5 Easy Steps to Managing Twitter

Last year at this time, I hated Twitter, but now I love it. It has become my favorite social network. Through Twitter, I’ve found new readers for my books, met bloggers, reviewers and interviewers who featured my books, kept up on news in my areas of interest, and just met some all around nice people.

Using Twitter takes some trial and error to get used to it, however, and that’s why I’m hosting Twitter Week on my blog. Today, I’ll share 5 tips to make navigating Twitter easier and more efficient. On Tuesday, Lenore Holditch will share a guest post on Twitter for Authors. And on Wednesday, I’ll host a two-week Twitter Hop where you can find new followers and make some connections.

Here are my 5 tips:

1. Sort the people you follow into lists. For example, I have lists grouped by authors/writers, book bloggers, mom bloggers, and reality TV, to name a few. It’s easy. On your Twitter home page, go to your list of followers that you’d like to follow back. Click the box to the right of the Follow button. You’ll see an option for New List. Create as many lists as you want. As soon as you click the follow button for a new contact, be sure to visit your list box and select the list you want the person to appear on – if it’s someone who shares an interest with you and you’d like to keep better track of their tweets.

2. Use a Twitter management tool such as Hootsuite or Tweet Deck. Personally, I love Hootsuite. Remember those lists we just talked about? On Twitter itself, all the posts are just grouped into one big mess. But with a tool like Hootsuite, you can set up your dashboard into categories. I have separate columns set up for most of my lists so I can see at a glance what my author friends are tweeting about, what book bloggers are posting lately, what’s going on with reality TV, and what my mom blogger friends are up to. This makes it much easier to reweet posts, and retweeting someone’s posts can lead to a Twitter friendship where you both help one another get the word out. I also have a column set up for my mentions – that way, if anyone is talking to @stacyjuba, I can be sure to thank them or respond. I can also monitor my Facebook and Linked In newsfeeds from Hootsuite and update my status on those social networks. Hootsuite also has a built-in URL shortener, which is crucial due to Twitter’s character limitations. You can even find out how many people click your links. Did I mention that I love Hootsuite?

3. Follow Friday Helper – Until recently, I never participated in Follow Friday (a networking day where Twitter users recommend followers to other users.) I just never had the time to look up people’s Twitter names and cut and paste them into my status update, as much as I wanted to acknowledge them. I’m so glad that I recently came across this neat site, Follow Friday Helper, which shows you a filtered list of users you interact with on Twitter. You can then write more personal #TY, #Gratitude, #FollowFriday (..etc) tweets using the user’s name, URL, bio and location with just a few clicks. This is a wonderful way to interact on Twitter and thanks to this site, it’s super-easy.

4. Use a tool to unfollow Twitter users who aren’t following you back. Every month, I use Just Unfollow to clear out most of the people who didn’t follow me back. It also identifies users who have been inactive with Twitter. If someone hasn’t posted a tweet in six months, maybe it’s time to let them go. Why spend time unfollowing people? First, I want to keep my news streams as uncluttered and focused as possible. In addition, once you are following 2000 people, Twitter sets limits on how many additional people you can follow at one time, limits which are based on the number of people following you. There’s no sense wasting follows on people who don’t follow back or who have stopped using Twitter. You can also check out Friend or Follow.

5. Check out Social Oomph for more tools. Many of these Twitter sites have redundant services, but there are two tools that I use from SocialOomph. First, you can set up an automatic welcome direct message for new followers. Second, you can track key words and have emails sent to you reporting on these words. For example, I track my name and book titles so I know who is talking about my books on Twitter. That way, I can learn about new reviews I can add to my web site, thank someone, and possibly strike up a conversation or find a new contact for future books.

Those are my 5 favorite Twitter tips. Don’t forget to come back this week for more Twitter tips and the Twitter Hop. Have you tried any of the above strategies? Can you think of more tips to recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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  1. I need to organize – and do the unfollow thing.

  2. Kristie Cook says

    Thank you so much for sharing these! I see a lot of Twitter tips on blogs and have heard of some of these, but never got such a good explanation of their benefits. I’m saving this post. Thanks again!

  3. Crystal Whimsey says

    Thank you Stacy,you write a good article, clear and direct. I just recently signed up for twitter and your article is very timely as this is unchartered territory for me. I intend to explore all of your suggestions.

  4. That explains a lot. THANK YOU.

  5. Thanks so much to everyone for your comments so far. I hope it helps some Twitter users. Twitter was certainly a mystery to me when I first started using it. If anyone else has other advice, feel free to share. I’m experiencing a power outage from the hurricane and have limited computer use until it’s resolved (soon, I hope!) but I’ll respond to comments whenever I can check in.

  6. Some really awesome advice here,thanks!

  7. I just tried out the Just Unfollow site and went to work on the nontweeters. This is great.

    Thanks for all these great ideas, Stacy. I’m posting links to these posts on my own blog tomorrow.

  8. So glad it helped, Patricia. Will look forward to seeing your blog post!

  9. I use Twitter Karma quite often to clean out the followers not following me back and to follow my new followers. You have to keep a balance. If you reach a huge gap between your followers and who you are following Twitter will put a hold on you being able to follow more people.~ Carol @intuneparenting Blogger, author, social media manager and co-host of The Intentional Conscious Parenting Show.

  10. Thanks for sharing more about Twitter Karma, Carol. It’s amazing how many different services and web sites are out there to make Twitter easier!

  11. I’m late joining in, but thanks for all the good info. I write about two of Italy’s great works of art: food and crime. http://tinyurl.com/3rtuoyp

Stacy Juba