Tweet Smarter not Harder – Part One

twitter tips and tricksIntroduction

I adore Twitter. I discovered Twitter in 2009 and found it to be much more efficacious when it came to interacting socially with my blog followers than Facebook.

I’d started my humor blog in ’08 and kept reading about how I should develop my ‘author platform,’ not really understanding what that meant. Now I’m a published author and social media consultant and I’ve learned how critical Twitter is as part of both my writing and business marketing platforms.

If you’re on Twitter, you understand. If not, you’re missing out on one of the best free market research tools out there.

Goals For This Post

  • Help you understand how to use Twitter to interact with targeted people important for your business
  • Show you time-saving secrets behind the Twitter Curtain


Twitter isn’t rocket science, but can be confusing at first. Many people ask me why more people don’t follow them right away. It’s quite simple: you need to follow them first! But don’t just follow anyone. If your interests lie in social media, follow social media folks. If you’re an author, follow other authors.

But is our focus that narrow in real life? No. You want customers. As an author, I want to find people who are book buyers. It would be great if they could just find me with a SNAP! but the world doesn’t work like that. So I use the SEARCH function to look up related terms (think Google search): book bloggers, book reviewers, book clubs…you get the point. And I follow all those people. See whom they follow. Follow them. Check their LISTS. (By the way, I LOVE lists. What a goldmine!)

A word of caution regarding following: if you follow more than about 50-75 tweeps/day, the Twitter gods get a little jittery, thinking you’re a spammer or bot. This is why I don’t recommend automated follow programs.

Note: I also use ManageFlitter on a weekly business. What does it do? It shows you who isn’t following you. Why does this matter?

It’s free and like a fun video game if you use the ‘Quick Expand’ tab. It unfollows eggs, nonfollowers, and never tweeteds — important as you hit the 2K mark, where Twitter invokes 20% followers vs. following cap. You can virtually abolish that cap by using this site.

I tsk tsk when I see someone say, “Sorry, can’t follow you back. I need more followers. Stuck at 2K.” They are so not. They just don’t know they can drop the dead weight. Ask yourself this question: Does Mike “The Situation” retweet you? Is he helping your business in any way? Then why are you following him? (I mean, seriously.)

Lists: Many people don’t know about or understand lists. I’ve had clients actually afraid of them. What the heck are they? Here’s a nice explanation from Mashable: curated Twitter streams of the latest tweets from a specified set of users.

You’ve probably been listed and don’t even know it. Look on your profile page, scroll down to the left and click on LISTS. See what comes up. (Hint: See how well-branded you are by which lists you’re on. If you’re a social media consultant and you’re on a list titled “Ice Cream Experts,” that’s a pretty clear indication that you’re not communicating your brand well.)

I’ll cover lists in much greater detail in Part Two of this article.

Time savers- Third-part Applications

Besides using lists and search as we just discussed, I can’t say enough about using Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Pluggio, Sprout Social (I prefer Hootsuite but also use Pluggio), or SocialBro to schedule your tweets and messages throughout the day. This is a critical part of your time management.

Some people are against this and consider it ‘automation’ but I strongly disagree and here’s why: I may be scheduling in my tweets, but I’m still live interacting throughout the day with mentions or DMs (direct messages).

The Twitter application itself does not allow for scheduling so you must use one of these third-party apps.

  • Tweetdeck: now owned by Twitter and is free. It’s also available on mobile.
  • Hootsuite: free also (for up to five accounts) meaning you can connect your Twitter, Facebook, blog, LinkedIn, etc. and is also mobile.

I personally use Hootsuite for my accounts and my clients’ – I find the interface simple to learn and use, the analytics are terrific, and the graphics are easy on the eyes.

The beauty is you can compose, and schedule tweets days, weeks, even months in advance (say you’re planning a vacation) it counts characters for you, allows you to see past scheduled (helps for repeat tweets) etc. (don’t go over 120 to get a RT. 140 is a myth). Brilliant!

(I don’t suggest repeating exact content but we will discuss that in Part Two.)

Either app also ties into your Google Analytics so you can measure views, keywords, etc. Helpful if you’re using it for clients.

