Managing Relationships on Twitter

Once you get beyond 100 or so friends on Twitter, it can be a little overwhelming. I remember the day I finally gave myself permission to miss stuff on Twitter. It was so liberating! 🙂 You simply aren’t going to be able to keep up with everything going on all the time. Now this post is not going to be about why Twitter rocks, and why I enjoy (greatly) the relationships I’ve built there over time, but instead how I manage those relationships.

At this writing, I have 3,884 followers on Twitter, and I’m following 3,847 people. I tell you this not to show off numbers (which by themselves are actually pretty meaningless) but to give you context. If I had 25K followers, I would most likely use a different strategy than this (or at least different tools.)

So here’s what I do to manage my Twitter conversations.

  1. I use TweetDeck. (Great for a few to a few thousand followers…I hear it gets less stable with tens of thousands.  I’ll deal with that when I get there.)  I’ve got columns set up within TweetDeck to track specific keywords, as well as groups of people.
  2. In the search columns, I track keywords important to the industry I service.  One of my biggest keywords is “direct sales.”  Anytime anyone mentions direct sales, I am notified in real time.  That way I can check that person out and see if they’re someone I might want to engage with.

The groups columns are set up this way:

  1. All friends – This column contains the conversations of everyone I follow. If I have a few extra minutes, I’ll scan this column for interesting tweets.
  2. Pay Attention To – People “graduate” from All friends to Pay Attention To through engagement, or through recommendation.  If someone is really interesting, engages with me in a meaningful way, or if someone is recommended by a person I respect, I add them to this column.  I read most of the tweets in this column.
  3. Rock Stars – I know the name is silly, but whatever.  These are the people who I learn from in Twitter.  So you’ll find people like @chrisbrogan, @unmarketing, @leesabarnes, and @SarahRobinson in this column.  They do social media really well, and I learn a lot from their tweets.  I read just about everything here.
  4. Personal Friends – Just like the name says, these are people I know in real life.  It’s a way to keep up with people I know and like.  🙂  Incidentally, I’ve added myself to this group.  If someone references a tweet I’ve made earlier, it’s easier to find it in this column than trying to find it among the tweets of everyone I’m following.
  5. Direct Sales – This column is for people I’ve identified as direct sellers who may be interested in the services I offer.  I check this one regularly as well.

So that gives you a little bit of insight into how I manage Twitter.  I think it’s important to have a strategy in place, because you need to be able to focus on the conversations that matter in order to build relationships that will benefit your business.  By using a tool such as TweetDeck, you can segment the larger conversation into more meaningful streams, which enable you to be more effective as you network.

What do you think?  How do you manage your Twitter relationships?  Looking forward to reading your thoughts in the comments below!

And if you’re not yet following me on Twitter, please do!  My handle is @liajen, and you can follow me by clicking here.

3 Responses to Managing Relationships on Twitter
  1. Patty Reiser
    September 1, 2009 | 12:37 pm

    I used to use TweetDeck. I recently switched to HootSuite. I like the Tab functions available in HootSuite versus have to scroll to see all my columns in TweetDeck. The only thing I miss about TweetDeck was the ability to see my FaceBook friend status.
    Wishing you a scent-sational day!

  2. Harriette Jasper
    August 25, 2009 | 10:19 am

    Jennifer – great info. I also use tweetdeck and it makes it so much easier. I had columns set up as well but I really like your categories much better so I’ll be editing mine. I often struggle with how broad or specific to make certain categories and I think your set up is the best balance. Thanks for such great tips once again!

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