Twitter: How to Manage and run Efficiently

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Twitter has become a household name thanks to the media and its continued growth.  Twitter surpassed the 500 million user milestone earlier this year, and over 150K new users sign up daily.

While Twitter has become very popular over the last few years, many of the registered users fall off the face of the Earth.  Only about 100 million are active on a monthly basis.  Well 100 million active users is impressive, and there are no signs of Twitter slowing down.  Twitter is only going to get bigger.

If you’re a business and not taking advantage of Twitter you’re likely doing yourself a disservice. Your Twitter account needs to be managed and run efficiently for success.  Twitter gives your customers and prospects another format to communicate with your business.  It also serves as a venue to promote your business.

With a max of 140 characters per Tweet, Twitter would seem like a cinch.  In theory it is a cinch, but there are pieces to manage that make your experience efficient and worthwhile.

Give it time – If you’re new to Twitter or inactive you need to have patience.  If you’re expecting fireworks in a day, week, or month of use you need to change your mind set.  It takes time to build a following and achieve your desired results.  You need to give Twitter six months before making an evaluation of its value.  You will build relationships in this sea of users if you give it time.

Be Active – You must be active.  Tweeting here and there is not going to cut it.  Have a plan where you’re going to be tweeting daily.  At the minimum you should send 8-10 tweets per day.  Any less is just not enough.  If you want to be really active send a tweet out every 20 minutes.  That is good activity without coming off as spammy.

Create Lists and Use them – This is the foundation of an organized Twitter experience especially as your follower count grows.  Twitter allows you to have 20 different lists with a maximum 500 users per list.  As a business you should create a customer list and prospect list right off the bat.  A list allows you to see a group of specified users in one place.  This makes communication with these users more manageable.   You must create lists.

Use Tools – While Twitter recently changed its API rules for third party apps, there are still many out there that will highly increase your efficiency.  Using the Twitter interface alone puts you at a disadvantage.  HootSuite is one of the best free tools on the net.  It takes your lists or any searchable word/phrase and separates them into streams.  HootSuite filters your Twitter account and allows for easy management and analysis.  You can and should schedule tweets through HootSuite.  Sending tweets manually at a certain time can be exhausting and defeating.  Scheduling your tweets in the morning over the course of the day(s) saves you a great deal of time.  Another tool that is suggested is Tweepi.  Tweepi allows you to manage your Twitter with ways to follow and unfollow users based on certain criteria.  As your number of followers becomes greater Tweepi is almost necessary.  Tweepi offers both free and premium service.  Under no circumstances ever buy followers.  You see the ads all the time, “Gain 10K followers for $100” but it is total garbage.  They are not real users and will serve you no purpose.

Avoid one-way Communication – Don’t fall into the habit of just broadcasting. While providing good content is important, you want to communicate with your followers. That’s how relationships are built. Do you have to tweet a “thank you” every time someone mentions you or retweets your tweet? No, but you do want to acknowledge that user by retweeting one of their tweets, mentioning them, and/or adding them to one of your lists. If you add them to a list you’ll be able to see their activity through a stream in Hootsuite that you’ve created. You can then schedule a retweet or mention of one on theirs tweets if it is relevant to your audience. If you’re asked a direct question on Twitter, do everything in your power to reply. If you someone asks you a question in person, do you keep walking or stay silent? Probably not, so it shouldn’t be any different online.

Easy on the Self-Promo Cowboy – Many use a 80/20 rule of thumb with 20% of your tweets promoting your brand, products, and services.  In the Social Media space you’re better off keeping that promotion ratio under 10%.  Self-promoting can be a turnoff to follower real quick, so you really want to be aware of it and space out your tweets accordingly.

How do you manage Twitter effectively and efficiently?

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Steven Hughes
Social Media advocate with 20+ years in Sales and Marketing. Steve writes about Social Media, Blogging, Marketing, and business at GeeklessTech. Steve is a current contributor to Chamberofcommerce.com and Dashburst. When away from the computer Steve enjoys running and spending time with his two daughters.
Steven Hughes

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Director of Marketing http://t.co/LKhW0AKsRJ Social Media, Blogger, Marketing, SEO. Father, Giver, Social Network Beta http://t.co/LKhW0AKsRJ/signup/
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Comments

  1. Great post guys!

  2. Useful info for all Twitter users! :-)

  3. Great post Steven, this is something that new users definitely need to read. Couldn't agree more about the 6 mo time period evaluation.

