[Interview] War on Weakness on how to do Twitter growth

This is the first interview we did with one of our users. If you are someone or know someone who also would like to be interviewed, shoot Yannick a DM on Twitter.

We drill down to how our biggest users use Twitter and how they grow their audience. First up: @waronweakness.

war on weakness
@waronweakness tackles Twitter growth like Snake Plissken escaping the apocalypse — it’s a lot of hard work!

You currently have 8,456 followers. You joined Twitter in May 2018. So that’s two years now. Why did you decide to go on Twitter?

So I’ve got to clarify I think. So my account was opened I think it was May 2018. But when I first opened the account, the so-called “Money Twitter” was kind of new. I saw that there were a couple of accounts talking about making money online on Twitter. But what I realized was that a lot of that sort of self-development Twitter was… How should I say it?

There was a lot of talk about politics. There was a lot of arguing going on. I just wasn’t really interested in Twitter. So basically I opened the account in 2018 but I quit Twitter for like a year and a half after like two weeks of opening that account because I just thought it was a waste of time.

Then I got back on in November. I think it was October or November 2019, so last year, and I thought, “All right, this time I’ll give it 12 months and if nothing happens in 12 months, I’ll just quit Twitter forever.” At the time, I came across a guy called Lawrence King.

Lawrence had a product out about making money on Twitter. So I spoke to him in the DMs and it sounded interesting so I got the course. It was much better than I expected. And I thought, “All right, I’ll give this 12 months.” And after a couple of months, my account started to get a lot of followers.

Then I got Hypefury. I can’t remember. I think it was November or December I got Hypefury and that’s changed my Twitter experience completely because now, because of Hypefury, the way I write tweets and the way I organize my Twitter experience is completely different.

War on Weakness is one of the top schedulers on Hypefury for a reason

Well, the funny thing is, I didn’t actually plan for it to be this way. The reason I got Hypefury was that… I mean, I needed to schedule tweets. But the feature that got me interested in Hypefury was the Evergreen function.

What happened was after a couple of weeks of using Hypefury, I started to enjoy scheduling my tweets more than writing tweets live directly through the Twitter platform.

Some people are actually against this. They don’t like the idea that people plan their tweets. In my case I like to have the tweet writing part separate from the commenting, commentating, and every other use of Twitter because when I’m on the timeline, it’s very hard for me to focus on creating because I’m reading tweets, I’m engaging with people, I’m in the DMs. I’m kind of jumping all over the place.

Whereas when I write tweets, my mind is in a different place. I’m in a creative space and I don’t like to muddle that with other forms of thinking.

This is how War on Weakness writes his tweets

So the way I write tweets is pretty simple. I basically set aside 30 minutes to 40 minutes every day to write my tweets, and I won’t even be on Twitter.

I’ll just open up Hypefury. I’ll go into the draft section and I’ll just write as many tweets as I can for that 30 to 40-minute block. Sometimes I’ll write one tweet. Sometimes I’ll write 20 tweets.

Then what happens is all those tweets stay in the draft and then when I go to actually schedule the tweet, sometimes I will change it. I will edit the tweet that I wrote. Sometimes I’ll delete it because I think, “Well, that was stupid. I don’t know why I wrote that.”

A lot of times… Oh, this happens to me with threads. I’ll have an idea for a thread and I’ll write the first tweet and write the word “thread” and I’ll just leave it in the drafts.

When I have time, I’ll go back and write the thread. So there’s a two-step process: A) I have time where I schedule, where I sit down and just write the tweets in draft form, and then the second step is when I actually schedule the tweets to be posted.

I’ll edit the tweets and then it’ll get published. A lot of the time it’s 80 to 90 percent what I want to write already.

How many tweets do you schedule per day?

Well, it depends. When I first started using Hypefury, I was scheduling a lot, like 10 to 20 a day. That’s probably why I have so many tweets on the Hypefury platform.

Now I aim for about five to seven. And that doesn’t include tweets, for example, promotional tweets, tweets for an affiliate product, or my newsletter. So when I say five to seven, I mean five to seven just content-based tweets.

