I’ll never forget my first reaction when I clicked on Aaron Lee’s Twitter profile and saw how many followers he had when I first joined Twitter. I don’t remember the exact number back then, but the number of followers that Aaron has now is over 470,000. That’s impressive.
What’s more impressive is that if you scroll through is feed of Tweets and Replies, you’ll see that he has conversations with a lot of different people. And you’ll notice that he doesn’t just talk to other people with massive followings, or people that have been labeled as “influential”, he talks to everyone. And with a following as large as his, “everyone” potentially means a lot of people.
I had a very welcoming social media experience with Aaron. I remember tweeting him when I barely had 100 followers and he tweeted me back and started a conversation. And by conversation I mean a back and forth exchange multiple times, not just some one word response once.
I remember asking him for help on showing how social media can help businesses and brands, and he proceeded to email me a list of links for resources to help me with that. As I think back and remember receiving that email, I was impressed that Aaron was willing to take time out of his busy schedule to help someone across the world that he’s never met in person.
I’m anticipating the day that Aaron is able to make the trip and visit NYC, but until then you’ll see us chatting on Twitter and other social networks. I encourage everyone to jump in an join the conversation and get to know Aaron if you haven’t. Thanks again to Aaron for sharing his insights and taking the time out of his busy schedule to help someone across the world.
Me: When and how did you get started in social media?
Aaron Lee: It’s a long story, so I recommend you grab a cup before we start. We have to start from the beginning.
Back in 2008, before I got into University, I had a conversation with my tutor about life. It later developed into a very long discussion including about how the book Napoleon Hill changed his life. He saw how intrigued I was and he gave that very book to me as a gift.
The book opened my eyes to the world. I went to the bookstore that very same day and found a book about earning a living off the internet. I thought it was a neat idea to be doing that. Why not? I was young and working in the office didn’t appeal to me, I went through the book and it didn’t take me long to purchase that book.
The book taught me the basics on how people could earn a living. You know, the stuff that they didn’t actually teach at school. I searched for more information online and stumbled upon bloggers like Darren Rowse of Problogger and Chris Brogan.
I spent the entire day digesting both of their blogs and reading about life, wealth and the freedom that comes from doing what I love. Both Darren and Chris talked about the power of social media which later encouraged me to blog and experimented with Twitter.
One of the most important things I learned that day was from how Chris demonstrated building a resume by using a blog.
In March 2009, I started Twitter to see if I could build traffic to my blog. A day later, someone from across the globe responded to my tweet and I knew then that he was more than just “traffic”. What I saw was the ability to connect with anyone in any part of the world.
I never stopped focusing on social media after that.
Me: With such a large following on Twitter, how are you able to engage with so many of the people so consistently? What is your secret to keeping up with everyone and what tips can you give people that struggle to do the same?
Aaron Lee: In my honest opinion, it starts with the right mindset. When I started using Twitter, it opened up my world and blew my mind.
With twitter, I was able to quickly network with anyone without any boundaries and I learned so much from amazing the people that I follow.
Learning from the entire experience made me want to make sure I gave back to the community. That is why I try to engage with people and help where I could, to grow the same community that helped me be who I am today.
Me: You’re always sharing content that I happen to find interesting and helpful. How are you able to find content like this on a regular basis, and how do you choose to share what you do on each network?
Aaron Lee: Thanks for the kind words, Jason. I have the people on my Twitter list to thank for that (and you are one of them!).
I am constantly looking through my lists to share interesting news that I find as well as engage with people on a regular basis. This helps me to share important stuff that I find and most importantly continue to build relationship with my friends.
Another secret is I use Post Planner’s viral photos feature, this helps me to pull viral photos that is already on Facebook to be shared on Twitter.
The key to building such a powerful list is understanding the people that are in there. I can create a list of thousands that barely share useful content, or have 10 influential people in there that actively share tips and spread knowledge.