Learning to profile the accounts you follow on Twitter can triple your growth!

I used to have a simplistic following strategy
I just experienced something of a miracle. It was actually an example of the effective use of simple analytics for Twitter. In the past, my strategy was to follow people on accounts that typically got me a high follow-back rate. Since my main Twitter account focuses on marketing, my best “follow” accounts were mostly business, marketing, and one guy who did business, social media marketing and travel all in one. He had some very interesting and lively followers as you can guess. After a while, I wanted to pump up the volume a bit and follow even more people per day. Twitter allows a single account to follow up to 1000 people per day. I was getting about 500 people a day to follow from my best accounts and followed some less than optimal accounts for the remaining 500. The results were not very efficient. I was getting only 50-80 new followers per day after a lot of work!

I crunched some numbers
My number crunching was very unsophisticated and very ball park in many ways. I wanted to take a closer look at who was following me back on Twitter and who was retweeting me. I learned that marketers showed the highest rate of following me. Now, I did not take a close count of how many percent of the people I was following were in marketing. I estimated that perhaps 10-20% of those I followed mentioned marketing while about 25% of my new follow-backs were in marketing. I also noticed that CEO‘s represented about 3-6% of those I was following but about 7% of my follow-backs. I also learned that Entrepreneurs liked to follow me and accounts that were business profiles of various types of businesses liked to follow me.

The other day I had an argument with a friend about what an entrepreneur is. He claimed that an entrepreneur has to invent some new methodology or technology and learn to market it as a sole proprietor. I disagreed and insisted that any sole business person is an entrepreneur, although perhaps in pop culture, his definition might be more glamorous. My stats told me that entrepreneurs were fast to follow me, but didn’t retweet my content hardly at all. After seeing the dismal underachievement in the entrepreneur sector of my followers I began to doubt the way the word was used. I began to associate entrepreneurs as “wanna-be’s,” failures, or pretenders. People who were real business men portrayed themselves as founders, co-founders, CEO’s, or had other more formal titles. I also learned that those who followed Entrepreneur Magazine were not as “deep” in many ways as the followers of some of the other more serious business publications such as Bloomberg or Harvard Business Review. My bottom line is that I want people to retweet my content and entrepreneurs were not doing this. So, now I stopped following entrepreneurs altogether even though my biggest passion in life is entrepreneurship!

I tripled my growth rate
Now, I am getting 150-200 new followers after an active day of tweeting and following others. I am much more selective about who I follow. I follow business accounts as they tend to be more active. Business accounts are recognizable because they have a business name as their twitter handle account name. I am not sure which type of business favors me most, but I do know that the Real Estate crowd is the most dormant even on content that is specific to their industry!

How can you analyze your followers?
There are various ways to profile your followers. You have to break them into groups somehow. You also have to assess them in a kind of a level playing field. If you notice that 50% of your followers are web designers, but 80% of those you follow are web designers, then web designers might be a reasonable profession to follow, but not the most efficient. However, if you notice that managers of Flash programmers represent 20% of those who follow you, yet represent only 3% of those you follow, they would be a group to pay attention to. Identify your best segments for following you and retweeting or favoriting your content. You can triple your growth rate for obtaining Twitter followers too! You might be surprized.

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