Firstly, there are no rules. How you use something like Twitter is entirely up to you. This is just the way I am doing things at the moment.
When I started out on Twitter, it was like my precious little seedling that I needed to grow in order for it to bear the fruit that it does now. I used to seek out new members for my network, actively trawling Twitter for fresh people to connect with. I would check others’ follows/followers, who they were conversing with, join in and proactively go out and follow people.
A while ago, my management of Twitter shifted to a broadly reactive rather than proactive process.
What I am currently doing requires some investment of time, probably about 20 minutes per week on average, but I think it’s important.
I try to monitor new followers on a weekly basis (when I can) which is usually about 25-50 accounts. Some new followers won’t get further than a glance, these tend to be:
- Obviously commercial. I tend not to follow commercial accounts unless they are a company/organisation known to me and I want to receive updates.
- Social media ‘gurus’. Some of these accounts appear to use a strategy of growing their numbers by following (presumably en masse) for a week or so before then unfollowing. These types of accounts often have huge numbers following and usually disproportionately high ratios of followers vs following.
- A ‘locked’ account with no bio. How do I know if you are worth following? I know nothing about you and can’t see your tweets.
I open nearly all of my new followers’ accounts (in new browser tabs) and check:
– Is there one? I do follow people with minimal or missing bios but this will depend on content (tweets), see below.
– Does the bio look like it describes someone with similar interests? Ok, there’s a good chance I’ll follow you (depending on your activity).
– Is it a school (or similar account). If it is and it is active, I will add it to a list here. I generally don’t follow school accounts unless they are known to me directly and I want to receive updates. Similarly class accounts, which are added to a list here.
– Does the account only ever retweet other content? If so, I will rarely follow, I figure I’d rather receive content first hand rather than follow a serial retweeter (where’s their engagement with others?) Currently Twitter has a tab for ‘Tweets & Replies’, I nearly always click this in order to see if they are a conversationalist. Do they engage with others? Who? What about?
– When was the last tweet? How often does this account tweet? If it hasn’t tweeted for three months, I won’t follow. If there is a recent tweet but on the whole the account is pretty dormant (fewer than 10 tweets in last few months), I probably won’t follow.
– Is the account too noisy? Is it tweeting 20+ times per day? If so, I might not want my timeline crowded in that way.
– Are there endless ‘inspirational quotations’ being tweeted? If so, no thanks.
– Is this simply a broadcast channel, tweeting blogpost updates or those ‘Paper.li’ daily update thingies (does anyone ever look at those)? If so, no thanks again, I don’t want your daily updates – even if I happen to be one of the ‘Top stories’ #sigh.
– Occasionally I will click on the ‘Followers’ tab on their page. There is a button there for ‘Followers I know’. If they are followed by some of my most respected connections, that may justify my giving them a follow.
I am conscious that I am missing people with this process. For example, I am missing the person who has just set up their Twitter account and given me a follow but because they are new they haven’t yet got into the swing of things and, despite being great tweeters a couple of weeks into things, I haven’t followed them. I could do with these people giving me a mention maybe, to nudge me into action.
Finally, I use a couple of free tools to conduct some further Twitter management. I think of this as ‘pruning’ and involves me monitoring who unfollows me, for which I use Who.unfollowed.me I also monitor which of my followers have gone quiet or inactive for which I use Manageflitter.com. I like both of these because, although they require access to your Twitter account, what they don’t do is send out that annoying auto-tweet about numbers of followers etc that other services seem to do. They are both also free.
There you have it. I have always devoted time to managing my network and as things continue to evolve I thought it worth sharing what I’m doing right now.
Got any observations? Top tips? Please feel free to comment.