TWITTER FOR SOCIAL MEDIA VIRGINS
Where I Am With Twitter ...
Posted by Andrew Spencer on 28/06/2012
Back in March I wrote a blog titled Confessions of a Social Media Virgin. Then I was restarting with Facebook, had got going with Twitter and was well established on LinkedIn. Three months later I think I can say I am comfortable working with Twitter but have still got a lot to do with Facebook to make sense of my presence there. This post is about where I am with Twitter and hopefully gives a few useful tips for expanding presence there ...
it's relatively easy to grow your followers on twitter but you do need to be consistent
Why am I spending time with Twitter? Currently my efforts to expand my following are geared towards raising my profile as an individual management interim and consultant (IT management and general marketing), and my profile as a blogger.
My tweets are reasonably regular and frequent. They feature my blog posts, with a greater frequency for the most recent posts but also featuring past ones that have demonstrated interest. For other tweets there is a general theme of computers, IT, telecoms, smartphone, computer history, IT news etc. Many of them are retweets and others are tweets of online news articles. I am probably averaging 10-15 tweets a day.
What I am not doing currently is building or promoting a brand or selling discrete products. If I were I would be doing things differently but for now Twitter is working for me. I have nearly reached 2,000 followers and am following roughly the same number. The received wisdom is that it is good to follow those that follow you; it helps cement the following and allows for direct messaging. I block porn centred followers and those marketing large numbers of followers. The latter seem to be amongst the worst spammers.
One tool I use is Tweepsmap. It is free and shows you where your followers are from by country or city. By country only 16% of my followers remain anonymous and I know that 34% are from the UK, and 32% from the US. Within the UK 5% of the total following are from Milton Keynes (my location), 4% from London and nearly 3% from Northampton. These followers are probably the most important when I start a marketing campaign in the near future.
Back in March I said I would automate my tweets. Setting up an automated sequence of tweets is much more efficient than finding the time to tweet throughout the day and enables stress free tweeting through the night (important if a large part of your following is in widely differing time zones which mine is). I use the free service provided by Socialoomph to automate tweeting though may well move to the professional version soon.
I also decided that I needed to streamline how I unfollowed tweeps. Early on I followed lots of people and organisations as a way to build my following. So I built up a large group where they did not follow me back. And I hit the limit of 2,000 that you can follow unless you have near that number of followers. Unfollowing manually is painful so I found a tool that presented all those that did not follow me in one list (longest not following first) so I could just click through quickly. The tool is Unfollow!
One word of warning in unfollowing if you do too many too quickly your account may be suspended. I did them in batches of 25 (the free limit) but have recently subscribed in order to speed up the process a bit more. I have now unfollowed everyone I don't want to keep following (some I do even though they don't follow me, tweeps such as newspapers) and use Unfollow to pick up those that have unfollowed me for whatever reason. There is a churn so I find it worth doing a couple of times a week. These three tools I find the most useful. There are a host of others but I have not found a need for them yet
In the meantime a few more tips:
Hashtags work, particularly if you can pick up trending ones. Generic ones such as #management, business etc work well.
Backgounds should be solid colour. Easier on the eye and makes it easier for any branding you build into your home page background to stand out.
A strong profile logo/picture really does work. When scanning long lines of tweets you stand out much better.
Lists are good for focussing on particular tweeps. I still don't make as much use of lists as I should.
When tweeting it is worth leaving a RT zone of about 10-20 characters. Enables easier and more likely retweeting.
One piece of advice I have taken on board is that 15-25 tweets a day is the optimum for building following. Tweet too frequently and you irritate people and don't spend all your time tweeting your products and services - be interesting and informative.
If you'd like some advice on Twitter then why not give me a call on +44 (0) 1908 565 460?
Until next time ...
During Andrew's extensive business career he has worked in a wide cross section of companies, specialising in the creation of contact centres and business systems, software development, telecommunications and project management. Andrew's key skills are:
Business planning and strategy
Matching technology to business needs
Software development and implementation
Designing and implementing business systems
His work has included sourcing and implementing a new integrated telecoms system for National Energy Services, designing and project managing a new IT and telephony structure for the Greyhound Racing Association, and directing technology development for Wembley plc.