By Iola Goulton
This week I'm going to talk about how to automate your Twitter account so you’re being a good Twitter citizen.
Yes, this will require a little time to set up.
But it really is set-it-and-forget-it. Mostly.
Here are the main tools I use:
CrowdFire (previously JustUnfollow)This tool is for managing Twitter followers. Twitter has rules about how many accounts you can follow, and the basic aim is to ensure you follow roughly the same number of accounts as follow you, so keeping your follower/following ratio close to 1:1. Tools like CrowdFire allow you to identify which accounts you follow that don't follow you back, so you can Unfollow these people and best manage your following/follower ratio.
The free version of CrowdFire allows you to follow up to 50 accounts per day, and unfollow up to 100 (well, these are my limits. Your limits might be lower if you have less than 5,000 followers).
The paid version allows you more follows and unfollows, and allows you to connect Instagram as well. I've just upgraded on a month-by-month basis, mostly to manage my Instagram followers. I haven't decided if I'll make this a permanent investment yet. It might depend on whether I get to keep the USD 5.99 promotional price, or whether I'll have to pay the USD 9.99 full price.
RoundTeamI'm on the free plan, which allows me 200 tweets per month. I’ve set it up so I’m retweeting 5-6 tweets per day from a List (the @ACWriters list of ACW members). Every time someone on the @ACWriters list tweets, Roundteam put that tweet into a “bucket”, then tweets one post an hour between midnight and 6am (New Zealand time).
Paid plans start at USD 10 per month.
These allow you to connect more than one Twitter account, and to have more tweets per month. The paid plans also remove the promotional tweets (at the moment, for every 50 tweets I send, RoundTeam will send one automated Tweet from me extolling the virtues of their service).
SocialJukebox (previously TweetJukebox)You all know what a jukebox is: in the old days, it had a bunch of 45s and you could select which song you wanted from the playlist (for the younger readers: a 45 is a record with only one song on each side). They also had a random play function, and that is the concept behind Social Jukebox.
You load a virtual jukebox up with tweets, and SocialJukebox sends them randomly at predetermined intervals.
So, for example, you could have a jukebox for old blog posts that you tweet each Thursday using the #tbt (throwback Thursday) hashtag. Yes, you have to load the posts into the relevant jukebox, but it’s a once-and-done thing: once you’ve loaded a post, it will be in that jukebox until you delete it. If I was going to post self-promotional tweets, I’d create them in SocialJukebox, then set it to post. Not too often—I wouldn’t want my Twitter stream to become all about me (the general guideline is to make no more than 20% of your posts about you).
SocialJukebox was previously known as TweetJukebox, and it just offered Tweets. The new version also posts to Facebook and LinkedIn, although I don’t use those options. Yet. (Mostly because while I don’t mind seeing Tweets repeated, I’m not a fan of seeing the same Facebook post over and over. And if it annoys me, it’s reasonable to expect it will annoy my followers as well). So I have to work out an effective sharing strategy.
Thank You Tweets
I am currently on the basic paid plan for Social Jukebox.
This gives me more Jukeboxes and thank you tweets to 100 people. I paid USD 120 for a year, but the prices are about to go up (to reflect the move from just supporting Twitter, to also supporting Facebook and LinkedIn). Even so, the new price of USD 24.99 per month is cheap compared to MeetEdgar, a similar tool, which is now USD 79.99 per month.
The paid plan also allows me to access three Twitter accounts ... so I can create an Australasian Christian Writers Jukebox to support and promote our blogger members.
More on that later ...
BufferThis requires a little more input in my part. It works in a similar way to RoundTeam and SocialJukebox in that it automatically posts content for me. The only difference is I have to load the posts in myself, and each will only post once (although there is a multiple post option). I find Buffer to be an excellent tool for posting new content or news, whereas SocialJukebox is better suited for evergreen content (content which isn’t going to date—like a book review or Bible verse meme).
I’m on Buffer’s Awesome plan, which costs me USD 10 per month.
This allows me to link up to 12 social media accounts—including Pinterest and Instagram. If I could only justify one paying for social media plan, this would be it, because it enables me to post throughout the day even when I'm out of wifi zone (as I will have been for the last three days by the time you read this).
This is also how I share many of my posts to the Australasian Christian Writers Facebook group.
No, I'm not on Twitter (or social media in general) 24/7. But tools like this allow me to be "active" even when I'm asleep.
Do you use any free or paid tools to help you manage social media? Which tools do you recommend?
About Iola Goultonwww.christianediting.co.nz to download a comprehensive list of publishers of Christian fiction.
I also write contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist—find out more at www.iolagoulton.com.
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