Twitter Survey for Two Way Communication

I have always valued doing some surveys and random polling on Twitter to help get insight to what my followers think about products, services, places or even opinions on news articles.  Recently I was curious to know what products or services people truly considered their best purchases in 2010 and started by sending out the following tweet last week.

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To my honest dismay I didn’t get a single response and the whole survey question wound up blowing up in my face.  I repeated the query more than one time and realized that Twitter doesn’t appear to be the best medium for surveys.  I ran a similar test asking help on something and I received answers very rapidly, so it would seem that at least my following will help answer questions to those who need them, but are less inclined to answer a survey.  That or people just aren’t interested in sharing what products they purchased, or the survey itself seemed a little "promotional" or something.

This had me thinking about some other factors about my Twitter network, and I had some good idea’s for upcoming blog posts about blog audience versus your Twitter or Facebook audience and how to leverage them both effectively and differently.

-Justin Germino

ReFollow Blocked by Twitter

One of my favorite Twitter tools for managing your followers and expanding your network ReFollow had a cold message this morning on their homepage about being banned by Twitter.

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ReFollow allowed users to easily find and match patterns to follow/unfollow followers and was an excellent tool for cleaning out your following list or finding new followers to follow.

The tool did have the ability to select a page worth of followers (100) and click Follow which would send automatic calls to Twitter to follow or unfollow those users.  This may be a ToS violation of Twitter and would be the only function of the tool I think may be a violation. 

Still even if that is why ReFollow was blocked, they should redesign so that you have to manually click the follow button for each person you want to follow.  Embed it just under each account like such and I think the tool will still be just as valuable.

ReFollow attempted to contact Twitter about the IP blocking which happened 2x previously and shared with their readers the letter they sent to Twitter on the ReFollow blog.

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Who else has been affected by the ReFollow Twitter outage?

-Justin Germino

Ways To Increase Number of Twitter Followers

Recently my Twitter account @Dragonblogger just reached 6,000+ Twitter followers for the first time since I started the account almost two years ago.  While my profile is growing a following I really didn’t start gaining a larger amount of followers until the past six months or so.  Early on I was wondering how to increase the number of Twitter followers without resorting to blatant follow everyone I could and hope for follow back or using any spamming auto follow or DM programs.

One reason for my lack of a larger following is that my one twitter account is tied to four different niche/themes and this causes me to lose audience who is interested in only one niche or another.  I have a technology and blogging blog and followers who follow me for technology, others who follow me for blogging/seo/social media information.

Still I run a poetry blog and have a small array of poetry fans who follow me for my poetry, these are not my typical technology and blogging fans, and I lose many followers right after I publish a new poem and post about it which shows which of my audience is only interested in my tech and blogging topics.

My third is my personal blog and also I heavily promote local Arizona events, bands and companies which may not be of interest to people living outside of Arizona.  Hence my Twitter account suffers from some of the same issues that a blog would suffer from when you don’t have a specific Niche.

Still, the people who follow DragonBlogger follow me because they are a fan of any or all of the various blogs that I run, poems that I create or conversations I strike up on Twitter.  I try to be very conversational, I am willing to help and lend support to anyone who needs it regarding WordPress, ideas about blogging and I am always willing to showcase someone else’s poetry or blog post if they ask me and I like the article and think it will appeal to my following.

People often ask me, how do I increase my Twitter following and there is really one typical method that I do. 

Follow to Show Gratitude

I typically follow most people who retweet my articles, these people have taken the time to share my work and I follow them unless they have obscene or spam marketing tweets.

Follow People in Similar Niche

This is my secret weapon of Twitter following, I use the Refollow tool to follow people in the same niche or category that I am interested in and would want to follow me.  Refollow allows you to filter people by so many fields it isn’t funny.  This isn’t auto following and you are basically choosing to follow people in similar niche or market as you and some will follow you back as a result based on the law of averages.

Go to Refollow, and click on "Users who are following" and enter the name of somebody who is very popular in your niche or category you want to grow your following in.  For my tutorial example I chose mega Social Media guru Chris Brogan.

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I select his account and let Refollow load the first 1,000 followers.  Note when doing this with someone with so many Twitter followers never try to process more than 1,000 at a time.

Then I use the following filters:

  • Check only show users who are not following me
  • Check only show users who I am not following
  • Check only show users with profile pictures
  • Check only show users who have tweeted in last 14 days
  • Check "Search For" and type in target niche or keyword "in" All
  • Click Update View

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Using this method in the example pic above you can see that I have filtered only on Twitter users who weren’t already following and I wasn’t following.  They had to have the word "Blogger" in their profile somewhere and they had to have a profile picture.

I would then follow all of these users, be careful not to follow too many accounts at once.  I never mass follow more than 100 – 200 people per day, anything further risks your account looking like a bot and risks you getting your account suspended.

I would repeat the above but do so with Technology Bloggers or sources and filter on different keywords.  I would see who is following peers in my network like @FamousBloggers or @Ileane or @Kikolani and I would follow some people who follow them and are in similar niche markets. 

Now, obviously there is a follow and auto follow limit right?  You can only follow up to 2000 accounts if you have 2000 or less followers and only about the same number of followers who are following you.  So you will reach a cap, and not everyone will follow you back.

Clean Up Your Following List

I will trim my Twitter following periodically like every month and remove anyone who doesn’t tweet at least 1x per 7 days, but since I only use this tool every so often I always make sure I am following at least 500 less people than are following me.  I try to keep my follower/following ratio to .95 or less.

These are my tips for building a Twitter following and are not as "Fast" as some scam and quick follower programs and sites, but this way I get "REAL" followers.  The people I follower are not simple auto spam bots and the filters make sure I follow real people.  If I see someone tweeting a bunch of junk in my tweet stream, I unfollow them real quick.

-Justin Germino

When Promoting on Twitter You Will Take Some Loss

So one thing you will notice if you start experimenting with your Twitter account is a loss of followers. I signed up for MyLikes ten days ago to test it out and have lost an average of 100 twitter followers in one week, this is about a 3% drop in my total # of twitter followers and Twitter Counter actually shows me having a negative follower growth for the next week now. I only did about 3 sponsored likes in a week, but have done about 10 non-sponsored ones and in some cases went outside my genre or category with some of the products I liked.

Most of the followers I have and follow have not been too engaging on Twitter, I have my blogger friends and followers and my poetry followers and friends and they are pretty dedicated and loyal and accepting that my twitter account covers a wide variety of things. Sometimes its funny to use tracking services like Qwitter to find out why people stop following you, or what the last tweet was that was sent out that caused somebody to unfollow you.

It gives you insight to what you talk about or say that drives way some of your followers.

-Dragon Blogger

Becoming A Twitter Addict

I kid you not when I tell you I have my TweetDeck (a Twitter Desktop Application) open almost 10 hours a day now.  I can’t get enough of following Twitter conversations, replying to people and I run an almost daily poetry contest where I ask my tweeple (those are twitter followers) to message me a random word, and I craft a poem using those random words on my lunch break.

I decided to dedicate my Dragon Blogger blog to providing guides and information on Twitter Applications, go ahead and check it out when you get a chance.   I have all sorts of sites that help you find tweeple, users, keep track of tweets, alerts, build your local network as well as how to promote yourself on Twitter.

In the meantime almost 5% of this blog’s traffic is now coming from Twitter, so it shows that the social networking tool does work in bringing traffic to your blog site.

-Justin Germino