  4. Love the section "Give it Time". Too many people want amazing results from social media without giving it time to develop organically. Good info here Steve.

  5. Good stuff in this post, especially mentioning using tools to be more efficient. Hootsuite as you mentioned also offers Hootlet which is a browser extension that is definitely worth checking out. I'd also recommend Tweriod to find out at what times the majority of your followers are on so you can schedule your best content at optimal times.

    I also like your example about being Active. Many fail to realize that Twitter is a constant feed and Tweeting 8-10 times a day is perfectly normal.

    Thanks Steven!

  6. Good advice here Steve. Well done.

  7. tburgess57 says:

    Make use of some of the apps out there to find leads and engage followers. Two good ones are Commun.it and SocialMotus

  8. A general rule of thumb I always suggest to my clients when we discuss promoting is that there needs to be a reason to promote your product or service. Whether it's a launch, a promotion or even if you get a testimonial, you can show how it's helping people.

    For every other time, you need to tweet stuff that educates, helps and establishes you as an expert in your help.

    • That is a good rule of thumb Samar. I think promoting your own blog posts is acceptable and necessary during the course of the week. You don't want anyone to come away with the feeling, "this person tweets his own stuff out a lot"…

  9. Nice Post Steven. Thanks for this.

  10. Good post Steven, cultivate and grow, it takes time!

  11. Steven, nice job. I think your comment about TIME is very important. Today's world is just now, now, now. I see this a lot when community builders are put under pressure by their business clients to have a large number of followers/friends quickly. That is when you see normally good people engaging in black hat tactics, buying a community, etc.

    I use the analogy with my clients, that Twitter is like leaning a language, it is difficult to "grasp" at first, but if you keep at it, it will all of sudden make sense and then that is where it gets to be fun and oh so effective.

    Nice job.

    • Thanks for the comment. Great analogy about learning a language. Yes, seeing your Twitter account grow and come to life takes longes than three weeks. Companies need to correctly set their expectations.

  12. HootSuite is great, and necessary. But you really should mention the amazing ManageFlitter. This service incorporates functions of the (apparently) now-defunct TweetAdder, a former Twitter utility staple of mine and many others. But it also does much more. (More than I can describe here, but please trust me – this tool is wonderful.) There is a 100% free version (try it yourself) and a more fully-featured Pro version. I started with free but am now Pro.

    Full disclosure, FWIW: I won a lifetime Pro account in a tweet contest, and am so glad I did. (I get absolutely nothing additional for plugging them this way – I already HAVE the free account!)

    HootSuite is likewise a must-have tool, but the main post pretty much covers that ground. I deploy a mix of scheduled and spontaneous tweets, and I think most serious Twitter users do that as well. HootSuite is irreplaceable for that alone, though it also does much more.

    Of course, the way to use Twitter is to serve others and build meaningful relationships. No question there. If you're not doing that, then ManageFlitter and HootSuite and all the software gadgets in the world won't do anything except maybe give you some (superficially) good-looking but empty numbers. But WITHOUT HootSuite and ManageFlitter, how could you expect to mine the vast reaches of Twitter to find the right folks to bond with in the first place?

  13. I should have mentioned, for clarity and completeness, that Tweepi, which the author recommends (and it IS good), does much of what ManageFlitter does. Tweepi also has some nice functions (like following lists) that MF lacks. However, ManageFlitter does some interesting things that Tweepi does not. If you're making the choice, you have to dig in and look around. For me, the only advantage to Tweepi is the ability to follow lists, and I do make use of that when I need to. (Am hoping MF will add this feature at some point.)

  14. Mark Ackerman says:

    Great post, guys.
    By the way, I came across a great service recently that claims to help you grow a targeted Twitter fan base by growing your followers organically. A colleague of mine is using it and says they do a brilliant job. They are called http://www.TwitterConsult.com. Worth looking into.

  15. Glad to hear you have found these techniques usfeul. Social media really has opened up the door for businesses to get a first hand look at exactly what everyone else is doing, and see some results to judge whether it is successful or not, creating huge learning opportunities.

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