Managing your Twitter followers can feel like a fulltime job, even for professional marketers. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just schedule a couple of tweets and then suddenly you had 10,000 super-engaged followers bringing you regular business?
Not going to happen. To make Twitter to work for you and your business, you need to be proactive in figuring out how to manage Twitter followers. And by proactive we mean having clear objectives, defining a routine and sticking to it.
All that takes time – marketers and small business people can end up spending over an hour a day working on their Twitter accounts. That’s time that could be better spent on other stuff that your business needs.
It’s possible to reduce your Twitter management time to just 10 minutes a day, but only if you define a clear strategy and make use of some of the social media management tools out there to help you.
Let’s break it down minute by minute to help you manage your Twitter followers in 10 minutes a day.
Forget the “how” for a second. Why do we need to manage followers?
Back up a minute. What does “manage twitter followers” mean exactly?
It means taking a proactive approach to who you follow and, perhaps more importantly, who follows you. Back in the early of Twitter, if someone followed you you usually followed them back. That seemed like the polite thing to do, right?
Polite, yes. But it’s not a good policy for several reasons. First, Twitter limits the number of accounts you can follow to 5000 (unless you’re a mega-influencer with tens of thousands of followers). That means if you’re following a lot of random accounts, you won’t be able to follow accounts that could really bring you value in the future.
Second, if your followers are entirely made up of bots or follow-for-follow accounts they will bring you minimal value. Twitter is a tool for meaningful connections that could turn into future collaborations. No one ever had a meaningful connection with a bot in some far-flung country (probably).
Thirdly, if you don’t stay on top of the number of accounts you follow and how your account interface is organised, your home-feed will become way too crowded and full of useless, spammy tweets.
So managing your Twitter followers is essential, not just for your Twitter reputation but also for your actual enjoyment of the tool. We’re going to address three main points for good follower management in this post:
1 – Finding new, relevant followers and convincing them to follow you
2 – Getting rid of followers who are harming your account and Twitter rep
3 – Interacting with the right followers at the right time
Finding new relevant followers – 2 minutes per day
Finding people to follow is one thing. Getting them to follow you back (organically) is a whole new challenge on top of that.
First up, how do you find relevant potential followers? These should be people who will help you reach your marketing objectives, will find your content valuable and will bring interesting information to your Twitter timeline.
Start off taking full advantage of the tools Twitter itself offers. If you haven’t already, Upload your Gmail or Outlook address to Twitter and select who you want to follow. You can do that by Clicking ‘Find people you know’ in the who to follow section of your profile.
Then go to Twitter’s advanced search feature. You can search people by keyword, language and location. You can even find all the people who @mention another Twitter user, and filter by date range.
To see how powerful this is, let’s take an example. You want to connect with social media marketers in New York, especially those who are fans of Twitter guru Mark Schaefer and wanted to engage him. Key @markwschaefer into the ‘To these accounts’ field of the advanced search form, restrict to 15 miles near NYC and click Search.
Twitter will bring up a ton of accounts. All you need to do is follow them and decide how you’re going to get them to follow you back. More on that soon.
There are also tools outside of Twitter’s own interface that can help and you find relevant followers. If you’re looking for a social media management tool that helps you identify potential new followers based on keywords and connections you could try Commun.it. The tool gives you daily updates on who’s following you, and recommends followers based on your interests and keywords.
You can also interact with potential new followers right from the Commun.it interface, which brings us on to our second point. How to get people to follow you once you’ve found them and identified them as relevant.
Convincing relevant accounts to follow you – 4 minutes
Put all the accounts you want to convert into followers into a Private Twitter list (they won’t be notified as long as it’s Private). Every day, spend a couple of minutes revising their tweets and conversations. Don’t worry, this isn’t creepy, all this information is public.
When your ideal followers tweet something that you can respond to, make sure you do by giving them something of value. Solve a problem they tweet about, send them a great piece of content that might make their day better, find a point of connection and bring something to the conversation.
Once you connect with your potential follower with something valuable for them, they’ll follow you back.
Getting rid of followers who are harming your account – 2 minutes
Managing your “bad” followers is just as important as managing your good ones. Bad followers will reduce your engagement, reduce your impact on the network and just downright spoil your Twitter experience.
So you need to identify those bad followers, and fast. Undesirable followers can be broken into 3 categories:
- Follow-for-Follow-back: These guys only follow you to see if you’ll follow them back. Then they slyly Unfollow you a day later. They get another follower, you get nothing in return. This is against Twitter’s TOS.
- Bots: Robots following you based on the keywords you tweet about
- Shucksters: All those people who’s bio reads “I wanted to take control of my life, work from home and earn millions of $… so I joined THIS PROGRAM…”. They’re schucksters and won’t bring any benefits to your timeline.
Identifying these harmful followers can seem like a mammoth task, especially once your followers number 200 or more.
Free tools like Twitter Audit help you identify bots that follow you. Of course then you have to go and search for each in your follower list and unfollow them.
Some Follow-for-Follow-back accounts will add a hashtag so you know what their deal is. But if they don’t identifying them is almost impossible without a social media management tool, because Twitter doesn’t send notifications about Unfollows.
To be able to identify these bad followers and get rid of them in fewer than 2 minutes a day, you need a social media management tool. There are plenty out there – choose one like Commun.it that identifies:
- Accounts who recently Unfollowed you
- Recommended accounts to Unfollow
- Accounts that don’t follow you and never have
Then just spend two minutes a day going through these suggestions and Unfollowing right there in the Commun.it interface. You don’t have to adhere to all the suggestions. This is the only way you’ll stay on top of undesirable followers and still keep your Twitter follower management to under 10 minutes a day.
Interacting with the right followers at the right time – 3 minutes
So you’ve got rid of bad followers and found good ones. The final part of your daily Twitter management is to start interacting with these valuable followers in the right way and at the right time.
Interaction is tricky. Your Twitter account is personal to you and therefore should be infused with your voice. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not, but don’t be rude and disinhibited either – it’s best practice to be courteous, curious and consistent.
Set up a regular schedule of posts you’re going to tweet out to keep followers engaged. Sadly you can’t schedule tweets to go out later from the Twitter interface itself, but you can use a management tool to set up a varied schedule of retweets and original tweets to go out to your audience weeks in advance. If you’re using Commun.it you can rely on the tool’s ‘best time to post’ feature, which chooses the optimum time to send out your tweets based on your audience.
Spend the extra minute here figuring out what are the best hashtags to use. You can use a directory like Hashtags.org to identify the hashtags that will work for you and engage potential followers.
How to manage Twitter followers in less than 10 minutes a day – conclusion
Proactively managing your followers on Twitter is a must-do if you want to find value via the social network. But being proactive can take up time that you should be dedicating to other things.
Luckily, with some smart tool use and a lot of self-organization, it’s possible to keep Twitter management to less than 10 minutes a day. Identify “good” and “bad” followers, and share the right content with the right people at the right time and you’ll see your Twitter engagement (and enjoyment!) increase fast.