One thing I’ve been doing for The A11Y project is managing its social media efforts. Since doing so, I’ve slowly grown its Twitter followers to 10,000+.
Now, before I get into it, there’s some things worth pointing out:
- This work was built on top of the efforts of the project maintainers who came before me, and I should acknowledge their labor.
- 10,000 followers is kind of arbitrary, in that it is both a lot, and not a lot of followers on Twitter. The only reason it is Twitter-significant is that it’s when the follower count switches from listing each follower to only incrementing with each new 100 followers.
- I’m sure some amount of our follower count are bots and sockpuppets.
- Twitter is a bad product run by a bad man.
How I did it
I tweet every weekday, three times a day to ensure good timezone coverage. The tweets are a mix of the following:
- Prompts to add content to the site,
- Old site posts re-shared, as they may be new to some, and
- Links to external posts about disability, accessibility, and inclusive design.
The linked posts are the bulk of the content. I read each article, find a compelling quote, and attribute the author if they’re on Twitter.
And that’s it.
There’s no hustle or hacks. I don’t buy followers, glom onto hashtags, do auto-followbacks, or other gross growthhack nonsense. I don’t run polls, do mass @mentions, or ask open-ended narcissist-bait questions.
Every Sunday I plug posts for the week into Buffer from a list I keep. I try to do a mix of technical and social, new and old information, news and perspective, and known and unknown authors.
The real power of this technique is the community. Letting people speak about accessibility and disability in their own words is powerful enough that it can stand on its own.
Normally I’d say that follower count is a vanity metric, and not a great way to evaluate worth. However, in this case I feel it signifies reach, our ability to get the message out about an incredibly important topic.
Let it ride
I’m going to keep maintaining the feed this way, and don’t really plan on changing it anytime soon. We now enjoy the snowball effect of a high follower count with decent engagement, meaning we’ll probably continue to slowly accumulate more followers.
I’m pretty happy about that, in that it’s even more chances for people to get exposure to digital accessibility as a concept.