Sep 27, 2017

10 Tips to Grow on Twitter if you HATE Twitter

I am pretty sure there is no other social media platform (other than Google+) that bloggers hate more than Twitter.  The majority of bloggers I hear always make comments like “I’m only on it since brands seem to like it” or “I never go on Twitter, I just don’t *get* it."

Luckily, I am NOT one of those people.

I personally LOVE twitter.  I have been on the platform long before I blogged, and so it was a natural transition for me to use it as part of my blog’s branding once social media really started to take hold as a promotional tool.

 I’ve been focusing on growing it for the past few years, and I have grown from 1800 to 30,000 followers in about 25 months.  I don’t have a massive page by any means, but I do have an engaged page, that drives traffic back to my blog and gets the attention of brands and sponsors.   And I have grown it while maintaining a pretty good relationship with Twitter. I don’t hate it.  And that is worth a lot. Screen Shot 2017 09 24 at 7 22 46 PM
That isn’t to say I don’t understand why other people hate it.  It can be overwhelming, the people can be sarcastic and rude and it can feel like you are a drift in a sea of chaos.  If Instagram is a fancy dinner and Facebook is house party, then Twitter is like being in a really LOUD nightclub.  Everyone is yelling and you are looking around like “What the hell is going on? What are those drunk people even talking about?”

It doesn’t have to be that way.  I am here to make it easier for you.  I’m that nice stranger in the line for the bathroom, who strikes up conversation and immediately ‘gets you’ and I promise.. I won’t puke on your shoes.

If you are using it correctly, Twitter can be really fun. It is fast paced, dynamic and pretty casual. It is on the cutting edge of breaking news and it moves in real time.  Tweets don’t last very long, so you don’t have to hem and haw about what you are going to say.

You don’t need everything to be perfect.  This isn’t Instagram.  

You don’t have to play the algorithm game.  This isn’t Facebook. 

But there are some basic principles you may want to follow (and some great tools and apps for managing your twitter feed) that will help you get a lot more out of it and make it a lot more enjoyable.

Plus, once you are more engaged and able to connect with your people, your following and engagement will grow. I promise.

10 Tips to Make Twitter Not Suck

1. STOP just STOP with the auto-tweets

Yes, all of us regular Twitter users see you and you aren’t fooling anyone. We know you aren’t actually tweeting. We know you hate Twitter.  It is obvious, and it is annoying.

When someone is pushing every single Instagram photo (or even worse PIN) to Twitter it is worse than talking to those automated telephone people at the credit card company.  We all know you aren’t really engaged.  We know there is NOBODY home.  A dead feed would be better than that.
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So knock that crap off RIGHT NOW.

I’m not saying you have to actually hang out on twitter all day long.. but you are going to want to actually schedule some TWEETS.. you know?

And since I know it is easy to push posts (I admit.. I do it. I push all my Instagram and Facebook posts to Twitter) make sure you mix it up with other posts that are scheduled SPECIFICALLY for Twitter.  Tweets that actually fit in the 140 characters.  Tweets we can read without clicking.  Regular old tweets.  There is nothing wrong with sharing your Facebook status on Twitter, but if you are ONLY sharing Facebook statuses, why the heck wouldn’t we just follow you on Facebook?

Also, if you are going to forward from other platforms, please USE services that show the ENTIRE content in the tweet.  IFTTT (If this than that) is an example of a service that will actually post the native image and link.  Don’t just push content forward with the native Facebook integration.. since that gives you a crappy tweet with no image:
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What are you even talking about?  It isn’t interesting enough that I’m going to click to your Facebook page to find out. 
This is what my Facebook status (here is the original) looks like when it is pushed over using IFTTT:
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Image, status and link back to the original status 

2. Stop being a giant ad for your website.  Be real

I totally understand the goal for bloggers on twitter is to promote their content.  I GET IT.  I mean, you need the work to pay you back right?  But nobody wants to sit through a giant informercial with nothing but links back to your site. The big advantage you have (over brands and magazines) is that YOU are the human behind the content.  People want to know YOU.

