Whether you use Twitter for personal enjoyment or business purposes, you’ve probably been the victim of “Twitter Time,” which is the unexplainable loss of time that happens when you start tweeting. You tell yourself you’re just going to check your Twitter stream, and before you realize it, an hour or more has gone by. Often, much of that lost time produced no tangible results.
“What was I doing for the past hour?” If you’ve ever asked yourself that question, then you’re not an efficient tweeter. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to maximize your time on Twitter instead of wasting it. Ten of the easiest tricks that you can start using right now are explained below.
1. Automate some of your tweets.
You don’t have to manually create and publish each of your tweets. It’s inefficient to do so when you can easily automate some of those tweets. For example, rather than manually tweeting a link to every new blog post that you write as you publish it, you can use a tool like Twitterfeed to automatically tweet those links. Of course, no one wants to follow or interact with someone who only publishes automated tweets. With that in mind, make sure the majority of your tweets are not automated.
2. Schedule some of your tweets.
Streamline your Twitter publishing activities by scheduling tweets to go live at a later date and time. This saves you time because you can have fresh content up on your Twitter stream without having to take the time to log into your account and tweet again and again throughout the day. Tools like Hootsuite, TweetDeck, and Buffer are extremely helpful for tweet scheduling.
3. Cross-promote some of your tweets.
Do you find yourself duplicating the content of your tweets and publishing them on multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and more? You can automatically cross-promote the tweets that you choose by entering the tweet a single time and selecting which of your social accounts you want to publish that update to using a tool like Hootsuite (which offers both free and paid accounts) and SproutSocial (which offers affordable paid accounts only).
4. Create lists and use them.
Lists could be considered the most underutilized feature of Twitter. By grouping followers into Twitter lists, you can easily follow tweets from specific people rather than scrolling through every tweet from every Twitter account that you follow. For example, you might want to create a Twitter list for your family members or a Twitter list for your employees.
You can also check out public Twitter lists made by other Twitter users, too. This is a great way to get ideas for lists you might want to create as well as to find new people to follow. To streamline the process, use a tool like Listorious to research active lists created by other Twitter users.
5. Use hashtags whenever possible.
Hashtags can help you maximize your time on Twitter in two ways. First, you can include hashtags in your own tweets to identify topics your tweets are related to and broaden exposure to them. Second, you can use a tool like Hashtags.org to discover hashtags that matter to you as well as to find tweets using those hashtags. This gives you the opportunity to find people to follow and conversations to join.
6. Monitor keywords instead of searching for tweets that interest you.
Rather than using the Twitter search tool to find tweets related to keywords that matter to you, you can automatically monitor those keywords in real-time using a tool like Monitter. Simply enter the keywords that you want to follow, and Monitter displays a continually updating stream of tweets that use those keywords. There is no better time to follow someone or jump into a conversation then within minutes of when that person publishes a tweet that matters to you.
7. Know your limits.
Your tweets can only be 140-characters in length before they are automatically truncated. You can use a tool like TwitLonger to publish longer tweets, but it’s always best to keep your tweets short. Furthermore, consider how your tweet will look if it’s retweeted. When a Twitter update is retweeted, your @username is appended to the beginning of the tweet. Make sure your full tweet will be visible if someone retweets your Twitter post or an important part of your message could get cut off.
8. Streamline efforts to find people to follow on Twitter.
There are a variety of tools that can help you find people to follow on Twitter quickly and efficiently. Tools like Twellow and Wefollow enable you to search for Twitter users by topic keywords. Just type keywords related to your interest into the search box on the Wefollow website, and you’ll get a list of Twitter users who tweet about that topic or have self-identified themselves as being interested in that topic.
9. Use tools to determine who to follow back.
It’s a good idea to research each account that follows you on Twitter before you follow back. You might not want to follow every account that follows you, and that’s absolutely fine. You’re under no obligation to follow another Twitter account, even if they follow you first. When a new accounts starts to follow you, scroll through the account’s recent tweets to ensure the content published by that account is something you want to see in your Twitter stream. You can also use tools like Klout and Twitter Grader to learn about the Twitter account’s influence, behaviors, popularity, and more.
10. Block Twitter accounts as appropriate.
Don’t be afraid to block Twitter accounts from following you. There are many spam Twitter accounts as well as accounts that publish inappropriate content, and you might not want the tweets from those accounts to clutter your own Twitter stream and steal your precious time. Furthermore, you’re helping Twitter identify and remove spam and inappropriate Twitter accounts when you block them. Think of blocking as doing your part in improving the overall Twitter experience for everyone.