Making Twitter Time Productive

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

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