Automation gets a bad rap. Don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of bad automation out there. But automation is a tool. It can be used for good or for evil. Let’s review how you should NOT use automation first.
Do NOT send automatic DMs to new followers.
Do NOT automatically welcome new followers with a public tweet. These pile up on your feed and crowd out your actual tweets. (If you want to send a personalized tweet, that’s great.)
Do NOT use a verification service that automatically emails people who want to follow you asking them to verify that they are real people. Those emails go straight into my Trash.
Do NOT automatically follow someone who follows you. In short order, you will be following all sorts of porn and spam accounts.
In addition, I would recommend that you don’t use services that automatically generate tweets for thanking your followers or doing #follow tweets. A lot of people do this, but these services tend to send out way too many of those notices for my taste. When I go to look at your feed, sometimes it’s all I can see. If that’s the case, I’ll leave without retweeting you.
So then, how do you use automation the smart way. My favorite tools are SocialOomph, Who.Unfollowed.Me, and IFTT. Here’s how I use each of them.
First, I want to constantly drip tweets out to my followers. And I don’t want to be U.S.-centric. I ignore all that advice about what hours to send my tweets out, because I have followers from all over the world, not just in NY. I send a tweet out about every 15 minutes around the clock using SocialOomph, even when I’m asleep or at work. SocialOomph allows me to do that.
SocialOomph allows me to set up queues of tweets. I can include pictures, hash tags, and links. I tell SocialOomph how often I want to send out a tweet from that queue, and it takes it from there. It posts the tweet at the top of the list, then puts it back in the queue at the very end.
If you have a spreadsheet with all your tweets, you can import that into your SocialOomph queue. You can also export your SocialOomph queue to a spreadsheet as your back up.
You can do a lot with SocialOomph for free. I use the Twitter Unlimited program, which runs a small fee every 2 weeks.
Next, I want to make sure that I stay on the right side of Twitter’s follow guidelines. In order to monitor my following/follower ratio, I use Who.Unfollowed.Me. I want to make sure that there are always more people following me than I am following. When I log into Who.Unfollowed.Me, I can see how I’m doing with the ration, and I can take action to keep the ratio healthy. I click the button to see all the people who unfollowed me, and I will unfollow them as well.
***Exception: Twitter does this strange thing where it suddenly looks like a person unfollowed all their followers. Usually when I see that they are following 0 people, I give it a day or two. These usually resolve themselves. If they don’t, I’ll see them at the Connections tab which is my next stop.
On the connections tab, I look at people I’m following that aren’t following me back. I try to keep this number low, so every day, I unfollow folks who didn’t return the favor after a week or so.
Thanks to Who.Unfollowed.Me, I’ve never run into an issue following new people. This service has other features, but I don’t use them. They offer a good amount of service for free, but an annual subscription is only $12 and well worth it if you have a lot of subscribers.
And now for the service that has helped me stay sane while using Twitter, IFTT. Let me just say, as much as I love Twitter, the method it provides to track your new followers, your mentions, your retweets, etc., is maddeningly primitive. When someone showed me how to use IFTT, it was like the heavens opened and the angels sang. If you don’t get anything else from this post, I hope you’ll do this.
IFTT uses what it calls recipes. I have 2 recipes that I use. One is to collect a list of all my new followers and the second is to collect a list of all mentions and retweets.
The first thing you need to do is set up 2 spreadsheets in Google Docs. Name one Mentions and the other Followers.
Next, log into IFTT. The first recipe you’ll use is the New Follower recipe. Set it up like this:
I know it looks complicated, but believe me, if I can figure it out, you can, too. As soon as you save it, your new followers will be written to your speadsheet, which will look like this:
The second recipe I use is the Mention recipe. Set it up like this:
As soon as you save it, your mentions and retweets will be written to your speadsheet, which will look like this:
I hope this has helped you find new ways to interact with your fans on Twitter. What’s your favorite Twitter tool?