How To Become A Twitter Superstar

Sports cars and free beer are just some of the things Tinu Cherian Abraham has been attracting with his huge follower base on Twitter. With the likes of Mercedes Benz and Indus Pride recognizing his online influence, Executive Traveller had a chat with this Bangalore based engineer to find out just how he manages to be a Twitter superstar.

How many posts/tweets do you make per day?
I tweet about 50 to 80 times a day. But I’m not that active on Facebook, because FB is more of a personal profile that I restrict to family, friends and people I interact with in real life, whereas Twitter is simply a free-for-all.

How long do you spend on Twitter everyday?
Sometimes I’m on Twitter for as much as 5-6 hours, but sometimes I only spend about 2-3 hours on it.

Where do you find the time to tweet so much, given that you have both professional and familial commitments?
The trick is to use your time as productively as possible. I use several tools like Tweet Deck, and TweetAdder to automate some tweets and to be as productive as possible. For example, I used to drive to work everyday and that took about three hours a day away from me. But now I take the company cab and that allows me utilize the time by working or social networking. Similarly, if I’m waiting for a file at work, I may simply choose to utilise that time spent waiting, to check my Twitter updates.

How long have you been on Twitter?
I was one of the early adopters of Twitter in India and have been tweeting regularly since 2009.

How did your affair with Twitter begin?
Well, I used to be quite active on Wikipedia – editing articles, contributing images, etc. And back in 2009, someone told me that they had heard of Wikipedia through a social media site called Twitter. That’s how it all started.

What is your family’s reaction to your tweeting?
My family has been very supportive, but I still had to find the right balance. Even if you have lakhs of Twitter users following you, it is pointless if you have an angry spouse. I remember one time when my wife and I went out for dinner on our anniversary. She was looking over the menu, trying to decide what to eat and I figured I’d check my Twitter page since she was occupied. I pulled out my phone and when she saw what I was doing she almost walked out. You have to know how to balance your priorities and how to switch focus quickly and effectively from you’re the personal, professional and family life. When I first started tweeting, I had to struggle to find that balance, but now that is firmly behind me.

Do you ever meet anyone on Twitter in real life?
Yes, I used to organise Tweet Ups, where twitter users would meet up and share perspectives. I once even organised a Tweet Up with Shashi Tharoor back in 2009. I like doing such things because no matter how much you may engage with people online, there is no substitute for a face-to-face interaction.

How have you managed to amass such a large Twitter following?
I often categorize people into interest groups. This allows my tweets to stay relevant and attract the attention of like-minded people. Also, I update myself on the major trending topics and contribute my opinions on them. This helps my tweets acquire a much higher visibility.

You recently had Mercedes Benz offer you a convertible for your personal use over the weekend. How did that come about?
It began when I participated in a contest by Audi, where the winner would get to drive an one of their cars throughout the weekend. I didn’t win the contest, but then I tweeted Audi about the possibility of a consolation prize. They never responses. Mercedes, however, decided to follow up on this and they offered me a Mercedes sports car instead of an Audi.

Also, the beer brand Indus Pride sent you four cases of beer. Why?
I had just followed the Indus Pride Twitter page, and I tweeted about how I might change my beer brand. In response, they sent me some cases of beer!

Most companies are engaging people on social media already, but do you see a trend in how they are becoming increasingly aware of the Twitterati?
This phenomena is not restricted to Twitter users. Companies are looking at social media initiatives across networks, but whatever their strategy is, one aspect is evergreen – if you make someone happy they will talk about it. And that’s what companies are doing on Twitter, trying to get conversations about their brands started. That’s why there’s always a contest or a giveaway being offered on social media.
Do you have any advice for people who are trying to develop a larger following on Twitter?
Watch other people’s tweets. Look out for trending topics. Use your time as productively as possible. And above all, interact, engage and converse.


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