15 Twitter Hacks That Will Turn You Into a Twitter Ninja

Admit it. Sometimes, your Twitter life is messy. You follow hundreds of people — maybe thousands. Staring at your timeline is about as intelligible as reading a stock ticker.

How do you bring organization to your Twitter life? How do you rise above the confusion, cut through the complexity, and become a superstar on Twitter?

You learn these 15 Twitter hacks.

Once you pick up on these power user features, you’ll become a Twitter ninja in no time.

Exclusive Resource: Get a free, 30-page ebook of Twitter Tips!

twitter-hacks

1. Create a follow list.

Want to turn your Twitter feed into a streamlined and swift way of accessing only the information you want? This hack is for you.

Create a follow list.

According to Twitter, “A list is a curated group of Twitter users. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the users on that list.”

Click on your profile → “More” → “Lists.” Or, just type in “g” and “l.” Then click “Create new list.”

create-list

Type in a name for your list and a brief description. Set the privacy settings, save the list, and you’re done.

create-list-2

To survey your newly-minted list feed, go to your profile page and click on “Lists.”

Add Twitter users to your list by clicking on the gear icon next to the Follow button on any user’s account. You don’t have to be following the user to add them to a list.

twitter-add-to-list

Choose “Add or remove from lists…” and check the list you want. Done!

2. Find out what lists you’re on

To gauge your popularity level, you can find out what public lists you’ve been added to. From your lists page, click on “Member of.”

Knowing what lists you’re on gives you an idea of how you’re perceived on Twitter. Are you in a lot of “SEO” lists or “digital marketer” lists?

3. Use hashtags

The more you use hashtags, the more engagement you’ll get on your tweets. Tweets with hashtags are proven to double engagement rate, grow more followers, improve reputation, and gain information.

Check out my infographic on the power of hashtags.

4. Tweet between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. EST, Monday through Thursday

The best tweet times are on weekdays between 9am and 3pm EST. Forget Friday.

5. Use search operators

Twitter’s search bar looks humble and unassuming, yet it possesses an incredible amount of power. You can unleash this power using Search Operators.

search-operators

6. Use Advanced Search

Twitter’s advanced search is just that — advanced. With the exabytes of information being churned out by tweeters every day, there is a ton of great information available for the searching.

Advanced Search is the way to find it.

If you’re not yet adept at using the amazing buffet of search operators, you can use advanced search to stitch together a precise and targeted search.

Here are some of the features of Advanced Search:

  • Search based on a set of given words
  • Search for an exact phrase
  • Search for any of several given words
  • Search for something that contains none of the given words
  • Search hashtags
  • Search based on any of Twitter’s dozens of supported languages
  • Search for people from certain accounts
  • Search for people tweeting to certain accounts
  • Search for people mentioning certain accounts
  • Search for tweets sent near a specified location
  • Search for tweets occurring within a certain date frame
  • Search for positive tweets
  • Search for negative tweets
  • Search for questioning tweets – ?
  • Search for retweets
  • Search for any combination of all those things

I think you’ll agree that’s quite the level of complexity. Let your ninja searches begin.

7. See what has access

As you integrate your Twitter life with all the other aspects of your online life, there may be tons of apps that have access to your account.

Now and then, it helps to check out what applications are accessing your Twitter account. From your profile settings, go to “Apps.”

You may want to clean some stuff up by clicking “revoke access.”

8. Put hashtags in your bio

If you put hashtags in your bio, people will be able to find you better when they perform searches.

hashtags

9. Eliminate emails

Don’t like getting tons of emails from Twitter? Turn them all off with a single click.

Go to your profile, then email notifications. Look for the “turn off” button at the top.

twitter-email-notifications

10. Be a Twitter texter

You love Twitter. You’ll love texting using Twitter. Just go to your mobile tab, and turn on Twitter text messaging.

Twitter-text-messaging

11. Tell Twitter to get some sleep

If you are an inveterate tweeter and losing precious shut-eye because of your addiction, it’s time to impose some limits.

