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As you can probably tell by the widget on the sidebar I am a huge Twitter fan. I was drawn to it last December when I first started taking the marketing aspects of the net seriously. I joined, selected the double zeros as an avatar and promptly forgot about it for the next five months. I may have put up 10 posts during that time and for all that I had about 30 followers. Some of those early followers have gone from 20,000 or so when they followed me to currently over 100,000. The statisticians tell us that twitter is slowing down as the leading fad but I would call 8 million new users a month a respectable number.

When I first decided to actively build a Twitter following I decided to spend some money and check out some of the programs and resources. There are something like 800 ebooks and or programs out now and that number is growing every day. Out of the lot there are only two that are absolutely essential and a couple more that you could use depending on your needs. The two essential programs are an auto-responder to be there when you can’t be and some way of knowing who your follower are when you view the whole list of people that you are following. There are a few auto responders out there and I have written about my favorite here. The ability to view your list of followers and un-follow those who are not following you is not an easy task.

There are two free programs out there that I have tried and both have their drawbacks. Re-Follow and Twitter Karma which will build a list of your followers and tell you when the last time they made a post. They will also tell you if you are not following them. The challenge is that you cannot see more than 100 at a time and you have no idea when you followed them so you will not be able to know if you have given them a long enough time to follow you back. The other challenge is knowing if you have previously followed someone. A fast way to get into trouble with Twitter is to follow the same person multiple times after unfollowing them. Unless you keep an extensive hand written list, this could become cumbersome in a hurry. I also used the standard “view followers” in my time-line; before they changed it in July you could at least tell at a glance if someone was following you. The current time-line view requires that you click on each individual follower to get that information, speaking of cumbersome.

This is the main reason that I chose to purchase Humming bird software. With Hummingbird Pro I am able to look at my following list and instantly know who is following me. I can know how many days ago I followed a given person so that I can give them a reasonable opportunity to follow back. When I wish to follow someone I can tell if I have ever followed them before. I have the ability to follow popular people and make them part of a protected list so that I don’t accidentally un-follow them. I can view another following list and instantly know who I am following and who I have unfollowed in the past. The best feature of course is the ability to follow on command by selecting a list and simply following all the people in the list. This is not a good strategy however, as most people do not prune their following and you can wind up following people you would really rather not. On the flip side for pruning your own list, Hummingbird is indispensable, it will start anywhere you designate and un-follow non-followers so you can keep your list current with only people who are following you.

The new upgrade Hummingbird II was released in mid October and it has several more interesting features. With HB2 you are able to select your own keywords and parameters and HB2 will begin watching conversations in Twitter and auto-follow those who match your settings. As HB2 Builds your following list it will also auto un-follow those who don’t follow back in a 3-4 day time frame so your list is always fresh and growing.

If you are serious about building your twitter following this is the best software around for getting the job done. I started using it when I had about 4000 followers. It has made the process of manually following and un-following much less time consuming.  There is no substitute for personal interaction on Twitter, and to that  you must pay personal attention, responding, thanking and providing good content.  This software significantly reduces the un-productive time you must spend on Twitter keeping your account pruned and growing.  Most of the people with large followings on twitter use this, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

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