Twitter Influence: the Case Study of @TweetSmarter

What does it take to generate a strong Twitter influence?  I could create a list of things that would amount to what it takes to become successful in Twitter and, as a whole, social media.  A general list would contain items such as adding followers, following them back, engaging them in conversation without selling to them, and so forth.  I have come across many of these social media “primers” and most of them are a summary of each others’ articles with slightly different perspectives.  Overall, the primers summarize what has worked on Twitter and social media.

My case study on Twitter Influence takes a different approach.  I will discuss @TweetSmarter, a prominent, highly followed, highly listed and highly influential user on Twitter that applies the basic principles of social media and social networking, but doing so in a very distinct manner.  I will present my findings from what I have learned by following them for quite some time as well as example tweets that justify my findings.

What does it take to generate a strong Twitter influence?  By following Dave and Sarah Larson, the husband-and-wife team behind the Twitter user, @TweetSmarter, I learned what it took for them to become a strong influence on Twitter.@TweetSmarter

I would describe TweetSmarter as a reliable source of information for topics ranging from Twitter, social media, and tech news, among other topics.  The manner in which they are a source of information is intriguing, to say the least, but also painstaking and selective, thereby contributing to their trustworthiness.  Dave and Sarah Larson, the husband-and-wife team behind TweetSmarter, are also responsive to people who have questions and concerns about Twitter.

What they do

  • They scour social media and tech websites as well as tweets linking to noteworthy articles.
  • If they find an article from a website, they produce a shortcut link through j.mp or bit.ly and tweet the article to their followers.
  • If they find an article from a tweet, they click through the original shortcut link for it, produce a shortcut link for the original URL of the article via j.mp, and retweet the article to their followers.  Almost all of the time, they remove the user or users of the original (re)tweet so that the headline and link stand out.  This move also helps them retain their position as an information source despite the authorship of the articles.

On an aside, creating their own shortcut links for all of their tweets allows them to track them all.  Data is king, especially for Twitter analytics.

Why this is significant

TweetSmarter does not tweet links haphazardly.  They make sure that each article is reflective of the type and quality of information they set out to provide their followers.  In a sense, they do retweet articles, but gradually and selectively.  Following TweetSmarter would create much added value to your knowledge about Twitter and social media.

Here is a sample of the tweets they post:

As you can see, their tweets use the shortcut link, j.mp, and are geared especially towards social media, but not exclusively.  They post occasional tweets about other topics, and the following tweet illustrates two exceptions at once: the subject matter is decidedly not about social media (but it is a worthy cause), and they retain @zaibatsu, the source of the tweet:

Hundreds of thousands of their followers, including myself, are fully aware of the added value that TweetSmarter provides to our knowledge about social media and are quick to retweet their tweets, seemingly as soon as they send it out.  Users like TweetSmarter that do not have to beg their followers to retweet a tweet (e.g. PLS RT) exert a very strong Twitter Influence.

What lessons have I learned about creating a strong Twitter Influence by following TweetSmarter?

  • Be a source of information.
  • Retweet sources of information.
  • Make the topics or subject matters you will likely tweet about very clear, and tweet consistently about them.
  • Engage your followers, and they will return the favor.
  • Recognize the followers who retweet your tweets.

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Francis Unson
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3 Responses to “Twitter Influence: the Case Study of @TweetSmarter”

  1. Dave (@TweetSmarter) Says:

    I did reply to your tweets about corrections, you must have missed my replies somehow? Here’s what you need to know:

    One major misperception is that we find our tweets by looking at other people’s tweets, then remove their names instead of giving them credit—that is NOT the case. As I’ve mentioned a few times (most recently at http://bit.ly/i5zkvJ ).

    There is no way we can find many good new articles to tweet just by retweeting other people. We do find a few, but the vast majority of our tweets are found via internet searches and specialized aggregators of new articles on Twitter, mostly NOT by looking at other people’s tweets.

    I would prefer to retweet others MORE not less, but because of our requirements—such as needing tweets to be about posts that are new within a few hours—it’s harder to use tweets as a source than to just search for new posts about Twitter.

    Also, we have mostly switched over to bit.ly as some people have trouble with j.mp links (even though they are from the same URL shortening service).

    This is just a correction to your info as requested by you, so feel free to make the correction and delete this comment if you wish :)

    • Francis Unson Says:

      Thank you for your reply! I apologize for missing your reply in Twitter / Hootsuite. How embarrassing. lol

      Great, you do clarify the stance that you and your wife take towards what information the two of you deem worthy of retweeting.

      Despite the methods you describe in “Choosing what to tweet”, that still sounds like a lot of information to sift through, but you manage to keep us informed with as unique topics as possible. Speed reading is a very useful skill.

      There is no way we can find many good new articles to tweet just by retweeting other people. We do find a few, but the vast majority of our tweets are found via internet searches and specialized aggregators of new articles on Twitter, mostly NOT by looking at other people’s tweets.

      This really describes your penchant for seeking out reliable information, akin to college students working on their thesis or dissertation or, more informally, like a journalist. Passing along articles based on other peoples’ tweets alone, let along with no crosschecking of the facts, borders dangerously close to hearsay.

      I am all for posting the newest, freshest, and most relevant content. The informed public demands it, after all. :)

      I sensed you had jumped ship from, well, j.mp, and the irony that bit.ly owns them wasn’t lost on me, either. :D

      Dave, since I respect you and Sarah very highly for the work that you both do, I cannot delete your comment (correspondence, really) that set me straight. I will make the changes and clarifications to my blog with the notation that you helped me along the way. :)

  2. nrvana Says:

    Thank you for your case study; it will help me to “tweet smarter.” FYI: Here’s a link to my special feature – Twinkle, Twinkle Twitter Star http://mymarketingnirvana.com/2011/12/05/special-feature/

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