One of the worst things you can do on Twitter is treat it as your own personal advertising platform. No one minds a little shameless self-promotion, but Tweeting exclusively about your latest blog post or upcoming event is a good way to lose followers. On the other hand, when you regularly share content that’s neither written by you nor about you, you’ll be recognized as a valuable resource.
I’ve developed a simple system that allows me to find and share good content without it taking over my entire workday.
Please note that I’m not talking about browsing my Twitter stream and clicking “Retweet” whenever someone I admire posts something. I don’t recommend doing that, for two reasons:
- If you retweet posts by people with tens of thousands of followers, chances are pretty high that many of your followers follow them as well and are already familiar with their work.
- If someone goes to their newsfeed and sees 8 or 10 tweets in a row from you that all go “RT @twitteruser blah blah blah LINK,” they’ll probably just skim past them. Not only have you not added any comments of your own, but if you post that many one after another, it’s pretty obvious that you haven’t even clicked through to read what’s behind those links.
What I’m talking about is far more interesting and much more effective, for you as well as your followers.
Step 1: Find out when your followers are most active on Twitter.
Use a free tool such as Tweriod to analyze your Twitter activity and that of your followers. This information will help you determine the best time for you to tweet.
Step 2: Set up a posting schedule.
Once your Tweriod analysis is complete, you’ll have the option to connect it with Buffer, a social media scheduling tool. Buffer will set up a tweeting schedule for you based on the results of your Tweriod analysis.
Step 3: Create a spot to save links you want to read.
Sign up for Pocket, and you’ll be able to save links that others post on Twitter, Facebook, or elsewhere, as well as any other online content that catches your interest. You know how when you’re searching online for information about a particular topic and you get distracted by something else? Instead of sacrificing productivity by reading it right away, or bookmarking it and forgetting about it, you can just add it to Pocket and read it at a more appropriate time. Don’t even click through and determine whether it’s worth your while – that will come later.
You can even add tags to the items you save, to help you stay organized – and I know you like to be organized!
Step 4: Read and share.
Got a few minutes? Go to your Pocket account and read one or more of the blog posts and articles you’ve saved.
Sometimes you’ll know right away that something isn’t as interesting as you’d hoped, or it’s not really an article but a sales pitch. Just delete it from Pocket and move on to another one.
After you’ve read something, ask yourself if it’s something your followers would find interesting. If it is, use Buffer to add it to your Twitter schedule, taking a moment to add your own comment. Then delete it from Pocket.
Once Steps 1, 2 and 3 have been completed, you don’t have to do them again, though you may wish to re-run Tweriod and tweak your schedule from time to time.
I’ve been following this process for some time now, and am quite pleased with it. With the browser extensions installed, I can add tweets to Buffer or Pocket right from within the Twitter website or the Tweetbot app on my iPhone. Pocket and Buffer also have iPhone apps, making it easy for me to make good use of any spare moments I have.
Do you use any apps to manage your Twitter activity? Which ones do you recommend?
We’ve recently reduced the price of our Basic Guide to Networking on Twitter – if you’re new to Twitter, why not check it out?