So mix it up.  Throw in some non-promotional content once in a while.  You only get 140 characters (edited: as of today it is 280 characters) , it isn’t like it is a big commitment to write a tweet. People want to engage! Ask a question, crack a joke.
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That brings me to photos.  You LOVE PHOTOS on Instagram and Pinterest, why would Twitter be different?  STOP DROPPING LINKS without an image upload.  You will get a TON more engagement if you have images (and not the autopopulated ones from Twitter.).

But remember.. THIS IS NOT INSTAGRAM.   Sunset Magazine is an example of a gorgeous, photo only twitter feed.  But they have zero personality.  You know if you tweet at Sunset, they are not going to tweet you back.   The difference between them and you (a blogger) is that you are supposedly making ‘connections’ wth your readers.  They care about YOU along with your content, you aren't a 'read only' magazine.

So be real.

Your tweet will only last a few hours.. so don’t worry if it is stupid.  I tweet stupid stuff ALL THE TIME.  It makes me relatable.
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Note: When you first start doing this you will be tweeting into thin air.  Before people have found your account you will not get any replies. That is okay.. keep doing it. (Remember, the rest of us are ignoring your account since you haven’t actually been there before.)   Eventually people will respond once they know you are there.

I am ALSO going to say something here that may be pretty controversial in some blogging circles, but other bloggers on Twitter I have talked with agree with me, so I’m going to give you some tough love. 

STOP USING SPAMMY RETWEET THREADS.  Nobody believes that your tweet about Tampons got 150 retweets organically. NOBODY.  You may think you are fooling brands but you aren’t.   And if you are tweeting dozens (sometimes hundreds) of tweets that aren’t related to your content and are filled with cell phone ads, sponsored tweets and overall junk that isn’t in your niche, you are BURNING YOUR BRIDGES.

Don’t believe me, here listen to another big tweeting blogger:
Don't join in (or join in sparingly) on retweet threads that are crap. They will help your own things get retweeted but it will be obvious to any brand that you are taking part in a retweet thread. It's not hard to see that your normal posts get 1-2 likes but that something sponsored has 25+ likes. 
Yes, there are programs like Retweet Chores which will spread out those retweets, but it is still obvious.  The minute a blogger goes too far off niche, you are at risk of losing the REAL people who follow you.  If you are going to join retweet threads make sure you are only partnering up with other bloggers who you would share ORGANICALLY.  If you are a parenting blogger, than by all means retweet another blogger’s sponsored post about diapers.  But if you blog about Automotive repair and the next minute you are tweeting about breast pumps, you are setting yourself up for failure.

It may be a nice short term gain, but long term you are hurting your brand.


THIS IS THE NUMBER ONE MOST IMPORTANT TIP I WILL GIVE YOU IF YOU WANT TO DEAL WITH TWITTER WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND.  It should have been #1, but I needed to get you to turn off those annoying auto tweets first.
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When you are dealing with follower numbers in the tens of thousands, all unedited and in chronological order, you cannot keep track of what is going on without splitting the people you are following into lists.  I follow close to 25,000 tweeters.  I do not have time to read that many tweets.

Twitter gives you the option (and many third party apps also allow you to access the feature) of making lists of your followers and then ONLY seeing the tweets from the people on those lists.  That way when you find accounts that are awesome and engaged and will tweet you back, you put them on a list and see their content first.

Here is an example of some of my twitter lists.
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When I am looking for content to retweet or people to interact with, I can choose which type of content I like, and find it fast. I don’t have to read though my main feed which is all mixed together and filled with auto tweets.

The beauty of lists is that you can follow A TON of people and never have to actually read their tweets. I know that sounds awful, but let’s be real here.. there are so many automated accounts out there (you were one of them remember!?) that you don’t have time to interact with them since they will never tweet you back.

But many people will only follow you on Twitter if you follow them back.  By using lists YOU CAN FOLLOW AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU WANT (up to Twitter’s limits) and many of those people may follow you back.  This way your numbers will grow, but you won’t have to worry about being bogged down in a feed full of stuff you don’t care about.