Why aren’t you tweeting 10 – 20 times per day?

I think I just didn’t want to crowd my timeline too much.

This is actually a really interesting point.

So as you get more followers on Twitter, you’re going to notice that your strategy kind of changes. There are two reasons for that: a) you get a clearer idea of what sort of things your followers want to hear from you. That’s one. The other thing is you’re learning as you go along.

This is what I love about Twitter. You actually learn how to use Twitter as you spend more time on the platform. So at the beginning, the reason why I was writing so many tweets is that obviously, I had fewer followers. I was also writing a lot more platitude sort of tweets, which I apologize for.

I know a lot of people in the self-development space hate platitudes but I saw it as a necessary thing for me to grow. So nowadays, I feel my tweets are a little bit deeper, they’re a little less… I don’t do a lot of listicles anymore, for example. I try not to write too many platitudes anymore.

You’re mainly into self-help and motivation. Do you also have categories within those? Niches?

I’m constantly redefining my key topics. But, yeah, most of what I’m interested in comes down to really two things: a) it’s anything to do with human nature, human behavior. So that could be a mindset, that could be psychology, that could be behavioral economics.

Any storytelling, fiction books, all that stuff falls into human nature.

The other thing I am really interested in is just general self-development and productivity.

Then as a sub-topic, a third topic, I talk a lot about Twitter growth because I have a guide that’s about Twitter growth.

But honestly, I’m kind of getting bored. I’m trying to move away from that money Twitter category because I feel that’s not where the most interesting conversations take place on Twitter. The reason why I like self-development is that what makes Twitter interesting to me is the idea that you can connect with someone, a stranger on the other side of the world, purely based on your ideas.

Is Twitter also an end game for you or is it a goal for you to be able to have enough money coming in through Twitter? Or is this just a side thing for you?

It’s still a side thing for me. The main job I work remotely is with a business in Australia, my former employer actually, where I do financial reporting. So I do that. That’s my main job, I guess.

Twitter is the side gig. But my long-term goal is to be able to make a full-time living online, primarily with Twitter as my main marketing channel. That would obviously drive traffic to both by email list and the blog which I am planning to build.

Is it easier to monetize a Twitter growth course vs self-help?

I think it depends. Twitter for me is just a means to the marketing channel really. It drives traffic to your products and to your website.

To me, they’re all interlinked. Right now, I host two products on Gumroad. Who knows, man? Maybe in a year or even a few month’s time, I’ll discover a different platform to host products. But really, Twitter I would say for me is a traffic generator. In instant marketing terms, it’s a traffic generator.

At the end of the day, you’ve probably seen it before, a lot of accounts get banned for the most stupid reasons. So having Twitter as your main source of income I don’t think that’s very smart. I think the smart thing would be to own your own platform, which is your blog and your e-mail list.

If you look at revenue numbers… Do you say you have two products on Gumroad? How is the revenue split?

Well, the guide is definitely outselling the [book] notes because of the notes… I just haven’t been promoting it very well because I’ve been reworking the sales page and also reworking how I promote it. So I haven’t really been pushing it out on the timeline, which is why the sales haven’t been as good as my Twitter guide.

Do you think that if you were to promote the book notes more, it would sell as much as the Twitter guide? Or even more?

In the long run, I think so, yes. In the long run. In the short run, probably not, because, first of all, people don’t…

I was talking to a friend about this the other day. People don’t come on Twitter to buy products. They come on Twitter to share and find ideas.

So in that sense, it’s not wise to use Twitter as just purely a way to monetize your products.

The book notes, is it also an inspiration for your own tweets?

Oh, absolutely, yeah. I use the book notes for everything really. I use the book notes to make content, so, yeah, I write tweets sometimes, but also it’s just a very quick way for me to revise key concepts.

I’m a lifelong reader and what I’ve found is that for every ten books I read there’s probably one really great book that I’m going to want to revisit. I’m talking nonfiction by the way. I’m talking specifically nonfiction.

So currently I have something like 30 books in the book notes but my goal is to get that number up to 100, 200 books. The book notes that I do cover I want them to be the best ones because I have a lot of book notes on my computer that I didn’t put in there because they’re just books that are just not very good.