Click on “mobile.” Assuming you’ve added your phone, select the times that you ought to be sleeping, and keep twitter shushed up through the night.

12. Catalog your life’s tweet record

Are you into personal improvement, life tracking, and writing your own bio?

Twitter has a hack for that. Click the gear icon, then “Settings.” Go to the bottom and click “Request your archive.” You’ll get an email when it’s ready.

twitter-archive

13. Subscribe to public lists

To join someone else’s public list, go to their profile and click “lists.” Choose what list of theirs you’d like to subscribe to, and click “Subscribe.” Joining lists does two sweet things:

  • Gives you awesome theme-specific feed information
  • Gets you exposure, especially if you’re wanting more visibility by the radar of list owners and participants.

Hint: You can follow a user’s public list without even following that user.

14. Train your #discover

The Twitter algorithm is sick. If you haven’t tried out #Discover, you need to do it now.

Clicking #Discover gives you an algorithmically-curated list of tweets that you should see, but that don’t appear in your ordinary feed. Based on follows, mentions, interactions, favorites, and retweets, #Discover gives you a list of the best of Twitter at that very moment.

twitter-discover

It’s almost like it reads your mind.

15. Use Twitter keyboard shortcuts, ninja style

Type ? in Twitter, and view all the most important keyboard shortcuts. Here’s what you’ll see.

twitter-keyboard-shortcuts

G stands for go. Most keyboard shortcuts use “g” plus another key. Here’s your comprehensive list of Twitter keyboard shortcuts:

  • Go home – gh
  • n – new tweet
  • f – favorite
  • r – reply
  •  t – rewteet
  • m – direct message
  • u – mute user
  • b – block user
  • enter – open tweet details
  • | – close all open tweets
  • / – search
  • CMD + enter = send tweet
  •  j – go to next tweet
  • escape – close out a compose window or help window
  • k – go to previous tweet
  • space – page down (browser default)
  • shift + space – page up (browser default)
  • . – load new tweets
  • g then n – notifications
  • g then a – activity
  • g then r – mentions
  • g then d – discover
  • g then p – profile
  • g then f – favorites
  • g then l – lists
  • g then m – messages
  • g then s – settings
  • g then u – go to user…

Conclusion

Learning Twitter is like anything else in life. The more you use it, and the more you learn, the better you’ll get. These hacks will help get you there faster.

What other expert Twitter tips can you share?

Image credits: Markus Spiske

  • http://thomasfrenkiel.nl/ Thomas Frenkiel

    Nice list! I especially like the idea of using public list to get more exposure for your own tweets – never really thought of that.
    And ehm… As a last tip, maybe ‘Use Buffer to schedule tweets and see how they perform’? Might sound stupid to say it here, but it is of course a great way to use Twitter ‘like a ninja’.

    • mariya4563

      Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start… This is where to start———–job.com..,.,..

    • Courtney Seiter

      That’s an excellent tip, Thomas! :)

  • http://www.vegibit.com/ Vegibit

    Really like number 13 about lists – you can really drill down on the type of content you want to view on your stream. Almost like having various circles in G+. Once you follow a large amount of profiles, lists can really help break things out – otherwise your stream feels like a firehose you can’t keep up with

  • http://lukemcg.com/ Luke McGrath

    Hey Neil, do you really think using hastags in a bio is good? I’ve always though it looks quite spammy and ‘try-hard’. If the purpose of the bio is to give someone a quick signal to follow you or not, I think they’re a waste of characters.

    I’d also be wary about following Tweet timing advice until you’ve done analytics for your community – one audience might love Fridays! (but by all means people can use this as a benchmark).

    Interesting to read your thoughts though.

    • http://www.forwardthinkingwebsolutions.com/ Stephen Crewson

      Thanks Luke for the thoughts on hashtags in a bio. You have me thinking on that. For me I want to be able to connect with like minded people and have just added them.

