The Secret to Social Media Success Is Constancy of Purpose

The Secret to Social Media Success Is Constancy of Purpose

“How did you get so many Twitter followers?”

I get this question a lot.

Now, this is what I hope is the real reason: that some of what I share on Twitter – re-tweets of great thoughts by interesting friends I’ve made, links to fascinating stuff I find online, and at least occasionally my own insights – resonate with a whole bunch of people.

“I’m tweeting important stuff, and people want to tap into that.” That’s what I want the answer to be whenever someone asks how I’ve accumulated so many followers.

There’s a much more prosaic answer to the question, however; something that has nothing at all to do with the content I share.

I try not to delude myself. I have an awful lot of my twitter followers for one incredibly simple but absolutely essential reason. And this is probably the most important point I can share about success in any endeavor, from social media to careers, from sports to canasta.

It’s this quote, that I apply every day:

“The secret of success is constancy of purpose.” – Benjamin Disraeli

I love this quote, which I ran into years ago. It’s scribbled on the top of the whiteboard in my office right now. If I’m traveling, I write it on a 3×5 card and stick it up over my borrowed workspace, or on my hotel room mirror.

Disraeli’s a fascinating (if not entirely admirable) historical figure. He rose to great heights in life, against some fierce odds, by applying this principle. Look him up sometime. Even if you don’t care for history, or don’t respect his legacy at all, perhaps let his quote sink in and live it, every single day of your life.

Do you want to know how I’ve applied this quote to gather notoriety in social media – especially in my favorite medium, Twitter? The answer is simpler than you imagine.

Every day for the past four years, weekends and holidays included, I wake up at 5am and I tend my social garden for two hours while I drink coffee, eat breakfast and gradually wipe the cobwebs from my eyes and my voice. My writing brain wakes up before my speaking brain, so it’s a good time to craft a blog post.

This is probably the most important point I can share about success in any endeavor, from social media to careers, from sports to canasta.

“The secret of success is constancy of purpose.” – Benjamin Disraeli

The early morning is a great time to check into Tweepi, to fill my Buffer with good posts, to say “hi” to friends on Twitter and to manage my Triberr feeds. I also take this time to do my LinkedIn linking, my Google Plus plussing, and once in a great while… my Facebook booking. Basically, 5 to 7am is my time to put in the efforts a person should if he’s serious about building social media connections for the long haul.

Over the past four years, I’ve put in many of the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in “Outliers”. This is a must-read book about how some people become very successful at their area of endeavor.

So that is my really simple, but completely frank answer to the question I opened with: “How did you get so many Twitter followers?” I chose my purpose and I remain constant at pursuing it.

I hope this is good news for you. I’ve just given you the key to mastering anything you choose is important to you.

Of course, like anything, the process is simple, but it isn’t easy. Most people don’t like waking up two hours before they have to. Most people don’t like doing a fairly rote behavior even on weekends, and family holidays, and while on vacation, for 1,443 days in a row, (in my case), and counting.

While success in any endeavor is simple, it’s almost never easy. It’s important never to confuse the two.

I chose my purpose and I remain constant at pursuing it.

The good news is that even knowing how to succeed, few people will discipline themselves enough to achieve it. So even now that the cat is out of the bag, you’re still likely to have very little competition.

…Even at canasta.


Art by: sultan-alghamdi

Ted Coiné is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership and Management Expert. This stance at the crossroads of social and leadership put him in a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. The result, after five years of trend watching, interviewing and intensive research, is his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive, which he co-authored with Mark Babbitt. An inspirational speaker and popular blogger, Ted is a pioneer of the Human Side of Business (#humanbiz) movement. He is also a serial business founder and three-time CEO. When not speaking at conferences and corporate functions, Ted advises CEOs on how to become Truly Social Leaders, or “Blue Unicorns” as they put it in A World Gone Social, in order to bring their companies into the Social Age. Ted’s advice: “Change is only scary if it’s happening to you. Instead, bring the change your competitors dread. That is something only a Social Age business leader can accomplish.”

  • David Hain

    Great post Ted, you articulated what I hope I try to do, being a fellow lark I find the early mornings fantastic for connecting learning.

    Thanks for all your great advice and a fabulous blog site!

  • Ted, excellent thoughts – with all of the 140 character content hitting us, it is easy to get side-tracked.  As you stated, being consistent in your focus and message is critical to success –

    Thanks and best regards,

  • You had me at Disraeli!! What an incredible man…

  • bethmwood

    A great quote, Ted – thanks for the reminder!  When I began writing years ago, I was introduced to a local (to me) writer who was already very successful.  I asked her, back in 2007, how she did it. And she replied much the same as you do here. She gets up at 5 every single morning and spends the first two hours of her day searching for new submission opportunities and then writing, writing, writing. It took me years to apply her dedication to my own writing, and now my own social media. Kudos to you for keeping it up every day for so long – fantastic! I hope to be one of the few that can do it, too!

  • Great quote, Ted. Thanks!  I like your routine of waking up super early to write too.  As much as I hate doing it myself, that’s when I get some of my best work done.

    Thanks for the inspiration!  How’d you decide to start such an early routine?

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