Interesting. How many books do you read per week or per month?

I would say about on average, two to three books a month is a pretty good number for me.

I feel that anything more than that is just you’re not really getting any benefit because if you read too many books, I just don’t think you can retain all that knowledge plus have the time to actually apply the knowledge in your life.

I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks lately via Blinkist. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it?

Yes, absolutely. So I have a weird thing with audiobooks. I know a lot of people really like them. I just can’t get into them, especially with nonfiction.

The reason why I say that is because personally, I’m a slow reader. So if I read an interesting concept in the book, I need to stop and think about it. With a podcast that’s a bit different because, with the podcast, it’s a bit more conversational. Usually, the format of the podcast is conversational, so you can just kind of listen to it while you’re cooking or while you’re driving or whatever.

But with a book, man, I can’t get into it.

Just to give you an example. The last two books that I put up for the book notes, one was a fabulous book called Outwitting the Devil by Napolean Hill, which is… I guess you would categorize it as a mindset book because it’s really about how to clarify your thoughts and how those thoughts can affect the rest of your life. It’s a weird blend of nonfiction and fiction because he describes negative thinking as the devil’s work.

So that’s a really interesting angle to come from. And the other book I read was actually a marketing book called Great Leads, which is a fantastic book if you’re interested in marketing, promotions, copywriting. Really, really good book.

On your website waronweakness.co you mention, “I use Terminate daily to program my subconscious.” Can you tell us a little bit more about that? How does that work?

The idea is this. This won’t make sense to anyone who doesn’t believe in the power of programming thoughts. So before we move to the Terminate, let me just explain the framework behind that.

The idea is this. Your mind takes in information from your environment. So that could be a television show you’re watching. That could be a conversation you’re having with somebody. It could be a book you read. It’s basically a computer that’s constantly on.

So what a lot of people don’t realize is they think that because they’re conscious, they’re able to filter out all the negative garbage that they’re hit with on a daily basis through the radio, through TV, etc.

When you learn how affirmations and positive thinking work, you learn that you can actually through repetition, through mere repetition, you can actually reprogram your subconscious thoughts. So if you’re feeling worried, if you’re feeling anxious, if you’re feeling scared, which a lot of people do on a daily basis, that’s all from an accumulation of stimulus that you’ve received through your senses.

So Terminate, what it is, is an audio file. It’s kind of like music, but with positive affirmations repeated throughout. It takes about 20 minutes and I listen to it basically the first thing when I wake up in the morning and right before I go to bed I listen to this audio file.

It’s from another Twitter creator. His Twitter handle, DejaRu22. He’s constantly referred to as Ruby in the space, but he’s the creator of this particular product Terminate and I’ll be completely honest. The first time I listened to Terminate, I thought, “This is just stupid,” because the affirmations are really, really…

It sounds really silly. It’s just like overly confident words like “You’re amazing.” Things like that. But like I said to you about 20 seconds ago, your brain can’t tell the difference between what’s good and what’s positive and what’s negative. It just takes in stimulus and that stimulus eventually becomes your worldview.

For example, if you’re in an environment that’s highly positive, all your friends are positive, your parents are positive, you only watch positive TV shows — basically, this person doesn’t exist — you’re going to be a lot more confident than someone who’s had the opposite experience.

Maybe you’ve experienced it in your personal life but people who tend to watch the news a lot, nine times out of ten, you’ll find people like that to always carry negative energy. They’re always very, very negative about what’s going to happen. Not just with the world but also with their own lives.

They think they’re victims and that’s all because of all the negative stimuli they’ve had in their life. So what’s great about Terminate is that its kind of like taking a pill every morning to make sure that your brain is thinking positively. And it’s not going to happen overnight.

So if you just listen to Terminate once, as I said, you’re going to think it’s very stupid. But if you listen to it constantly for like 7, 10, 20 days, repeatedly, I can guarantee you’re just going to feel more confident and because you feel more confident, you’re going to think more positive thoughts and you’re going to act like a confident person, which means it’s going to generate you better outcomes in your life, whether that’s business or personal.

