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6 Truths About Using Twitter that Traditionalists Might Not Want to Hear

If you are a blogger or if you have an online business, then you must be on social media.6 Truths about Twitter that traditionalists might not want to hear

While search engine optimization and organic traffic are not a thing of the past and never will be, social media allows you to actually communicate with the ones who care about your brand.

So anyway, the hot three networks for marketers right now are Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter.

Lots can be said about Twitter. You can come across a ton of posts providing tips, tricks and different strategies to get you followers and retweets.

All of this however brings a ton of different misconceptions. And on Twitter there are lots of “traditionalists” so to say – people who never take their social media presence a step further and who simply  follow the stereotypes.

Well in order to maximize your Twitter presence and get some fresh traffic, sometimes you have to steer away from commonly adopted norms. Here are six truths about Twitter that you have to accept if you want to improve your productivity and results:

Truth #1. More Twitter Followers Should be One of Your Goals

Are you one of those folks who believe numbers don’t matter? Are you one of those guys whose favorite phrase is quality over quantity?

Well for good or bad numbers do play a role in the social media world. The reality is that how much traffic you will get (which should after all be your main social media goal) hugely depends on the amount of followers you have. And there’s really no such thing as “quality” followers. There are those who might be interested in what you have to say and those who simply don’t care.

I didn’t use the word “might” accidentally. After all, it’s all up to you to present your blog or website in the best light possible.

And with saying that traffic is the main metric you should be measuring, I lied a little…

Lots of people might click on your tweets and that will translate into a visit. Not all however will actually start reading. And from those who start reading not all will agree with you or like your style.

The idea is that you want the traffic to return. You need repeat visitors – those are truly the folks who might end up subscribing to your list, buying a product you are promoting or trying out a service you offer.

And from that point of view, going for more followers is the right strategy. The more people following your tweets, the more people will land on your blog, the more people will enjoy what you share and the more people will come back for more. Thus you will convert more people based on the call to actions you have placed on your blog. That’s far from complicated math, is it?

Truth #2. Scheduling Updates Won’t Hurt Your Reputation

It’s a weird prejudice that some people have about tweeting. Many believe that tweets should be a “personal” thing. And quite frankly I never actually understood the meaning of that. Unless you are chatting with someone, tweets can’t be personal.

So as “impersonal” as it might seem, scheduling tweets, instead of signing in every hour or so to share something you just discovered, makes for a lot of saved minutes. Minutes that you can put towards something else – like working on that guest article… The same that is sitting there and collecting dust for weeks…

In my case I use Buffer. The app works with preset tweeting times. You first choose the days on which you are going to tweet and also the times when the different tweets will be posted. Basically I am tweeting at the same hour, same minute and same second every single day.

And guess what – people simply don’t care! They want good content – they get good content, that’s all that matters!

Truth #3. Using Lists Can Help You in More than One Way

As you probably know by now, creating lists is a great way to split all the noise in your Twitter stream and get the content you’d actually like to read. That’s mainly what they are meant to do.

And that is all great. However lists can be utilized in different ways as well. Here is what I have tried and found of a good use:

  • List of people who retweet you – Having those folks in a list will give you easy access to their shares, so that you can also retweet them every now and then as a way to say thank you. That is also a great way to solidify your relationship with them.
  • List of bloggers of your level – Although you probably won’t turn those into brand advocates, staying updated to what they have to say is important. Firstly because you have to be relevant to what’s going on in your niche and secondly because having easy access to their content might help you produce ideas for future blog posts.
  • List of the “small players” – A good thing to do would be to discover some less-well-known bloggers in your niche and add them to a list. Once again the idea is to always stay tuned to their latest content and retweet it if it’s good enough. That won’t be left unnoticed and you are almost sure to get retweets on your own content in return.

The principle here is “help and be helped”.

Truth #4. Unfollowing the Inactives Isn’t a Crime

Seems like traditionalists hate everything when it comes to automation (you can check my post: “Automating Social Media: Do the Critics Have a Point” for more thoughts on the topic). One of the reasons, they say, is authenticity.

