A few months ago I was huffing and puffing my way through a free, public bootcamp fitness class when it was time to do push-ups. Push-ups are not my strong suit (neither is running, weight-lifting, or any general body movement, but that’s another story). I soon found myself only making any type of effort when the instructor would look my way. The second her back was turned, it was break time. Suddenly, the instructor yelled, “You’ll only get out of this what you put into it!”—and I wasn’t putting in much.
It seems like this phrase is muttered at the most aggravating of times, but it rings true when applied to Twitter. I’ve heard countless people complain that they get no value out of the platform, which is something that will continue to baffle me. A completely customizable experience, Twitter is only as good as the content on it—content chosen by you. You have the power to make it exactly what you want, so if you’re not getting anything out of it, you’re probably not putting a lot in. For businesses, this can mean the difference between being included in the right conversations and being left out.
This is an issue that weighs heavily on my heart, so I’ve put together the following guide to help you make the most of your own Twitter experience—push-ups optional.
Some simple steps to curating the perfect Twitter feed
Start with research
With over 313 million monthly users, the thought of finding relevant Twitter content might seem daunting. Curating your perfect feed means sifting through the noise to find users and content that provide value. About 6,000 Tweets are sent every second, which means that the information you’re looking for is there—but you have to find it.
The first step in building a Twitter feed that makes sense for you is research. Think about the brands you love, the places you get your news, the websites you frequent, and the blogs you follow. From a business perspective, it’s also important to think about who your customers and competitors are. Do any of them have Twitter accounts? Following these accounts is a great place to start.
Once you start following a few accounts, Twitter will make suggestions based on your interests. The Twitter support page explains ways that you can find relevant accounts to follow by using the Connect tab through the Twitter app:
- Find people you may know on Twitter by uploading contacts from your device’s address book.
- Personalized account recommendations connect you with accounts Twitter thinks you’ll want to follow.
In addition to making suggestions based on your activity (Tweets, who you’re already following, accounts you engage with), Twitter will also give you suggestions for who to follow based on your geographic location.
If you want to narrow down these accounts or take a more proactive approach, you can also use Twitter’s Advanced Search feature. With Twitter Advanced Search, you can find conversations that matter to you (whether personally or professionally), and the users who are participating in these discussions. You can search for specific hashtags, keywords, account mentions, geographic location, and more. For more on how to use Twitter Advanced Search to help you find not only relevant accounts to follow, but to generate leads, check out our post How to Use Twitter Advanced Search for Lead Generation.
Now that you’ve found plenty of relevant Twitter accounts to follow, it’s time to streamline your content and organize your perfect Twitter feed.
Organize your Twitter feed
If you’re following more than 100 Twitter users, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your busy and cluttered timeline. Dedicate some time to organizing your followers and feed. There are a few different ways you can do this.
One of Twitter’s best, but most underutilized features, is Twitter Lists. Twitter Lists offer a great way to organize and curate feeds and make it easier to digest the content that matters to you. For example, you could create one Twitter List for local customers, one for your personal interest entertainment news, and one for industry relevant users. This allows you to easily see the content you want, when you need it, without missing a single Tweet.
As our post Twitter Lists Are the New Follow explains, “Creating Twitter lists allow for a quick and easy way to catch up with those updates you actually want to monitor. You can simply click on the list you want to view, and scroll through its members’ updates any time you want to catch up.”
Use Twitter Lists to help curate the perfect Twitter feed by:
- Creating lists organized by theme or topic (i.e. news, influencers, industry, brands, customers, community, etc.)
- Creating a private list of competitors
- Subscribing to other users’ lists to find and engage with influencers and others with relevant interests
If you’re using a tool like Hootsuite, you can save time and energy by setting up streams for your Twitter lists so you can all of your lists side-by-side.
Curation and organization go hand in hand, and using Hootsuite makes this easy. You can set up different streams for all your Twitter Lists within the Dashboard. For example, you can create one Twitter List for industry influencers, one for brand advocates, and one for competitors (as mentioned above).
For more information on using Twitter Lists in Hootsuite, check out the video below.
Learn how to get even more out of Hootsuite with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.
Fine-tune your Twitter feed
Now that your Twitter feed is organized, it’s easier to reflect on the content. After a few months, you may begin to notice areas that could use some improvement, or users who aren’t adding value to your experience. It might be time to make some cuts. There are some tools that can make the process a bit easier.
With UnTweeps you can log-in with your Twitter account and quickly get a report showing inactive accounts you are following. You can set a timeframe (i.e. users who have been inactive for 30 days) and UnTweep will find accounts who haven’t Tweeted since then. UnTweeps will give you a list of inactive users, along with the date they last tweeted, and you can check off the ones you want to unfollow. This keeps your Twitter feed active, engaged, and frees up space for you to follow more valuable users (if you were at the 5,000 following maximum).
While it’s expected that not every person you follow on Twitter will follow you back, it’s nice to know who is returning the favor. This can make it easier when trying to decide whether to unfollow someone. TweepDash uses the Twitter API to run a report on your account, and finds all of the users you follow who don’t follow you back. TweepDash organizes these results into ‘Celebs’ (people you follow who don’t follow you back), ‘Fans’ (people who follow you but you don’t follow back), and ‘Friends’ (those who you follow who do follow you back).
Curating the perfect Twitter feed is a constant labor of love, but it’s definitely worth it. With careful curation, you can have a Twitter experience that provides you with valuable information and engaging content on a daily basis.
Manage your perfect Twitter feed with Hootsuite.