  • Pluggio: while it has many features I haven’t even begun to utilize (it goes quite deep), I like that it generates followers based on keywords you ‘plug’ in, 24 hours a day/seven days a week. So you can save TONS of time if you’re willing to pay $19/month. It also suggests purges (unfollows). Finally, their functionality with responding to those who have RT’d you is the best I’ve seen.

Note: They still require you go through each follower and approve or discard. Again, I like this because I don’t want to be following porn bots.

  • SocialBro: A very cool free app (though they offer a paid version) that offers lots of unique analytical tools, best time to tweet being the standout for me. It also analyzes lists (see, there it is again!), followers, suggests unfollows, will even tell you who of your Facebook friends are on Twitter.

What I love about each of these apps is they all do something different and offer unique perspectives on analyzing your followers.

Bottom line: you want to build a base of followers that’s tight and interactive, who are either potential customers, or can be your supportive tribe to bring you potential customers and sales.


By using Twitter more effectively with the tips I’ve provided today, you should be able to:

  • Increase awareness of you, your product or service, your business, freeing you up to have more interaction with potential clients;
  • Spend less time on Twitter (and social media in general) and more time on current client business and prospecting in other ways;
  • Understand basic differences between the third-party Twitter applications designed to save you time on social media and
  • Create a thriving social media platform.

I look forward to seeing you back here for Part Two! Don’t forget to follow or subscribe to avoid missing out on Part Two.

Do you currently use any of these Twitter techniques or third-party applications and if so, have they helped you in your marketing efforts? Did you learn anything new today?

Please share in comments below.

Rachel Thompson aka @RachelintheOC is the #1 bestselling Kindle author of two nonfiction humor books, A Walk In The Snark and The Mancode: Exposed. She also cowrote Dollars & Sense: The Definitive Guide to Self-Publishing Success. Rachel is also the founder of BadRedhead Media aka @BadRedheadMedia, where she provides social media consulting and management for clients ranging from authors, chefs, toys, and even a rock star.

She loves Nutella, hates walks in the rain, and questions coconut’s place in the universe.

She welcomes your questions and comments. Email her anytime at

About Jorgen Poulsen

The Catalyst Partnership provides cost effective Social Media Marketing solutions to small and medium-sized businesses. Social Media Marketing is one of today's most successful and cost effective online marketing strategies and is being embraced by millions of companies from Fortune 100 to small companies. Please contact us to discuss how we can help you implement a Social Media Marketing strategy.
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34 Responses to Tweet Smarter not Harder – Part One

  1. lorcadamon says:

    Wow. I have completely been underutilizing Twitter, and I’ve been on there for a year. I’ve seen lists before, but have never really done anything with them. And I really didn’t know that about “egg” followers. I’ve really never thought about who follows me. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Lorca! Yes, lists are terrific. I’ll review them in even greater detail in Part Two but suffice it to say, they’re like cheese to a mouse. And yes, so fun to go to ManageFlitter for the first time (sigh) and see all the eggs and never tweeteds. Shocking, really.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. Kelly Gamble says:

    I have so much to learn. I’ve been curious about the ‘lists’ and look forward to Part 2. Hootsuite, you say, okay, sold. I can always trust a redhead.

    • Hi Kelly — lists are awesome and I think you’ll be pleased with their capabilities for your busy and interactive following. As for Hootsuite, it totally rocks and for a busy person such as yourself, it’s a terrific time management tool. Reds rule! xo

  3. Great tips again from Rachel! I’m already using several of those tools and appreciate the tips on others and how to use them more effectively. Thanks for this great guest post!

  4. Good advice to new Twitter users and plenty of useful information for the rest of us.

    • Thanks, Rich and good to see you here. Glad you liked the article. Hopefully you did find something new and helpful. Part Two will go more deeply into lists and other insider info!

      • You’re welcome, Rachel. I’m eager to read Part Two. I have a comment on Twitter applications such as TweetDeck and HootSuite. Have you used TweetCaster?

        It is my favorite on my Kindle Fire and does a reasonably good job on the iPhone. It automatically integrates short links on long tweets.

      • Thanks for the rec, Rich. I use Echofon Pro for Mobile and I find it similar to Tweetcaster Pro but will take another look. For scheduling, I like tweetings or Tweetr. It’s all a matter of comfort level, really. I’m primarily on my MacBook Air during the day & my iPhone when on the go. Love my Kindle Fire but rarely for work — try to just use it to read at night for me time!

