How I Broke Twitter 

25 March 2014  
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And then fixed it up again – this is a story with a happy ending y’all!

I’ve been on Twitter since the early days. When I first signed up to it, there was no question that I’d use it for business – they just weren’t there yet. I use Twitter as myself.  I am on as @maryrose, and I tweet about all the stuff that goes on for me.  This includes social media, content, marketing, but it also leaves me free to shout at the telly, cheer on our team in the rugby, and so on…

From time to time, I’ve stopped and wondered if I’m missing out on a whole lot of great people out there.  I don’t really go out seeking new people to find on Twitter. I tend to be reactive: I follow back people who follow me who look interesting.  If I meet people at events, I’ll follow.  And sometimes, I’ll even go so far as to follow someone who’s involved in a conversation whose point of view I like.

But I often wonder: is there anybody out there…

So, when I read on Ian Cleary’s blog about a cool new tool called Tribe Boost, I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Tribe Boost grows your social audience so you can increase your reach, elevate your authority and generate more interest. Using our proprietary software and methodology, we foster the growth of your Twitter audience with targeted and influential new leads.

Essentially you tell Tribe Boost what subjects you are interested in, and what locations.  It then goes out and follows people on your behalf.  It works on the assumption that many of these people will follow you back – they’ll check your profile, and if you are tweeting away in the same subject area, they’ll find your profile of interest too.  Tribe Boost even does the account tidy up bit as well – it checks to see who follows you back, and then unfollows if they don’t follow you to keep your following follower ratio right.

Tribe Boost did a very good job.

I said I’m interested in social media, and digital marketing in Ireland  – and that’s what they brought me.  I added to that my interest in startups, social entrepreneurs, and food – and they brought me some more.  They came back to me pretty quickly and suggested we look to another market because we’d more or less exhausted Ireland, so I said yeah, why not – go for it in Britain.

Here’s a picture of the subject matter of my Twitter account last night:

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 22.47.43

This is where the problem arose… very quickly, my Twitter stream was filled with marketing people, social media people from places as far flung as Yorkshire and Birmingham… people who tweet using #a #lot #of #hashtags. People who are not my people on Twitter.  My people, the ones I like to listen to, were being lost in the noise.

My phone pinged all weekend long with auto replies from people who use a thing called True Twitter – which makes you validate your request to be their follower.. ugh!  A very large number of people use auto-responders, I thought they’d died a death a long time ago.  Then I started getting LinkedIn connect requests.  It was coming at me day and night, to the point where I was hiding my phone because it’s continuous vibrating was taunting me….

This was a disaster!  I started trying to group all these thousands of new followings into lists.  But my heart wasn’t in that.  Why bother having lists for UK Marketing people who I’d never met, who I would never read, who I didn’t really want to follow?  So I bit the bullet and set about unfollowing all the new people, and giving my list a good shake down while I was at it.  Here’s where I was last night:

twitter followers

That is what I did last night.  I trawled through my following list and unfollowed pretty much all the new people, and people I didn’t know.  It took one and a half hours to cull 1,500.  I couldn’t leave this to an app because I did want to see everyone I kept on.  And this meant checking their profile sometimes to see what their tweets were like.

The whole exercise made me realise how important the biography is on Twitter – and I wrote and rewrote my own a few times while I was at it!  So now I am being really discerning about who I follow, and here are some of my thoughts on the ecosystem out there:

  • The Hashtagger. It’s almost a requirement these days to include the term ‘growth hacker’!

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 21.22.29

  • I don’t like people who use the words ‘award winning’ in their Twitter biog.  That is simply not conversational.  I’m all about the award winning words in proposals and on your website, but no – not on your little intro bit on Twitter.
  • The Confuseds – they don’t really know where they are or what they are doing.   They feel comfortable in one platform and would prefer to direct all traffic to that.  This is why I don’t follow people who promote Instagram or Facebook or LinkedIn as their url’s because that’s just scary and makes me think it’ll be one long stream of instagrams or spammy emails.  If you’re on Twitter, be there.  Don’t try and bring the party around to your place on LinkedIn.like the sound of this

On the whole the quality of Tribe Boost was very, very good.  They gave me what I said I was interested in, except for 1 or 2 little doobies that fell into the mix, like this one:

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 21.34.45


Tribe Boost was scarily good.

It worked so well, it killed my Twitter. They were extremely pleasant to deal with, and I will most certainly be introducing my clients to it.  I just wouldn’t recommend it for people like me; people like me who use Twitter as individuals and not as businesses.  I suggested they add a pre-sales question around that, so that people like me can be warned off.  They might take that on board.  In the meantime, if you are a business and you’re wondering if you’re talking to all the people you could be talking to, try Tribe Boost.  It really works!

PS – if you find you’ve been culled and we usually have de banter on Twitter, please let me know.  It was late last night, and I know I was a bit click happy to get the job done, so some good people might have fallen through…. Thanks.

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