To keep your Twitter network optimised it’s important that you manage the people that you are following. This used to be a time-consuming affair but there are numerous websites and apps available today that speed up this process considerably.
Actually, ‘numerous’ is a vast understatement – there are probably well over a hundred sites offering (or promising) a way to do this. But don’t worry – to do this effectively you really only need to bookmark the following pages.
Want to know if somebody is following you, or if person A is following person B? DoesFollow.com lets you do this quickly and easily, all without having to enter your credentials.
FriendOrFollow.com takes this a step further and allows you to discover, en masse, who’s not following you back (“following”), who you are not following back (“fans”), and who you’re mutually following (“friends”).
You can sort the data by username, name, location, followers, following, last tweet and account age, and also filter users who have a protected or verified account. Super convenient, and again, no credentials are necessary.
ManageFlitter.com (formerly ManageTwitter.com, pre-legalities) lets you do all of the above, and more. It does require you to connect with your Twitter profile, but it’s worth it.
Once you’ve authorised the site, you’re immediately notified of all the users that aren’t following you back. You can also filter all users that you follow by:
- No Profile Image (and therefore have a high probability of being short-lived, dormant or spammy accounts)
- Inactive (no tweets in the past 30 days)
- Talkative (those who tweet more than 5 times per day, which seems such a ridiculously low number that it isn’t of much use)
- Quiet (those who tweet less than once per day)
Even if you take no action this data has tremendous value – particularly the inactive and quiet filters, as they can prompt you to re-connect with old friends and acquaintances – or simply to look out for them.
Couple of important things to clear up before I go. One, just because a user isn’t following you back doesn’t mean you should unfollow them. That isn’t optimisation – it’s the fast road to Churnsville. Follow-backs aren’t important – what matters is whether the person you’re following is of value to you. I’m following almost two hundred people – about half of my total – who aren’t following me. Why? Because I value their signal. Or find them interesting. Or funny. And so on.
Value is a relative term, and you’ll have your own criteria about what that means. But whatever it is – stick to it.
I do recommend keeping your network clean and tidy by following dormant or abandoned accounts, but do be careful about doing any purging in bulk as it’s all too easy to make a mistake.
Two: use these tools wisely. It’s not difficult to become obsessed with numbers and data, often at the expense of the things that actually matter – engaging with your network, delivering relevant and interesting content, and being useful and remarkable.
If you’re analysing this stuff each and every day then you need to step way, way back. It’s important to pay attention – do try and keep your network optimised as much as you can – but once a month is more than enough. It gives your network a chance to breathe, and stops you from becoming addicted to analytics.