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25 Twitter tips for business – Part 3 (followers tips)

Welcome back.  Part 1 – http://bit.ly/setwitter1 (1-12).  Part 2 – http://bit.ly/setwitter2 (13-18).

Followers Tips

19.  Follow back everyone (almost)

OK, except for the porn, which I heartily recommend blocking, I recommend following.  This is a subject of much debate among Twitterers.  Some want followers, but if they don’t know the person, or if the person/organization is a marketing one (e.g., like late night infomercials, and there are a ton, some very specific to Twitter – “Gain 1,000 followers a day!”), they won’t follow.  I tend to follow everyone who does for the following reasons: 1. Quantity does count for something.  The higher your follower count, the more credible you appear.  Image can be deceiving, but first impressions matter.  They also figure into most grading or ranking tools (later tip).  2. There is a not-very-heavily advertised rule that prohibits you from following more than 2,000 until you have 2,000 followers.  This may not matter to you and you can’t see how you would ever get that high, but it may matter to the person who has followed you.  People who are into Twitter and interested in growing their base sometimes will unfollow those who don’t follow them back.  Of course, there are exceptions to this.  I will always follow the newspapers locally and regionally, for example, and they follow no one, but you get my point.  3. The more the merrier.  My Twitter is for business promotion and the more people who see my stuff the better.  4. People will often check out users’ followers for new people to follow.  Following more people exposes you to more people looking to connect.  In summary, while I respect the quality over quantity argument (I do believe quality is important), I think quantity is important.

20. Recognize and block the porn

This is kind of obvious, but new people to Twitter may not realize that a follower is porn.  Big clues, in addition to (a) an inappropriate pic is (b) a handle which is clearly slanted that way (e.g., SexyKitten42, although sometimes you can misjudge it) or (c) a handle which is obviously an automatically generated one (e.g., xHTcW127).  (d) There is almost always a link, which you can double-check to see if it’s inappropriate.  Also, (e) there will be almost 0 followers and often (f) the account was likely just recently created.  There may even be some fake tweets about topics unrelated to the true intent just to throw people off the track.  It’s important to take the effort to go through this because Twitter users who check your followers will recognize this junk right away, and it sends the wrong message – either you are OK with it or you aren’t saavy enough to know what it is or you don’t spend enough time to check out your followers…all not great messages.

21. “Friend or Follow” is your friend

I love this tool.  As you grow in followers, you may want to manage them.  Friend or Follow (www.friendorfollow.com) lets you easily (without registering) see “Following” (who is not following you whom you are following), “Fans” (people who follow you, whom you don’t follow), and “Friends” (where you follow each other).  As the number of people you follow and who follow you grows, you won’t be able to easily see if you missed someone who is following (if you want to), and more importantly, people who haven’t followed you back.  You can sort the group by Last Tweet  and many other criteria.  I like to sort by Last Tweet because if someone hasn’t tweeted in the last month, for example, chances are they aren’t doing Twitter any more.  I chuck them.  I will sometimes chuck people who haven’t tweeted in the last week.  It depends.  In any case, they bring in all the photos of the users, you can click on them, their Twitter page comes up, and you can unfollow (or follow) right there if you want. 

22.   Local Followers – media

Sometimes the hardest thing to do when you start out in Twitter is getting people to follow you.  Or, more importantly, getting people you want to follow you to follow you.  A piece of advice I follow and which I give is to connect with other people in your area using Twitter.  An easy way to do this is to follow many or all (you can judge one by one pretty quickly) of those following your local or regional media’s twitter account.  Go to their Twitter page (often you can find this by going to their web homepage and looking for the twitter symbol or mention of twitter), and when you get there, click on Followers.  Then, click follow on everyone you want to connect with.  Sources would include the newspapers, radio, and TV as well as individual reporters, newscasters, etc., but I tend to stay with the media orgs themselves.  There are limits to how many you can follow at one time as well, so if you hit that wall, wait 24 hours before attempting to follow more.  Don’t forget that once you connect to local people/businesses, you can dredge their followers, too.

23.  Finding Followers – Twitter search

There are two ways I use to do this.   One I just learned yesterday from a friend.  This is to use Twitter’s Advanced Search feature, which isn’t easily findable on their home page (when logged out) or on yours (when you log on).  Go to http://search.twitter.com hit Advanced Search and then look for Places.  Put in a zip code or city, set the mile radius and go.  You will find people tweeting in your area even if they haven’t listed the city or zip code in their profile.  Another way is to put in the name of your city and state or state abbreviation into the search box on your Twitter home page.  I save this search so I can check out who is tweeting about Springfield, OH.  Often, they’re good candidates.

24. The Elite – SMS alerts

I’m putting this under Followers Tips, but an argument could have been made for putting it under Interaction tips.  So, how the heck, if you have hundreds and thousands of followers do you make sure to see the tweets of the people you want when you want?  How do you filter the massive information river threatening to drown you?  You can use management tools (Tip 25), which I do, but also you can use SMS updates to your phone.  Of the (right now) 1700 people I’m following, there are perhaps 10-12 (my elite Twitter circle) whose updates (tweets) are sent directly as text messages to my phone.  That way I make sure that I don’t miss them. The Springfield News-Sun (@springfieldnews) is one.  If you go into your followers, you can click on the mobile phone under the Settings column to change it to get alerts by cell phone.  Or you can go to their Twitter page and click on the Following box under the pic and name.  Then change the Device Updates to on.  I like this a lot.

25. Manage the chaos

OK, once you start rolling, you may want to explore the TweetDeck (www.tweetdeck.com) and Seesmic (www.seesmic.com) applications.  They allow you to see (up to) 4 (and maybe more) streams at one time.  A stream could be the tweets of a particular group of those you follow that you create.  It could be the @replies.  It could be Direct Messages (DMs).  As things get more complicated, these tools can be more helpful.  I have used both, and I don’t have a preference.  There are probably others.  You can bring in your Facebook stream as well.


One Response

  1. […] Twitter Tips for Business – Part 3 (followers tips): I wish I could say that the reason this post listed highest was because of my brilliant writing.  […]

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