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How to Set Up Twitter ‘Follow Rules’ in ManageFlitter
Social media strategist Lynn Serafinn shares her strategies for finding followers on Twitter, using ManageFlitter’s Remote Account Management feature. Pt 2 of 2.
Part 1 of this 2-part series on using ManageFlitter was entitled ‘How to Use ManageFlitter to Get New Followers on Twitter’. If you haven’t read it, you can catch up by clicking HERE.
In that article, I explained that the best way to gain new Twitter followers is to find your ideal follower and follow them first. I introduced a programme I use called ManageFlitter, which has a range of search filters that enable you to set up complex rules for locating and selecting the people you want to follow or unfollow. I talked about how Twitter no longer allow automated following and unfollowing, and how a feature called ‘Remote Account Management’, or ‘RAM’, (where you can hire the people at ManageFlitter to follow/unfollow on your behalf, using the parameters you have selected) is a viable and time-saving alternative to having to do it all yourself.
Finally, I explained how setting up your rules is a 3-step process, where you define:
- Which people you want to unfollow
- Which of your followers you want to follow back
- Which new people you want to follow
In Part 1, we looked at how to set up your rules for people you want to unfollow.
Today, we’ll complete our tour of ManageFlitter by looking at the remaining two sets of rules: your follow-back rules and your rules for following new people. We’ll also look at the very useful ‘copy rule’ feature on ManageFlitter, as well as the very important topic of setting up your follow/unfollow RATE.
TRANSPARENCY: In this article, I am using my affiliate link (https://manageflitter.com/try/8Pxtwc6z) to ManageFlitter. This means I will earn a small commission if you happen to purchase their services after clicking my link. However, I am not an ‘affiliate marketer’ and I only ever use affiliate links for products I personally use and recommend without any ethical reservations.
STEP 2: Set Up Your Follow-Backs
Before you start looking for new followers, it’s important to ensure you are following BACK legitimate Twitter users who are already following you. In fact, if you don’t make this a regular practice, your followers are apt to unfollow you over time. If you haven’t gone through your followers recently, you might discover hundreds (or even thousands!) of people who are following you whom you have never followed back.
Depending upon how long ago they followed you, some of your followers may no longer be ON Twitter. Also, it is important to ensure you’re not following back irrelevant accounts. Thus, to organise your follow backs, I recommend setting up a ‘follow back’ rule that incorporatesof these filters:
(NOTE: The screenshots in this article are taken directly from ManageFlitter‘s dashboard. They contain some errors in spelling and grammar, so forgive the awkward wording!).
- They are already following you.
- They have a profile image (as opposed to the generic Twitter icon).
- They post primarily in English (if you do NOT normally Tweet in English, choose the filter that says ‘Non-English’).
- Their account is ‘unprotected’ (this is just my personal preference; you might choose not to check that box).
- They are unlikely to be offensive (i.e. not likely to be porn).
- You’ve never followed them before (this prevents you from inadvertently following back people you’ve unfollowed in the past).
- They have Tweeted in the past three weeks (you can make this number smaller if you want; this prevents you from following inactive accounts).
- They have a ‘spam probability’ of less than 12% (this figure is a bit arbitrary; I tend to set it to above 10%, as some newer accounts might show up as probable spam when they are not).
NOTE: The other two filter parameters (‘no pending follow request’ and ‘not saved for processing’) are standard filters that prevent ManageFlitter from processing redundant or conflicting commands on the same account. In other words, they won’t do things like try to follow back someone you’ve rejected in the past, or follow and then unfollow the same person, etc. It’s a good idea to keep the boxes for these parameters checked.
If you have set up your follow-backs before, it might take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for ManageFlitter to go through your list. Once they have all been sorted, however, you should see only a handful of new, pending follow-backs every day. This tells you your account is on its way to being fresh and current.
STEP 3: Set Up New People to Follow
Once you’ve sorted out your rules for unfollows and follow-backs, it’s time to give your attention to looking for NEW people to follow. Of course, the key to identifying people you want to follow is KNOWING who your audience is. This is something I work on intensively with my clients – it is an ever-evolving process that is beyond the scope of this article. However, assuming you do have a good grasp on who you want to reach on social media, there are some basic guidelines on how to use ManageFlitter to find them.