      As for scheduling, I too agree with your thoughts. It really comes down to when your target market is online.

    • dwsNY

      you are indeed correct. since Twitter improved its search function, hashtagging topics in your bio will indeed look spammy. only use it if you’re indicating membership in a discussion group or your participation in a current news topic that has an active hashtag. Otherwise, and in general, avoid them in a bio.

      Very good point on the analytics — and your optimum time to tweet depends in part on what you want to get OUT of twitter. You may have a smaller audience in the wee hours, but at the same time, tweeting off-hours, you’ll capture MORE of the available audience and have a higher proportion of engagement (because people’s feeds aren’t flying by the way they are during peak hours).

  • https://twitter.com/bldchris Christin Kardos

    Ninja. Keyboard. Shortcuts.

  • uncgirl13

    Not bad tips, but I disagree with the idea that you should only post from 9am – 3pm EST. It really varies based on your audience and the Twitter account. For example, I manage a very popular cigar profile, and we’ve found that our audience is more likely to engage with our tweets between 7pm – 9 pm EST on Twitter – including Fridays!

    Instead of prescribing a one-size-fits-all tweeting strategy, I recommend testing for a couple of weeks to see when your audience is most likely to be engaged.

    • http://61chrissterry.wordpress.com/ Chris Sterry

      Also time depends on where in the world you are

      • Mattroleo

        And mostly where your audience is. I just recommend tweeting your tweet 3 times a day for each tweet. Anyway it’s very likely your audience won’t see it twice.

  • http://brianmatiash.com/ Brian Matiash

    I found #8 to be especially elegant. Never considered using hashtags in my Twitter bio. Nice job!

  • Angelos Savvaidis

    I love the way people thing. Twitter Article has 0 twitter shares.. Damn you Irony.

    • http://www.praverb.net/ Praverb

      It is being shared just not updating via the widget.

    • Courtney Seiter

      Ha! Great catch, Angelos! I’m thinking our Twitter share button may be acting up today. Thanks for the nudge to look into this!

    • http://www.electroknol.com/ Sunil Pratap Singh

      @Praverb:disqus you are right ..
      soon widget will be updated i think ..
      Post has 200+ twitter shares already

    • Cynthia Wu

      No one wants to share this goldmine… until they have mined it dry!!! ~Cynthia

    • http://www.musematch.co/ Yuval Maoz

      But look at the “buffer” counter. Probably things will look different till tomorrow.

    • http://techzend.com/ Hammad Rafique from PK

      Check now!

  • http://www.praverb.net/ Praverb

    Pretty good tips outside of number 4, Tweet when your audience is online and that is all the time haha. Neil is an awesome dude…

  • TakeActionWAHM

    I praise the day I figured out Lists. My favorite feature on Tweetdeck is being able to see all my lists in columns. Some lists are “A-list” tweeters like Jeff Bullas and Danielle LaPorte, which gives me great stuff to learn and to share with my followers. Other lists are the people I’m connected to, other bloggers I’m friends with, so I can make sure I don’t miss their stuff and can share to help them out.

  • Katya Pavlopoulos

    I don’t really understand the purpose of #12. How is requesting my tweet archive going to help organize my Twitter or make me a Twitter superstar? Lol I must be missing something…

  • http://icsun.net Muhammad Ikhsan

    awesome list.. thanks neil :)

  • http://www.brittanyberger.com/ Brittany Berger

    I love Buffer. I love Neil Patel. But I have to wonder how “using hashtags” is a hack. Info like the search operators is really useful, though.

    • https://www.odesk.com/o/profiles/users/_~~6822e5762fbbd55e/ Filip Galetic

      none if it is a hack and is really embarrassing for someone to try to pass these tips as anything but rehash of rehashed basics.

  • Guest

    LoL twitter tips and not a single tweet of this article (Ok I´ll tweei it)

  • http://2token.com/ Steve Gao

    Good list! thanks

  • BalintFarago

    Hi Neil. Great ideas! I especially liked the keyboard shortcuts, didn’t know they existed!

