Received this today from someone spamming his book links: ‘I always share what is sent to me directly. I rarely have time to keep on top of my feed, sadly.’
I say nope, not true. You just don’t know how to manage it (no offense, dude). I hear this daily.
If you’re new to Twitter, no doubt you quickly became overwhelmed, particularly keeping up with your home feed. So, don’t.
That’s probably NUTS to you, but if you’ve been on Twitter for awhile and are growing (more below on how to grow), you cannot possibly keep up with every single tweet. Billions of people tweet billions of tweets daily — our brains would explode trying to keep up! So, what to do instead?
From Twitter’s Help Section:
A list is a curated group of Twitter users. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the users on that list.
To create a list:
- Go to your Lists page. This can be done via the gear icon drop down menu in the top right navigation bar or by going to your profile page and clicking on Lists.
- Click Create list.
- Enter the name of your list, a short description of the list, and select if you want the list to be private (only accessible to you) or public (anyone can subscribe to the list).
- Click Save list.
Note: List names cannot exceed 25 characters, nor can they begin with a number.
So, why bother? This is a way to divide and conquer. Put your following into whatever lists you create (it’s so grown up, isn’t it?) and make them public or private. It’s great! Go. Have fun. Thank me later. Tip: List people as you follow them if possible. Another time saver.
Lists are also a wonderful way to get around the Twitter rate limits (see more below): Previously, you could only create 20 lists. Now, you can make up to 1,000, and those lists can contain as many as 5,000 accounts — a big improvement on the prior cap of 500 accounts (via Mashable).
I rarely use actual Twitter … even with the updates, it’s kinda clunky (sorry, Twitter) and they don’t allow scheduling. What’s up with that? We cannot possibly be on 24 hours a day. I don’t advocate for pure automation — the best conversations start organically, so live interaction is crucial. However, you can schedule in things like blog posts, quotes, or visuals that won’t become quickly dated.
I use Hootsuite on my desktop and Tweetbot for iOS on my iPhone/iPad. Hootsuite allows for scheduling, Tweetbot does not — however, I can manage lists from both, check tweets and DMs, and interact easily. (Hootsuite does make a mobile version, I just don’t really like it.)
The point of scheduling is two-fold:
- it allows you to still share relevant content even if you’re offline
- and it gives you writing time. Twitter doesn’t have to be a distraction if you use a management application (and it also connects to Facebook, Google+, and a number of other apps). Hootsuite is free for up to 5 accounts, 5.99/month for unlimited. Pretty reasonable.
WANT TO GROW? FOLLOW!
Following people on Twitter is the easiest way to grow, but like anything having to do with marketing, do it with focus and strategy. I find the best way to follow tweeps is to use Manage Flitter. You can put in a keyword or phrase, and it pulls up the most recent tweets (or accounts) having to do with that. As authors, we want to follow readers, book bloggers, book reviewers, publications, and other authors, right? So input those terms and follow about 50-100 every day as you build.
I personally follow about 500-750 daily on my main @RachelintheOC author account. You cannot follow more than 1,000 per day. Takes me a few minutes only. There are other following programs out there, but I love Manage Flitter for its ease of use.
You should also unfollow eggs, nonfollowbacks, inactives. This becomes particularly crucial when you reach the goal of following 2,000. Why? Because Twitter imposes a 10% rate limit, meaning you cannot follow more than 10% who follows you. So in hard numbers, if you follow 2020 people, you must have 2,000 or more followers in order to follow more people.
We cannot control who follows us – that’s the beauty and one of the difficulties of Twitter (that’s why fakes are flourishing). But you can block or unfollow, so that’s what you need to do to grow an interactive base of targeted followers.
I’ve been on Twitter now since March, 2009. It has taken me six years to build an interactive following, and that includes all of the above, plus interaction, plus creating #MondayBlogs (share blog posts on Mondays, retweet others), and #SexAbuseChat. Like anything, Twitter requires effort and a huge following doesn’t mean much if you don’t sell books.