Article updated on September 7, 2017
Is Twitter confounding you? Are you overwhelmed by how to get started with using it and further, with actually building a strategically-targeted following there? Let me help. “Twitter is an information network made up of 140-character messages called Tweets. It’s an easy way to discover the latest news related to subjects you care about.” It’s important that you know the basics before we begin so you can read about how to get started with Twitter here. If you’re comfortable with the basics, it’s time to figure out how to manage your Twitter account and how to build a strategically-targeted following there to optimize your experience and the benefits you’ll receive from using it.
I have compiled some Twitter tips and tools for my clients that I believe will be beneficial for you.
I use Bufferapp to preschedule tweets to go out at specific times during the day. Buffer is an Australian company that has a blog called Buffer Social that you will definitely want to sign up for. With the free version of Bufferapp, you can preschedule up to 10 tweets and/or retweets to go out when you want them to. Peak times of the day for tweeting are generally from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm and then after 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm. However, we can use a tool called Tweriod to figure out exactly when it’s best for you to tweet and then schedule our tweets for those times.
I also sometimes use ManageFlitter to figure out who is either inactive or not following back on Twitter. Sign into your Twitter account and then sign into ManageFlitter and synch the two together by following the instructions. ManageFlitter will pull in all the people you’re following on Twitter. Check out those who are not following you back and unless they’re people you really, really want to follow anyway, unfollow them. Also, check to see if people you’re following on Twitter are actually inactive and haven’t tweeted anything in more than a month. If this is the case, unfollow them. You can also use ManageFlitter to do a search for people that you’d like to follow using keywords, location, or other search parameters.
Ideally, you want to only follow people on Twitter who are active and who have a photo & bio, etc. and who tweet regularly…otherwise they’re not really worth following (unless they’re a famous person you adore and want to see their news whenever they do get around to tweeting it). You can only follow up to 5,000 people on Twitter until you have almost as many followers and we always want to keep our ratio of Followers to Following at a healthy level. So, if you think you’d like to follow someone but they appear to not follow many people back (this is particularly true of Twitter Verified accounts – those that have the blue tick of authenticity to prove it’s the official account for that user), don’t follow them, but rather put them into a List and assign those people/accounts to a specific keyword for the List. Like Authors or Musicians. You can put them on the list so you can find them, and you can still see their tweets when you filter the list, but don’t follow them if they don’t look like they’ll follow you back.
ManageFlitter will help you to cull all the people you follow who are inactive or not following back. It will also help you to Search for people in your region who would be interested in what you do and you can use it to preschedule your tweets to go out at specific times as well although I prefer Bufferapp for this because it’s so easy.
To put someone into a List, all you do is follow someone and then click on the “…” or ellipsis icon beside the Following button and choose Add or Remove from Lists. Then you tick off the list you want to put them on or create a new one and put them on it. It’s a great way to filter your Twitter feed so that you only get the tweets from those on the list. You do this by clicking on the title of the list and then your feed will be from those people only.
Recently, I discovered a great tool to use to follow friends or followers of other Twitter users whose fans would be in your target demographic. To use it, you go to Tweepi and login to it using your Twitter account (or you can sign up and choose to use their free or paid versions. I’ve been using the free version).
When at http://tweepi.com/dashboard – you have the option of using the old dashboard (which I’m still using) or you can try the new beta version. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to explain how to use the old dashboard. Log in to Twitter and then log in to Tweepi and connect your Twitter account to it. You can add and/or remove numerous accounts to your dashboard.
If you have a role model on Twitter or you know of a Twitter user who you believe would have a similar fan base and you want to follow who he or she is following, go to the section titled: FOLLOW NEW USERS.
You can choose to either FOLLOW FRIENDS of that user or FOLLOW FOLLOWERS. Click on one or the other and then type in their Twitter handle… i.e. @CBCMusic and then click the button and Tweepi will pull in either all the friends or followers of @CBCMusic and you can decide who you want to follow based on their followers to following ratio and activity level. You can choose what stats you want to see under Columns, and you can follow up to 200 people per day. Click on the Last Tweeted column to see who has been active lately and decide who you want to follow. Click on the Neither button under that user’s name (there it will read either Neither, Following You, or Mutual Friendship) and select. Doing that puts that user into a Follow List. When you have selected between 25-200 followers, click on the View List on Twitter button at the bottom right corner of the dashboard and then click the Confirm & Continue Following button on the next page. When you do that, you’ll be directed to the list of users that you’ve selected on Twitter and you then follow them there. This process has been recently set up to avoid breaching Twitter’s terms and conditions.
I usually only follow accounts that have between 100 – 10,000 followers for my own profile based on the amount of followers I have, but if someone with more than 10,000 followers follows me, I will follow them back if they appear to be using Twitter properly. I also make sure that those people have tweeted within the past week or less. Once we’ve followed a whole bunch of people and we still have a healthy followers/following ratio, we can then FLUSH out or unfollow all those who didn’t follow back (I use ManageFlitter to do that as Tweepi no longer allows us to use that feature). I’d give it at least a week to 10 days to allow people to follow back though before unfollowing them.
In my humble opinion (as well as the opinion of many social media experts) if you’re not a household name yet, you’ll get a lot more followers on Twitter if you follow more people back. If I look at an account that is following way less people than are following it, I wouldn’t follow it because I’d assume that the person behind it wouldn’t follow back. If the person is famous and I really want to follow them, then I do. That being said, one of the things I also do for those I’m working with is put the people they follow back into a List according to a keyword so that they can later filter their Twitter feed to see only the tweets of those people…i.e. only music bloggers…they might want to connect with or people in certain cities, etc.
All of these things will help you to manage Twitter. It’s a super powerful marketing tool and you should definitely have more followers to share your career with! However, be aware, that if you never take the time to actually talk to your followers directly, you will yield little benefit from having the account. Twitter is a news sharing tool, but it’s also a social media platform and we have to be social and talk to people on it in order to establish relationships that can be rewarding to us. The more we talk to people on Twitter, the more they will get to know us and remember us and they will more be likely to retweet for us or to take other action that we may ask of them. Also, a retweet is often more powerful if you write your own quote about it before retweeting it to let your followers know why that tweet mattered to you.
If you know of a great Twitter tip or tool that you’d like to share, please do in a comment on this post.