5 Steps To Model Successful Twitter Users

Today Jason Annas from Enlightened Web Mastery (@jasonannas) gives a process from learning from other Twitter users using the very useful Twitter-Friends tool (which we wrote about previously here).

When you first get started using Twitter, it can be very confusing to figure out what you should do. Are you being a pest? Are you annoying people? Do you just not “get it”? One of the biggest problems for me personally was, I just didn’t know they proper etiquette. I didn’t know what was expected, or deemed normal.

This article will attempt to show you what’s normal, and expected. In this article we will use an NLP concept known as modeling to make sure we really “get it”. The way modeling works is, you find someone who is successful, someone that’s a “super star” and you apply Pareto’s 80-20 rule to find the 20% of work they do that gets the 80% of their results.

1 – Assemble A Swipe File of Users

A “Swipe File” is an old copy term, which is a collection or great ads or sales letters that you keep as reference or inspiration. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to select 5 really good “Pro Twitter” users.

To get the most out of this exercise, you also need to assemble a swipe file of 2-5 “Personal Twitter Users”. As these people do not have a high profile, I will not be sharing any here, but the point behind having 2-5 personal twitter users in your swipe file is so that you can see how “normal” people act on twitter.

These are people who use twitter to connect with friends, and family, as well as just to have conversations with the world. A problem most people have who start using Twitter is not knowing how to act. By combining “Pro Twitter” users with “Personal” you will be able to offer a more satisfying Twitter experience.

2 – Choose 5 Twitter Users To Model

You need to come up with 5 “star twitter users”. I selected the following 5 because:

  1. The Provide Value – They are not trying to get you to buy something, digg something up, or sign up for their lists.
  2. They Are Successful – Some help people reach success, some have achieved success, and others provide tools to make you successful.
  3. They Are Somewhat Famous – The reason this is important is because if they have time to tweet, so do you.
  4. They “Get It” – These people understand how to use Twitter, and as such are worth modeling.

Here are 5 pro twitter users you can follow now (or atleast keep track of).

Here are their twitter accounts, as well as a very brief bio explaining who they are.

@problogger – Darren Rowse, Author of the ProBlogger Site

@LeoLaporte – Leo Laporte, (you may remember him from TechTV)

@KevinRose – Founder of Digg

@tferriss – Tim Ferris – Author of “The 4 Hour Workweek”

@wilw – Wil Wheaton – Actor from Star Trek The Next Generation

You may wish to come up with a different list, based off your own needs or desires, but make sure the ones that you choose meet some of the criteria above. You do not want to model spammers, who spend half of their tweets promoting their own products. Choose people who provide value.

I also selected these users because I think their habits are easier to emulate, and anyone can do it. If I were to select some Twitter power users, such as @GuyKawaski who posts 50 tweets a day on average, with a CQ of 43.5% and LQ of 64.5%, it might be harder for you to emulate them, and you likely wouldn’t want to anyway.

3 – Analyze Their Stats At Twitter-Friends

Twitter-Friends is a great tool that lets you analyze your habits as well as the habits of others. For this exercise we will take these 5 users, and check out their stats on Twitter-Friends, and see what we can learn.

If you do not understand how to use Twitter-Friends, check out this article for more information.

What We Learn From @Problogger

  • Posts an average of 24 tweets a day
  • @replies 13 times a day (about 50%)
  • Out of 24 tweets, 10 are links.
  • CQ = 54.1% LQ = 42.4%

What We Learn From @LeoLaporte

  • Posts about 4 times a day
  • @replies about 1 and a half times a day
  • Out of 4 tweets, 1 and a half are links
  • CQ = 42.7% LQ = 37.3%

What We Learn From @kevinrose

  • Posts about 7 and a half times a day
  • @replies about 5 times a day
  • Out of 7 tweets, about 2 and a half are links
  • CQ = 65.6% LQ = 32.1%

What We Learn From @tferriss

  • Posts about 2 times a day
  • @replies about .3 times a day
  • Out of 2 tweets, about 1 and a half are links
  • CQ = 13.3% LQ = 70%

What We Learn From @wilw

  • Posts about 10 and a half times a day
  • @replies about 4 times a day
  • Out of 10 tweets, about 2 are links
  • CQ = 38.8% LQ = 18.9%

What We Learn From TwitterFriends Averages

Here are the averages from twitter, not from our 5 users.