And there is no denying. In order to succeed in one way or another, you need to stand out. And for that to happen, you need to be unique…

But here’s the thing. When someone considers following you, your ratio (i.e. the relation between followers and people you follow) matters.

Wouldn’t you be a little more inclined to follow a guy, who follows 1,000 but who is followed by 4,000, than someone who has 2,000 followers and 2,200 friends?

The best way to go about this is by unfollowing the inactives. Those are people who don’t have much to say and who basically are’t there most of the time. It might be worth unfollowing them to save space for the ones who are more actively engaging.

What you can do is to log in to ManageFlitter, click on “Everyone You Follow”, sort by date and get going! Remove all those who haven’t tweeted anything for more than seven-eight days and see how it works!

Truth #5. Following People Gets You More Followers

I’ve heard all kinds of stories about how getting Twitter followers works. Some of them are true, others are false and a third part I haven’t tried…

Nowadays “content is king” is probably the most popular cliché out here in the internet marketing realm…

Can content alone get you in front of a new audience however?

Retweets might result in additional exposure. Someone might give you a shoutout or recommend you. You might obtain a couple of thousand followers via your blog. All this would make for a very slow progress though…

The reality is that you just have to follow new people. Some will follow you back, some won’t. That kind of activity however creates a buzz. A buzz that has helped me discover loyal supporters – tweeps who click and retweet almost every piece I publish.

And yes, this often times means following people who you don’t know and who don’t know you. However the chances are that the bigger part of the ones you follow will take a look at your profile – they might tweet something welcoming or they might comment on something you tweeted. That along with the new followers you might get, is also a great opportunity to start the conversation and actually create new contacts.

Truth #6. Replying Isn’t Always Worth the Time

Once you get into social media and blogging one of the phrases you start hearing is “you have to always be there”, meaning you should be logged in to your social accounts at all time, waiting to reply to those who mention you.

And although there’s really nothing bad in this…

If you’d really like to be productive, you should pay just a little less attention to those kinds of social media tasks. As important as they are, often times we put far too much emphasis on chatting and we end up wasting time that could’ve been put towards more important things, such as writing for example.

In order to minimize the time I spent chatting and still reply to most of my mentions, I have a “replying schedule” in place. The rule is to basically reply three times a day, whenever I find myself wondering what to do.

You see – that goes in between everything else.

Being constantly online shouldn’t be your main concern. Also – no – you don’t have to reply to every mention. Doing that might result in a stream full of “Thanks for the RT” or “Thanks for the follow” kind of messages. That is really not what you call engagement.

To Wrap it Up…

All in all what I came to realize some months after getting into Twitter was that not everything you read has been put to the test and not all the “warning signs” are actually real. Some tasks might seem bad in terms of credibility and authenticity, but in reality they simply aren’t. What are your thoughts – do you agree to the points I’ve made in the post? Do you have something to add up? Do share your two cents in the comments section! 

Guest Author: Daniel Sharkov is an 18 year old student, marketer, blogger and a social media enthusiast. Make sure to check out Reviewz N Tips – the place, where he shares his insights and experience!




Want to Learn More About How to Create Compelling Content that Your Audience Wants to Read, View and Share?

My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.

It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

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  • Wow! This was a treasure trove of great information. I’m ramping up my social media presence, and these are outstanding Twitter tips. A definite “bookmark” on my browser!

  • Amelia J-Lewis

    As always, good stuff Jeff. It all comes down to the quality of the engagements and their real value to you and the audience you are trying to influence. What you post, who you follow, who you unfollow, whether or not you choose to reply – all decisions that should be made based on relevance to you and your goals. BTW, I find that when I take the extra moment to consider this, it makes my engagement, and what I get out of Twitter and other channels, all the more fulfilling. Those little impacts add up to my NOT considering the alternative – chucking it all and going off the grid. 😉 Keep up the relevance – I love your blog!

  • Wow! This article is a treasure trove of useful Twitter tips to implement as I ramp up my social media presence. A definite “bookmark” in my browser for future reference!

