How To Win Friends on Twitter

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Twitter, one of the most popular social media platforms with celebrities and government leaders, yet one of the least used. A lot of people sign up for Twitter, post a few tweets, and then quit (bonus points if your profile picture is still an egg!) So what to do when no one likes you on Twitter?

First, know that it’s probably not you. It’s difficult to get traction on Twitter out of the gate and it’s likely that 99.99999% of Twitter users never even see your tweets to judge them. But, let’s cover a couple of Twitter faux pas just to make sure.

Auto Direct Messages

Here’s an automatic direct message I got on Twitter today, ironically trying to sell me auto DM twitter software. Now, a lot of people are in the school of thought that conversions are everything. A door-to-door vacuum salesman is the perfect example of this. Yes, it’s almost universally annoying to have someone come to your home to sell you something, but it works enough that being really annoying is absolutely a viable sales strategy.

About a year ago, I started unfollowing accounts on Instagram and Twitter that sent automatic messages. That sounds radical, but honestly, no one who was a titan of their industry or a big influencer ever used auto DM software. In fact, no one I ever knew in real life sent auto DMs. Everyone who auto DMed me was either a very small, new company or people/companies who, for lack of a better word, came off a bit sleazy. I think most people have a similar reaction when they get a spam message about a “secret Instagram growth formula” or joining a “make 6 figures in your first year” webinar.

Welcoming New Followers in a Tweet

Chalk this one up to something that people used to do fairly regularly: thank their new followers. In a world where 500 million tweets are sent a day, multiple “welcome to my new followers!” tweets became a bit of a scourge. Also, when you think about it, announcing your 4-5 new followers inevitably draws attention to the fact that your follower list is small and getting 4-5 new followers is a big deal. It isn’t particularly useful to anyone either. Presumably, the person who just followed you is aware they did. If you absolutely must do it, please stick to once a day. I recently followed a person back and my Twitter feed showed them sending a tweet every single time they got a follower.

Using Paper.li Newsletter Software

Yes, in my old tweets, you’ll find a paper.li newsletter. It seems that everyone was using it for a hot minute a few years ago. Paper.li basically scraped your followers’ tweets for a keyword, then made a temporary website with them in a “newsletter”. Sure, it was a step better than announcing they were following you, but the newsletters weren’t that good and it just came across as people being too lazy to actually read and recommend other people’s tweets. One of my clients was added to one the other day and someone else tagged in the tweet got really angry at the “stupid spam”.

Connecting your Instagram (or Anything) to your Twitter

I discourage anyone from having one program post to another program because you can’t control what’s posted. This goes double and triple for the hated Instagram to Twitter integration. Instagram posts photos. But when you auto-post it to Twitter, it shows a link to the post and not the picture:

I also had a friend who connected their new YouTube account to their new Twitter account, and every time he added a video to a playlist, it announced it on Twitter. After about 50 videos, Twitter locked his account.

Follow/Unfollow

Here’s a question: why is a Twitter account following 10,000 people with 10,000 followers less desirable than an account following 50 people with 10,000 followers?  This is a weird, marketing nerd topic that might not be that interesting to the ordinary person, though this and this are 2 good reads on the topic. You only really need to know these two things on the topic:

  • Following people is the fastest and best way to get new followers on Twitter
  • There is both software and rooms full of people who aggressively follow and unfollow Twitter accounts to build up an account quickly. Aside from ethical concerns, Twitter has been aggressively finding these accounts and deleting them, sometimes in large purges. So don’t do it!

Basically, Stop Automating Your Tweets

Well, mostly. I use three types of software for my Twitter:

SmarterQueue

Twitter stopped allowing people to reshare old tweets through their social media software, which was good practice since most people rarely saw a single tweet go by. You can still do what big companies like FastCompany and Buzzfeed do, which is to repost with different text/images to freshen up their content.

Unless you’re a multi-million dollar media empire, stick to reposting content every 3 months and not every 71 minutes (bold move, Fast Company!)

ManageFlitter

So, I just told you not to follow/unfollow people right? Now I’m going to tell you to…unfollow…people.

Ok, so while you shouldn’t aggressively follow then unfollow accounts, you should definitely unfollow people who have unfollowed you. Confused?

Well, if you’re on Twitter, you often follow back people who follow you, right? But some of those are shady accounts that follow/unfollow hundreds of accounts a day. The good news is that a lot of these are spam, and you can usually spot them and not follow them in the first place. BUT, it’s also a good idea to use software like ManageFlitter to unfollow accounts that don’t follow you anymore. It might be our aforementioned shady actors or it might be real people. I used to live in China and tweeted about it a lot, and now I don’t, and some people unfollowed me. Similarly, I don’t really want to see their tweets anymore either. ManageFlitter also flags all those friends who wanted to check out that Twitter but haven’t posted anything in years.

In conclusion, unfollow your unsubscribers so that you aren’t associated with shady accounts, you keep your Twitter feed fresh and aligned with your interests, and get rid of dead accounts and feel productive.

Tweriod

Literally, no one has ever asked me what the best time to Tweet was, but they should! Sad statistics time: less than half your Twitter followers logs on every day and they spend an average of one minute reading tweets.

People! At least figure out what time of day that one minute is! Tweriod will analyze your account and give you a ballpark time of when your followers are online. Imagine tweeting every night, only to find out that everyone you follow looks at Twitter at 10:00am. Yikes!

How To Succeed At Twitter

After a long post about what not to do on Twitter, finally, here’s what to do to be successful on it. All you have to do is follow me on Twitter where I’ll auto DM you a secret Twitter hack ebook download (kidding!)

Follow a lot of people – At least when you get started on Twitter, follow back people, check who people you love are following, and check Twitter’s follower suggestions.

Tweet gifs and videos – gifs and videos are the most successful kind of tweets out there.

First to comment – Spend more than the average one minute on Twitter and be the first to reply to popular Tweets. My most popular tweet was the time I accidentally was the third person to respond to a tweet by 60 Minutes (400 likes!)

Reply warmly, humorously, and authentically – Pretend that the person you’re replying to is a real person…because they are, even if they’re just a social media manager at a company. If they have a big following and retweet you, its a big win!

Make your @ and # game 🔥 – novels have been written on leveraging hashtags and @ mentions to your full advantage on Twitter. Go read them and use them, but don’t get obsessed. Lots of folks rarely use either, so it’s not the silver bullet bloggers make it out to be.

What did I miss? Did I unfairly judge your auto direct messages or your incredible paper.li newsletter? Leave a comment and let me know!

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