  • iamkarsoft

    Nicely written…

  • http://www.eBizROI.com Rick Noel, eBiz ROI, Inc.

    Awesome post Neil! Twitter is super powerful and these hacks really expose much of it’s potential.

    My question is how in the heck do you get THE Neil Patel to guest post on your blog? I know this is Buffer whose content always ROCKS anyway, but having Neil write for Buffer is fantastic!,

    On a side note, I LOVE Buffer and it’s suggested posts feature. Thanks for what you do to make the Internet more social :)

  • Jennie

    Amazing list! Thanks for this!

  • ElaineCougler

    Neil, this post goes a long way toward combatting what I so often hear about Twitter: that it has no real value. Rather, people need to learn how to use it effectively. Thanks for this comprehensive list of tips to get maximum value out of this tool.

    • http://www.todmaffin.com/ Tod Maffin

      Also worth reading: Every other “things about Twitter you must know” written in the last five years. All of which say the same thing.

  • Ephraim Bismuth

    Bravo !!

  • kakoma

    Great tips; thanks. Putting hashtags in my bio is one of those I read and wondered why I’d never thought of it before. Thanks Neil

    • https://www.odesk.com/o/profiles/users/_~~6822e5762fbbd55e/ Filip Galetic

      Good luck having any actual results from it, just like all the other tips on this list.

  • Sdot Tee

    I disagree with #4… Ideal tweet times vary based on industry, audience, type of content etc. Evenings are particularly good for RT’s, for instance.

  • http://www.globalpetals.com Michael Lyons

    Great article Neil. I’m just now getting acquainted with #twitter (better late than never I guess). These strategies help a lot!

  • caroline jaffe-pickett

    I tweeted it and it still says 0, counter not working.

  • Today

    “Are you into personal improvement, life tracking, and writing your own bio? Twitter has a hack for that.” How is this a “hack” when all you do is go to the settings?

  • http://digitaldestinymarketing.com Niall Ó Gribín

    good post Neil- the shortcuts are very useful !

    I was surprised to see that social automation wasn’t mentioned in your post – much has been said about how not to do it, however when done right it can save marketers hundreds of hours per annum and can yield amazing results (e.g *see http://digitaldestinymarketing.com/blog/why-strategic-social-automation-should-be-a-part-of-your-online-marketing-strategy )

    Regarding tweet times – I like to use social tools [eg socialbro] to find out when my account followers are online the most and then to schedule posts for those particular times.

    p.s did you know that you can’t add a phone number to your account (a prerequisite if you want to enable and utilize the Twitter API Write-mode) if you’re living in Malta (They currently don’t support any Malta carriers) Unbelievable fail by Twitter.

  • David Veal

    I can see how the use of hashtags could be spammy, however I will try it for awhile. I have a purpose in making people aware of my son’s gofundme. If I hear any negativity or if I see less people following, I might reconsider. Neil, can twitter work for you if you have a gofundme or kickstarter cause?

  • https://www.odesk.com/o/profiles/users/_~~6822e5762fbbd55e/ Filip Galetic

    This list maybe made sense in 2009. Most of these things are covered by Twitter when you make your profile for the first time. Lists are mildly useful precisely because so few people actually use them. They are good for following some accounts without actually following them but in the process you lose the very fact that makes your followers grow: the reciprocity effect. This is perhaps a list for a complete newbie to Twitter, and let’s face it, people who were interested in Twitter, probably already tried it.

    • http://www.todmaffin.com/ Tod Maffin

      So right.

  • http://skipology.com/ Paul Brown

    I think my tip takes Twitter lists a stage further and that is to view them on Flipboard or some other reader which turns Tweets into media rich articles (I guess there are others). It brings Twitter alive and makes interesting articles much easier to find.

