In 2017 Gary Vaynerchuk was asked how to grow an Instagram account for a business or brand, and he came up with the $1.80 strategy. The idea is that you comment on 90 posts a day. Your 2 cents on each post comes to a total of $1.80.
If you only spend 2 minutes on each post, you'll spend 3 hours a day commenting. I'm guessing you have more important stuff to do. Dropping exactly 90 comments a day is not the point, genuinely becoming more social and regularly engaging with your community is.
This post is going to look at how you can adapt the $1.80 approach to Twitter and what you can do to avoid flooding Twitter with flimsy spam comments like "great post 👍"
In our last post on finding social media calendar ideas for Twitter, KP and David Dill established that the key to growing a Twitter audience is 5-10 tweets a day, a Twitter thread every 2-3 days, and commenting on 20-30 larger accounts every day.
If you've gone through that post, you should now have a growing library of curated tweets that are relevant to the industry you're in. Once your content ball is rolling, the next step is to start branching out to more people in your space.
Gary's $1.80 strategy recommends finding the 10 most relevant active hashtags in your space and responding to the top 9 posts on each hashtag. The first thing you should do is identify who the person is, read their bio, and go through stuff they've liked. You don't want to spend more than 2 minutes on each post.
One key difference between doing this on Twitter vs Instagram is that Twitter doesn't let you subscribe to hashtags in the same way that Instagram does. To get around this, we recommend using Tweetdeck.
Once you're in, you will see four default columns for your Twitter home feed, notifications, messages, and trending topics. You can keep these if you want, but the focus here is adding columns for each of the hashtags in your space. To add a column for a hashtag, you want to click on the + button in the sidebar menu and then click on the search icon in the pop-up options.
This will add a new column and give you a search box to enter your hashtag. I wouldn't spend too long thinking about the right hashtags initially. Just start with the most obvious ones, and you will naturally gravitate to the most relevant ones for your business by commenting on accounts and following this process for an hour each day.
Search columns are not limited to hashtags, nor are they limited to a single term. For example, here I want a column for all tweets with the keywords home cooking OR homecooking OR "Home cooking". There are a bunch of other advanced search operators you can use.
Even better is the ability to filter columns by language and engagement. using the settings button in the top right of a column, I have filtered this column for English tweets only, and I will only see tweets that have at least 10 likes.
In addition to having columns for your most relevant keywords and hashtags, I also recommend building a list of interesting and influential people in your space, like authors, journalists, thought leaders, and the like. If you create these lists on Twitter, then you can just add a column for a list in the same way you created search columns. If that was overwhelming, then here is a 5-minute primer on Tweetdeck to walk you through the setup process and help familiarise yourself with the interface and how it can be customized. If you run into any trouble here just get in touch with us on Twitter, and we'll do our best to help.
A 5 minute TweetDeck primer.
One last tip that is really handy if you start using Tweetdeck regularly is keyboard shortcuts. The most useful one is to be able to move through individual tweets in a column with your arrow keys. then if you find a tweet you want to comment on, you can just press the R key, and a comment box shows up in place. Here are a bunch of other shortcuts if you want to go further down the rabbit hole.
How to stand out with your replies
Right, so now that you're all set up, what do you actually say to people in the comments?
This is an awkward question because we're essentially asking how to be sociable. There will never be a correct answer to that question. Since we're discussing this in the context of promoting a business or brand, we need to operationalize the process to some degree so that we can actually make it happen every day.
Gary's response to this question in the original $1.80 post is:
If you see someone in the comments who has a question and you know how to respond, answer.
If you love the post and admire the aesthetic, say so! If you have thoughts about the quote or the copy in their post, reply!
If the image reminds you of another content creator, tag them. If you think a friend would benefit from seeing it, share it with them.
Answer questions, express genuine appreciation, and tag people who would benefit. This is a sound foundation to start with. The only problem is that the second approach makes it really easy to start dropping meaningless, lightweight compliments everywhere. There is nothing wrong with being nice, and it's certainly better than not saying anything at all, but we're aiming to say something valuable.
An interesting way to thread the needle here is to leverage the information in your growing content library from the post on how to find social media calendar ideas for Twitter. We strongly recommend starting with that article so that you have 90 days of useful, actionable ideas that you can bring into your comments. Rather than just agreeing with someone or appreciating something, you can extend the conversation by linking to a related idea, a piece of evidence for the point they are making, or an interesting exception or edge case to what they are talking about.
One of the most interesting ways I've seen this done is Josh Spector carpet bombing online conversations with valuable information. He doesn't just leave an interesting remark on the original tweet, he doubles down and comments on every single response to the original tweet.
One thing to remember is that no matter how much value you provide, this is still a numbers game. Two minutes per comment means you can sustainably comment on 30 posts in an hour. Start with wherever you are and gradually, but consistently work your way up to this benchmark. If you want to work your way up to 90 posts a day and a return on that kind of time investment makes sense for your business, then go for it. But keep an eye on diminishing returns and make sure those additional two hours are having the intended impact.
To help get the ball rolling, I strongly recommend taking Josh Spectors's 30-day Twitter reply challenge. It's a simple, free way to increase the number of people who discover you and your tweets in 30 days. You get a different prompt each day to help you focus and get things started.