  • I follow a similar work flow. I have to endorse these tips as someone who just started doing community management.

    • Thank you Susan, it is good to hear that you resonate with what I’ve shared here. 🙂

  • Excellent info/tips/facts! Thank you for sharing!!! 🙂

  • Good stuff. I also think that autofollowing is not a good idea. I used to do this and ended up following a lot of people who have nothing to do with the niches I focus on for business and who tweet topics about which I could care less. Then I had to spend hours cleaning up my twitter account so that I could see tweets I want to see.

    • Hey Anna,

      Well following and autofollowing are two different things. Although I sometimes rely on tools to help me find people to follow, the list I end up with is based on a lot of filtering mechanisms to help me maximize relevancy. And in the end I wouldn’t even call it autofollowing.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Sharon McPherson

    Hi Daniel,

    As someone who has been on Twitter almost from its inception, I’ve got to say I agree with some of your assertions – and I disagree with a couple, particularly about the scheduling of tweets. While there is nothing wrong with using scheduled tweets, I will unfollow people whose Twitter stream consists of nothing but automated tweets. Especially if their automated tweets are the same over and over. IMHO these are nothing but spam and the overuse of them is turning Twitter into the Social Media equivalency of a Safelist, another useful tool that was abused by marketers until they lost their usefulness.

    The second point I disagree with you on is that “replying isn’t always worth the time.” The way I look at it is that replying or acknowledging someone’s mention of or retweeting you is a common courtesy – and being courteous to someone that you someday hope to have a business relationship with is never a waste of time.

    As I said, I was on Twitter when it first started when we, meaning myself and those that I followed, used Twitter much the same way many people use Facebook today. We gained customers and clients, not in spite of the “chatting,” but I firmly believe because of it. And I’m not saying you have to be constantly online either, but you can configure your Twitter settings to receive notifications when someone mentions or retweets you. A single tweet, or maybe 2 or 3, including the username of all those who did so will not result in a stream full of “Thanks for the RT.”

    BTW, I follow you on Twitter and Facebook and I must say I’m learning a lot about social media from your tweets and posts. Thank you.

    • Hey Sharon,

      Well there is use and there is abuse. Unfortunately the problem with Twitter is that many of its users tend to rely on the latter. However if you take those spammers out of the equation, scheduling tweets as a way to save a few precious minutes doesn’t seem like something all that bad. Of course there should be a fine balance between those same scheduled tweets and you taking the time to get in touch with your followers and with the ones who have shared your content.

      As for the second point, yes, it might seem a little strange saying this. What I really meant however is that a tweet should aim to be conversational. The idea of a tweet should be to spark engagement. And sometimes when I open up TweetDeck and see all of the mentions (which are actually retweets), I just don’t feel like replying to each and every one of them. If I did then I’d probably go with simply saying “Thanks *Insert Name* for the RT”, which to me seems a little impersonal. Whereas when I choose more wisely who to reply to and who not to reply to, I tend to make my tweets more personal by asking a question or just expanding beyond simply thanking the person. Aside from that going for the first approach would mean a list with say twenty replies to different folks that are basically the same. That’s at least how it would be for me and I am basing the post all on my personal experience. There might be different scenarios – no question. 🙂

      Thank you for stopping by to share your two cents and I am glad that you are actually finding my Twitter and Facebook pages useful.

      Have a great day ahead!

  • I loved Truth #6. Sometimes I feel the need to respond immediately to tweets and it disrupts me from doing work that I should be doing (like coaching clients, blogging, writing my book). I love the suggestion of 3 times a day. Just fit it in when you have the time. Excellent idea and great tips.

    • Hey Michelle,

      Yes, that’s the problem I also had a while ago. And indeed setting up a routine of that kind is at least for me the best way to not spend more time on Twitter than I actually need.

      Glad you enjoyed the post and have a great week ahead!

