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July 18, 2013

Are you using Twitter effectively?

It's been a while since I've written about Twitter. When I started blogging it was the social media channel that I had the most interaction on. I wrote several posts on using Twitter to boost the traffic to your site and network with authors, publishers, readers, and other bloggers.

Twitter Connections
Tag It
Blogging and Twitter
User Engagement
Creating Sound Bites
Managing your social media presence

You may have noticed I used the past tense when referring to my interactions on Twitter. That wasn't a mistake and no, it's not because a social media channel has replaced it or I've stopped using Twitter. Actually I've almost doubled my number of followers since the beginning of the year. So what happened?, you ask. The short answer - I got lazy.

Twitter is about relationships and relationships take work and time. I was still putting out a lot of stuff on Twitter. Probably more than I ever had. I'm part of Triberr and so I share out blog posts of other members of my tribe. With 30 people in a tribe and if they only post once a day then that's 30 tweets with links. I also have tweets going out about the blog tours and giveaways I'm organizing (more links!).

I noticed a problem a few weeks ago (I was noticing symptoms earlier). Like I said I've almost doubled my following in the past 7 months, yet when I asked a question I got absolutely no response. When I had less than 2K followers, I could ask a question and get 5 - 10 responses depending on time of day. I knew I needed to take a hard look at what was going on with my Twitter feed.

First, I noticed I had almost all links. According to Twitter rules, a feed that contains excessive promotional tweets compared to the number of personal updates is considered a spammer. What is a promotional tweet? Any tweet containing a link. The link does not have to link to your stuff to be considered promotional. Twitter sees all links as equal. I've become so focused in my own little world that I almost couldn't come up with any content tweets. I have a couple of stand by advice tweets I sporadically send out (a couple of times a month), but I really needed to up my game.

Second, I noticed I rarely retweeted anyone any more. I hoped to kill two birds with one stone and retweet other people's content tweets. Do you know that Twitter has become saturated with link tweets? It had me asking if anyone ever tweeted newsworthy content only any more. I even created a new list (lists are a must to manage large number of followers) in hopes of finding some interesting content. Again, most of it was tweets with links. But I still found a few content tweets and started retweeting others.

Retweeting immediately increased my user engagement.

Third, I noticed that almost all my mentions were coming from my tribe members (when a post is tweeted through Triberr my Twitter handle is added to the tweet). I started paying closer attention to what people were saying and commenting on their tweets and answering questions.

I've been concentrating on changing my tweeting habits for the past week and really upped my game the last few days since I joined a social media support group who purpose is to retweet each other (and, of course, all those tweets contain links). Results: last night when I asked for audio book recommendations I got responses. I had new people responding that I haven't spoken to before and a few retweets. And you know what else? Tweeting was fun again and not just a chore to tick off my to-do list. It will be interesting to see what my click report will show on Monday. I'm hoping there will be an increase in click-thrus given that my interactions are increasing.

Have you checked your Twitter health recently? Are you seeing less return on your efforts? Here are my tips on effective Twitter use in a nutshell,

  • Make lists - group your followers into groups so you can keep abreast of important info they are sharing.
  • Retweet others - try to make it content tweets that you are retweeting, but promo tweets are okay, too. If someone asks a question answer it and retweet the question to our followers.
  • Check your mentions - Respond when people mention you in a tweet. Also thanking people for retweeting you can increase interactions with your followers. I usually thank 3 or 4 people at a time instead of individually.
  • Don't over tweet - to many tweets in a short period of time can have your followers unfollowing you, or worse reporting you as a spammer. When I schedule tweets I try to limit it to 2 - 3 tweets an hour (most of my scheduled tweets are links), particularly during times that I might be around to live tweet.

(Oh, if you are wondering how I doubled my following in 7 months, quick answer: sponsored giveaways)

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  1. Great article Donna. My twitter following has increased mainly through sponsored giveaways as well and the majority of my tweets are from Triberr. I mainly get interaction from people that I actually know but have difficulty engaging others. Thanks for the tips to help me rework my twitter experience

    1. Good luck! When you're pressed for time it is so easy just to take the quick route of approving Triberr posts and forgetting the rest.