How to automate your twitter strategy

We all need to be social today. But when to find the time? Everyday we split our time up between making our clients happy and living life with our family and friends there is not much room for something else. That’s why I developed a strategy that utilises technology to automate my “social life”. This strategy is how you get and keep  over 2000 followers at lightning speed.

This is based on the twitter recomendation from my fellow IBMer Michelle (follow her @MCooke2013) with addtional hacks I found out in my last 2 Month.

Getting Started

  1. Start by looking at what others are doing.
  2. Create your account on twitter.com.

Note: Do not create an account name with IBM in it eg. @IBMMichelle. Review IBM Social Media Guidelines for other guidance.

  1. Update your profile to include #hashtags relevant to the business line you support or the industries you are engaged in so that you come up in search results when others are looking for new people to follow, eg. #IBM, #Tivoli
  2. Make sure you include: “All tweets and opinions are my own” as per IBM Social Media Guidelines.
  3. Personalize your account with a picture – people relate to people.
  4. Tweet and retweet! Try to tweet a minimum of once per day.
  5. Look for interesting articles online. Many offer Tweet buttons that make it easy.
  6. Tell everyone you’re on Twitter, don’t be shy! Put it in your online profiles and your email closing.
  7. Be topical with the news of the day. eg. Earnings report, and add your comment or spin on it.

Build your following

  1. Follow as many people as you can. Go to some of the sites that you think your customers would visit such as @ITWorldca. Then see who they are following and who is following them.
  2. Read through the profiles of people to target the audience for your messaging. Pick appropriate people and follow them.
  3. Follow back your followers or you risk them unfollowing you. If you do not follow someone back it’s like saying “I am ok blasting messages at you, but I don’t really care what you have to say in return.” You can only direct message those whom you follow.
  4. Twitter has a cap of 2000 people until you get your following up to within 10 percent of that number, then you can exceed it, so you’ll need to analyze your followers.

Automate your following

  1. Sign up with http://tweepi.com and download the Tweepi v2 select all Extension for google chrome.
  2. Now use the built following strategy and use the ‘follow followers’ feature, put in the name of an account that post similar topics like you, click start following.
  3. Now you see a list of people that mentioned this account, klick the tweepi select all extension.
  4. Repeat for every page until you reach your 2000 follower max limit or there are no more people to follow.
  5. Then redo this process.
  6. You can automate this with an autoklicker.

Analyze your followers

  1. Use tweepi.com to analyse your followers.
  2. Unfollow followers who do not reciprocate and those who are no longer following you.
  3. Follow more people on Twitter until you reach your cap of 2000 set by Twitter.
  4. Repeat often (but not daily – Twitter will put your account on hold) – Michelle recommends weekly.
  5. Remember to follow back those who have followed you or risk losing them.
  6. Do this by using the “automating your following” strategy.

Other tips and tools

  1. Schedule your Tweets with Hootsuite.com.
  2. Shorten your urls with ow.ly within Hootsuite, or bit.ly, or SNIP, or IBMurl for IBM Intranet sites.
  3. Make it easier for others to Tweet with clicktotweet.com  by providing “Click to tweet icons” and messages in event and other marketing promotion emails and powerpoints so your messages can take flight; and by promoting your Tweets in Lotus Notes by pasting a Twitter icon box into your note.
  4. Add Twitter to your email signature easily here: signature.innovate.ibm.com/auth
  5. Track your Twitter influence with free sites such as klout.com and tweet.grader.com

Startup Engineering – setting up a web development environment

In the second week they give a introduction in developing web apps in the cloud. They us a combination of Amazon Web Services (aws), Heroku and Github. Basiclly the use a virtual machine on the amazon cloud to develop, store the work on github and push it to heroku to distribute the work via the internet.

For preperation install Google Chrome and and the User Agent Switcher (to simulate mobile devices).  Then to use a terminal enviroment you should Cygwin (important to ssh into aws you have to install the ssh package) . Then you should sign up for aws, github, gravatar and heruku. I will not cover this, but you can find detailed instruction within the official course documents.

After the setup lets connect to AWS via Ciygwin:

[sourcecode language=”shell”]#Download the ssh.key (e.g. dennisseidel-cs184.pem)
#change to home directory
cd ~
#copy key into ssh directory
cp /cygdrive/c/Users/dennis/Downloads/dennisseidel-cs184.pem .ssh/
#//give file correct permissons
chgrp Users dennisseidel-cs184. && chmod 400 denniseidel-cs184.pm
#ssh into aws
ssh -i  dennisseidel-cs184.pem ubuntu@ec2-50-19-140-229.compute-1.amazonaws.com
[/sourcecode]

Install heroku and on your AWS Ubuntu:

