Creator of the hugely popular Twitter account of the same name, FPL Partridge is a must-follow for his viral memes and irreverent takes on Fantasy management. He’s also recently branched out into blogging.
Here he talks us through creating social media content in a Scout Academy tutorial.
So, I’ve been asked to write an article to help people, AKA you, in creating content and growing your social media following.
You’re all looking at me, you’re going, “Well yeah, you’re a success, you’ve achieved your goals, you’re reaping the rewards” sure. “But, Oi, Partridge. Is all you care about chasing the Yankee dollar?”
So, in this article, I’ll discuss how I did it.
And by “it” I mean gaining a following on Twitter by posting my own idiotic brand of humour, fused with David Brent quotes.
If that interests you then stick around.
Foreword by Duncan Goodhew, so…
Anyway, before I get to the good stuff, I’ll tell you a little bit about how I came to create a Twitter account and gain the following that I have.
In 2017 I was bitten by the FPL bug and a hobby began to turn into the obsession that many of us now have. At that stage, I simply wanted to improve as an FPL manager, and so I headed straight to the universal fountain of knowledge. Google.
I remember typing something like “FPL tips”. Little did I know but that Google search was about to take me down a rabbit hole that would change my life.
I subsequently discovered the Twitter community where I lurked around for a while on my personal account. I was having a particularly good season that year and I remember being ranked around the 1,000 mark.
At the time, many accounts would post their overall rank in their twitter bio, and this led me to realise, the community wasn’t a group of experts, it was simply a group of FPL fanatics, just like me.
In other words, I had a better rank than a lot of accounts at that time, which I felt allowed me to create an FPL Twitter account.
Not that there was a real barrier to entry, but there was a psychological one.
“What right do I have to create an FPL account, why would anyone want to hear my opinion?” That sort of thing.
On a whim, without considering it for more than a few minutes, I created FPL Partridge.
So, how did I go from that to having 30,000 followers? It’s a question I ask myself quite often.
The points I’m about to outline were never on my mind going forward, I was simply having fun, engaging in a community of FPL fans, but looking back, I feel the reasons for my “success” were as follows.
Think big? Nah, not my way. Think small.
There is no shortcut. Lots of people have a strategy of tagging, messaging or engaging with a big account in order to quickly grow their following.
Looking back at my own experience, I believe you need to think small. You should look to engage with other accounts who are at the same point as you. Get to know people and find people you get along with. Help each other to grow.
Start for the right reasons
I often see accounts enter the community all guns blazing. Lots of content, maybe a website, numerous tweets and self-promotion. After a couple of weeks or months, the activity on these accounts usually dies down due to what I can only assume was discouragement at not getting the traction they had hoped for.
I can tell you fairly confidently that you will not be an overnight success. It took me a long time to start gaining any traction. If follower count had been my goal at the start, I’d have probably quit too.
In my opinion, you need to start because you enjoy talking and engaging about your chosen subject (in this case FPL), not because you want to become a “big account” or monetise anything.
My advice would be to have no further expectations other than being a part of a community, engaging in discussion and maybe contributing to that discussion with your own content.
Adopting the outlook of “what can I add to the community?” as opposed to “what can I get from the community?” will, ironically, give you the best platform to grow in the long run.
Engage, don’t push
You may have created what you believe to be one of the most important pieces of FPL work in the last century, but if you offend or irritate your target audience, then it will, unfortunately, remain unread.
For your own sake, don’t spam other people’s Tweets to push your own content. You should always respect the effort and work that others have put into their content, regardless of how good you think it is or isn’t.
If you’ve created a piece of content that you’d like to direct traffic towards, this is where your social circle comes into play. The circle of other accounts that you’ve engaged with, chatted to or helped out by sharing their content. This is where you can call in a favour from the small community you’ve become a part of, and you’ll likely find that they’ll be happy to help, because your success is their success. If you grow, you’ll take them with you, and if they grow, they’ll take you. Helping each other benefits everyone.
I think of Twitter just as I do “real life”. Regardless of the number of followers, behind every account is a person.
I remember when I started out and I would try to interact with a big account by replying to their tweet. More often than not, this would be ignored, which can incredibly frustrating when you’re just starting out. It can feel as though you’re talking to yourself for quite a while at first.
Because of this, I try my best to never ignore any reply to me. I’ll either reply or ‘like’ the reply as a way of acknowledging the time that person has taken to engage with me. People following or engaging with you should never be taken for granted in my opinion.
There are millions of other Twitter accounts, but there’s only one that has the unique combination of your experience and personality, and that’s you.
Whoever you are, be that person. Maybe you’re awkward (I often am), perhaps you’re introverted (me again), you may even be grumpy. Always be respectful, but always be you.