  • Average Tweets per Day per user 10.4
  • @replies per day is 4.6
  • Out of those 10.4 Tweets, 2.2 are links
  • CQ = 44.1% LQ = 21.6% Leaving 34.3% to plain text

4 – Analyze Your Stats

Now that you know how “the pros” tweet, it’s time to see how you stand up.

Check out your:

  • Average Tweets Per Day, @replies, your CQ% and LQ%.
  • Ask yourself, how do you stack up against your list of stars, your list of personal tweeters, and the average.
  • Is there anything you need to focus more on?

5 – Assemble A Twitter Template

Now that you know how often you should tweet, and what type of tweets you should tweet. The next step is to generate a “Tweet Template”.

What you do is select a few tweets, maybe 10-20 interesting tweets from each user on your list.

Then take those Tweets and break them down into their core components. Can you see any trends? And similarities?

For example here are 5 Tweets

Here are 2 samples from Darren @problogger. Consider these for use as posting updates.

@problogger wrote -> Reading: Simon and Garfunkel’s 10 Blogging Lessons – http://tinyurl.com/89nme4

Template – Reading: Title – Link

@problogger wrote -> New at ProBlogger: Add Social Proof to Your Blog With TweetBacks http://twurl.nl/djz7gx

Template – New post on my blog -> Title -> Link

Here are 2 samples from Kevin Rose @kevinrose. Consider these as a template for your social posts.

@kevinrose wrote -> Lunch then movie at home, relaxing weekend. http://twitpic.com/zeeb

Template – What I’m doing -> picture

@kevinrose wrote -> listening to a little ‘hot chip’ while reading the emails

Template – What I’m doing, no sell, no link.

Here is a tweet from Tim Ferriss @tferriss. Consider this as another template for when you post a link that is non-promotional.

@tferriss wrote -> Experimenting w/ various ways to start a fire in a fireplace. How about a Coke can + bar of chocolate? http://tr.im/2nor Your tips + tricks?

Template – Ask question? Offer potential answer (or title) -> link -> question?


To get the most out of this article try and implement these 5 steps.

1 – Create a list of 5 users who are in the same field as yours that you would like to model.

2 – Create a list of 5 personal users (or more) so you can see how they act and behave, feel free to analyze their stats as well.

3 – Visit Twitter-Friends.com and analyze the stats of those users.

4 – Analyze Yourself

5 – Form a few templates

After you complete these tasks, you will know where you stand up in the “twitterverse” as well as how you can improve your twitter experience.

By using the templates I provided (as well as coming up with your own), you too can easily come up with creative ways to tweet and provide value to your followers.


  • January 21, 2009

    Didn’t Leo also play in Screensavers on Direct tv channel 273? :)

  • January 21, 2009

    I really, really liked this post. I’ve neglected my Twitter account somewhat but now that I’m determined to provide some real value to my blog readers using it I’ve been trying to model my tweets off of the “all star Twitterers” whom I follow. The TwitterFriends tool was a great suggestion though. Thank You.

  • January 21, 2009

    @Steven-Sanders – The ScreenSavers was Leo’s show on TechTV, then G4 purchased TechTV and screwed up the whole network.

    This is a great article, and one every Twitter user should heed. Thanks for sharing it.

  • January 21, 2009

    worth reading if you wish to provide value to your twellows, i agree. but to get more followers, this may not help. i’ve been trying to twit useful twits and the number of followers im getting is sth like 2-4 a day.

  • January 21, 2009

    Great post. I especially like the idea of creating a “Twitter Template”. Off to find a few people to model! ;-)

  • January 21, 2009

    Now I had not really thought of it that way. But I had noticed you using the format you listed and you know what, almost always I click on your links because I have come to trust you are most likely going to provide something of value, you haven’t disappointed yet. I found that more I engage and chat, the more people are opting into my list, asking questions and taking things to the next level. Great tutorial and I sure do look forward to using that twitter avatar plugin!

  • January 21, 2009

    You broke Twitter down Rocket Science Style… {Fist Bump} Good Stuff! :-)

  • January 22, 2009
    Brian Ashenfelter

    Overall, I like the approach of this article. It is something different than most twitter-tip type articles these days.

