being in customer service. It’s not about you, it’s about your audience and followers. I always keep my followers in mind. Will they benefit from this tweet or that tweet? Help everyone but don’t expect anything in return. From my experience, good deeds always came back to you in some way.
B. Get to know who your audience is and what kind of content they like. Do they relate better to beginner, intermediate or advanced content? I always gauged it by the number of retweets and re-shares I would get. I would adjust and tailor the content that best fits my followers.
C. Answer questions. Try to answer and thank everyone. Don’t know the answer? Go the extra mile and find the answers for them, even though it’s not in your field of expertise. Your followers will appreciate that. At the same time you’re building your brand.
D. Show your personality. Don’t take Social Media too seriously and have fun. Engage with your audience. Share your life and what you’re about. When you open up, people will see you as a trusted friend.
Me: What advice can you give to brands and small businesses that are looking to start using Twitter?
Calvin Lee: Brands and businesses depend on numbers way too much as the “Return On Investment” (ROI) as being successful. It takes time to build up your Brand and social presences. It may even take years before people trust them.
Social Media isn’t just about the numbers but part of the equation. Brands need to changing their thinking. They must engage their customers and form a partnership. Find out together what their needs are.
Incorporating some of the points I made in question 3: A. Adding value, B. Know your consumers, C. Answer questions and D. Show your personality.
And there you have it! Sound advice from the Twitter Master, Calvin Lee. If you haven’t connected with Calvin yet, I recommend you do so. You can find him here: blog.mayhemstudios.com, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Flickr.