How to clean up your act and your timeline on Twitter |

How to clean up your act and your timeline on Twitter

By Rachel McCombie / October 14, 2011

In this day and age, it’s probably fair to say that we’re all aware of the value of Twitter – both on an interpersonal level and in a business context – so I’ll spare you the “why everyone should be on Twitter” blurb. Those ‘in the know’ will know that following the right people is important in terms of reaching out to an appropriate audience – those it will benefit you to interact with and who will share your tweets with their followers. As you build up your Twitter followers, you’ve probably done a fair bit of work to follow people who appear to share your interests. But in the process, you’ve probably ended up following a load of Twitter users who add little or no value to your Twitter experience, and I’ve discovered a great tool to help you weed them out.

Twit Cleaner assesses the list of people you follow and categorises the ones who aren’t adding much value according to a range of different annoying behaviour, including posting nothing but links, posting the same tweet several times, never interacting with anyone else and only tweeting about themselves.

Running the report on my ‘Following’ list on my personal Twitter account, @RachelsWritings, was quite an eye-opener. For any Twitter user, there are two main benefits to this exercise.

  1. Most obviously, you streamline your timeline to ensure that you’re only receiving interesting tweets from people you wish to engage with.
  2. You learn from other people’s mistakes by becoming more aware of the kind of Twitter behaviours that other people find annoying.

So what can we learn from a report run on the list of people I’m following on Twitter at the moment? The Twit Cleaner report gives you a neat list which looks like this:

As you can see in the screenshot, you can even unfollow the offending users directly from the report – convenience itself!

Key points to take away from a report like this in terms of how to run your own or business Twitter account in an appealing way – and how to avoid appearing on an Unfollow list yourself! – are as follows:

  • Post a range of content – not just links to other posts. If you only link to your own stuff it makes you look self-promotional, and if you only link to other people’s stuff it makes you look as though you can’t come up with anything original yourself (and this applies equally to people who only retweet other people’s tweets). That doesn’t mean you have to rule out links altogether – obviously not! – but make sure you throw in a reasonable number of ‘proper’ updates for your followers to engage with on Twitter itself, without being taken away from your actual tweets.
  • Don’t send out the same tweet twice – and if you’re accounting for audiences in different time zones, reword the tweet so that it’s unique. E.g. “in case you missed it earlier…”
  • Tweet regularly – don’t set up a Twitter account, get really into it for a week or two and then forget about it. I’ve seen plenty of surprisingly big businesses who’ve done this and it looks unprofessional and a bit lazy, quite frankly.
  • Interact – don’t just post your own stuff:  reply to and retweet other people’s tweets. If you want to be a success on Twitter, you have to treat other people the way you’d like to be treated – or, as I would now like to paraphrase this old adage, “tweet other people the way you would like to be tweeted”!. If someone replies to one of your tweets, acknowledge them! There’s nothing worse than businesses who don’t respond to customers or people who can’t be bothered to take the time to reply to someone who’s taken the trouble to message them.
  • Avoid automated content – Twitter users want to engage with humans, whether you’re a business or not. With the amount of spam and general background noise on the internet these days, a real human voice stands out.
  • Don’t just talk about yourself – it’s boring! Take an interest in other people and they will take an interest in you.

Finally, and (hopefully) for a bit of an ego-boost, Twit Cleaner also tells you how you appear to the rest of Twitter. Luckily yours truly got a clean bill of health. 😉

So if you’re in need of a wake-up call about your tweeting habits, this is where you get it!

What habits do you find annoying on Twitter? Are you guilty of any of them yourself? Let us know in the comments section below!

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