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Getting the most out of Twitter

By JAMES COAKES Published 27th Mar 2014
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This article started out as my own action plan, so I don't claim for a moment that I'm getting all of this right myself. It's more of a combination of the best advice that I've heard recently. You may disagree with some of these points, we all have our own agendas and there is no right or wrong. In terms of Twitter's value as Google sees it there are certain metrics already in place and they are becoming more refined so that search can find the real experts in any given field.

If you are using social media because you want to be known as an expert then it may be worth having a professional and a personal handle so that you can follow and interact with people not connected to your professional niche using a different profile.

1. Follow relevant people

Follow people whose description and content is relevant to your niche. Not only will this help you to curate relevant content but I believe that it's one of the ways in which the theme of your profile is measured.

2. Manage those who you follow carefully

The online tool ManageFlitter helps you to monitor who is not following you back and who is inactive. Sometimes you may want to follow people who don't follow you back, they are often the real players in your industry. However, you should unfollow people who haven't been active for more than a month. This will help you to keep a good 'follower / following' ratio. It's interesting to note that ManageFlitter now allows you to check this and it describes the practice of following more than you have followers as 'bad'. I have no doubt that this is one of the metrics that Google will be using to measure influence. Weed your profile regularly.

3. Don't follow thousands of people

Because it looks really bad. No-one can follow thousands of people and it makes you look spammy. If you're doing it to increase your own follower numbers then you're spammy and, frankly, a bit sad.

4. Keep your content relevant

There is increasing evidence to suggest that Google can see what you are an expert in by looking at your content and making semantic links. If your chosen area of expertise is rocket science don't fill your feed up with retweets of recipes for cakes. Okay, I'm being silly but you get my point.

5. Become a good curator

Don't just search the news and share the first story you find. Search geographically and make sure the link works. Sometimes pages from the other side of the world take a while to load, so avoid them unless the story is relevant to your local followers. Add a comment explaining why you are sharing the story.

6. Use URL shorteners

Often the sharing tool used by a publication will not shorten a URL properly or add lots of superfluous marketing blurb. Use a proper shortener and cut out the blurb for a professional result. Don't be afraid to rewrite badly written headlines.

7. Don't cross share

So, as an example, don't connect your Twitter feed to your LinkedIn feed. You should be treating your social media differently so you need to be on message in a different way for each audience. The other problem is that the cross sharing often just leaves a link and this doesn't look good.

8. Use lists

Break people that you're following up into lists, giving each a good business description as a name, Lists are strong indicators of a person's area of expertise so you're doing them a favour. However, it's also a good administrative tool which will help you to curate content and manage who you're following.

9. Don't autotweet

I really do think automatic content generation is a bad idea. There are all sorts of defences for it but deep down don't you think that it's a second rate way of doing things? As for filling your feed with quotes that really is spammy. If people wanted that they would go and buy a book of quotes.

10. Have conversations

Interact with people. Twitter is a conversational tool and other users do like a bit of interaction. In fact it's probably the most conversational of all of the social media platforms.

So, there are 10 thoughts. You may agree or disagree or have other tips to add.


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