Step 5: Twitter maintenance - as I mentioned last time, every day you need to perform Twitter maintenance. So what exactly is Twitter maintenance? Well, simply put it's unfollowing all the people who haven't followed you back and following all the people who followed you who you weren't already following (within limits - see below). Then having done that, it's adding some more follows. And on it goes. What's the easiest way to do this? I've tried two different methods and they both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Method 1: The first method is the ‘go through your emails' approach. Hopefully you have turned on email notification for when you get new followers. If you haven't, go ahead and do this now (it's under Settings and Notices). Then set up some kind of filter in your email that sends all email from Twitter to a specific folder. This will make it easier for you to process all the emails you're going to get every day (and it will be a lot!). Every few hours you need to go to your email and open each one and look at its content. The email will be one of two kinds. If it is like below then you are already following the person and there is nothing you need to do to follow them back. If the number of followers they have is less than about 7,000 just delete the email and move on. If the new follow has more than 7,000 follows themselves then keep the email for later processing (discussed later).
If the email you have is similar to the one below then someone has elected to follow you who you are not currently following (see the extra text at the bottom of the email?). If this is the case then click on their Twitter name and you will be taken to their profile page. From here you can click on ‘follow' and follow them back.
But what about spam people that follow you or people who you followed but shouldn't have done? Well this is where the information provided in the email is most useful. It contains the number of followers they have and also how many tweets they've sent out. Generally speaking if they have sent out less than about 5 tweets they are probably a spammer. Also if they are following 1,000 people and only have 20 follows, look closely at the profile. Most other people are probably genuine. If you get a ‘follow email' from someone you have followed and they are a spammer or someone you shouldn't have followed, just click on their Twitter link and ‘unfollow' them. Simple.
Ok, so what about the emails left in your inbox that had 7,000 or more followers? Well these can become your new ‘seed list' (But don't process these until after you've unfollowed orphan follows - see below). Click on their profile, click on ‘followers' and start following some of this user's followers. The chances are that if they already have 7,000 users then a lot of their followers will also follow you. The guidelines I generally use is if the user has between 7,000 and 10,000 follows then I follow up to 2 pages worth of followers, and if they have more than 10,000 then I follow 3 pages worth. Why? Well I want to try and follow users who are more probably online. The ones at the top of the list are the recent follows. Users with more followers generally grow faster than users with less followers and so there's more chance that users with more than 10,000 followers have more recently online follows than those with less. You'll have to find out a method that works for you. Anyway, when you're done making some new follows, delete the email and move to the next. In this way you should be able to build up a stock of people to follow every day. If that doesn't give you enough at first (or you need to supplement) then you can simply right click on a user on your feed, open a new browser tab for that user and use the above guideline to follow from your existing stock. If I use this method I discount any user that has less than 1,000 followers and then if they have between 1,000 and 7,000 followers I just follow their first page (20 users). You get the idea.
Method 2: the second method is to not use notification emails from Twitter at all but instead regularly go to your Twitter profile page and click on ‘followers'. There you can see who you are following back.
Simply click on those people who you wish to follow back. Although this may seem like a simpler method than number 1 (it certainly takes less time), it's not as discerning and as thorough. When you use this method you cannot see how many followers the user has or how many tweets they have sent, you just have to use your own judgment or right click on the user to open up a window to look more closely at them. Also it doesn't give you any idea of the users who have more than 7,000 followers so you'll have to use a different method to decide who to follow.
Ok, so you've maintained your followers, how about those that you previously decided to follow (from yesterday)? As I mentioned in part one of this article, you're going to be following 800-1,000 people a day and only 30%-40% are going to be following you back. You need to purge the others. There is no simple way to do this (yes there are programs that claim to do it automatically, but believe me you need to do it manually or else you'll be unfollowing some people you want to follow even though they don't follow you back - i.e. some celebrities). You just have to bite the bullet and once a day go to your profile, click on ‘following' and skip ahead to page 40 or so (or wherever your follows started that you haven't cleaned up yet). You can tell easily enough, it'll be the last page where everyone isn't following you!
Then page by page, going backwards, unfollow (remove) all those people who aren't following you (they won't have a 'Direct Message' option). This is very boring and can take up to 20-30 minutes. But when you're done with both steps above (follows and followers), you're cleaned up ready for the next day's work.
Don't add any new follows (the people with 7,000 followers or more) until you've done this maintenance!
Ok, enough for today. Part three of the post will cover your brand, earning money, Direct Messagesand linking Twitter to Facebook or your blog.
Enjoy your tweeting!