Twitter is a great tool for business.  You can make new connections, keep an eye out for jobs or projects, get some tips from specialists in your area.

Twitter can also make your life hell!  The constant feed of news, useful and inane, pesky Direct Messages, spammers – all of these mean time wasted for you and your business.  This post started life as ‘Why I won’t follow you back’ – the key to keeping up with Twitter is keeping a handle on who’s following you and who you want to follow as this is what affects your daily feed of information.  Here’s some simple tips on wrestling back control over Twitter:

1. You are not Lady Gaga, don’t try to be.

With over 20 million Followers, that’s a lot of ‘monsters’.  However, Lady Gaga is also following nearly 140,000 people – the mind boggles at what her daily feed looks like.  Twitter is not a popularity race for businesses – be selective about who you follow – other businesses will be looking at your list and judging your business on the quality of it (you know you do it too!).
Follow some well known specialists in your field but also search for the little guys:
– local businesses close to you;
– businesspeople you know in the real world;
– connect with global businesses in your field;
– move one step away from your field or the complete opposite of it and follow those people – knowledge and opportunities can arise from unexpected places.

2. Keep a close eye on your Followers.

Click on each Follower’s profile and view their tweets before you even think about clicking Follow back – that photo of a businesswoman could have a profile with a porn or spam website link – spammers are getting smarter, don’t fall for their disguises.  Click on the little arrow next to the Follow button and you can either Block them or Report them for Spam.  Potential clients or partners don’t want to see a long list of these types of Followers in your profile – this is your business twitter feed, not pleasure!

3. Ignore the egg people.

Anyone with an egg for a profile picture or no tweets whatsoever – don’t Follow them back.  If they seem genuine in their profile description but clearly new to Twitter, give them some time to build up their profile and tweets and then decide if you want to Follow them back.

4. Utilise Justunfollow.

Justunfollow shows your inactive Followers as well as those people you’ve Followed but they’re just not Following you back.  You can Unfollow them through Justunfollow but there’s a daily limit so you might just want to have the list and your Twitter list open at the same time and directly Unfollow them on Twitter.

5. Avoid the TMI syndrome of social media.

If you really feel the need to tweet about what you had for breakfast/how your baby is/what the weather’s like, blah blah blah fishcakes, create a separate Social Twitter account.  Aside from keeping some work/life balance for yourself, this keeps your daily ramblings off everyone else’s feeds.

6. 80% information / 20% advertising.

Twitter for business use is definitely not about just selling your wares, it’s about building relationships.  Retweet interesting articles and other people’s tweets, breaking news in your industry and tips from other businesses.  Tweet about your own business when you’ve got a great special offer or some news about your business that others will find interesting (keep in mind your customer and their mindset of ‘What’s In It For Me’).  Self-promotion is not what Twitter for business is for and, overly used, will get you Unfollowed from a lot of people’s feeds (including mine!).

7. Get your profile right.

Good profile picture of you (not just a logo), interesting and complete profile description, not stuffed with Keywords.  Simple suggestions but very effective for keeping your Twitter reputation golden and making connections.

Alongside these tips on how to manage your daily feed, there are lots of systems out there to help you manage your own tweets – some people swear by Hootsuite, I like Buffer for its simplicity and ability to time tweets and analyse my Tweets.  Take a look at what’s out there and don’t be badgered into using the most popular app; use a system that helps you manage your time spent on Twitter (even if it’s just a simple calendar of when you want to tweet).

I hope these tips go some way to decluttering your own Twitter feed – let me know what’s worked for you!