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Followers Are Useless - Here’s a Simple Way to Turn Followers into Subscribers on Twitter

by | Sep 13, 2021 | Writing

The illusion of followers is a paradigm that’s changing.

Social media platforms are starting to give creators access to their audience’s email addresses. This is an exciting change. Without an email address you’re at the mercy of an algorithm that prioritizes ads over your content.

Recently, Twitter caved and now allows content creators to own email addresses. It’s not obvious or straightforward. Most people missed it.

The Twitter acquisition that changed the game

Newsletter companies are multiplying faster than an infectious virus.

Twitter decided to join the party and purchased newsletter company “Revue.” Shortly after, they announced it would be integrated into Twitter. No big deal. I snoozed on the news. I already have a newsletter with ConvertKit.

Then author of Atomic Habits James Clear, who has one million email subscribers, did something odd. I went to his Twitter profile and saw a subscribe button below his follower count. OMG. I quickly emailed Revue.

“Hi Revue, take my money right now.”

Screenshot of James Clear’s Twitter. (Edited by author in Canva)

I told their support team I had ConvertKit just like my buddy James Clear. James’s newsletter on Revue had the same name as his ConvertKit newsletter, so it seemed logical that he wrote one newsletter, and used an integration or some automation to let Twitter users get direct access via the subscribe button on his Twitter profile.

“Sorry chief, ConvertKit doesn’t have an email integration with us. Try Mailchimp.”

My first reaction was “no way.” I got banned for life by the apes at Mailchimp and they wouldn’t even tell me why. I stepped on their imaginary tripwire and they banished me into digital exile — such is the nature of centralized big tech without formal regulation they have to follow before they delete a user’s entire life.

My only option was to send an email to James Clear and ask him. Fat chance he was going to reply.

The accidental surprise of my life

I decided to tinker like Einstein. I went into Revue to see if there was a way. I came across the integrations page. No ConvertKit.

Then it hit me: “What if I simply launch a newsletter with Revue to collect the email address. Would that work?”

I tried it. Jackpot. You can turn on Revue in your Twitter setting and pretend you have a newsletter. Then all you do is fill out the customized fields in Revue about your newsletter to match whatever your actual newsletter says. In my case, I copied the description from my newsletter, made the name ‘Unfiltered’ (same as my other newsletter) and then hit go.

Within a day I collected a few email addresses.

Three newsletters become one

With the addition of Revue I now have three newsletters. Pain in the butt. So I asked a few other content creators for help. Nick Wolny came out from his marketing desk with an answer.

There is a paid tool called Zapier. The philosophy of Zapier is “if then, do this.” Turns out I already had Zapier to help automate the process of selling eBooks through my website. Nick gave me this screenshot.

Image Credit: Nick Wolny

Basically, every time someone subscribes to my newsletter via Revue, Zapier automatically adds the email address to my main email list in ConvertKit. Now I’m James Clear, just without the good looks, bald head, and bestselling book.

Now if you don’t want to pay for Zapier then there’s another way. Go to Revue once per week and manually export the email addresses, then import them into whatever email software you use.

What this means for you

If you create content online you now have a reason to build an audience on Twitter. Or if you’re a social media dinosaur like me and have had Twitter since 2009, now you can encourage those faceless Twitter followers to join your tribe, by adding a Revue subscribe button to your profile.

A follower is lost in a crowd of creators and may never see your work again. A subscriber is a member of your audience that you can serve.

Turn on Revue on your Twitter profile. That’s how you turn followers into subscribers that can love-you-long-time.

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