The twitter account for @RunPee was voted into the top 60 Twitter profiles by theKbuzz.com – a social marking company. That’s something I’m very proud of. I’ve been a big Twitter fan for years. My person account is @polyGeek which I’ve had since February of 2007.
Twitter is very important to the success of RunPee.com. Aside from the traffic it sends – about 75 uniques/day – it is a great way for me to connect with many of the RunPee fans. I’ve learned a great deal about what people like and dislike about the service. That has helped me to improve the site in the past and will continue to do so. It’s just as important as the Suggestions page here on the blog.
I would tell any enterprise out there that a presence on Twitter is essential. The big question is how do you manage that presence? I think I have done a pretty good job and would like to share my approach with others.
Who’s doing the tweeting?
Initially I tweeted from the point of view of RunPee.com – the website. It was all meant to be information strictly about the website. But then when RunPee became hugely popular people wanted to know more about who was behind RunPee. Since then I tweet as myself – Dan Florio, professional geek – but from the stand point of the guy behind the idea and application and rarely about my personal thoughts. I leave that for my personal twitter account @polyGeek.
More is not better
First off I would say that it is absolutely false to measure your Twitter success based on the number of followers one has. With very few exceptions I only follow those who follow @RunPee. There are plenty of services out there that will help you add huge numbers of followers. But does that really count? There is no way a person can maintain a Twitter relationship with 10,000+ followers. Each day there are a handful of new followers to @RunPee that have tens-of-thousands of followers and to me these are mostly just people talking to themselves in a room full of other people who are talking to themselves. It really provides little or no connection to people at that point.
When someone follows @RunPee I personally visit their timeline to check them out. Here is the criteria that I put them through:
- Most obviously is the account really being used? If the account has one tweet to the effect of, “Check out my hot body…” and a link then it’s pretty obvious I’m not going to follow back.
- Likewise if there Twitter icon is of a roll or stack of money then I’ll just skip right over them.
- If they are tweeting about their general status, the “I need to make coffee now” sort of stuff, plus a few replies/Retweets here and there then they look like a real person and I’ll almost always follow them back.
- How many people are they following? If it’s well over 5,000 I start looking very carefully at their timeline.
- I have a pet peeve about people who fill their timeline up with a bunch of inspirational quotes. There must be some service out there that automatically sends these tweets out for people because they are almost always formatted the same and it’s pretty much the same drivel over and over. If I wanted that sort of thing I’d buy a book. Thank you. I think they use it just so that they will look like they use Twitter.
- Is their timeline just a series of, “read my latest blog post?” If so then forget it. If I wanted to read their latest blog post then I’d subscribe to their RSS feed. But it’s totally okay to me if they do that in the midst of actually engaging with people in between.
I suppose it boils down to: don’t use Twitter for just one thing. Your timeline can’t be just a bunch of quotes, or just @replies, or Retweets. Mix it up. Are you using Twitter or abusing it?
As a side note: early on this past summer I did go through and follow around 200 or so celebrities on twitter. Of course my hope was that they would see RunPee and become intrigued enough to check it out. It was a pretty miserable failure. I don’t think a single person followed me back.
Connecting with followers
My rule of thumb – which I state in my bio – is that I’ll reply to anyone who is talking directly to me. I use Twhirl to view my @RunPee account and always have it set to view @RunPee messages. And it makes a little ding-sound when an @RunPee or direct message comes in so if I’m at my PC – which is most of the time except for Friday/Movieday – then I’ll get right back to that person.
And the main reason I follow anyone is that it gives them access to send me a direct message and make sure that I see when they @me.
I take it as a huge compliment when people include @RunPee in their #FollowFriday. I try to remember to do one each Friday myself. I keep a Post-it handy during the week that I add user names to when I see someone who I want to include in my next #FollowFiday. Most of the time I pick out people who Retweet things that I’ve tweeted.Yes, that is entirely selfish. I want to try and help people who RT my tweets get more followers – Duhhh! 🙂 But these are also people who I generally carry on with regularly. So it seems to work for now.
About once a week I log into Twitter Karma and unfollow everyone that I’m following who is not following me back. There are a lot of people out there that follow others and then unfollow them shortly aftwards. What they are hoping for is that the person will follow them and then not notice that they got dropped. This is how a lot of people get huge follower numbers. There are even services to do this for you. Plus, sometimes people just get tired of seeing my tweets. I have noticed that a lot of people who follow @RunPee have only a few handfuls of people they are following. If I’m tweeting so much that I’m dominating their timeline then they probably unfollow – which is totally fair.
Probably the aspect of Twitter that I’m worst at is tweeting too much in a short period of time. I’ve noticed that this happens often on Fridays because I’m away from the PC for a long period of time, then I get home and tweet about the new PeeTimes and people start @ing me to which I reply to everyone and before you know it I’ve tweeted 10-15 times in just an hour. I know that’s not good and might annoy some people but there’s not a lot I can do about it. I like to respond to people when they ask a question or make a comment.
What about you?
What do you think about my approach? I would love to hear any suggestions or comments.