Article updated on July 3, 2020
Is Twitter confounding you? Are you overwhelmed by how to get started with it? Do you know how to build a strategically-targeted following? Let me help.
“Twitter is an information network made up of 280-character messages called Tweets. It is an easy way to get the latest news and information about subjects you care about.” You must know the basics before we begin so you can read about how to get started with Twitter here. If you are comfortable with the basics, let us figure out how to manage your Twitter account. You want to know how to build a strategically-targeted following to optimize your experience and the benefits you will receive from using it.
I have compiled some Twitter tips and tools for my clients that I believe will be beneficial.
I use Buffer to preschedule tweets to go out at specific times during the day. Buffer is an Australian company with a blog that you will want to follow. With the free version, you can preschedule up to 10 tweets and/or retweets to go out when you want them to. According to Sprout Social, another excellent social media blog, you will receive the most consistent engagement on Twitter from Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–4 p.m., with the peak occurring on Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m. Saturday is the worst day for Twitter. Sprout Social reported in their recent article “The Best Times to Post on Social Media in 2020”:
- Best times: Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m.
- Best days: Wednesday and Friday
- Worst day: Saturday
- The safest times for engagement are found Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
- The lowest periods for engagement occur every day before 4 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
We can also use Tweriod to figure out exactly when you should tweet and then schedule our tweets.
I once used ManageFlitter to figure out who was either inactive or not following back on Twitter. ManageFlitter was forced by Twitter to remove its follow/unfollow functionality. With their free version of the app, you can only search for accounts to follow using keywords, location, or other search parameters. Sign in to your Twitter account and then sign into ManageFlitter and synch the two together by following the instructions to look at what they offer.
These days, I look at who I have followed within the last month, and for those who chose not to follow back, I unfollow them either manually or using Tweepi and try again. I have become quick at doing this. It is good to check to see if people you follow on Twitter are inactive and have not tweeted anything in more than six months, and you can use a tool called Tweepsmap to do this. You can only unfollow 20 accounts per day.
Ideally, we should follow people on Twitter who are active. They should tweet frequently and have a photo, bio, and website link. Otherwise, they might not be worth following (unless they are a famous person you adore and you want to see their news whenever they 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. If you would like to follow someone, but they appear not to follow many people back (this is true of Twitter Verified “Influencer” accounts that include the blue tick of authenticity to prove it is the official account for that user), don’t follow them. Put them into a private list and assign those people/accounts to a specific keyword for the list. I usually label that list Twitter Verified. Then you can find them, and you can still see their tweets when you filter the list. Do not follow them if they do not appear likely to follow you back.
To put someone into a list, follow their account and then click on the ellipsis icon on the far left side of the Following button. Choose Add or Remove from Lists. Tick off the list you want to put them on or create a new one and put them on it. This is a great way to filter your Twitter feed so that you only get tweets and retweets from those on the list. When you click on the list title, your feed will be from those people only.
I also use a great tool to follow friends or followers of other Twitter users whose fans would be in your target demographic. Go to Tweepi and log in to it using your Twitter account (or you can sign up and choose to use their free or paid versions. I use the free version). Log in to Twitter and then log in to Tweepi and connect your Twitter account. We can follow up to 75 accounts per day or unfollow up to 75 accounts.
If you have a role model on Twitter or you know of a user you believe would have a similar fan base, and you want to follow who they follow, go to the section titled Follow and underneath choose to FOLLOW FOLLOWERS.
You can choose to follow @user’s friends to analyze their followers and decide if you want to follow them. You can also paste a list of @users and analyze it, although I don’t typically do this. Click on the blue link that says follow @user’s friends and then type in their Twitter handle. For example, @CBCMusic. Then click the button, and Tweepi will pull in either the friends or followers of @CBCMusic. You decide who you want to follow based on their followers to following ratio and activity level. You choose what stats you want to see under Columns, and you can follow up to 75 people per day. Click on the Last Tweeted column to see who has been active lately and decide who you want to follow. Under each account user’s name, you will see a Neither or Mutual Friendship button. Click on the Neither button until it becomes Follow List to include that account in your Tweepi following list. When you select up to 75 followers, click on the View List on the Twitter button at the bottom right corner of the dashboard and then click the Confirm & Continue and the Following button on the next page. It directs us to the list of users selected on Twitter, and you follow them there. This process avoids breaching Twitter’s terms and conditions.
I usually only follow accounts with between 100 – 10,000 followers for my profile based on the number of followers I have. 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 have followed many people and we still have a healthy followers/following ratio, we can then FLUSH out or unfollow all those who did not follow back. Again, I do this manually. I would give it at least ten days to a month to allow people to follow back before unfollowing them.
In my humble opinion (as well as those of many social media experts), if you are not a household name yet, you will get more followers on Twitter if you follow more people back. If I look at an account that is following way fewer people than are following it, I would not follow it. I assume that the person behind it would not follow back. If the person is famous and I want to follow them, I do.
One of the things I do for those I’m working with is put the accounts they follow back into a Private List according to a keyword. They can then filter their Twitter feed to see those tweets by clicking on the list title.
All of these things will help you to manage Twitter. It is a super-powerful marketing tool, and you should have more followers to share your career with! Be aware that if you never take the time to talk to your followers directly, you will yield little benefit from having the account. Twitter is a news-sharing tool, but it is also a social media platform. We have to be social and talk to people on it 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 take other calls to action. A retweet is often more powerful if you write your quote about it before retweeting to let your followers know why it mattered to you.
Please share a Twitter tip or tool that you find effective in a comment on this post.