By Michelle Graff

It took me a while but I finally got there. I just surpassed the 1,000-follower mark on Twitter.

For those of you who don’t know, Twitter is a micro-blogging site that allows users to share status updates, links to stories and even pictures, just as long as they find a way to do in it 140 characters or less.

I don’t remember exactly when I opened my account (@michellemgraff) on Twitter but I know it’s taken me a couple of years to build up this many followers, many of whom are involved in the jewelry industry in some way.

The other week, though, something happened that made me reconsider the value of each follower. I tweeted that I was heading to the much-rain-delayed U.S. Open to, hopefully, seen some tennis. Less than 30 seconds after I tweeted “tennis,” I had a new follower, a New York-based tennis instructor.

It seems this person used some kind of auto-follow function to latch on to anyone on who mentions "tennis," which is not a great social media tactic, says Dan Gordon, the most social media-savvy jeweler I know. “I guess sometimes it can work out, but it’s a creepy feeling to get followed because I said something. It’s, in a sense, kind of a form of spam,” he said.

Creepy, yes, and completely ineffective; I am not interested in ever learning to play tennis and, while I am happy to go see a match live, I have nominal interest in the sport.

My strange tennis follow had me wondering how many other followers I have who have no interest in the jewelry industry. To answer this burning question of the social media age, Gordon directed me to two services, SocialBro and Sprout Social.

I had a little technical difficulty getting started on SocialBro but I found it well worth the wait once I was able to download this tool.

SocialBro really breaks down you Twitter account. It tells you who isn’t following you back, how many of your followers are considered influential (have more people who follow them than they follow) and warns you of potential “spammers” you might be following or who might be following you.

Just one note about the spammers, though: SocialBro classifies spammers are those who follow more people than they have following them. Thumbing through my list of so-called spammers, however, I spotted quite a few people I know have legitimate accounts but just don’t have that many followers. So I wouldn’t necessarily eliminate everyone classified as spam.

You can also request a report on the best time to Tweet, according to when your top followers are online, and search for people to follow by name, biography or location, and much more.

SocialBro is still in beta (meaning it is in the second stage of software testing) so it is free, for now. I would take advantage of that.

The also-helpful Sprout Social tells you how effectively you’re using Twitter. At the time of this writing, my “engagement,” or how well I am communicating with my audience, was rated fair with a score of 42 out of 100 while my “influence,” my growth and interest level, was good at 74.

It tracks how many followers you’ve gained and lost each week and allows you to create searches for people who are discussing certain things, are located in a certain area or have specific information in their profile.

Sprout Social doesn’t auto-follow these people. It just finds them. To quote Sprout Social: “Only you know what makes your perfect customer, but Sprout Social can help you find more of them.”

The service offers a free 30-day trial. After that it’s $9 a month or $49 a month, depending on which plan you choose.

There’s other, less time-consuming ways to make sure your maximizing Twitter. Every couple of days, I check my “Followers” list and follow back anybody I find interesting. I also block people who are questionable, such as those on Twitter whose profile indicates that they are looking for a good time. No thanks.

I also take advantage of Twitter’s “Who to follow” list, which contains some random sponsored users but also suggests legitimate people that may be of interest to you.

Hello, one-thousand.

TAGS:   Technology
Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.