[sourcecode language=”shell”]
# Execute these commands on your EC2 instance.
# Note that -qO- is not -q0-. O is the English letter, 0 is the number zero.
# 1) Install heroku and git
$ sudo apt-get install -y git-core
$ wget -qO- https://toolbelt.heroku.com/install-ubuntu.sh | sh
$ which git
$ which heroku
# 2) Login and set up your SSH keys (
$ heroku login
$ ssh-keygen -t rsa //alternatively if you allready created a ssh-key add it directly
$ heroku keys:add
# 3) Clone a sample repo and push to heroku
$ git clone https://github.com/heroku/node-js-sample.git
$ cd node-js-sample
$ heroku create
$ git push heroku master[/sourcecode]

Startup Engineering – an introduction

At Coursera Balaji (Standford Phd, CTO/Founder that raise 65 M+) and Vijay (MIT Grad) teach practical software engineering skills. Their course is about everything they wished to known when starting their companies. This includes lots of UNIX, emacs, JS and web programming.

In the first week they give an introduction into the startup culture. You can find a short overview over the first weeks content attached.

What Is a Startup?

A new found business build to grow rapidly (NOT like a barber shop). You should search a new niche with a huge market and be the first one to take over the place here. Often new technology is involved and it is about going from 0 to 1, not 1 to N. 

A startup solves a problem for your users and you have two tasks. first solving this problem and second  making everybody knowing about and using your solution. Most important: targeting your growth rate each week (5 – 10 %), use new registrations, active users, shares, etc (whatever makes sense to make this stats). There is no speed limit when starting up, execute and learn/

Startups in the Past:

1800s -> startups for oil, steel, pharmaceutical, telegraphs
1900s -> automobile, aviation, telephone

There are many similarities between past and today. New technology involved new markets and many business were started in a non-regulated environment, because it was so new (NON-REGULATED MARKED). Many company started with a common name pattern (e.g. .com phase (amazon.com) OR name car company after founder (FORD, CHRYSLER, …). And startup costs were low -> startups in flats (eg. one who sold oil on a one barrel base from his living room), they grew rapidly, scaled very well. Many companies pop-up during such a start, only a few survive and take over the whole market.

  • SO WHAT IS IMPORTANT?
    • ONE: low entry costs
    • TWO: few / no laws
  • MVP (minimum viable product) – lean startup – has to be cheap!
  • Startups in the present
    • technological ground: Internet starts in 1980, broad spreading around 1990 (TCP/IP WWW in 1991)
    • political ground: collapse of soviet union + National Science Founadation Acceptable Use Policy was removed (which banned commerce on the internet) -> huge, global market existed // fall of iron curtain
      • acceptable use policy -> existed because of the fear of wide-spread of drugs, porn and spam, malware AND users academia and military did not search for traffic
      • fractions: the globalizations coefficient G (the more juice states there are equals allowed transactions, higher = better)
    • first of all, technology was available, but market not ready, then, the market WAS READY
    • -> rise of the internet start up
  • key features of internet startupsscalable -> only servers
    • market size -> global
    • generality -> software eats the world, form everything out of nothing
    • low capitol barrier -> computer is cheap + open source
    • low laws / regulatory barriers -> code is law, but this might change (PRISM, SOPA, …)
    • long tail -> endless specificity
    • failure tollerance -> still virtual, not physical, probs if it gets real (global stock market, airplanes, …)
  • what is startup engineering
    • startup engineering like chessboxing
    • getting something to work well enough for people to buy!
    • academia like zero customers -> chess
    • architecture astronauts -> planning for infinite number of customers -> boxing
    • in between of both lies startup engineering / software engineering
    • most of all: systems integration (new technologies, snapping pieces together)
  • design, marketing and sales
    • in a startup, you have to do all this side tasks (can’t concentrate on programming only)
    • you have to solve real world problems (office, furniture, garbage)
    • it is all about problem solving as fast as possible -> HN meetup
    • at start you need to do a lot of things on your own, because there is no money
    • later on, you can move this tasks to other ones
    • BUT to start and hire great people, you also need brochures, pages, etc.
  • why mobile html5mobile is the future
    • responsive design
    • location independence = bigger scope
    • simplicity
    • ubiquity
    • JS as future

Private Knowledge Management: SHARE, REUSE, COLLABORATE and LEARN

I restructure my knowledge management approach today. above you see a short mindmap outlining my idea. It is based on three principles SHARE, REUSE, COLLABORATE and LEARN.

  1. SHARE: This means when I work on a problem I share it with others and solve it together. Sharing your problems and solutions increases your reputation and at the same time reduces problem solving time. This can be done in a company social network ( at IBM this would be IBM Connections) or professional networks like quora or linkedin groups. The faster way for you to implement this is to:
    1. Make a list of all relevent professional social networks and groups and start interacting on them.
    2. Create a working directory in the cloud for all the documents you work currently on. A online cloud storage makes it easier to share files with your colleages and colaborates from your network. And decreases the hurdles for them to help you.
  2. REUSE: The key to reuse is that you have an archieve with all finished projects. And like with EMails research has show that there is no benefit of folder organization. There I advice you to find a online storage system like google docs with good search capability and ocr. This enables you to search directly in the documents instead of going through many folders.


