The Two Social Media Questions I Get Asked The Most



Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.

We are excited to announce the first round of leaders who will bring our 2020 theme HUMAN.X to life at the Broad stage this June (17-18).

Whenever I speak to students, professional groups, businesses, and nonprofits, I get asked lots of questions:

+ How would you define social media? What is social media law?
+ Why are you a big supporter of more collaboration in the online space?
+ What is it like being a Giving Tuesday Ambassador?
+ What’s behind your pen name 2morrowknight, and how did you pick it?

All very relevant questions, and I enjoy answering them.

But I notice that two questions always emerge, especially for those trying to get a handle on bolstering their social media presence and identifying the people who will be genuine supporters of their work. Let me answer both of them:

  1. How do you build a following on Twitter and other social media sites?
    Everyone is different in terms of their approach. When I opened Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts in January 2009, I decided to concentrate on one platform — Twitter — for one year. I built it up through a variety of methods. I used Twitter Search nearly everyday to see who was retweeting a link. When I copied a blogpost title and pasted it in search, I got to see the hundreds of people — executives, social media managers, journalists, and the average user — sharing that post. That always leaves a powerful impression on me. I have been doing that for years.

    I have also monitored the Twitter feeds of certain people to see which users may be engaging them around particular content. This can be quite time consuming, but if done right, it can really pay off. So once I had this routine down, I started posting my Facebook and LinkedIn related links to Twitter, and in the last year, I’ve heavily cross-posted Pinterest and Google+ links on Twitter, as well. It has worked tremendously, with all of my other accounts seeing a huge increase in either following, engagement, or both. But I must caution the reader: there is no one size fits all approach to anything. Test, test, and test again until you find what works for you. With so many social networking platforms out there, there is no right or wrong approach to cultivating authentic and engaged followers across the social space.

  2. How did you cultivate a strong support system in social media?”
    I started out in 2009 with some pretty clear goals. I wanted to connect with great folks, and establish an identity to my blog. Moreover, I wanted to build a network of people who shared my interests and passion for giving back. But what materialized is something far, far greater than I ever would have imagined: a diverse coalition of support started forming (across gender, ethnicity, region, and race) for both my online and off-line activities. I can literally say that I have a strong network of advocates that truly looks like the world. This greatly informs my thinking, and has seriously shaped my global point of view.

Building a richly diverse network takes hard work, persistence, and an appreciation for culture. Creating it could take weeks, months, or years, but its worth every bit of the time and effort you will put into it. Believe me. Remember that old CNN commercial: “as diverse as our world, as diverse as you”. That sums up my approach, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This post originally appeared on

Newsletter Subscription

Get the latest insights, trends and best practices from today's leading industry voices.

Learn More

Write for Us

Interested in sharing your ideas and insights with the world? Become a SMW News contributor and reach 300k readers each month.

Apply Here