At the start of my Twitter journey I never in a million years expected to gain the following that I have. For years I’d been making the same jokes I do now, in my everyday life. Most people would roll their eyes and very few would share my sense of humour.
I fully expected that trend to continue on Twitter, but to my surprise, it didn’t. By simply being myself, I found a following of thousands of other people who shared my interests and sense of humour, and this made the whole Twitter experience an enjoyably one.
Consistency is important for two reasons.
Firstly, if you’re active on a daily basis, you’ll start showing up on other people’s timeline more often and it’ll help increase the chances of engagement.
Secondly, and to get a little bit philosophical here (were we talking about Dostoevsky earlier?), think of it in terms of a ripple in a pond. You don’t need to enter with a huge wave tearing through the Twitter community, you just need small ripples every day. These can come in the form of Tweets, replies or private discussion. Every interaction you have with someone is a ripple. If you do this consistently, without even noticing it happen, you’ll become a part of the community.
If you find it interesting, so will other people
When first starting out in content creation, people will often ask “what should I write or talk about?” The answer, in my opinion, is to write or talk about whatever it is that you enjoy.
If it’s humour, then do something light-hearted. If you’re a lover of stats, then focus on stats, and so on. Focus on the things you enjoy or find interesting and you’ll attract others who share your interests.
Trying to create content that you’re not passionate about can only result in one of two things. Either it won’t be very good, or maybe it is good and you find a following, but because you’re not passionate about it, are you going to enjoy creating the content? Probably not.
Identify your own interests and it’s highly likely that if you find it interesting, then there will be others out there who also find it interesting.
In a community like FPL Twitter, it can be easy to unintentionally confine yourself to the ideas that already exist. How other people deliver their content automatically becomes your reference point and you will likely find you stay pretty close to that. Don’t be scared to cut your own path and deliver your content in a creative way. If it doesn’t work, you can learn from it and improve, and if it does work, well, then you have found a unique way to cut through the noise and have likely found your niche. Monkey Tennis anyone?
Quality over quantity
Regular engagement in the community is good. Speaking to people, sharing their work, interacting etc etc. But when it comes to content, you’d be better served spending five hours on one piece than one hour on five pieces.
Rushing out content that isn’t up to scratch, just to “get it out there” will only negatively affect your audience for future any content you put out.
Get it right before you post. Being a perfectionist can be just as bad as you may never think it’s ready, but before you post anything, be sure that it’s at a standard you are happy with. Only then should you post it.
To achieve this, where possible I will often plan ahead. Things move quickly on social media so you won’t always have the chance to do this, but occasionally you will, and it will give you an advantage over others who are only reacting to news.
The best example I have of this is my video edit of Jose Mourinho being fired by Lord Sugar.
I knew Mourinho was heading towards the exit, we’d seen it happen too many times before, and I had the idea of Lord Sugar firing him. I actually made this video months in advance of Mourinho being sacked and had it sitting in my drafts waiting for the right moment.
Eventually the right moment came at the entirely wrong moment. I was flying back from a holiday when, once the plane landed, I saw the news filtering through that he’d been sacked. On airport wifi, I had a frantic 30 minutes trying to upload my video. Eventually, I got it uploaded and it exploded on social media. That would not have happened had I not already made the video.
Often you can’t plan, but sometimes you can, and planning allows you to get it right and create a higher standard of content.
Don’t try too hard
There is no secret formula for making your content stand out and gain traction, but from experience, I can tell you that sometimes the instinctive things work just as well, if not better than the planned content (I realise I’ve just told you to plan in the previous point).
I’ve posted endless amounts of tweets that I thought were hilarious, but they didn’t resonate. Taps mic is this thing on?
I’ve also posted a few spur-of-the-moment tweets, which have gone viral.
One example of this was one Sunday morning when I was about to head out and (and this is normal for my brain) I suddenly remembered that Ben Foster used to play for Manchester United, which was something I’d forgotten all about. I put out a completely impromptu tweet which I called “The ‘I completely forgot he played for them’ game”.
People instantly jumped on it, adding their own players in the comments. At that point, I went out for a few hours and didn’t have my phone at hand. When I returned my notifications had gone crazy and later that day it was even mentioned on Talksport.
I’m not sure what the lesson is on this one, maybe it reinforces one of my earlier points of ‘if you find it interesting, so too will others’.
It also came from a genuine and authentic place.
It wasn’t designed to garner likes or retweets and indeed I didn’t (and never do) ask for them. It was just me communicating with the community on a subject that sparked my interest.
I think in everything you do on social media, if you can keep that authenticity and be genuine, you wont go far wrong.
And if there’s one other person who’s influenced me in that way I think, someone who is a maverick, someone who does that to the system, then, it’s Ian Botham.