COLLABORATE and LEARN are also important, but are more connected to the right tools and business process to utilize your previous build up REUSE and SHARE capabilities. I will attend to this topics in a post in the future. 

HowTo – Weekly Review

This section I use for my weekly review. This is where I celebrate what I accomplished and get a heads-up on what’s next. This I do every Sunday.

I use the weekly review to make sure I spend time on things that I want to do. It’s easy to forget that in the endless ping-pong game of responding to other people’s requests, or to scatter your attention among lots of interests and not feel like you’re making progress in any particular one. Give yourself permission to work on something you want to do, and carve out space for it in your to-do list or calendar. I divide my to-do list into three categories: work, social, and personal. The work category is easy to fill. Social take a little more thought, but other people make it easy by asking. Life, on the other hand—the skills I want to develop, the hobbies I want to explore—that requires me to step up and choose to do something instead of having my time filled by things that other people have chosen for me.

Lots of things are interesting, but I try to pick one or two things to focus on during each week. For example, I’ve been focusing on having a date on saturday and studying Big Data Technology. I might explore other ideas during the week, but it’s good to make slow and steady progress in my focus areas.

I make that space by managing my commitments. It’s easy to get used to a hectic, time-starved status quo, and it’s gratifying as well—busy-ness helps you feel valued. For me, “normal life” includes time to breathe and time to play. I avoid being busy. When I notice I’m starting to make mistakes because my calendar is too full, I slow down and see what I can say no to.

I add “want-to”s to my to-do list instead of just keeping it to the “must-do”s,and I remove or change other tasks until things look like they’ll fit. It makes reviewing and planning more fun, and it gives me something to look forward to during the week.

Might be something that can help you establish that habit. =) Happy to hear your thoughts and to read your weekly reviews!

This idea and system are inspired, adapted and modified with highest regards from sacha.

[hr]

A weekly review is an excellent idea. Here are some of the reasons why I do it:

  1. Track and celebrate accomplishments. Ever wondered where your days went? Tracking your accomplishments lets you get a handle on what you’ve done. Celebrating what you’ve finished encourages you to do more, too.
  2. Deliberately plan the next week. Instead of just reacting to the tasks and interruptions that come up during the week, sit down and plan a few things that you want to do.
  3. Follow up on priorities. If a priority task needs more work, having it on your list makes it easy to follow up (or see where you’re procrastinating!).
  4. Keep people up to date. If you make it easy for family, friends, and coworkers to keep up with what you’re doing, they’ll know more about interests, resources and opportunities that can help you.
  5. Make it easy to review the year. Having a record of your accomplishments and tasks makes those yearly reviews so much easier.
  6. Reflect on what worked and what can be better. Reviewing your week and planning the next one nudges you to think about how things can be better.

It doesn’t take a lot of time, and the benefits are tremendous. I can usually do my weekly review in 15-30 minutes.

Here’s what I’ve learned from doing so:

  • Bullet lists keep things short and simple. You don’t need to document everything – just enough to help you remember.
  • Categories help you keep things balanced. There are lots of different category systems you can use, and you can make up your own. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People recommends thinking in terms of your different roles. Getting Things Done has lots of good pointers for weekly reviews. Play around with the idea.
  • There are lots of ways to do a weekly review, so experiment to find what works for you. Some people like asking a set of questions instead. Others like using spreadsheets. Find out what works for you!

If you’re new to blogging, a weekly review helps you ease into the habit of publishing, and it can help you improve your productivity habits too. Give it a try!

[hr]

TEMPLATE

Accomplished this 

  • Business / Work
    • Subcategory
      • Task (Date)
    • Subcategory
      • Task (Date)
  • Social
    • Subcategory
      • Task (Date)
    • Subcategory
      • Task (Date)
  • Personal
    • Subcategory
      • Task (Date)
    • Subcategory
      • Task (Date)

Plans for next week

  • Business / Work
    • Subcategory
      • [ ] Task (Date)
    • Subcategory
      • [ ] Task (Date)
  • Social
    • Subcategory
      • [ ] Task (Date)
    • Subcategory
      • [ ] Task (Date)
  • Personal
    • Subcategory
      • [ ] Task (Date)
    • Subcategory
      • [ ] Task (Date)

Time review

  • Business: 29.2 hours (Earn: 13.2, Connect: 7.5, Build: 8.5)
  • Discretionary: 46.1 hours (Social: 3.7, Productive: 25.0, Writing: 13.8, Emacs: 0.8, Play: 3.0)
  • Personal: 24.8 hours (Routines: 13.9)
  • Sleep: 58.1 hours – average of 8.3 hours per day
  • Unpaid work: 9.8 hours (Cook: 4.8, Tidy: 0.4)