I haven’t been blogging much lately because (among many other reasons) I got sucked down a social media rabbit hole trying to “fix” Twitter.
I’ve been on Twitter since about 2009. I downloaded an archive of all my tweets the other day and it was like looking at a time capsule. But I’ve never been super active, and although I have attempted to promote my blog there, my posts never got much (if any) traction. It remains to be seen whether the improvements I’ve made will result in increased traffic to my blog, since I haven’t written any blog posts since I’ve made them, but I certainly have greater reach and engagement than I had before I started.
When I began my revamp, I was following about 1500 people. I was in the habit of following anyone who wrote an interesting article, anyone who followed me, and anyone Klout suggested I might want to follow, plus more. This resulted in an overwhelming feed with a lot of extraneous and uninteresting content. Moreover, I was following way more people than were following me, which most Twitter wisdom suggests is a Bad Idea.
The amount of apps available to help “fix” Twitter is overwhelming. Since social media is at this point only a hobby for me, I am only interested in apps that provide something useful for free. Happily, here are many, many free Twitter-tweakers on the web, and I started by using Tweepi to take a look at all the people I was following who were not following me back. I used other tools to locate folks who post very little or who haven’t posted in a long time. Over several weeks, I’ve cut the list of people I follow in half. I still follow many, many people who are not following me, but they are people who provide high-value content that I find interesting and want to share.
I have used, and am in the process of evaluating, several free tools that provide info on who followed you, who unfollowed you, and more. Almost all of them provide additional information for a fee. Some provide the ability to automate responses–like sending a certain message to folks who favorite your posts, for example. When I’ve figured out which are most useful, I’ll let y’all know, but for now here are some names for your consideration: Commun.it, unfollowers, justunfollow, and SumAll.
The best way to get people to follow you on Twitter is to interact with them by favoriting and responding to posts. So far, I haven’t found many free ways to do so automatically that are not obvious and obnoxious. Commun.it can send out little thank you tweets periodically(which you can personalize) to new followers or to those who retweet your posts, but most others want to send Direct Messages, which I hate to get and therefore will not send! Happy Cyborg is fun–you actually upload your own tweets to it and it learns about your personality, and will favorite posts on your behalf, make a list of people who interact with you, and even send specific tweets based on criteria you provide.
But most of my engagement work has NOT been automatic, and has taken a lot of time–from personally thanking every person who follows me, to checking out their feeds and retweeting something that interests me, to keeping a list of everyone who favorites or retweets me each week so I can do Follow Friday posts recognizing them all.
Content drives engagement, though, because if someone takes note of your posts and favorites or retweets you, often their followers will notice you as well, and BINGO, suddenly you have a burst of followers. As I said, it’s not my original content that has been driving this. Instead, I’ve been relying on websites that provide free content tailored to my interests and which schedule tweets so that I have a steady stream of interesting items going out day and night. Swayy is the absolute best of these, but I am also using buffer, Klout, and theneeds. And I continue to tweet articles I read on my own and visit Twitter to retweet things throughout the day.
Will all this pay off with increased page views here? I’ll have to take some time away from Twitter to write posts if I want to find that out!