      • Brenda Gaines Hunter

        I decided that the second person I will hire will be a communications and PR specialist – a contractor. I will turn most of my social media activities over. I’ll first hire for only about 12-15 hours per week. Might hire a graduate student or college senior. @fsftraining

  • Hi Daniel, I found myself reading your post and nodding my head in agreement. 🙂 You use two of my favorite Twitter tools – BufferApp and ManageFlitter. Looks like we’re on the “same page” when it comes to Twitter strategy but that doesn’t surprise me. 🙂

    • Sherryl,

      Yeah, the two are an awesome set of tools and great time-savers! Glad to hear we think similarly in terms of Twitter and thank you for stopping by! 🙂


  • Actually, I’ve recently found these things too! I’ve unfollowed, followed and scheduled Tweets and you are absolutely correct! I’d also add NOT just posting your (in my case) book promotions. It gets tiresome reading the same promo subject with no other interaction. For me that’s a real negative.

  • Exactly my feeling, Daniel – when it comes down to Twitter, I do one thing: bring as many people as I can as quickly as I can back to my blog and THEN engage and build relationships with them.

    • That’s exactly the way it should be Ana! It’s all good as long as you don’t “forget” the build relationships part. 🙂

  • Thank you for the great Twitter tips Daniel. I particularly like your points relating to “size does count”, scheduling tweets and the use of lists.

    • Hey David,

      Thank you for the positive words mate, it’s good to know you enjoyed the article! 🙂

      Have a great week ahead!

  • You’ve summed it up pretty good Lisa. Numbers are okay as long as you can handle them. Thank you for adding up to the discussion! 🙂

  • I agree with Michelle on Truth #6. That is awesome! There is always one point in the middle of the day when I finished everything and start thinking what next? Generally I connect with people on Google Plus or Linkedin, but this would be a great time to check @reply’s as well. All other points: preaching to the choir.

  • Just used Buffer to share this LOL

  • “Wouldn’t you be a little more inclined to follow a guy, who follows 1,000 but who is followed by 4,000…”

    Not necessarily. Nine times out of 10 the guy with those numbers in the low thousands is engaging in a follower churn strategy, e.g., unfollowing people as soon as they follow him back.

  • makemyblogmoney

    You wouldn’t believe how many people have told me that using a recurring Twitter scheduler like Social Oomph is bad for your account. I think as long as you don’t overdo it it’s fine. Why would they allow these companies to link and use your accounts if they didn’t want it to happen?

    • I’ve noticed the people who say this are often the people who are trying to increase sales through twitter, yet have had under 1,000 followers for several years and don’t know how to grow their followers or automate tweets or optimal times to tweet, so they preach that anything other than what they are doing is the wrong way to tweet.

  • after reading your article at least I know I’m a traditionalist. Somehow I cannot stand the idea of scheduling contacts. It all sounds artificial, cold, and calculated. Is it really what the modern marketing is about?

    • Ideally, it would always be one on one personal interaction. That is not possible in the social media world. With scheduling tweets, nobody but you knows that you scheduled it Sure, one can assume that if Joe Shmo on the east coasts posts at 3am its probably scheduled, but a tweet is a tweet and looks like any other. On average, the lifespan of a tweet is 18 minutes. I argue it is much less. What this means is that after 18 minutes, very few people if any will even see your tweet; Thus the need for more frequent tweeting. Then, because we cant spend hours a day tweeting, there is a need for scheduling.

  • Great Myths/Tips, just a shame that few people follow them 🙂

  • Great Myths/Tips, just a shame that few people follow them 🙂

  • Great Article! Every point is right on and 100% factually true. Anyone who disagrees with any of this is only disagreeing from their own personal perspective or bias.

  • Love this. Regarding #2, agree that scheduling frees up time. You have to be mindful though of a few things (some issues I’ve noticed lately with scheduling)

    – Don’t schedule (deliberately or accidentally) a bunch of posts at once. This is frustrating and I’ll generally unfollow you, regardless of the quality of content

    – Be mindful of the current tone / topics. This came up recently on Twitter during the coverage of the Sandy Hook shooting. I noticed someone had tweeted an article they’d written on avoiding other people’s drama and choosing what to ignore that was obviously scheduled and was a poor time to be published (unbeknownst to them at the time they scheduled the tweet). The less emotive side to this coin is when articles / content becomes irrelevant e.g. a speculation article that’s tweeted after the firm announcement on the subject has been made. Just be mindful of what you’ve got queued vs current events.

