Twitter has come a long way in an incredible short space of time. Within about 5 years the company transformed completely.

What started out as a ranting tool, we’d use to share random thoughts with anyone and everyone is no longer there. It’s nowadays an important  channel for interactions, customer support and much more.

How about you and me as individuals though?

As Twitter moves along so fast, I believe it is very important to reflect on how to approach things on Twitter. It might be time for a change in some places.


Twitter List Building

When I started out, I never understood why anyone would create Twitter lists. As my (still very modest) follower count rose, my stream got faster. The people I wanted to be in touch with increased too, yet my days were still limited to the same ol’ 24 hours.

Twitter lists are a fantastic way to grow your following not just by the numbers. You can lists to sort your followers in areas of interest, building lists such as “Social Media Experts”, “Twitter Pros” or “Startup Minds” in my case. This can help you to promote people you have identified as quality contributors to your timeline. The best part here is that it helps you to grow in a targeted and organized manner.

I think the integrating Twitter lists completely into my workflow was a major change in how I handle Twitter.


The automation dilemma

Another point that I have played a lot with and changed around is automation on Twitter. When Social Media blogger and authority Kristi Hines decided to turn off her Twitterfeed a few weeks ago the already hot discussion got even more interesting.

Starting out on Twitter I was fiercely against any automation. Just real time postings. Then I moved to full automation: automated feed tweeting, auto-DM’s and schedule tweets. Not a good plan either.

Don’t be afraid to try out a lot of these things. There is fortunately no one or best way to use Twitter.

The optimized solution for me is to post content tweets of interesting articles I come across via Buffer. This creates the action and consistency. I then jump in for real time conversations at various times of the day. This makes up for the key social element.


Following others

Another factor that needs revisiting many times I believe is the following strategy you can pursue.

As with most things in life, quality comes at the expense of time. Many have argued before that less followers is more. Yet gaining followers is also hugely important.

A strategy that worked well for me is to follow people that have retweeted a post. This is because it is very easy to start talking to them and actual make the connection meaningful.

Another very efficient way is to reciprocate a following if it matches the interest on my lists above. In either way, what worked well for me is to base following on whether you are likely to start talking to the person based on their timeline and interests. It couldn’t be simpler.


But hey, it is still very early days for me, so I bet there is a ton I can learn from you. How do you go about following others? Do you automate your tweeting? Are you building lists?

Let me know if you too have altered your Twitter strategy in the past and if so, how.

Photocredit: mcclanahoochie

Social media, streamlined

Schedule posts across the top social networks, collaborate with your team, and measure the performance of your content — all in one place.

Try Buffer and see the difference!
Written by Leo Widrich

Co-founder at Buffer.

  • The features may be different, however the social element will always be there same. Lots still lack it. 🙂 hello again i am back 

    • @askaaronlee:disqus ! Glad you are back buddy. 🙂 Hope to catch up with you soon at one point.

      Yes, you are absolutely right, the social element will never change. The way we achieve our social engagement might need some revisiting as we grow on Twitter. 🙂 

      Thanks for stopping by! 

  • Something that’s working great for me is the power of adapting and integrating 3rd party apps into a “systematic” workflow approach!  I’m using Crowdbooster to give me my best times, Buffer to schedule my tweets for those times, while I’m at it, I’m on InboxQ for about 3-5 minutes contributing to questions and banging out close to 10 real time tweets, add a TweetPerView video to my newest blog that THEN gets distrubted via Triberr.  And that’s my day on Twitter (prolly close to 15-20 mins depending on whether or not I’ve got a video done)…BUT i do schedule a time in my day to respond to the @mentions if I don’t get to them in real time from my phone 🙂  

    • Hi Rob,

      Great to see you here and thanks for sharing your detailed usecase on Twitter, that’s very interesting.

      I think the combination of tools you suggest make a lot of sense and awesome to hear that Buffer is part of it. I am sure others can learn from your style! 🙂

  • RT is still the higher form of flattery amongst Twitter handles. Engage with those who are already engaging.

    • Hi Peter, yes, you are right and often you can also go beyond flattery and show real appreciation with RTs. 🙂

  • Bruce Laister

    I have not been using twitter “properly” for very long and still have much to learn.
    I thing that crawls up my nose with followers and following is that people only follow you if you follow them! I cut the number i follow from140 to 80 ish and immediately lost 5 followers!
    Thank you for a good article

    • Hi Bruce,

      Yes, I think you are absolutely right, there is much dependence on reciprocation. 

      Glad you liked the article. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Formulists – – is a great way to create and manage automated twitter lists – in addition, as you rightly pointed out, self curated lists.