  • PlayGag

    Have you played The Impossible Game yet? If your answer is no, then you really don’t know what you’re missing. This game is so fun and ..
    http://furg.net/blog/played-impossible-game-yet/
    play on furg.net

  • http://forewardsapp.com/ Jason Dea

    Great article, I didn’t know about the catalogue option. Interested to see my results.

    I’ve been playing around with Twitter cards as well for lead capture, but for the life of me I can’t figure out a good way to optimize the workflow. Seems to be way too many clicks on the reader side to register a lead. Any advice there?

  • http://www.stevedeckert.com/ Steve Deckert

    Anyone else disappointed with this article? Too many of these aren’t hacks – they’re just using Twitter. Examples:
    #1 – create a list
    #3 – use hashtags
    #9 – turn off email notifications
    #10 – text tweets in.

    ^ these aren’t hacks. These are basic Twitter functionality.

    Here’s a Facebook hack: click “like” on posts that you like.

    • http://courtneyseiter.com/ Courtney Seiter

      Hey Steve! So sorry this post missed the mark for you. Maybe this post could be a better fit for you? https://blog.bufferapp.com/advanced-twitter-tips On the bright side, it sounds like you’re really rocking your Twitter productivity, so way to go!

  • Lars Schulze

    Great Blogpost but what’s happen with unfollowers. I think for newcomers it is really important to have a good follower / following ratio right?

  • http://www.ufetc.com/ Ufetc.com

    nice work thnks for sharing post :)

  • http://www.haleassociations.com Ricky Hale

    Great tips and sound advice Neil.

  • rayfilwong

    Agree with NNCgirl13. especially with different time zones, there is no set time that is the best way. Better spent analyzing EYE catching headlines than time of TWITTER!

  • http://www.henkjanvanderklis.nl/ Henk-Jan van der Klis

    Thanks, Neil for sharing. Most of the tips I already knew. Using hashstags in bio was something I saw in other profiles, and I turned the keywords in my bio into hashtags now. Let’s await the effects. Also text messaging tweets is a new feature, I didn’t notice before. Instead of receiving all kinds of messages, I’ll use it to post in case mobile data coverage / wifi is absent.

  • roshni

    learn ethical hacking @ http://www.haktuts.com
    you can follow us on twitter & Facebook also

  • http://www.todmaffin.com/ Tod Maffin

    In what world is “make a Twitter list” a “HACK”?! That’s just using the system. Did Neil Patel actually write this? If so, my opinion of him has gone way down.

    • http://courtneyseiter.com/ Courtney Seiter

      Hi Tod, I’m so sorry this one missed the mark for you! Thanks for letting us know so that we can improve! We have another post that might have a few tips for someone on a slightly more advanced level like yourself, in case that might help: https://blog.bufferapp.com/advanced-twitter-tips

  • Sean Smith

    Thanks Neil! I love this post and have been reading your content for a while. I will be implementing these. Thank you for taking time to write this. I know you’ve got a lot of balls in the air. Also, thank you Buffer for posting this. It means a lot that you guys share extremely valuable content.

  • http://hedstrominternetconsulting.com/ Steve Hedstrom

    These are some great Twitter ninja tips! Sometimes when an account like mine has multiple thousands of followers & follows, its hard to sort though the mess that becomes the feed. Thanks for the timely post! :)

  • Ranjan

    Great post Neil. Just to add to your point #13.

    I have found this method for searching public lists on twitter handy.
    By default the search on Twitter is defaulted to Everything (left hand toolbar). But you will notice Timelines at the bottom, click on it. Not only does it reveal Timelines but more importantly Lists. Here you will see all the lists with your search term. For more details check – http://sironaconsulting.com/2014/04/16/you-can-now-officially-search-for-twitter-lists-on-twitter-heres-how/

  • Tara Woodruff

    The Most Consise Twitter Guide I have seen! Great post!!

  • http://www.mobilephones.name/ Suzie

    Useful tips for Twitter, nice one I’ve just learnt a few things :)