    • Hey Lee,

      You absolutely have a point mate. If by schedling a couple of posts at once you mean tweeting them at exactly the same time, then yes – that’s true – I definitely wouldn’t recommend it as it’s obvious that you are just begging for clicks. That after all isn’t the only purpose that Twitter has.

      As for the second thing you mentioned – yes, simply scheduling without taking into consideration what’s going on is yet another sign that you don’t really pay attention to what others are sharing… definitely not a good approach.

      Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

  • Michael Sinclair

    Daniel – you are wise, especially for 18 years old!

  • Twit Cleaner is an effective tool if you want to flush out inactive accounts, though there’s always a chance that some of those accounts can become active again!

  • I have to just add tho that its pretty obvious when someon
    e’s only real connect to the Twitter medium is about marketing . If you are not engaged with enjoying the medium as an actual user, who partakes of the banquet of randomness that is Twitter, AND with some enthusiasm, its very apparent to experienced users and they will tune you out. You need to be more than a brand, and that’s so often not addressed in these sorts of blogs. I think that the scheduled tweets issue sort of can become about that, if you aren’t very skillful in the content of what you post, you will appear disconnected from the mood of the moment.

  • I would also like to talk about #6. Having a reply schedule makes sense. And time management is crucial to everyone.

    But replying selectively? What is the basis of your choice? Also, this is probably a problem only faced by people in the higher league, who may be get hundreds of mentions and RTs every day. Many of us are still not at that point.

    Did you reply to people when you first started blogging. And was there a certain threshold after which you decided replying to everyone was not a good use of your time?

    Would the cliched ‘thanks for the follow’ or ‘thanks for the RT’ via DM or personal message work, in your opinion? DO you think it’s worth delegating this task to someone?

    Look forward to what you think!

  • 6 very relevant points, all of which seem to crop up with my clients. When a business is organising its online marketing the key for me is to have a well structured weekly schedule that is “do-able”. Buffer works for me so now I need to look at ManageFlitter – a tool I haven’t come across before.

  • Starla Asher, RN MSN

    I love that you’re 18, Daniel, and your audience here is clearly older than that. I’m curious how much time you spend on Facebook these days? Everyone is up in arms this morning over the Princeton Ph.D. candidate’s Facebook ghost town prediction. No one wants to be the last one left in town but they don’t want to learn another social media site, either. The stats show that the FB #of teen users ARE declining. Resistant adults probably need to look around, see where the teens are, and get them to help them figure it out. 😉 BTW, thanks for your article. I loved it. You are dead-on center with all of your points!!! Keep up the gr8 work.

  • hey..agree on u your points its looking worth full but i don’t no is it necessary to scheduling twit’s ..

  • Hannah Martin

    Great advice, thanks! And pretty much what I have learned over the past 6 months on Twitter too. ‘Help and be helped’ is a key principle… I find the more proactive, helpful and thoughtful you are on Twitter, the more that is reciprocated. And I too schedule tweets pretty much every half hour around the clock, sharing content from our site, but I’m always aware of what is interesting and useful to our followers, and bear that in mind (even with the content I retweet).

    • Tanya Na

      but no one helps is my point

  • I believe if your new to Twitter you should be focusing on quality. Try to surround yourself with thought leaders in your industry and learn for awhile. Learn what makes these people successful. I almost gave up on Twitter until I realized it can help make me better if I embrace it as a tool for learning. Once I started doing that it was easier for me to push content.

  • Yep…got it!! 🙂

    • Tanya Na

      thanks for the incredible help and advice! my point made!!! and I was referring to all these live chats with celebrities and stuff that are fake….obviously some people are real but again incredibly rude and unhelpful