Growth Hacking with MyTwitterManager – Can You Really Outsource Social?
I recently experimented with MyTwitterManager, a fully managed Twitter growth service aimed at helping startups and SMBs grow their business through the social channel. Applying Inbound Marketing principles, the service keeps content fresh while also engaging users likely to convert to followers or leads on your behalf. While there are some interesting self-service Twitter tools such as TargetPattern, most focus solely on favoriting tweets, whereas MyTwitterManager’s tech-powered human curation provides a more rounded out service that includes tweeting, following, unfollowing and favoriting among other aspects.
So what’s the verdict? Is this type of Twitter growth strategy worth your while? Keep on reading to find out…
Does it work?
Bottom line, yes. The service produced 584 new followers during my 2-week test, for a monthly rate of 1,250+. More importantly, the followers were by and large relevant, with no spammy accounts. The MyTwitterManager team also posted 33 tweets on my behalf, which generated a remarkable 241 engagement actions from my audience (clicks, Retweets and favorites).
I was impressed with some of the activity generated by the service. Letting someone else tweet on your behalf makes me a little nervous, but. I decided to give this service the benefit of the doubt and I was pleasantly surprised. The company says that they are able to produce these great results through a smart combination of Machine Learning with human curation. MyTwitterManager is a division of SocMetrics, which is backed by Google Ventures and angels such as the co-founder of HubSpot, and they have some high-profile clients such as “photos with a twist” app Moju which was featured by Apple on the App Store homepage.
When your account manager sets up your service, their team starts by reviewing your Twitter account, your bio, and your website, to understand your target audience and formulate their strategy for engaging them. They identify users with specific interests relevant to your space –for example, in my case they found users related to WordPress, Magento or UX- as well as posting topical content to build your inbound channel and add value to the community. Finally they can also engage relevant followers of your competitors or of other influencers in your space.
I’ve included some highlights below…
While MyTwitterManager has actual humans managing your service, I was skeptical about whether the tweets were merely automated and thus you’ll see the same tweet appear in multiple users’ streams. To test for this problem, I tried searching for “clone” tweets i.e. the same tweet posted by multiple people, but the tweets posted on my account by this service seemed pretty unique. Perhaps this is because it’s a fairly new service, but either way, they were good quality tweets from reputable sources. No typos or awkwardly cut off tweet descriptions.
The targets promised were achieved without any problems. I periodically reviewed my new followers to see whether they were legitimate, quality users or were suspicious. Indeed, the followers gained were mostly users relevant to me, a few duds but not too many. I didn’t notice any spam accounts being engaged either.
Here’s a summary of my stats from MyTwitterManager.com after a 2 week campaign (or thereabouts).
The MyTwitterManager reporting is fairly simple and shows you the important stats from your campaign. As shown above, their login area gives you a tabular summary of your campaign results. I also got a useful email midway through the campaign giving me an update on progress made so far.
I didn’t see any major downsides to this tool. There are a couple of small issues that may cause annoyance to other users, but you’re never going to be able to please everybody.
One interesting issue was raised by one of my followers @omgitsonlyalex. He was using TweetDeck and had an Activity Feed column open so he noticed the increased activity from my account. While he was surprised by all the activity, Alex commented that this column he had open “served no purpose” anyway so he removed it from TweetDeck. Of course many top influencers tweet 10 times an hour so it’s not necessarily that unusual.
Also worth noting is that the new Twitter profile page does display your favourite count more prominently than before. The MyTwitterManager folks say that they do clean up your favorites after some time so your number should not go up significantly. If you already use your Twitter favorites for another purpose, such as bookmarking content you want to read later, then this tool won’t work for you unless you change your own favoriting habits.
Who’s this for?
If you’re already using Twitter properly to start conversations and connect with people about mutual interests, then this can be a useful service to complement your existing strategy. If you try to grow a Twitter following purely using this method with a high follower count being your only goal, then your Twitter profile will be devoid of soul and people will pick up on this. Indeed, the company encourages users to interact with their new followers and continue building those relationships.
An Interview with the CEO
I had the pleasure of talking with Roy Rodenstein on email during my trial of his platform. Roy is the co-founder and CEO of MyTwitterManager. At the time of writing, Roy heads up a 10-person strong team combining technical and account management expertise, with the Engineering team led by the company’s MIT PhD co-founder.
I put a few questions to Roy and he kindly provided some answers that I can share with you below.
Q. When you get a new signup, what’s the process for getting their campaign going? What’s the level of manual review and tuning involved?
A. Our team has extremely deep expertise in social. In fact, our Chief Scientist and I met at the MIT Media Lab in 1998 while doing graduate work in social media 6 years before Facebook was even founded! Thus our team takes a very deep view of each customer, their audience, and their goals. Typically our team will review the user’s full presence -websites, online profiles, blog, etc.- to develop the approach that will work best for their particular needs. In fact, we often even make recommendations for them to improve their profile or site so that it more clearly communicates with their audience. In short, there is significant review by our expert team, both when starting the service as well as ongoing to make sure all is going well.
Q. How do you curate the tweets to send out on a user’s behalf? How much is automated vs. manual direction?
A. We don’t take any automated actions. While we are a technology-powered service, we use Machine Learning to suggest and recommend actions (tweets, users to engage, etc.) that our team reviews. We apply filters for any objectionable content, users that don’t seem legitimate, etc. as you saw in your trial.
So it’s a significant human curation layer. We also make adjustments based on the customer’s feedback, for example they may prefer that we tweet more about certain topics, or that we use more or fewer hashtags. We incorporate all of that to make sure our activities fit the customer’s Voice and their audience very closely.
Q. What does Twitter think about your service?
A. We are essentially a boutique social agency that has a unique technology platform to improve our results. So we don’t view ourselves very differently than other agencies that help manage customers’ social accounts. That said Twitter has reviewed our service and it’s fully within their terms of service. Even Ashton Kutcher has an agency helping curate his Twitter account 🙂
Q. Does your service work for Twitter accounts that are starting with a very low follower count?
A. Starting a new account from scratch is definitely one of the hardest stages, but yes, absolutely! Since our focus is helping new ventures -everyone from startups, Kickstarters, and non-profits to musicians, TV personalities, SMBs as well as agencies- we deal with this often. The main approach we take is building up the community gradually while providing constant value. Having new, high-quality content posted daily so that followers get meaningful benefit is critical. Only once you provide value, and build up enough credibility and a base, do we recommend the more advanced aspects of our services such as engaging the most relevant followers of a competitor.
Q. Does Twitter impose any current limits on the number of favourites per hour/day through their API?
A. Twitter has limits for most activities in some contexts, from number of friends to number of people on your lists, both through their API and directly on their site and apps, and we stay well within those bounds. They’ve developed those rules over time and they’re very important for keeping Twitter a useful and vibrant service.
Thanks for reading! Until next time…