    However, I do have an issue with the “Twitter Template”. First, I think it adds a bit of dullness to Twitter to see the same type of messages over and over again. I prefer, when presenting links, to mix things up a bit. Sure, sometimes, I just have the article name and link but other times I’ll provide just a comment, no title and the link. Tweets that follow a template start to look like spam to me and thus I tune them out.

  • January 22, 2009

    Thanks for the insight.

    At the end of the day, marketers should remember that Twitter is not about science. Although creating a set of templates may help, that doesn’t mean I am able to reproduce what others have done so easily.

    In fact, no two Twitterers are the same.

    Interaction, communication and relationship are what count there… so a lot of flexibility is required.

    I agree with Phy. If your tweets are useful and you are able to reach out to the influencers, i.e. they know you and pay attention to your tweets, words will spread out faster than merely useful tweets without the right connections or “promotion”.

    Personally, I would not go too deep into the process. Some kinds of structure is necessary but never lose your personality. Be yourself. :)

  • January 22, 2009

    I’m glad you’re enjoying this article.

    I see the formation of a template as a tool to see what works and why. The goal is not to create 100 templates, and switch between each one systematically just inputting new data, but rather, to create 100 templates, see the commonalities, extract what is useful, and apply them to your repertoire.

    The most important thing is to provide value. If you are just spamming people, or acting inconsiderate you need to be aware of that. By seeing what others are doing, (using Twitter-Friends, and forming templates) and identifying that at a microscopic level, it allows you to see what works and why, thus allowing you to emulate that, and become free to be yourself.

    To put it another way, creating templates and using Twitter-Friends, allows you to “see through the matrix” and enter the real.

    So yes, do not only use these 5 templates, or even the same template, you do not want to become formulaic. But by creating templates (yourself) you can see what’s working, and start adding that to your tweets (as needed).

    And most importantly, be original!

  • January 22, 2009

    Small typo:
    The Provide Value – They are not trying to get you to buy something, digg something up, or sign up for their lists.

    They Provide

  • January 22, 2009

    That approach is pretty cool. I’ll have to think of other ways I can use this modeling approach.

  • January 22, 2009

    Nice approach and thanks for recommending TwitterFriends. I started with some accounts on twitter a few months ago and I’m now starting to use it more frequently to get an idea of the true potential.

    Although I like TwitterFriend’s statistics I’m not sure if there is really a rule to be concluded analyzing successful tweeters. Different things work in different communities … I wouldn’t break it down into something like “What I’m doing + title + link”, just delve into the community and see what happens.

  • January 23, 2009

    Please! Let me proofread your copy. It takes away from your professionalism to have so many errors. It’s a great article, especially for newbies. Thanks.

  • January 23, 2009

    what is CQ and LQ?

  • January 23, 2009

    Great post

  • January 24, 2009

    Excellent post. I hadn’t considered that before. I usually tend to model what others do naturally, but critically analyzing fun and interesting tweeple is wonderful. Thank you for the idea.

    Marshall Jones Jr.
    (@marshalljonesjr and @bondChristian)

  • January 26, 2009

    While this is a good article, and I think it brings up a few valid points, I have to say that I disagree with your choice of @tferriss as someone to emulate. Tim is followed by many, but he follows ZERO users, making him a broadcaster and not a conversationalist, which I think goes against the spirit of Twitter. If you want to be a power user (and you’re not already a well known name like Tim) then you need to be open with your communication and willing to follow in addition to just being followed. Otherwise, you’re just taking from Twitter without giving back in return.

  • February 6, 2009

    Great post of ideas of ways to improve your Twittering. If you do it strategically, you really can become a power user!

  • February 9, 2009

    CQ = Conversation Quotient
    LQ = Link Quotient

  • June 17, 2009

    I have an issue with people following over 4 or 500 people on twitter. I don’t think you can successfully follow more than that. So what if Problogger is following me, he follows 30,000 other people, he will never even see what I tweet about. Twitter Ratio is way more important to me than anything else. Not saying that you should follow zero people, but you should follow an amount that you can actually read each tweet. Otherwise you are just abusing Twitter.

  • November 17, 2009

    I love this analysis. It’s very easy to do, and can be done as many times as you like to find just the right person to follow as a role model on twitter. I was able to find some awesome people to follow rather quickly using this technique, thanks for the advice.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.