Let's jump right into using Twitter, shall we.
1. Discovery – How to find good people to follow. How to avoid the pornsters, spammers, and MLM shuck-n-jivers on Twitter. Here's my single slide theory on Slideshare: Twitter Discovery.
2. Blocking and Tackling – Yes, please report the spammers, it gives us a fighting chance to make a better Twitterverse. And once you've FOLLOWED your limit you're gonna have to pick and choose who to UNFOLLOW.
Here are a few examples of my least favorite Twitter-spammers.
While I don't have any problem with people being religious, I don't think that you are tweeting on-behalf-of the Lord. And what if my lord isn't your Lord? Oh, I know you've got an obligation to spread the good news, but I'm… Well, I welcome the dialogue, but not the sermon. (I once had the account @jmacofdell for about an hour. When I learned what that meant that I was tweeting on-behalf-of Dell I immediately changed my ID to @jmacofearth. I don't think I'd ever change it to @jmacforbuddha or @jmac4jesus. Maybe you get my drift, maybe you don't. These are just my opinions.)
3. Auto-Tweeting and Scheduled Tweets – Please don't. Lot's of reasons to do these things, but none of them are valid. Let's walk through WHY it's bad for YOU and bad for the receivers of your "canned" message. I have had a number of heated discussions with Twitter Strategists and Experts telling me I'm crazy on this one. Hootsuite and Buffer (and many other tools) allow you to tweet something at a specified time in the future, and… well… how can that be bad? Let me give you an example.
So, in my mind, what happened, is this friend scheduled a tweet with Buffer or some other tool and was soundly asleep when it went out at damn-near midnight. When I responded with a challenge about the infographic, he was not there to respond. And even when a follower FAV'd my tweet, and I responded to her, there was NADA from my friend. In my mind, it was a missed opportunity. (The alternative answer could be that my friend politely refused to be drawn in to my aggressive criticism, but I've not known him to miss a sparring opportunity. It's what we call fun-and-games with people we know and trust.)
If you schedule a tweet you are really using Twitter as a broadcast network. And in some circumstances, especially if you are a brand or a corporation, it might be appropriate: because you DON'T WANT CONVERSATIONS. But in all other cases, if you are a real person, and you want real people to respond and converse with you, DON'T SCHEDULE TWEETS, because you're not there when I respond. A MISS.
4. Grow and Prosper – So is it only about following and unfollowing enmasse? Let's talk about what you can expect to get from your Twitter efforts. If you are truly using Twitter as a broadcast marketing platform for you or your business, this conversation is not for you. As a rule, I try and find good content to retweet. I try and keep my LISTS up-to-date by adding GOOD tweeters in various categories and unfollowing BAD tweeters. And here, on this blog, all of my content is signed with my twitter address and G+. So I hope to earn your follow by creating good content that you decide you want to follow me. Twitter IS sort of like RSS, but it's not just about you. If it is, you'll be turning off as many people as you turn on, probably more.
5. The Zen of Twitter – "You are what you tweet." As a philosophy, knowing what thoughts are running around in your brain obsessively is a very good step towards eliminating that same madness of brain-noise. Twitter is no different. If all you do is tweet DEALS, COUPONS, and OFFERS, well… You are really not someone I want to follow, nor, in my opinion, are you really creating any value for your followers. There are plenty of deal/coupon/offer apps and sites. YOU ARE NOT ONE. Be a person. Tweet about things that interest you. ReTweet others who say interesting things. Only by amplifying the GOOD and Reporting and Blocking the BAD can we move the conversation on Twitter back towards conversation.
6. Twitter Follow Hacks – Here's how you do it with efficiency. Refer to #1 and find people of quality, people who are using the same #hashtags you want to be a part of, or dominate. My favorite speedy tip for following multiple people: use your browser VIEW and ZOOM OUT. Then you can see a full-page worth of tweeters on one screen without scrolling. I also like to follow from the Suggested People to Follow window because it's quick, it refreshes quickly, and you don't have to scroll. (I know there used to be a tool to FOLLOW EVERYONE ON THIS LIST, but I have lost the connection. If you know how to do this auto-magically, I'll post your link here.)
7. Twitter Unfollow HACK: Use Manageflitter. And if you really start using it, pay for a pro account. With a pro account you can Whitelist people who don't follow you back so you won't accidentally unfollow them when you are mass unfollowing your non-followers. That's the only unfollow hack you need. (this is not a sponsored link, i am receiving no compensation from this link)
8. Process Twitter Regularly – Don't ignore your Twitter account. Follow people all the time. When you find an interesting pocket of folks, or a list with like-minded people, spend the time to follow all 345 of them. The discovery is harder than the unfollow.
9. Follow Back Real People – I try to follow 90% people vs. businesses or marketing groups. When I look at who has recently followed me I will follow-back only people who have some interesting stuff in their bio and a picture of themselves. Logos are nice, but I want to see that you're a person.
Finally, a moment of reflection on Twitter in general. Twitter is the highest social driver of traffic to my site. I work Twitter everyday. I follow and unfollow with a determined purpose: expanding my reach and influence. It's okay if you don't follow me back. And it's really okay if I don't follow you. If I add you to one of my groups I am following you in a much more powerful way. One of the ways Twitter could really get the conversation going again is to FIX TWITTER LISTS and bring back some of the much-needed functionality and conversational tools.
Provide tweets that inform and help people. Provide tweets that make them laugh. Be nice to others and retweet great tweets. Don't be afraid to carry on a conversation publicly on Twitter, the DM system is broken and if you try to engagement via DM I will probably miss it. So just go ahead and say it. We'll both be better for it, we'll both get a few more ticks on our Klout score, and perhaps we'll become friends.
Respect the tweet. Report and block the pornsters, posers, MLM, buy 10,000 followers, baddies.
NOTE: Three other tools that might be of use regardless of how you use Twitter. But the funny thing is, I'm using Twitter.com more than anything else. It's kind of like mono-tasking. I can focus better without too many opportunities. But currently monitoring a client's twitter account I'm using Tweetdeck in real-time.
- Buffer < do just what I am asking you not to do, plan and schedule tweets (for businesses this might be essential)
- Tweetdeck < my dashboard and multi-account responding tool
- Hootsuite < the big daddy of paid apps for monitoring and measuring your tweets
Other posts about kicking ass in social media:
- Single-Shot Social Media Strategy: LinkedIn (1-slide / 15-seconds)
- Social Media ROI Demands for 2012: Must See Charts for Marketing
- Going for the One on Google Search is Just a "Phrase Match" Away (Own It!)
- How Win with Twitter – Strategy
- Social Marketing Strategy: Thinking Beyond the Page (VIDEO)
- Social Business Lead Generation in 75-seconds (VIDEO)
- Introduction to Social Media Marketing in 90-seconds (VIDEO)