The first guideline is to have more than one rule for finding new people. Each rule you create should focus on a different angle. For example, you might have rules that focus on one of the following key parameters:
- People with certain keywords in their Twitter bio
- People who have Tweeted on a certain topic
- People who follow a specific Twitter user
- People followed by a specific Twitter user
Let’s look at each of these in turn.
Following People with Certain Keywords in Their Twitter Bio
Typically, if someone has a certain word in their Twitter bio, it means they have either a professional link to or a long-term interest in (or connection with) the topic. For example, if someone has the word ‘writer’ in their bio, it’s likely they will be a writer of some kind. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a professional writer or published author, but it means that they identify with being a writer in some way.
The problem with terms like ‘writer’, ‘entrepreneur’ or ‘marketer’ is that searches could potentially produce tens of thousands of results, few of which are viable leads. That is why it’s important to utilise more than one filter when setting up your ‘follow’ rule in ManageFlitter. Here’s a screen shot of how I set up ManageFlitter‘s search parameters to find people with the word ‘entrepreneur’ in their Twitter bio:
- Have more than 525 followers
- Have 100,000 or less followers (it should say ‘fewer’, but grammar isn’t always perfect in software!)
- Have 525 or more friends
- Listed 5 or more times
Notice I’ve specified the range of followers and people they follow, i.e. Twitter ‘friends’. The number 525 might seem odd, but it was the closest to 500 I could get when I was using the sliding tool on ManageFlitter‘s dashboard. The reason I have chosen all these settings is it increases the likelihood that I will find real people (as opposed to spammers) who might engage with me and follow me back. The reason I choose 100,000 or fewer followers is to eliminate the ‘celebrity’ accounts. By ‘celebrities’ I don’t only mean famous people, but also large companies/organisations, media, newspapers, magazines, publishers, etc. There is no harm in following these kinds of accounts if you are interested in what they are Tweeting about, but they are highly unlikely to follow you back or engage with you. The ‘real’ people (for me and for most of my clients) lie in the middle range, being neither too small nor too large.
Following People Who Have Tweeted on a Certain Topic
It is also possible to set up people who have Tweeted on a specific topic. However, it’s important to remember that just because they use a word in their Tweets, this does NOT mean they are particularly interested in the subject matter, or that they even used the word in the way you might use it. Thus, when setting up rules using this kind of filter, you’ll get better results if you use either a hashtag OR a multi-word phrase rather than a single word.
As an example of what I mean, here is a rule I set up, one for the hashtag #SocEnt (Twitter shorthand for ‘social enterprise’):
Notice I have set the frequency to ‘Tweeted less than 1 week ago’. I’m not sure whether this means that the actual TWEET containing the search term is less than a week old, or that they mentioned it SOMETIME in the past. It would be nice if it were the former, as the more RECENTLY someone has Tweeted a relevant term, the more likely they will be interested in that subject matter. I will have to ask ManageFlitter which of these is the case.
Following People Who Follow or Are Followed by Other Twitter Users
Some of you might query the logic of setting up a filter to follow people who follow or are followed by other Twitter users. While you might think it’s just too easy – and not very ethical – to ‘poach’ someone else’s contacts, from experience it’s not nearly as effective a strategy as you might think. People on Twitter have no real control over who follows them, and unless they are judicious (as you will become) about whom they follow, this list can end up looking quite random. You might also discover a large percentage of their followers are inactive accounts or spammers.
Still, if you start by saying you want to follow the followers of (or those followed by) a specific user, and then qualify it with some of the other filters, you might end up with a list of good leads. On this topic, one thing you might not have thought of is following people who follow one of your other Twitter accounts (if you have more than one). For example, recently I set up my @7GracesMarketng account to follow some of the people I follow on my @LynnSerafinn account. Here’s a screenshot of the settings I used:
You might ask WHY I would want to follow some of the same people on more than one of my accounts (I also have a third account @SpiritAuthors, which is ONLY for things related to writing, publishing, book marketing). Am I not being redundant here? To understand my reasoning, bear in mind that I don’t Tweet exactly the same content on my accounts; nor do I Tweet at the same time on all three accounts. This means if people follow one or more of my accounts, they will be more likely to see something I’ve posted. Furthermore, they are more likely to see something of interest to them. Of course, this only worse if I’ve got a lot of diverse content (otherwise I’ll drive my followers crazy with too much repetition).
If you do set up a rule to follow the followers of one of your own accounts, or the followers of someone else in your niche, be strict with your filters. Otherwise, you’ll end up following thousands of accounts that will serve no purpose, and you’ll only end up unfollowing them next month.
