How I manage my Twitter world: process & results

How I manage my Twitter world: process & results

I have been on Twitter for over a year now. You can follow me here. I am a huge fan of the service but I am very particular and steadfast with my own personal “terms of usage”. Why? Like many, as much as I’d like to hang around and chat, I don’t quite have the time for it. But, I like to network and the benefits it brings. Clearly, Twitter is a perfect tool for that, provided you show some discipline.

1st… I define success on Twitter in the following manner:

  1. I need to learn from using it
  2. I need to meet people (virtually & physically) that will add value to my world
  3. I need to be able to add value to people’s worlds
  4. I can’t waste a lot of time trying to succeed in 1-3

That’s it. Success is not # of followers or tweets or whatever.

So this is how I personally achieve that:

  1. I thoroughly review every person I follow by:
    1. Scanning several pages of their Tweets
    2. Checking out their website (minus points for no site – a bit unfair for those w/o)
    3. Reading their Bio (minus for none…c’mon, give us a Bio!)
    4. Quickly & lo0sely interpret their stats
      1. Follower/follow ratio – does it appear a bot is involved?
      2. # updates – are they adding value?
      3. @ frequency – are they engaging or preaching?
    5. Are they relevant to my world & business. If not are they so interesting I should follow them regardless?
  2. Having accomplished #1, I can make a follow decision. The key is that I want my “stream” to be as high quality as possible
  3. Tweet practices
    1. I feel I must combine sincere engagement with value adding to the stream. That means starting conversations as well as simply providing information
    2. I also feel it important to add small doses of a more personal side of me to give myself a human face and some character, otherwise I become a bot as well.
    3. Never personally attack, frequently disagree…with respect. It pays huge dividends.
    4. I generate at least half my follow list from @ replies to people whom I respect greatly. There’s a huge correlation to quality that way.
  4. Important: Every few days I cull the herd. It’s a combination of unfollowing those whose Tweets you have just come to find of no value (regardless of topic) and going through my following list and removing those I have no recollection of ever seeing an update from. Sounds a bit harsh but it sure does produce one quality stream.

So… How are my results? Well, I was able to find…or, rather stumble upon, evaluate and hire our PR firm ( @missusp’s shop). Home run. I have been able to find development work and creative as well ( @mikegermano’s shop). I have found several business deals and been approached by several others. I have been contacted for old and new media stories in various areas. This isn’t a backslapping session. It’s just the result of sage advice I read on the wise blogs of some wise people I follow religiously (@dherman76, @queenofspain, @aaronstrout, to name a few)

The bottom line is that being genuine, sincere, thorough and yourself pays huge dividends on Twitter.

What are your methods of success as you define them?

  • AngelaMaiers

    Mike- Twitter has been one of the most powerful learning and networking tools that I use. You are spot on with your advice on how to use Twitter with purpose and intention. Those who do not “get Twitter” have not discovered a way to engage.

    The Bottom Line- “The bottom line is that being genuine, sincere, thorough” If you give in this way- your return will far exceed any expectation. Here are a few tips I share with learners new to Twitter- Love your thoughts!
    Twitter Engagement:
    Keys to Twitter Success:

    FYI- I LOVE Disqus !

  • Michael J. Pratt

    Angela – I totally agree. I often find those who refuse to even attempt to understand it are also the ones left wondering why the quality of their business connections is merely mediocre.

  • Michael J. Pratt

    Angela – I totally agree. I often find those who refuse to even attempt to understand it are also the ones left wondering why the quality of their business connections is merely mediocre.

  • Steve

    Mike, thanks for a thoughtful and informative post. I too despair at number of people who seem to be in a race to reach a certain number of subscribers. I'm not sure what they hope to accomplish by having people with no interest in what they do following them.

    I like your idea of “culling the herd” but I take a slightly different approach. I'm using Tweet Deck and have set up a group called “people I like to hear from” and those are the tweets I actually follow. I check out the All Friends stream from time to time and when I see someone who I find interesting they are added to the group. Not a perfect solution, but it's been working for me.

  • Michael J. Pratt

    I so so want to use Tweet Deck but (silly reason) I can't configure the colors the way I like them (like Twitterific) and it only shows user names not real names. :-( If Twitterific had groups (fail!) then I would probably use your method.

  • Michelle Madhok

    I unfollow anyone who tries to pitch me in a Direct Message – annoying. @shefinds

  • Michael J. Pratt

    I have to stop myself from sending snarky sarcastic messages to those who send canned and cheesy auto-DM's. It's maddening.

  • Donna McAleer

    Mike offers sage advice regarding Twitter. It is a powerful platform with instantaneous global reach. The “pay it forward” principle is a good staring point for those new to tweeting.

    One of the many benefits of twitter is research on any topic and connection to thought leaders.

    BTW: I love the gui for tweetdeck

    You can follow me here

  • Aaron Strout

    Mike – great thinking around how to most effectively use Twitter. I could definitely stand to follow your advice. Up until now, I've been more of a “you follow me, I follow you” kind of approach but there is a part of me that wishes I was as diligent as you are in your follow back process.

    I do like your thoughts on what you get out of Twitter (it can be tiring to keep up with at times but in the end, it's worth it in spades). Also, thanks for the shout out. I am honored to be one of the people that someone as smart, funny and passionate as you pays attention to.I can easily say that the same is true about you.

    Aaron | @aaronstrout

  • Michael J. Pratt

    Aaron – I'd be lying if I told you I was unaffected by the tug of wanting a high follower count, who doesn't? Like you, I got into Twitter fairly early and honed my process when @scobleizer only had 1000! It was easy then to do it one at a time and I just stuck with it.

    Thank you for your kind words and feedback. Enjoy SXSW. I'm there next year, I swear!

  • Michael J. Pratt

    Great tips! I am learning more every day. Thanks.

  • Michael J. Pratt

    Great tips! I am learning more every day. Thanks.

  • greedradio

    love it, best write up I've seen :)