For just over three years, I have been the mostly anonymous writer behind the @leeclowsbeard Twitter feed – an anonymity I was finally able to lift a few days ago with the official launch of the leeclowsbeard book and app being produced by TBWAChiatDay’s new content creation arm, Let There Be Dragons. While many things about this journey have been surreal, especially of late, one thing that has stood out to me is how the success of @leeclowsbeard has flown in the face of accepted social media practices. What is my secret, you ask? Let me lay down that knowledge in the form of numbered steps since such lists are de rigueur for blogs these days. 

1. Revel in a lack of content – One tweet a day. No links. No Instagrams. No retweets. No extra anything. Just a few-score characters about the wonderful world of, in my case, advertising. How tedious. How so devoid of Klout-boosting potential.

2. Eschew engagement – Social media is the Land of Enchanted Engagement where brands hold hands with consumers and everyone sings “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” around a blazing iPad screen. When @leeclowsbeard started, I did indeed engage with my nascent audience. A retweet here and reply there. But, frankly, it made the Beard feel too casual and familiar. So, fairly early on, I stopped engaging. Few seemed to mind.

3. Integrate nothing – Twitter wasn’t just a medium for @leeclowsbeard, it was the only medium. No Facebook cross-pollination. No YouTube channel. Not even a microsite directing people back to the Twitter profile. Sure, now there’s a book and an app acting as de facto brand extensions, but that integration came years later.

4. Be interesting – While this step should go without saying, people in advertising tend to forget it more often than they neglect to pop a Tic Tac before a client meeting. (Especially in the social media world where too many practitioners consider fan-gated coupons to be interesting. They aren’t.) As the great Howard Gossage once opined, “People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.” Which is, if you’re honest, exactly what your tweets are.

5. – 788. Repeat Step 4. – With new thoughts, mind you. Not just retweets of whatever your twoted yesterday. Warning: Actual effort will be involved.

Follow these steps robotically and without question and you, too, can achieve a Twitter following in the low five-figure range in just 34-36 months. If your objectives are dissimilar to mine and you wish to garner a larger following, you may need to tweak steps 1, 2 or 3, but definitely not 4. Unless, of course, your last name is Bieber. But, as with most things in advertising, there are no rules as to what you absolutely must do. There are simply a lot of “shoulds,” and you would be wise to explore them at least a little bit before ignoring them.

And remember: When reviewing a list of best practices, keep in mind that someone somewhere is selling them in a book. You know, like this one.