Using the ‘Copy Rule’ Feature on ManageFlitter
As you use ManageFlitter over time, you’ll probably find that you tend to use the same (or similar) filter settings over and over again. Fortunately, ManageFlitter has a very useful option to copy a rule you have set up, eliminating the need to set up all your parameters from scratch when you want to create a new rule. Once you’ve copied the rule, you can tweak the parameters as needed and save it as a new rule. This is a tremendous time-saver that helps ensure you don’t leave out an important setting.
Setting Your Follow/Unfollow Rate
One of the most important things to set up when using RAM in ManageFlitter is your follow/unfollow RATE LIMITS. These numbers will determine the MAXIMUM number of actions applied to your account per day. Here’s a screenshot of the rate limits for one of the larger accounts I manage:
These numbers are completely customisable. Also, if you haven’t set up any actual rules for muting, blocking, etc., the limit numbers will be irrelevant. That’s the case for the account shown above; I’ve only set up follow and unfollow rules for it, so the other limit numbers won’t be used. That means there will be a MAXIMUM number of 200 RAM actions on this account per day (6,000 per month). The actual number is likely to be lower, as I probably won’t need 100 unfollows per day.
How do you decide which numbers to put in these boxes? Well, it depends on two factors:
- Your budget
- The number of followers you CURRENTLY have on Twitter
Budget is easy to talk about. If you have the potential to rack up 6,000 RAM actions per month, you need to make sure you have accounted for them in your marketing budget. If you feel the return you are getting is not validating the expense, you either need to lower your rate OR you need to rethink how you’re using Twitter!
The next factor – the number of followers you currently have on Twitter – is more complex. The particular account from which this screenshot was taken currently has about 38,000 followers. Thus, following 100 new people a day is not particularly abnormal. However, if you’re just starting out and you only have 100 or so followers, you should NOT be following 100 new people a day. A better figure would be between 10 and 20. Even if you have between 3,000 and 5,000 followers, following 100 new people a day could flag up Twitter’s ‘aggressive account’ warning bells and put a limiter on your account (meaning you can’t follow more people for a while). In fact:
Twitter rules state that
you cannot follow more than 5,000 people
until at least 5,000 follow you.*
* NOTE: This limit used to be 2,000 followers, but has recently been increased. See Twitter’s article at https://support.twitter.com/articles/66885# for their latest information on following limits.
That is why it’s crucial for you to monitor your follows and unfollows, so your account is balanced. Ideally, you want to end up with slightly more people following you than you follow. You can only do this by regularly unfollowing inactive accounts, and ensuring you only follow the most relevant and active people.
How You Can Help Yourself – And How We Can Help You
I hope you found this 2-part article series on using ManageFlitter to be useful. If you have any QUESTIONS or COMMENTS, I welcome you to share them in the comments below. Bear in mind that using a programme like ManageFlitter to help grow your following is only part of the formula for business success on Twitter. True success comes not only from having a clear idea of how to reach your intended audience, but also on having high-quality, relevant content that your followers will WANT to read. If you want to help yourself grow on Twitter, work on both of these aspects of your business: Twitter growth AND quality content creation.
If you’re at a stage in your business where you feel the need for support in either of these areas, we at the 7 Graces Project can help you. We offer a 13-week Platform Building Package where we help you with your blogging AND your Twitter growth. In that package, we help you identify your audience, choose the perfect blog topics, optimise your WordPress blog, edit/proofread and publish your blog articles, write your Tweets, distribute your Tweets to your social networks AND continuously grow your Twitter following. And, yes, we use ManageFlitter (and other software apps) to help facilitate that (you don’t have to do anything or learn anything, as we do it all for you). To read about our Platform Building Package, see our ‘Work With Us’ page here on the 7 Graces site.
For those who don’t feel the need for all the blogging support, we also have a standalone Twitter Growth Package where we manage your following/unfollowing, as well as your Tweet posting. I haven’t yet set up the information page for this package, but you can write directly to me if you’d like to know more. To set up a free 30-minute Skype chat to discuss how either of these packages could help your business, drop us a line via the contact form on this website.
11 November 2015
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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:
The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues
Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.
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Coming in 2016
The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.
Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, an independent marketing consultancy created to support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their businesses ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.
Lynn on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LynnSerafinn
7 Graces Group on Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden