Do you want to be famous on Twitter?
There is a hot trend in building a large audience on Twitter so that you can be a famous musician or entrepreneur standing on stage with 10,000 people cheering.
Who doesn't want that?
But that setup implies that you're alone on stage performing, and everyone else is seated down there watching you.
In today's world, being famous is actually less impactful. When you're growing your personal brand and your business, you want to be an influencer and a trustworthy voice in the space you're in.
You don't want to be famous on Twitter.
Not famous, but influential
A key influencer is someone that represents a term. People look up to them for key opinions because they've been sharing and establishing that voice. For example:
- When people say "creator economy", it is Li Jin or Sahil
- When people say "cohort-based learning", it is Gagan or Wes
- When people say "audience building", it is Julian or Arvid
- When people say "writing", it is David
- When people say "blogging", it is Nat or Monica
I wouldn't say they're famous, but they're definitely influential in their own space. And you want to work towards this goal.
3 simple steps to build trust in your voice
1. Surround yourself with like-minded people
Before I wrote the Building in Public Definitive Guide, I had no idea what I wanted to be known for. I was like a Swiss knife - I knew a bit of everything, but I wasn't particularly good at one thing.
It bothered me. But instead of forcing something to happen, I chose to follow my heart and let things uncover themselves. This sounds overly zen, so let me explain.
When I first started out building things online as an independent creator in late 2020, I focused on writing one blog post a week. The topics were basically anything I could think of based on my past experiences that could help someone else.
After about 8 weeks, I had 8 blog posts and I reviewed what I talked about most. It was clear that while I was interested in sharing tips like goal setting and fighting decision fatigue, a lot more of my writing was about validating startup ideas, best copywriting examples, SEO, landing page optimization, user interview traps, etc. They were all content for entrepreneurs.
What did I learn there? Although I had zero ideas about what my future looks like, I wanted to be around entrepreneurs.
With that, I became active on Indie Hackers community and Twitter, surrounding myself with indie hackers, creators, solopreneurs, and startup founders.
2. Produce a lot of valuable content
Now that I know I want to help entrepreneurs, my direction for writing becomes clear. Blog posts like Goal Setting, Fighting Decision Fatigue, How to be Success in Life, let's stop writing them.
Instead, as a bootstrapped entrepreneur, even though I was literally making $0 at that point, wouldn't it be relevant if I started sharing how I built up my foundations of a new business?
This was when I wrote about Growing Twitter Audience, Writing Newsletter, Build Credibility First, Behind a Successful Product Launch ... all of these are steps every entrepreneur has to go through.
And because I'm sharing my own experiences (even my online income reports) instead of teaching theories, I started to hear how entrepreneurs resonated with my sharing. They love this type of content because if it can help them avoid the same mistake and save time and effort, that's valuable. So they didn't mind following me to get my newest writing.
To me, that was a big step. Not only I found the people I wanted to be with, but I also realized the type of content I could create to connect with them.
3. Lastly, interactions with people on Twitter
I used to dream about becoming successful and making a living completely in my flat. Why do people enjoy socializing and having business meetings? I didn't want that.
While the COVID-19 pandemic made this a very realistic approach, there was a discrepancy.
In my imagination, I would be on my laptop all day by myself. I wouldn't have to interact with anyone. Everything was automated.
In reality, even if entrepreneurs can build successful businesses from home now, interacting with people is still a significant part of becoming an influential person.
There is absolutely no way my dream would come true. So I started making a lot of Twitter friends and eventually packaged my experience in a free email course, Making Twitter Friends.
The absolute secret sauce to this is to be super helpful and supportive to other people, so that they are going to help you through your journey. Entrepreneurs who are always thinking of smart ways to leverage people might have short-term success, but they will never win in the long run.
You don't want to be famous on Twitter
Fame is just attention. It comes and goes quickly.
Influence, on the other hand, includes trust and credibility. This means you can have a more long-term impact on the people around you.
The 3 simple steps above are not one-off activities. They're parts of a system that you should design into your life so that you can steadily build up your personal voice online.
Instead of performing alone on stage, imagine you're speaking in a circle discussion in a classroom. That's who you want to be.