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Summary:

I am besieged by the age-old problem of both not having enough time to do what I want with Twitter and getting lost in its maze of messages. For some productivity enlightenment on this topic, I turned to the founder of The Blog Squad, Denise Wakeman.

Lately, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in “tweet space.” Not so much for myself, but for my clients — helping them figure out how to get the most marketing bang for their Twitter buck, and showing them ways to build their following and streamline their Twitter time management.

As for my own Twitter account,  I am besieged by the age-old problem of both not having enough time to do what I want with Twitter and sometimes getting lost in its maze of messages. For some productivity enlightenment on this topic, I turned to online marketing advisor and founder of The Blog Squad, Denise Wakeman.

Karen Laland: What is the biggest Twitter time waster?

Denise Wakeman: Having Twitter open all day. This can be my downfall. I use TweetDeck, and if I keep it open, the temptation is too great to constantly dip in and see what’s up. I end up getting sucked in, reading irrelevant content and getting off track with my client work.

Karen: How can people get the most out of Twitter in 10-15 minutes per day?

Wakeman: Turn off Twitter, or close the page if you use the web interface. Only open it when during scheduled time for Twitter activity. Dipping in two to three times a day with the sole purpose of connecting, retweeting, answering questions and following links helps keep you focused, present and visible.

Karen: What’s the most important thing to focus on with a Twitter account? What’s the first priority? How about the second priority? What’s nice if you can get to it, but can be dropped when you are slammed with work?

Wakeman: I automate some of my tweeting — such as automatically posting links to my blog posts when they are published and scheduling promotional-type tweets through SocialOomph — so when I personally use Twitter, I concentrate on conversation, responding to direct messages (DMs), retweeting and sharing other people’s content.

My first priority is responding to DMs. Next I review and acknowledge @ replies. I segment my followers into groups with TweetDeck so I see what my clients, students and colleagues are up to and reply and retweet when I find interesting content to share.

I also like to post links to articles about blogging, online marketing and technology when I have time. I read a lot of online newsletters and subscribe to a lot of blogs. I keep a running list of links to relevant articles so I can share them when I have a chance. Tweets with links to good articles tend to get retweeted more, which helps boost my visibility and attract new followers.

Karen: What are people’s worst Twitter habits that fritter away their productivity?

Wakeman: I’m pretty focused on using Twitter as a business tool, so I don’t have much patience for the chit-chat that a lot of people indulge in. I find value in sharing some personal conversation but prefer to stay on target with my message and relevant content.

Lack of productivity comes from not having a strategy when using Twitter. Constantly checking in just to see what’s happening and being a voyeur when you have no real outcome in mind is a quick way to fritter away time.

Karen: How can Twitter contribute to an increase in productivity?

Wakeman: Create a strategy for using Twitter. It’s fantastic for getting immediate, real-time feedback, doing research and getting someone’s attention when other avenues don’t work. Use tools like SocialOomph to pre-schedule tweets also helps keep your content and promotions top of mind when you are focused on other work. Follow industry leaders and use tools like TweetDeck to watch stay on top of trends and react quickly to opportunities.

Share your tips for making Twitter time more productive in the comments

Photo courtesy of Flickr user ShashaW’s photostream, licensed under CC

  1. Focused on using Twitter as a business tool? Problem is, Twitter isn’t a business tool. Twitter is about communication; it’s a facilitator of conversation and an aggregator of content.

    Goes to show how marketeers still get it all wrong. I took a look at Ms Wakeman’s profile. There isn’t a single original thought there, not a single tweet that inspires me to click through.

    By the way, if you spend 15 minutes looking for stuff to retweet, you have to be very lucky or very good to be able to catch the best of the best that’s been distributed the past 24 hours.

    Sorry, won’t follow, won’t buy.

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    1. Nils, I hardly expect everyone to agree with me or follow me or like what I do. Twitter is and can be used however you wish, there are no rules.

      Yes, it’s a communication tool…for me a business communication tool and works very well for me in that regard. I connect with fantastic people; I get new business and I support my clients by helping them get more visibility and connect with more people.

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  2. Karen great post!

    I think using tools to help manage the time suck of social media (twitter especially) is a key component of doing it right.

    I like to use Hootsuite to manage all of my twitter streams all in one easy to see dashboard. I have tried social oomph too but it can be kind of wonky sometimes.

    For scheduling of tweets and other social media messages I have been using a new tool called Converse ( http://bit.ly/cIufM5 ). It allows me to schedule out tweets, photos, and status updates to multiple sites and see everything easily on a calendar.

    I don’t think everything should be automated though, but some things definitely can be. When you schedule out the messaging that you have to send out and get that out of the way, you can spend more time actually engaging with people.

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    1. Hi David, in the time between this interview and publication, I have switched from Tweetdeck to Hootsuite. I really like the face I can easily manage multiple accounts, add feeds, save and schedule drafts from one site.

      I’ll check out Converse – thanks for the head’s up.

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      1. You bet! Always like to help people get more out of Social media. =)

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  3. I agree with you Denise that Twitter can be used as anyone sees fit to do so. If you don’t like what someone is tweeting, unfollow. No big deal.

    I have to say that I like having a mixture of personal and business tweets going by in my stream. I think life is boring if it is all business all the time, plus I do think that it is a smart move in business to know people on a personal level as well.

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  4. I agree with Denise, it is a strategic business communication great for building relationships well beyond just connections. Twitter is my favorite and I also struggle with the temptation of leaving it open and getting distracted. I don’t look for RT’s as much as provide value content that can be RT’d and always enjoy Denise’s posts and tweets. Marketer and human being she is a generous expert and creative success.

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  5. What I gained most from this article is to be clear of your objectives on Twitter. We are there to meet and engage with people, let it be prospects or friends from blog networking sites. I probably did not use Twitter to the fullest as I thought I was, a good reminder. At this point, time is a big issue so make full use of each platform is vital.

    @wchingya
    Social/Blogging Tracker

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  6. [...] How to make Twitter productive [...]

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  7. Thanks for this article – it is full of some great tips I plan to implement to keep my Tweeting on-point. I get so overwhelmed by the number of tweets I need to go through that I often avoid opening TweetDeck at all. Now I have some solid guidelines to follow. Excellent!

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