Who this post is for...
This post is for people that want to make the most out of Twitter as a news channel - aggregator around their own interests as well as for those who want to use Twitter as a business promotion tool.

Who this post isn’t for...
This post is not for those who use Twitter as a chat room! They spend hours over their timeline, maybe they have fun, and that’s all for them. They should continue to enjoy engaging in the conversation if this makes them happy.

So...

Speed post on the way with lots of info steps. The goal is to setup a Twitter account that will serve as a partner to your business. And remember! A good partner reduces dramatically the amount of work that you do, and never adds to the pile of tasks.

The time could not be better since this particular Twitter announcement (The best of Twitter in your inbox) shows that it is now possible to use the popular social medium to even reach the people’s inbox, no spam involved. So let’s get started! The goal is to find quickly and easily 100 – 150 providers of great content in our industry and use this content to your advantage.

(If you forgot to create a Twitter account, harry up and create one now! This is a prerequisite.)

Twitter Stories & Tweets to your Email

Receiving Value

Step 1 (deciding who to follow)

A twitter account is a blank page without people that you follow. There used to be some really good services that you could use to find following suggestions, but the Twitter recommendation engine now works as a charm and you can use this to find your best following choices. @Connect, then use Browse categories or Who to follow and you will be able to spot the thought leaders in your areas of interest.

Step 2 (paying attention to the FFR)

When you finally have some minimum amount of people that you follow (20 - 50 is fine), it’s time that you expand your follow base. Download the Who-To-Follow.xlsx spreadsheet (WTF in an uncommon use!). Assuming that you have selected people with common interests, start checking the FF (followers / following) Ratio. This, in my experience, is a good indicator of the reason someone is on Twitter. With the exception of celebrities, a high FFR indicates that the user puts value in the system and people follow him because they want to learn. A low FFR on the other hand indicates that the user is there to chat. I have found FFRs greater than 1.5 to be the best sources of news and content. If you haven’t any larger than 1.5 FFRs (highly unlikely), start going for the 1.4, then the 1.3. Copy the Twitter username in WTF under the column User. The column Twtrland @ is auto-completed.

The useless optional piece of information :-P: A low FFR usually indicates people who want a lot of followers and start following people. When you follow a user, and that user receives a notification from Twitter, most of the times he will follow you back. This is the strategy that the majority of the people follow. But let me ask you this. Why would you want to have a tone of followers? Have you really thought about your goals?

The correlation of course between high FFRs and the content provider role is not a 100% rule. Remember that when high FFRs first started on Twitter, their FFR was extremely low even if they had the best of intentions to provide great content. But the goal here is to setup a killer Twitter in no time. In the future, you will get the chance to make it up to the low FFRs that are worth it!

Step 3 (traveling to Twtrland)

Click the link in the column Twtrland @ for each high FFR @user and pay a visit to his profile in Twtrland. Spot the ones that post a lot of links. This helps you to confirm that the particular user posts content and is not there to chat. A lot of links means a percentage larger than 30%. You would also like to avoid profiles with 100% links percentage since you don’t want to follow a fully automated system that posts links for each and every article from one and only one website. Copy the percentage of links for each user in your WTF under the column Links Percent. Copy the number of the profiles that the user follows under the column Following. Sort the table on Links Percent descending (screenshot 1).

Screenshot 1 - Sorting on Link Percent
Sorting the Twitter profiles on Link Percent

Click again the link to their profile in Twtrland starting from the top link poster and going down. Open the profiles under the left column with the title Top Followers in a new tab (screenshot 2) and watch once again for profiles with high links percentage (right side graph) and high FFRs (left side under the profile picture). The Twitter bio is also visible. When you find an appropriate profile, copy the percentage of links and the number of profiles it follows, to your WTF spreadsheet. Sort on the Links Percent again. Rinse and repeat until you have gathered 100 – 150 Twitter profiles that post valuable content regularly.

Screenshot 2 - Top Followers, FFR and Links Percentage in Twtrland
Top Followers and Link Percentage in Twtrland

Step 4 (creating your online paper with Paper.li)

Go to Paper.li and use your Twitter account to create your online paper. Select a name for your paper. If you need some inspiring assistance for your paper name, here is my suggestion. Set it to update daily or twice a day. In case you forget it: When your paper is out, read it!!!

Giving Back to the Community

Step 5 (promoting Paper.li)

Go to your online paper settings and check the option to automatically tweet the paper updates to your followers.

Step 6 (enriching your paper)

Go to your paper settings > Content and drag the + Paper.li bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar. Whenever you read something worth mentioning to your community, click the bookmarklet to add it to your paper. Your online paper should be useful. Since you have selected the best authors to publish for you, start helping them by adding pieces of information they may have missed.

Step 7 (selecting the appropriate url shortener)

Create a free account on Bit.ly. Use this to shorten your urls and take advantage of the Info Page for every short link. Start tracking the responses and get in the habit to test the posting times from now on!

Step 8 (time-optimizing your tweets while freeing your own time)

Create a free account on Timely. Timely schedules your tweets based on the responses of your last 199 posts. All you have to do is to drag the Create a Timely bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar and click it every time you spot a page with great content. Fill your queue and let it flow!

Step 9 (selecting the best time slots for your manual tweets)

When you make posts manually, try exploiting the corporate 9-5 culture. Post at 7 AM, when most of the people connect to the internet before leaving for work, and then at 5 PM, when they get ready to leave the office and they spend a little time checking their social cycles!

Step 10 (making it to their inboxes)

Go to your Twitter settings > Notifications and make sure that the option to receive A weekly digest of Stories & Tweets from my network is checked! You will receive the best of your community to your inbox. Wanna make it to their inboxes yourself? Since this is the Twitter’s default setting, post great content and then post great content some more! :-)

Closing Thoughts

The whole process should not take longer than 3 hours to setup. I have tested it over and over again for my clients, even in areas that I am not familiar with, and the results are far more than satisfying. Try it yourself and of course feel free to test and trim the process according to your needs.

Bonus Step

WTF? You have done some hard work to complete your WFT spreadsheet. Should you delete it now? Not before you extract some more quality information from it. So open your WFT and apply a filter to the Links Percent column (screenshot 3). Set it to display only values between 30 and 90 (screenshot 4). Next apply a new filter in the Following column. Set it to display only values less than 400. Save the FTW spreadsheet. Now take a look in the usernames under the User column. During the next few weeks dive into the "following" collection of each profile! You would be able to spot some more great content providers in your industry. Each collection is easily browsable since it is not huge (imagine having to browse a collection of thousands of profiles) and it is the personal choice of a thought leader in your areas of interest.

Screenshots 3 and 4 - Filtering the numeric values in your spreadsheet
Screenshot 3 - Filtering the spreadsheet! Screenshot 4 - Applying the Between filter in a spreadsheet!

Happy content tweeting!