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Using Twitter isn’t complicated, but it is time consuming. When you first begin, it is easy to become addicted. The more involved you become, the worst that feeling gets. Between all the quick jumps to check your account and the long periods spent actively building your visibility, it can really cut into your overall productivity.
The trick is finding out how to use Twitter effectively so you’re not spending so much time doing it. With a couple of tricks, you can even slash your time spent in half. By the time you really get the hang of things, you could be seeing consistent growth without spending more than twenty minutes each day cultivating your account.
How is this possible when the social media experts tell you to put in at least an hour a day, sometimes as much as two? It is simpler than you may think.
Avoid the Temptation to Obsessively Check
It is so easy to break your concentration and workflow to go and check Twitter. I am guilty of it myself, even now that I try to be mindful of the distraction. Sometimes in the past I would find myself going to Twitter as much as ten times in an hour!
You have to break the habit of obsessively checking your social media accounts. If you limit yourself to even once an hour to check, it will make a huge difference. It will also show you that nothing much has happened in that time, so it is fine to leave it alone.
How does this get you better results? You aren’t going to be tempted to answer every single retweet and comment. You will be able to get a better picture of what is happening on your account, and establish patterns.
Are you having trouble staying away? You may want to get a tool like StayFocsd or LeechBlock to force you to remain off at certain times. Or…
Get Rid Of the Mobile App (Or Just the Notifications)
How can you be expected to stay off of Twitter when you are getting constant push notifications on your phone telling you every time someone you follow retweets someone else you follow? That little chime can be so very distracting.
The first step is to get rid of the notification by revoking permission from your smartphone. But I would suggest taking it a step further and removing it from your phone full stop. Why? Because we are much too loose with the mobile updates, and more thoughtful with the browser ones.
An example of this comes from a certain colleague of mine I won’t mention by name. She released an eBook she was proud of, and it was pretty well received. But as is expected, some rather critical people who didn’t enjoy it chimed in, and among them were some straight up trolls.
Had she been reading these nasty tweets from her desktop in a good frame of mind, she probably would have stepped back, took a deep breath, and waited until she could give a thoughtful reply. Instead, she read them at 4 AM from her phone, and in her half-awake state she unleashed a torrent of angry retorts and insults.
Needless to say, when she awoke properly a couple of hours later the issue had become a real mess. It is too easy to mess up while using mobile, so think about keeping it on your computer.
Schedule Tweets between Your Interactions
A great time saver is to just create a lot of scheduled tweets that will update your account regularly, so it remains active in between you actually being there. An app like Buffer, or a social media dashboard like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, can do this for you easily.
By posting regular links and comments, even random quotes, it keeps you visible on the friendfeed of your followers. But it means you don’t have to be on that often, and can just leave it alone for 23.75 hours a day.
Spend a short time at the beginning of every week loading up your scheduler with links, shared content, quotes and comments. Then resolve to only get on fifteen or twenty minutes a day.
Know What Qualifies As Quality Engagement
If you are limited with your time on Twitter, you had better learn how to use twitter effectively and make that short time frame count. That random favorite of that thing you will never read again, but was posted by that influencer with 200k+ followers you desperately want to get the attention of? Yeah, that isn’t quality engagement.
But spending that time to actually speak one on one with your followers? To retweet things you actually enjoyed? To contact people in your industry and start a real conversation? That is quality engagement, and worth so much more than drive-by favoriting or following with users you will never connect with.
Decide What Your Goals Are
Having a clear goal in mind going into your Twitter time is going to help you really narrow down your strategy, and so get more from it. Are you hoping to get more followers? Drive traffic to your site? Network with influential people? Show off your authority? All of the above? Then do things that make those goals happen.
Avoid any unnecessary Twitter interaction as a consequence. Yes, it may be a lot of fun to check out what crazy, egomaniacal thing Kanye West said this morning. But does it help you to meet your goals? No.
Make Lists and Use Them
There are lists for a reason. You should be using them at every available opportunity, from creating lists of influencers you want to connect with, to sites where you can get where you can get content, to people being followed by your followers.
Twitter is an incredible tool, but you need to know how to use it. You also need to use it wisely, and not waste all your time sitting around, watching your feed update. Use these tips to cut your time in half, and you will be in good shape.
Have some tips of your own on how to use Twitter effectively? Leave them in the comments!
By Jessy Troy
Jessy Troy is the social media enthusiast and consultant. You can follow her on twitter as @JessyTroy