The people who “do Twitter best” have a lot in common. Sure, some might be uber-celebrities and others might be tech-savvy moms, adventure-loving 20-somethings or political pundits, but despite their differences in topic and tone, the most successful Twitter users share some common habits.
Whether your goal is to launch a new product, connect with your local community or just gain more exposure in your industry, these ten habits of great tweeters will propel your tweeting to the next level.
Take a look at @KatyPerry, @CNN and @copyblogger. You’ll see that one tweets about her whirlwind music career, another tweets breaking news and another tips about blogging. But each is very consistent in their topic – and that’s important.
Followers sign on for something specific when they follow you, and if you change up your main topic of conversation regularly, you’ll scare them all away. The best tweeters typically stick to one or two topics for 80% of their tweets, and sprinkle in their other interests in the other 20% or so.
This might sound like the polar-opposite habit from consistency, but if you think about it, it’s not. The best tweeters tweet photos, links from a large number of sources, their own thoughts and opinions, retweets, have conversations, share podcasts, inform people of good deals, endorse the brands they love, ask questions… you get the idea. They don’t only tweet links or photos of their lunch that day. They tweet a variety of content, which keeps their followers interested.
3. Being helpful
Whether you believe in karma or not, there is something to be said about putting positive energy out there, especially on Twitter. You’ll notice that a lot of great accounts – @TweetSmarter is a good example – offer helpful tips and advice to their followers. They have conversations where they walk someone through a problem or offer strategic advice, and many times they offer to move the conversation off Twitter if it requires a more in-depth explanation. And this strategy has earned @TweetSmarter a whopping 358,000 followers. By helping others, you’ll help yourself.
4. Endorsing others
No tweeter is an island. Moving beyond helping others, many great tweeters choose to publicly endorse key members of their community. By promoting a friend’s new book, sharing a colleague’s blog post or advertising an industry leader’s Twitter chat you’ll gain two benefits: one, if your endorsement is well thought out, you’ll be seen as a thought-leader and potential influencer by your followers; and two, you’ll land yourself on that person’s radar and they might return the favor.
5. Constantly checking @mentions
Some of the best social media conversations happen on Twitter. But they can only happen if users check their @mentions regularly. Checking in to see who is mentioning you will show you who wants to start a conversation. So start one! The very best tweeters don’t let a full 24 hours pass from the time someone sends them an @mention to the time they respond, whether they’re an individual or a business running a customer service Twitter account.
6. Tweeting on the go
You don’t want to become that person who tweets during a romantic dinner, but being able to tweet while on the go is a great habit to adopt – in moderation. Knowing the right time and place to tweet is important. The best tweets are those who don’t set aside 10 minutes to come up with tweets at their computer and then forget about the network: they have smartphones and the ability to tweet when the inspiration (or a particularly beautiful picture of a flower) strikes.
7. Refreshing their lists regularly
Lists are a powerful way to build a network on Twitter, but they require maintenance. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking your lists every few weeks to clear out the dormant accounts, add new ones, and consider starting a new list or deleting one altogether. The best tweeters have a handful of up-to-date lists that they use to network or learn.
8. Updating who they follow
The greatest tweeters pay attention to who they follow – they don’t just follow everyone who follows them. They’ll use tools like Who Unfollowed Me and Manage Flitter to determine if they’re losing followers and why, and they’ll unfollow or follow users regularly. They’ll follow accounts that are relevant to their purpose for being on Twitter, and they’ll constantly check in on who they’re following to make sure that list is still relevant.
9. Monitoring their links
Do you share a lot of links on Twitter? One effective, and very easy, way to see how influential you are is to use a service like bit.ly or HootSuite’s ow.ly to shorten every single link you send out. These shortening service not only crunch long links down, they track them too. You can create an account and monitor who’s sharing your content, how frequently it’s getting retweeted, the time of day that your content get shared most and more.
10. Sparse hashtagging
Hashtag stuffing is a big no-no. Sure, you might notice a handful of celebrity tweeters sticking 8 hashtags into a single tweet, but that’s really not a good habit. You should only use a hashtag when it’s relevant to the content of your tweet and when it will add additional meaning to your tweet, either through the hashtag itself or the tweets the hashtag will be linked to. It’s best to limit yourself to only using hashtags sparingly, and only including one or two per tweet. This will give more meaning to the hashtags you actually do use, and force you to do some research into the most relevant hashtags for you and your industry.
Have you noticed any other common habits of great tweeters? Share your observations in the comments below!
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