4. Manage your lists with Tweet Deck (or other third party Apps)

I am a computer person (not a phone person)  and so I do all my tweeting from my desktop.  (I do use the native Twitter app on my phone when I am not home but for scheduling content, uploading images, managing twitter lists etc I use my laptop.)

The program I could NOT live without is called Tweet Deck (Twitter actually owns it now).

TweetDeck allows you to follow lists, notifications and hashtags as their own feeds.  It is GREAT for twitter parties (just put in the hashtag and see the feed right along side your notifications).  You can add people to lists, like, comment, retweet etc. It also allows you to manage multiple accounts if you have more than one.
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Seriously, if you just make some lists of your favorite tweeters, add those lists to tweet deck and start following along, it will be a WHOLE NEW WORLD.

5. Use other people’s lists to find tweeters to follow

I’m going to give up Twitter’s dirty little secret.  If you want to grow your following, you want to follow people first.  But the KEY to growing a GOOD follower list (that will actually click though your content and interact with you) is being smart about WHO YOU are following.  You can’t just randomly follow accounts since you will just end up with a list full of bots and spam and inspirational quotes.  You need to find other tweeters in your niche!!  (Yes, I know.. "Thank you Captain Obvious" but you would be surprised.)

To make this easy, once again lists are here to help!  Along with making your own lists of amazing accounts,  Twitter also gives you the option of following OTHER people’s lists.  And this is like being given the keys to the castle.  If you are a food blogger, check out other food blogger’s lists for tweeters in your niche.)

Often brands have fabulous lists of other bloggers and influencers. They are a great place to start.  
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Also check which lists YOU are a member of.  If someone has added you to their list, chances are the other people on that list are a lot like you.  You may want to FOLLOW ALL THOSE PEOPLE (and add the good ones to the appropriate list!)  And don't forget to follow people who follow a list (even if they don't own it.)
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When you find lists of 'your people', FOLLOW FOLLOW FOLLOW!  Twitter lets you follow up to 5000 people no matter how many follow you, and after you hit 5000 you can have 10% more than the number that follow you . So if you have 5000 followers you can follow 5500.

Twitter recommends following no more than 100 new accounts every day (or you can land in twitter jail) so keep that in mind. I typically shoot to follow 100 new people every day. 

There are whole books and strategies about the methods behind following and unfollowing, but I’m not going to get into that. Many of those methods are automated and use bots and auto responders.. blah blah blah.

You don’t want that. You want to follow REAL tweeters for real interaction.  That is why lists are so great. Someone else is vouching for them.   Pay attention to the accounts that ARE interacting with you and add them to your lists, so you can return the favor and start building relationships.  You are basically “concentrating” your large list of people you follow into smaller niche lists of good tweeters.

6. If you love a tweeter, make their fans into your fans

Along with lists, there is another great way to find people who will be interested in what you have to say.  Look for people who follow other tweeters that are saying similar stuff to what YOU are saying, BUT BE CHOOSY.  You only want followers who are following other GOOD tweeters. If someone is engaged and gets a lots of replies and retweets, those followers are active and would be great to follow.

I have a list of highly engaged tweeters and I follow their fans since I know anyone who follows a “good” tweeter is more likely to be ‘choosy’ about their feed and so I want to get into it.

7. Twitter invented the hashtag, so use it.

I’m actually not sure if twitter invented the hashtag but it was a good section title.  I will say that Twitter is a great platform for using hashtags since it is a quick way to weed through a ton of content. 

Following hashtags is another great way to find people to follow.  If you are a beauty blogger, a hashtag like #beautytips can quickly generate a list of tweets and tweeters who may be interested in what you have to say.  Follow them all back.Screen Shot 2017 09 25 at 11 18 59 AM
TweetDeck makes it easy, since you can pull up the hashtag and follow along in real time.  Finding people who use a hashtag that you also love (for my DIY site it is #girlswithpowertools) means you will have that instant connection with them.

