Lady Gaga reached 20 million Twitter followers last week. It made me wonder: Is there any way regular Joes like you and me can build a Twitter community as large as that of a celebrity?
Why not take a few lessons from the stars themselves? Here are five things Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, and Ryan Seacrest can teach us about growing fans and followers.
1. Make it visual.
When people discover your Twitter page for the first time, you want to leave a lasting impression that will keep them coming back. Invest in a custom Twitter background that represents you or your brand.
Keep the color scheme and logo consistent with your other Web properties, and don't forget to make it fun. Changing your background every so often is a good way to make your page more visually appealing, but be sure to keep your profile picture the same so people can easily recognize you.
2. Show fans some love.
It's not just about you. Your community wants you to hear them, so recognize people for making the effort to follow and interact with you.
What's the easiest way to show you're listening? Give them a retweet—it's as simple as that. When you find an advocate for your brand, retweet him or her as much as you can.
3. Keep it human.
Though Kanye West has records, clothing lines, and many other opportunities to make money off his devoted fans on social media, he takes time to tweet about things other than making money.
Go easy on the sales talk and be yourself—you want your online community to identify with you.
4. Incorporate exclusive multimedia.
Kim Kardashian makes money off being beautiful; do the same for your product. Take screenshots and film video tutorials, and post them to your social profiles.
Will your brand host or attend a fun event like South by Southwest? If so, share pictures on your Twitter page to give an exclusive insider look no one else has. Does your brand culture have something people rarely see or experience? Share it. Use simple photo-editing software like Instagram to jazz up iPhone photos and make them better for sharing.
5. Help followers make new connections.
Hogging all the glory is like tyranny on social media, and people won't tolerate it. After sharing and reading information, networking is the No. 2 reason people join Twitter.
Create connections between like-minded people on your followers list. They'll thank you, and will be more likely to remain connected to you longer.
Stacey Acevero is social media community manager at Vocus/PR Web. A version of this article originally appeared on the Vocus blog.