The sisters Kardashian are no strangers to Twitter.

Currently, Kim is neck-and-neck with Barack Obama on the social medium — she has 10.2 million followers and the President narrowly edges her out with 10.4 million fans.

This story first appeared in the October 10, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The reality star-turned-businesswoman made headlines the last week of September when she hit 10 million fans on the platform, a social media milestone that only four others have reached. Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry are the only other public figures who surpass the 10 million mark to date, with 14.1 million, 13 million and 10.4 million followers, respectively.

To put that into perspective, Britney Spears has 9.9 million, Taylor Swift 8.3 million, Ashton Kutcher 7.8 million and Justin Timberlake 6.2 million. Younger sister Khloé Kardashian Odom has 4.6 million and older sib Kourtney Kardashian has 3.9 million.

So what’s Kim’s secret?

“I think what my followers like is just when I’m real. I like to let them inside my life as much as possible and connect with people on a personal level,” Kim said. “I love to ask advice from my followers. For example, if I have to choose a lipstick color or a hairstyle for a big event, it’s nice to get everyone’s input. I love to tweet inspirational quotes I read online, tweet with my family members and respond to my Twitter dolls.”

Kim revealed that her personal Web site at kimkardashian.celebuzz.com received over 40 million page views last month, and her digital strategy is based upon cross-promoting her blog posts on Twitter and Facebook, as well as reading comments from fans.

Besides regularly updating their Twitter and Facebook pages and blogs, the Kardashians host online chats with followers — Kim recently partnered with Lucky Magazine for a Facebook chat — as well as contests and giveaways. Kim, Kourtney and Khloé are encouraging fans to design their own Kardashian Kollection T-shirt for a chance to win $1,000 in products from the line.

“It’s not just about placing an ad in a magazine or on TV anymore,” said Kim. “It’s about connecting with your audience and keeping them involved — showing [them] that we aren’t just placing our name on random products, but that these are products that we personally use and love.”

Kim added it’s the ease and speed of social media that’s allowed the three of them to get the word out about new business ventures and projects. “[There are] so many things we can do through our social media that you couldn’t do even five years ago.”

Kourtney agreed. To her, social media has helped define the Kardashian brand, and reading comments from fans has allowed the trio to do their best to respond with what their fans want.

For Khloé — who helped save Fred, a shelter dog about to be euthanized, by tweeting about him — “making things happen” is one of the best things about the platform. She also began tweeting about a student-run charity called THON (Penn State Dance Marathon) that raises money for children with cancer — and helped get the charity trending worldwide.

“Nothing is off limits to me [on Twitter.] I am an open book,” Khloé said. “Kim always gets mad at me and Kourt for embarrassing her, but that’s just us. I don’t like to take myself too seriously. It’s fun to show people you can play around from time to time. I’m a very open and honest person, I really don’t hold back. I say whatever is on my mind. Sometimes I may go too far, but hey, that’s me. I can’t change who I am.”

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