This article is part of a series announced here.
Before we start talking about automation, I need to make something clear: the only automation officially allowed by Twitter is auto-follow-back. Anything else is theoretically forbidden, but a lot of automation techniques and tools are actually tolerated. You need to remain careful with them if you don't want to have your account banned. Read carefully the advices in this article, they have allowed me to keep my accounts running on 99% automation, so they should work for you too...
Our first stop is SocialOomph ( https://www.socialoomph.com ), a website that offers a number of Twitter-related services, one of the most importants in my opinion being their "Vet Followers" function: SocialOomh is capable of auto-following back people who follow you (this is actually the main purpose of this website) but you may not want to follow all of them... With the Vet Followers option (which costs $3 bi-weekly, i.e. twice a month) they will be added to some kind of buffer for a duration of 3 days, so you have time to quickly review them and decide if you want to follow them back or not. I keep blocking some porn-related profiles every day this way...
NOTE: TweetAttacks has just ceased its operations following a complaint from Twitter to their web host. I am personally using another tool - because TweetAttacks is windows-only - which I intend to use to replace TweetAttacks in this article very soon. Stay tuned.
I have something else up my sleeve but that won't be ready until mid-April at best, so for now I would suggest you give TweetAdder a try. It's the second best next to TweetAttacks and will do mostly the same job, plus it's multi-platform, meaning you can use it regardless of your operating system as there is a windows, MacOS and Linux version.
Some automation guidelines
Twitter can suspend accounts quite easily, with no warning and no explanation, so if you don't want to lose yours, here is what you should do:
- Set up the RSS feeds (see below) which will help you keep your account(s) updated with unique and valuable content,
- Configure auto-replies, make sure you add at least 10 replies for each keyword. Be careful with this functionality though and use it wisely.
- Don't follow too many people too fast. 300 a day is a maximum.
- Schedule tweets which look like personal messages.
- Spend a few minutes each day and manually reply to mentions.
- At any cost, do not repeat tweets. Even on several accounts.
- Do not post too many links and too many mentions. One promotional tweet every 5 hours is what works best.
- Up to 5 accounts, you do not need to hide. If you plan on having more than 5 accounts, use a proxy (I know of a very good service for this, to which I'll introduce you to in a future article, for now start with 1 to 5 accounts that's already a lot of work believe me! ;) ).
- Don't start automating a new account right away. Use it manually for a few days, even a week: follow a few people manually, interact with them, reply etc... This will make it look less suspicious.
Setting up an RSS feed
With this technique, you're going to look like an expert on something you may know nothing about... This will let you tweet high value information to your account, automatically!
Have you ever heard of Google Alerts? It is a service that Google offers, with which you can be kept informed of the latest news on the subjects of your choosing. These alerts can be delivered by e-mail, or in an RSS feed, which is a constantly updated machine-readable information stream. You are going to configure one (ore more) Google alerts and feed it into SocialOomph or TweetAttacks so that these news articles get tweeted for you on auto pilot!
Firstly, obviously you need a Google account if you don't already have one, then go here to configure a new alert: http://www.google.com/alerts
Here, you want to create a new search using search terms related to your niche, and configure the alert like in the picture on the right.
Once done, you will be taken to the list of all your existing alerts. You will notice an orange RSS icon on each line, like on the picture below: this is where the link to the RSS feed is. Make a right click on this icon and copy the link, then paste it in the right section of either SocialOomph or TweetAttacks depending on which one you're using. And that's it! Your account will now be fed with those interesting news stories that you don't even need to go find yourself... It's all automatic!