By: Jacqui Mackway-Wilson
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to managing what often feels like a never-ending, all-consuming assortment of social media related activities, anything that’s going to make my life easier and give me more of that oh-so-rare and elusive substance commonly known as ‘spare time’, is welcome.
That being said, I am, however, also not a fan of robotic social accounts, automated to the nth degree without a trace of human interaction. While there are tools to save you time, I believe it’s critical to strive for balance and to incorporate as much human to human engagement in your social network activity as you possibly can (don’t get me started on the meaning of ‘social’ in social media – that’s a post for another day).
These are three of the Twitter tools I use to help strike a balance, save me time and keep me (semi) sane!
For those of you not familiar with this cute little duck face, (and by the way, don’t be put off by the word ‘bot’ in the name!), Tweetbot is a Twitter management tool that makes handling lists a cinch.
If you’re not an avid Twitter list user, here are three good reasons why you should be:
a) You can set up public or private lists. Public lists help you to curate content which others may find useful and can subscribe to. For instance, if you’re a beauty blogger, would your followers appreciate a Twitter list of your favourite beauty brands to follow? Perhaps you’re a teacher – how about providing a resources list that you’ve curated which your colleagues and students can follow? You may simply want to create a list of all your favourite bloggers.
Private lists can help you keep an eye on your competition by monitoring what’s being shared or by conducting market research on the quiet.
b) Using lists means that you can keep up to speed with the Tweeps whose content you care about most – and cut out the noise and clutter of everyone else in your feed. This means you are free to follow back (within reason of course) any and everyone who follows you, but still enjoy only the content in the feeds of those you like the most or are keeping a beady eye on.
c) Lists enable you to engage daily despite high volumes of followers. They also enable you to share carefully curated content from within Twitter itself, by simply skimming through what others whose opinions you value have been sharing.
Bonus Factor: The latest version of the app is now available for Apple and Android alike. Look for it in the app store.
Lifehacker gives a great hack on how to go about setting up lists quickly too.
Managing followers on Twitter can quickly become tedious. When I want to get the job done with minimum fuss, I log into Tweepi (about once a week) and do a ‘flush’. This entails unfollowing Twitter users who have either been inactive for longer than a month or who are not following back, or who I may have identified as spammy etc. and decided to unfollow.
Tweepi is my personal preference for managing following/unfollows , but it is a paid application and there are other tools that work in much the same way; check out Manage Flitter for another one which has a free (but limited) plan option as well as various additional paid options and about which I’ve only heard good things!
Taking part in regular tweet chats on Twitter is a great way to build your following in a particular niche, to show engagement, to learn and share your expertise as a thought-leader on a specific topic.
While I often find it easy to manage this via Hootsuite, Tweetbot or native Twitter on my mobile handset, for those new to chats or those of you who prefer desktop, Tweet Chat is an easy way to join the conversation. Simply login with your Twitter account, add the hashtag for the chat you want to participate in and type your tweets into the tweet box designed for composing tweets. The hashtag will now be added automatically to your tweets and you will see the stream of tweets using it filtered through, enabling you to take reply, retweet or comment on what others are saying.
This is a great way to get started with tweet chats, although once you become accustomed to fast-paced chats, it may seem a bit slow (even after adjusting the refresh speed on the stream). Try it out! And here’s a list of popular tweet chats taking place globally each week which may be of interest to you.