I also love to follow hashtags for trending topics.  The eclipse, super bowl, Emmy awards etc.  You can get a lot of interaction using real time trending hashtags since those people are online RIGHT NOW.  You will grow faster than any other method by interacting with people in real time.  It is the most work, but the most bang for your buck. 

8. Give brands lots of of love

We ALL KNOW that brands love Twitter. A RT, tag, or shout out on Twitter can be a foot in the door with many of them. Make it easy on yourself to find them, and keep track of what they are tweeting about: MAKE A LIST FOR BRANDS!  (You can see that I have one in my list above.)
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Tweet deck makes it easy to manage your lists (including lists of BRANDS!) 
Bloggers are UNDERUTILIZING Twitter, so make yourself stand out with brands, before everyone else catches on!

9. Cut the dead weight. 

At some point you are going to hit the max number of followers you can have (5000 if you have under 5000 followers otherwise you can follow 10% more people than follow you.)   Eventually you are going to have to cut dead weight.

Yes, I know.. this is the “follow-unfollow” method but it is actually the way the Twitter game is played.  The key is you ONLY UNFOLLOW PEOPLE WHO DON’T FOLLOW BACK AND PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT IN YOUR NICHE.  If someone is following you back, you shouldn’t unfollow them.  (You aren't a jerk.)
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Yes.. you can (and should) follow hundreds of thousands of people

Since your follower list size is pretty much unlimited (unlike Instagram) there is no reason to unfollow a follower (unless they are not in your niche and you shouldn't have followed them in the first place).   Plus, since you will be using LISTS now (right?) instead of reading your main feed, even if a follower tweets the stupidest stuff that makes you want to poke your eyes out, it doesn’t matter since you don’t have to read it.

The beauty is that if you are a good tweeter, your followers will grow OVER AND ABOVE the number of people you follow and follow you back. Right now I have 30K followers but only follow 24K.  6,000 of those followers are organic and that is what happens when you get better at Twitter.

But you need a base of followers to get your tweets seen in the first place.  Hence the reason I follow 100 new people everyday.

To find who isn’t following me back, I use ManageFlitter. I could NOT recommend it enough. They have multiple plans (including a free one that allows you to unfollow up to 100 people per day.) I actually pay the $12 a month for the Pro Plan since I use it to for the other features as well.
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If you have the paid plans you also get access to analytics about when your fans are online, which tweets do well, and there is a huge search engine that can help you better target and find certain users.
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I use it for the “Power Post” feature which is a post scheduling feature. You can load up tweets, save the in a data base and then just click on the schedule when you want them to post. You can also set them up to auto-repeat every so often.  It has been a game changer for me since I have lots of beautiful photo laden tweets made ONLY for twitter.
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For me, ManageFlitter was the one app that changed the way I used twitter and made me as successful as I am today.  

10. Tell us who you are in your pinned tweet

Just like Facebook, Twitter allows you to pin a single tweet to the top of your twitter feed.  Make it a good one. MANY MANY accounts have bots set up to auto-retweet that first tweet when they first follow you (they do this to get your attention.)  So consider that this is the face of you going out to the Twitterverse.

This is my pinned tweet. It links backs to my subscription page.Screen Shot 2017 09 25 at 10 26 19 AMYou could set up a page on your blog with you best projects. A Twitter landing page.  Or you could link it to you best post, or your home page. Take advantage of the pinned tweet.  Tell people what you are about.

Those are my 10 suggestions to improve your Twitter game.  I know it seems like a lot, but I literally spend less than 15-30 minutes a day on Twitter  (depending if there is something good to live tweet about) and I have grown by tens of thousands of followers and landed thousands of dollars of sponsorships SOLELY from my Twitter following.

It is the ONE platform where you can see everyone's content, with no algorithms and no games.  It is the last remaining spot on social media where you can be real and have a good laugh.  You may still hate it, but you at least you can vent about that.. you know, on Twitter.

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