I like to maximize my use of Twitter to make time on my “dashboard” informative and productive. Like much of the social media tools available today, you can waste copious time if you don’t learn to leverage them for your benefit.
Twitter’s founders probably are amazed at what this little tool has morphed into over the past 18-24 months. What started out as a fun idea to share “What are you doing now?” with friends has developed into a large marketing and media sharing tool. Perhaps you have an account and haven’t used it much. Maybe you don’t see the point and think the whole Twitter thing is “pointless little messages” like my little birdie at the right of this column is saying. I thought that for a while too but now find great value in using Twitter. How? Well, I’m certainly not an expert but here are some personal tips that I’ve developed over time.
For starters, use a Twitter aggregation service. There are many out there for just about any type of user. For my personal use, I like HootSuite. HootSuite is web based so that means you don’t have to download anything. Just set up an account, give HootSuite your Twitter sign in data and you’re good to go. When choosing a Twitter aggregation service, you should look for one that lets you set up lists for the various people you follow. I have lists for my pastor friends, leadership, commercial (for the restaurants and other related companies I follow), sports, and the city of Denver. The lists allow me to narrow my view to only the feeds I’m interested in at the moment.
Along those same lines, organize the people you follow so you can manage the list from time to time. I’ll share my method in another post but it’s enough to say you should have a way of tracking the people you follow so that if they let their account die, you can cut them off your list. I’ve recently culled about 35 people from my list because they haven’t posted in 6 months or more.
Another good idea is to look for value from the people you follow. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading tweets about life in general. Part of the allure of Twitter is staying in touch with friends even on little things. But if all the people you follow do is send a series of mind numbing posts on every little detail, it can get quite cumbersome and time consuming to filter through all of those tweets looking for something you can use. Likewise, I stop following people who do nothing but constantly market to me without giving me anything of value. I’ve made several purchases from Twitter recommendations made by friends but if all I get from someone (even someone I admire) is a link to purchase their next great toolkit, they get cut from my list.
Next time, I’ll talk about the Tweets you put out and how they can add or severely curtail your followers.