There are three tricks to using twitter that will keep you on track:
1. Know why you’re there.
It’s called strategy, my friends, and it’s essential. Every single person on twitter has at some point thought ‘what a waste of time!’ And yes, when you’re spending ridiculous amounts of time writing Toronto earthquake jokes (I plead guilty), it can be. But there are number of reasons for a business to be on twitter: To build awareness, to conduct research, to drive traffic to your website. It’s important to keep track of your objectives. Remember that, if used strategically, twitter is one of the most powerful marketing tools there is.
2. Set time limits.
It frightens me how much time I can waste on twitter if I’m not careful. It’s not surprising that social media platforms surpassed google as the main driver to news portals last February; they’re addictive. Unless you’re being paid to be on twitter, set a time limit and when time’s up, move on. I try to spend no more than one hour on twitter during the day and use Rescue Time to send me warnings when I’m nearing the one-hour mark. Platforms like HootSuite are useful for distributing tweets over a period of time (so you don’t need to keep logging on) and managing different twitter accounts, but I find they limit social interaction and only use them when on the road.
3. Have patience.
Twitter takes time and effort to build a meaningful following. There are many schemes for generating large followings quickly but most of them are based on the premise of reciprocal followship. Unfortunately the return on following is lower than 50% and some studies have even put it at less than 20%. Plus you risk being identified as a spammer and personally, I think it’s tacky. When it comes to followers, think quality over quantity. Hubspot released a study last spring showing that the ‘sweet spot’ in follower numbers is between 100 and 500. 200 Like-minded, interested followers is better than than having a large number of faceless followers who simply add noise to your marketing message. The best relationships on twitter are built one by one over a period of time.