Don’t Be Afraid To Use Twitter

twitterI  joined Twitter in 2007 and played around with it a bit and then forgot about it. I used to view social media as just a huge waste of time. Boy, was I wrong, I wish I would have cultivated a proactive Twitter following much sooner.  Now that Twitter is main stream it’s usefulness is obvious. You can use it to get breaking news, share your opinion about the latest reality show, keep up with current events, and get your books and blog posts in front of a targeted audience.

The latter seems to be a popular subject with authors, bloggers, and marketers, but how is it accomplished? One word, well, uh two words, hash tags. A hash tag is a keyword with a number sign in front of it like this #hashtag. By including a #hashtag in your post, your post will show in the Twitter stream for that tag. For instance, if you click on a #hashtag or just type one in the Twitter search box and you will see a stream that contains tweets related to that #hashtag.

Use Relevant Hashtags

It’s proper etiquette to put 2 or maybe 3 #hashtags in a tweet, don’t over do it, and make sure that the #hashtag you use is relevant to what you want it to mean. It’s always a best bet to do a search of a #hashtag before using it to avoid potential embarrassment, and to have your tweets targeted correctly. There are also numerous websites devoted to #hashtags and their meanings. If you are new to #hashtags a quick search might help you find some relevant tips.

Signing up for Twitter is easy. Just use an email address, a user name, and a password and you are in business. One caveat is that you can only have one Twitter account for each email address, but too many Twitter accounts would get unruly, anyway. Once you sign up, you want to setup your profile so that potential followers will know if you are a right fit for them to follow.  You can create elaborate backgrounds and color schemes, but the most important thing is to clearly let people know what you will be tweeting about.

Create A Compelling Profile

Put up a picture, and let people know exactly what you are about. Whether you are promoting your website, your books, or love animals and vegetarian food, having a clear blurb in your profile about who you are will help potential followers know if they want to follow you or not. Once you have an inviting profile, you can start following people in hopes that they will follow you back. Personally, I’m trying to cultivate a following for my ebook website. My target demographic is writers, publishers, and readers.

I also follow certain people or groups just because I like their profile or think they are fun. Plus, readers fall into a broad category. I don’t usually participate in the follow me and I’ll follow you back schemes, where you can have 100,00 untargeted followers that will never check their feed. It’s my goal to have an active follower list that will actually click on some of my tweets and maybe even find a new book or two to read. I also want to get as many eyes as possible to my website and Twitter feed.

Increase Targeted Followers On A Daily Basis

As I began this article, I had increased my Twitter following by over 900%, which sounds like a lot, but the numbers are relative. I started out with a handful of followers, and now I have a little over 1200, but the numbers are increasing every day, and they are mostly targeted towards people who may be interested in what I have to offer when I tweet. Update: I am now closing in on 10,000 followers.

When I first began my Twitter quest, I read several Twitter ebooks and blog posts. I also tried out a myriad of free Twitter tools. Many of these have paid options that you can upgrade too, but so far I have stuck with free. The two tools I decided to stick with are Tweepi and Hootsuite. Tweepi is great for growing your followers and Hootsuite is awesome for managing followers, creating lists, and posting and auto-posting Tweets. I always use Hootsuite to auto-post my paid book submissions at the most popular times of the day. I also use #hashtags to make sure these tweets get in front of the right people. As my following and the popularity of my site grows, this service will only become more beneficial.

Using Tweepi To Find and Manage Followers

You can do some pretty cool things with Tweepi. I just use the free services, but updating to premium would even unlock more features and would be good if I were a social media maven or wanted to give my twitter account a boost. For now I am fine with building a slow and steady following of targeted users.

Tweepi can tell you who you are following and if they are following you back. You can use the flush feature to unfollow those that aren’t following you back. Be relentless, if people don’t follow you back then unfollow them. You want to keep your follow to unfollow ratio low and this is a good way to do it. You can also use tweepi to reciprocate follows you may have missed. Just keep in mind that you may not want to follow everyone. I never follow anyone without at least glancing at their profile and I usually read some of their tweets and look at their books or visit their site. There are a lot of people in this world and not everyone will fit in the demographic you want to actively tweet with.

When if comes to finding who to follow,  Twitter will make suggestions and you can also look at other people’s profiles and follow some of the people they are following. You can also explore different #hashtags and keywords to find people with similar interests.

Using tweepi you can find users to follow based on their tweeps, you can follow friends of other people on twitter, and you can find lists to follow. These are great ways to narrow down your potential follows by people who have the same interest as you. You can also take a look at their profile, how active they are on Twitter, and take a peek at how many follows and followers they have, and even their Klout score.

Use Tweepi To Find People To Follow and Flush Those Who Don’t

When you follow someone, there is a good chance they will follow you back, if you are a good fit and they are active on Twitter. It is also polite for you to reciprocate follows. Some people will send you direct messages using some type of automated tool. Personally, I’m not a fan of the direct message spam and the automated tools. If you want to ignore these people don’t feel bad about it.

Tweepi has a lot more to offer than what I listed here. But these few tools will be enough to kickstart an ever growing Twitter following. Each day I spend a little time on Twitter following back my followers and finding new people to follow. I also use tweepi every week or two to unfollow those people who haven’t taken the time to follow me back. My followers are growing and by this time next year my Twitter account should be an extremely powerful marketing tool.

If you use an email address that you use regularly for Twitter and your settings are set to receive email notifications then you will get an email when you get a new follower. If you miss some you can use tweepi to reciprocate. Keep in mind that the newest followers will show up first, so start with the back page and work your way forward. You can also click on columns and make sure things like the users profile and location and any other pertinent information shows ups. Then go through each person and glance at their profile and put a check mark next to their name if you want to follow them. Then click on follow on the top or bottom of the page. When it comes time to flush unfollowers use the same technique. Just don’t unfollow too frequently or Twitter may think you are spamming. Just do it every week or two, and spend a little time each day or so following and reciprocating follows.

Hootsuite Does It Best

There is no shortage of free and paid Twitter tools available. One of the most common and the most popular is Hootsuite. This is a powerful tool and the paid version does more then I am even aware of, they even offer classes to help social media people learn how to get the most out of it. I use the free version of Hootsuite to view followers and group streams that I want to follow. Once you have many followers your stream will move so fast you will miss most of the tweets. With Hootsuite you can create specialized streams. I have some business ones and some fun ones. It’s great to group friends in real life, business partners, and favorite celebrities in their own streams. Hootsuite makes this easy.

The other thing that Hootsuite is great for is composing tweets. You can post now or schedule future posts. It even compresses your links and adds images and files. The best thing is you can auto schedule posts and Hootsuite will post for you at the appropriate times. I use this for my free ebook promotions. I will make a post with the proper #hashtags and the book’s link. Then I will copy it and post it. Then I will paste that post into the compose window again and auto schedule it to post again. After all, I want to get my client’s books in front of the most people possible. I don’t over do it or spam the posts, but I try to get a reasonable amount of exposure for the books.

Use Hootsuite To Create Custom Streams and Schedule Posts

I barely scratched the surface of what you can do with Hootsuite, but this should be enough to get anyone started without over complicating things. Keeping Twitter simple and effective is the best way to enjoy it. Having tools that help make things effective without over complicating is my goal. So even though there are a lot more things you can learn and do, I’m keeping it simple.

The bottom line is follow business contacts, and people for fun. Tweet about important things you want to share and tweet about intereting things that humans may find entertaining. Slow and steady wins the race, and cultivating a solid Twitter following of real people, who actually participate, is the best way to get the most out of Twitter. You can follow me here. Let me know how you liked the article @NewsScribe and I’ll follow you back.