  5. I use Hootsuite on my mobile and can’t say I like it that much but clearly I need to check out the non-mobile version. Had figured out fast about following to get follows (after all, one of the quickest ways to get people to notice you is to follow them!) but why didn’t I think of checking other people’s lists? *slaps forehead* Have my own lists but they need some work, I know.

    • Hi Ciara. I’m not a fan of Hootsuite mobile at all, though I love it on my desktop (laptop). I use Echofon Pro on my iPhone or Tweetr for Twitter-only scheduling. Tweetings is great also for multi-site scheduling. As for checking other people’s lists — yea, great source of info! They’re taken the time to curate for you, why not take advantage? When you curate your own, we’ll return the favor. 🙂

  6. Abel Pardo says:

    Very good, full of useful information and a basic step through understanding twitter better. Just waiting for the second part and specially how to improve the use of lists. Thank you for sharing this phenomenal work!

  7. justinbog says:

    Shared everywhere with peeps because the information hit me in the head (I am such a blockhead the information usually bounces and I can’t absorb it) . . . and I liked the way you showed what Twitter and Lists and Hootsuite can do. Excellent.

    • Thank you, Justin. I’ve seen your head and it’s quite handsome. Not blockish at all. But I understand your point. Sometimes there’s SO much info out there about Twitter it can be overwhelming. I’m glad this helps to crystallize it for you. Hopefully Part Two will do so even further when I go even deeper into lists. Thanks for the comment and visit!

  8. I need to get on some lists–mine show up empty. Part 2?

    • Hi Jason. Yes, Part Two but here’s a tip now. Truthfully, the best way to GET ON lists is to start your own! Put people on lists, they’ll return the favor. It’s no different than the basic premise of Twitter — follow me, I’ll follow you. I list you, you list me.

      Now, go check your lists again. *wink*

  9. Suzi says:

    Justin, thank you for this very helpful post. I just got started on ManageFlitter (after reading your post) and will be trying these other tools as well. As a side note, I’ve had to laugh at some of the lists I end up on…one of them is an “athiests/no God” list – so not the case, but maybe it will bring in new people to disagree with me 🙂

  10. Suzi, that’s a perfect example of how lists show your branding. Whether or not it’s correct is another matter entirely! But hey, it introduces you to new people you may have never met otherwise. ManageFlitter is a godsend (no pun intended). For people just building their following, they don’t have to worry too much but as you near (and pass) the 2,000 mark, each follow counts and that 20% ratio enters into account. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  11. Frank Tuttle says:

    Great article! I looked at the Lists to which I have been assigned for the first time, and I’m very pleased that nearly all of them are book related. I was amused to see I was included in the ‘Grass Cutters’ list maintained by the National Lawn Association. I shall pursue career opportunities within that venue with vigor, and perhaps a fresh change of lawn-mower blades. Again, thanks for the advice!

  12. gruggers says:

    Well-written piece with valuable information. I will be saving this and looking forward to the next installment.

  13. As usual, Rachel comes through with good advice for building your platform while spending less time on social media. Great post!

  14. Debra Dunbar says:

    Holy cr@p! Where have you been as I struggled through the jungle of Twitter with my trusty machete? Thank you for this information that the THREE social media books I purchased didn’t seem to have. May the Twitter gods smile upon you.

    • Thank you, Debra! I’ve been here :). I encourage you to follow me @BadRedheadMedia for free daily tips and my weekly blog. Lots of great free info. And I’ll be back here on Jorgen’s blog as well. I share tips on @RachelintheOC but she’s much snarkier & curses occasionally (forewarning). Hehe.

  15. Jasmin Pawar says:

    Thankyou for this post..i was actually not aware of how twitter functions…but this amazing article has provided me with wonderful insights.

  16. Pingback: Twitter Tips and Resources – Part 67 | Spotlight on Marketing

  17. Ash Lemming says:

    Love it. Although I am slowly getting a handle on Twitter, followers and some of the tools, I learnt I thing or two. I now need to head off and read part 2 it seems.
    Thanks for sharing your wisdom :>

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