FEU Training Twitter

Twitter Foundations

Many people are not maximising the potential of Twitter to market their work because they don’t understand how to engage their audience/s and create two-way communication.

This series of four posts aims to help you do this with Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Email - to identify your audience/s and encourage them to look at what you are tweeting and to actively respond.

This first post is about untangling and quantifying your Twitter network. Whether you are an Equity, NUJ, Writers’ Guild or MU member, your networks and audiences will have a similar makeup including:

  • Friends
  • Fellow Professionals
  • Previous employers
  • Potential employers
  • Influencing Professionals
  • Venues
  • Companies
  • Festivals
  • Events

As we’re talking about using Twitter professionally here, your family is best looked after on Facebook through your personal profile. This isn't to say family can't follow you beyond Facebook activities but I feel I have to separate the conversations. Facebook is a unique audience space in my opinion and this will feature in post 2.

In any relationship reciprocal sentiment or potential mutual benefit is essential, e.g., do we have something in common/is there something that we need from each other? So, when you’re developing your Twitter audience, consider:

  • What is the nature of the relationship being cultured?
  • What is the expectation of the relationship, e.g., obtaining paid work?
  • What do you need to say that’s of interest to the audience?

Cans Chat Twitter

What makes up your Twitter network?

Apart from the cascading stream of updates that make up your timeline, your Twitter profile provides several metrics to help evaluate the development to your account. Twitter gives a number of ‘Tweets’ you have posted to date, (see above screenshot left to right) Following (the people you’re following) and Followers (the people who follow you).

In audience and engagement terms the accounts you are ‘Following’ are those posting Twitter updates you can see in your timeline and Followers are accounts receiving your updates, hopefully listening to what you have to say. The Venn diagram where Following intersect Followers is the game. So how can you culture an active presence with realistic results to help you professionally?

Is the feeling mutual?

The count Twitter fails to provide is 'mutual friends' or 'reciprocal followers', i.e., who do you follow who also follows you in return? This is the foundation of Direct Messaging. The ability to message another Twitter account directly is the key to creating and pursuing opportunities in the off-line world.

All projects even those in the seed phase are never harmed by a presence. It is a commitment to the idea once it takes shape. An avatar, web friendly name and a concise
160-character biography is a great foundation of any project. It's a manifestation of concept.

As an example, CansChat is an idea from March 2012. It has had no promotion. As you can see it has a small following (the 95 followers) and follows 109 in the hope of making mutual and information rich connections.

To build my Twitter networks I use several tools to understand how they are developing and growing.


With CansChat (see above screenshot), I’d started by following Twitter accounts mentioning "stage manager" “Stagemanagement” and "backstage" in their profiles and recent tweets using Twitter's native search facility.

Follow Tool app answers the questions: Who in my ‘Followers’ do I follow, who reciprocates and who is not following me? These figures are in contrast to the CansChat profile screenshot above.

  • Followers I don't follow = 19
  • Users not following me back = 33
  • Followers I follow back = 76

There are 76 accounts who I can direct message.
There are 19 accounts following CansChat who CansChat does not follow back. They receive CansChat tweets but CansChat does not see theirs, The total Audience is 95

How do you decide who to friend and who to follow and who to connect with and who to keep as audience? Not every follower is going have the potential to provide momentum to your projects or avenues to work. In general a low follow count with a high following count indicates a potential authority. For example, @BBCBreaking and @BBCNews

These are trustworthy sources providing current affairs news updates. Both accounts are unlikely to follow you. @BBCNews is following correspondents, programmes and other BBC news content Twitter accounts. The people who @BBCNews follows (88) is worth a look and a source of developing your Twitter account for potentially more personal and informed news and media contacts to influence your off-line career. This is especially poignant for journalists and writers.

Evaluating your sources of industry opportunities on Twitter

Take CastingCallPro, a well known online service with a Twitter presence.

Casting Call Pro Twitter

(screenshot profile used by permission)

I think actors should consider following this account. It has an audience of 18,870 and listens to 9,533 accounts. It tweets about acting jobs and there are lots of accounts listening. The figure we don't see is how many of those following the @castingcallpro account is being followed back? The elusive mutual Venn diagram mentioned earlier.

Casting Call Pro

Using friendorfollow.com it shows @CastingCallPro has 5,186 engaged followers.

Who CastingCallPro is following is an insight in to who it wants to listen to and engage with. You may find accounts you want to follow too.

This leaves 4,365 that don't receive CCP tweets. This figure requires awareness to effectively use Twitter as a professional tool and make it work for you.


Referring back to the list I gave earlier:

  • Friends
  • Fellow Professionals
  • Previous employers
  • Potential employers
  • Influencing Professionals
  • Venues
  • Companies
  • Festivals
  • Events

Consider your Twitter engagement intentions:
Who are you following?
Who is following you back?

Identify your "not following you back" count using friendorfollow.com and assess whether you should unfollow them by asking yourself if they are a source of useful or interesting information.

If you want to look further into your Twitter audience, I’d recommend Social BroTweetreachFlockofBirds and Twitter

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