Do you still listen to it every day?

I do, yeah, at least once. I was doing it twice a day before but now I usually just do it once a day. Twice a day if I’m exercising because I listen to it when I exercise as well.

The cynical I, and I’m joking a bit, of course, is why do you still need to hear those affirmations if your account is growing, if you’re making money, if you’re living the life in Colombia, why do you need that?

It’s basically like training a muscle. That’s how I would describe it. It’s like your physical health.  If you eat healthy 30 days in a row, you’re going to be very healthy. But then if you go take one week off and just eat rubbish for one week, it’s going to derail you pretty quickly.

That’s the same with thinking. If you don’t constantly remind yourself with these affirmations and with these positive thoughts, as I said, you’re constantly hit with negative stimulus whether you like it or not. If you spend any time on the Internet, you’re going to be exposed to negative stimuli.

So Terminate is a way of intentionally making sure that you’re fed with positive stimulus every day.

I also look at it, you know, you could go to the gym but then if you’re doing Terminate every day, you would only do pushups every day. But if you only do push-ups, you’ll have a quite silly-looking body in 10 years’ time. I’m trying to use a metaphor. Is there another way to replace Terminate in your life?

Yeah, man. I think the general lesson from this conversation should be, you want to have as much positive stimulus as possible to your brain and minimize the amount of negative stimulus and you want that across your entire life.

How would you grow a Twitter account from scratch?

Here is exactly what I would do

Find your Big Idea

The big idea is a concept from direct response marketing. In the context of growing a Twitter account, the big idea is the central message of your account.

Are you the guy who managed to quit his 9-5 by starting an online business?

Are you the single mother who went from obese to being in the best shape of your life in your 40s with the keto diet?

Defining your big idea is important for Twitter growth because all of your future tweets and content are going to be built from this idea.

Pick 3-4 subtopics

Subtopics are more specific topics that branch off from your big idea.

Ideally, 99% of your tweets will be related specifically to these 3 to 4 topics.

Say your big idea is about the keto diet. Your subtopics maybe.

  • Healthy cooking
  • Diet discipline
  • Motivation & Mindset
  • Mainstream food propaganda

Set up your Profile

There are 3 aspects that make up a great profile; the banner, the avi, and the profile description.

I won’t go into depth here but if you want your profile to be great, make sure that all three aspects consistently promote your big idea.

Start scoping big accounts in your niche

Once you have identified your big idea and your relevant subtopics, you should start finding big accounts in your niche.

Notice how I haven’t said anything about tweeting yet. There is a reason for this.

You see, when you are starting from 0 followers, you have no voice and no influence in your niche yet.

It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you have. That knowledge doesn’t mean much when no one is reading your tweets.

So at the beginning what you want to do is leverage the existing followers of big accounts in your niche.

You do this by adding all these big accounts into a private list you will create.

Every day, what you are going to do is stalk the tweets from these big accounts and leave interesting comments under their tweets which demonstrate that you are an account of value.

It won’t happen overnight but if you leave 10-20 comments per day under the tweets of big accounts in your niche, you will slowly start to build a reputation.

After a few weeks, some of these accounts will start following you and even retweeting your tweets, and voila!

Now you have some Twitter growth momentum.

Create a Tweet schedule and start tweeting

When you are just starting out, you do not need to tweet more than 5-10 times per day.

I would even go as far as to say that 10 tweets might be a bit excessive.

A tweet only has an average lifespan of 17 minutes. This means that after 17 minutes if it is not getting much engagement, no one will see it.

Are you starting to understand why I stress the importance of leveraging big accounts before you start tweeting original tweets?

Your goal at the beginning is to network with big accounts; leave comments on their tweets, like and retweet their stuff when it makes sense, and show that you are a real person by sliding into their DMs when it makes sense.

Once you do the above consistently for even a few weeks, your account will start to pick up momentum.

After you crack the first 1000 follower hill, you will really start to get some growth so just keep tweeting, keep commenting, keep networking, and don’t give up.

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