Last week I talked to a fellow writer about a problem I was having in my brainstorming process. She gave me a slew of valuable information and reaffirmed the confidence I was starting to lose in myself (which subsequently led me to lose a bit of money in the process but that’s a post for another day). During our conversation she admitted that she wasn’t the biggest social media user, specifically Twitter.
Personally, I love Twitter, or at least I used to. On the outside Twitter can feel like standing in the middle of a busy six lane highway. It moves quickly and sounds like a lot of mental noise. Thankfully my brain sometimes likes mental noise and it’s the perfect place for my brain to experience a day at the races when the mood strikes me. Other times Twitter is a means to an end for my marketing freelance clients.
Knowing that there’s a way to tune out the noise, focus in on what matters and still get some benefit out of twitter I shared what I did for a recent social media management project. While it takes some time to set everything up, it’s worth it in the long run and the great part is that you don’t need to invest a lot of time up front, you can do it gradually.
My time on Twitter is limited as of late. I’m in and I’m out. I use tools like Buffer and IFTTT to schedule and manage Tweets However, I still use the Twitter app on my phone and when I’m at my desk I use Tweetdeck to keep things organized and easy to follow.
To keep up to date on certain trends and industries, I search and save. When I do I search on Twitter I do it two ways: Keywords and hashtags. I do it this way because both methods yield different results. I will run a search for keywords or phrases and then do it again with the hashtag (#) in front of the keywords and remove all spaces between words or the phrase I’m searching.
For instance, “freelance writing” brings me a search of those who are discussing and blogging about freelance writing. Search the hashtag #freelancewriting and you’ll get similar yet different results. Try out different keywords, phrases and hashtags till you come up with the results you want. Some of the ones I use are:
- freelance writing (keyword)
- social media (keyword)
- “write for us” (phrase)
Of course you can tailor your searches to just about any industry or topic you’re interested in just remember to save your searches and you can combine searches. (Great tip if you’re looking for a specific kind of writing or blogging job.)
Make a list. Scratch that, make numerous lists. Make some public and private. Fill them with industry leaders, brands, people you network with on a regular basis in addition to the people you just like to converse with on Twitter. Your lists can be a wealth of knowledge and information. I like keeping some lists private but you don’t have to. Keep in mind that everyone you add to a public list gets notified that you added them to a list so name your public lists wisely – unless you want listees to know they’re on your “people I quietly stalk and covet” list.
The beauty part of listing is that you don’t have to follow any of the people in your lists; simply adding them to your list gives you a custom feed of what everyone is talking about.
Follow Conferences – I’m lucky enough to work in an industry where I often don’t even need to attend the conferences held in order to benefit from them. Search a social media or tech conference and/or their hashtag and you can learn a lot. Conference goers often tweet gems of insight and information from the sessions and speakers. One good tweet and you can brainstorm a number of ideas for an article or blog post. Bonus if they tweeted who said it and you may have an interview source for your next article.
If you use a Twitter management tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck you can give your saved searches and lists their own columns for easy tracking.
There are a number of ways to benefit from Twitter without spending all day immersed in it. You stand to get the most out of it when you have a plan on how to use it. Using just these three tips I’ve already reduced the amount of noise that comes up in my Twitter feed. It’s definitely made it easier for me to check Twitter, find what I want or search what I want and then go on to the next part of my day. When it comes to social media management for my clients, I use these tips to tailor their tweets to what their followers are interested in and keep them in the loop on trends and topics of interest.
The one caveat to any twitter tip is that there’s always the chance for spam in those keywords and hashtags. Twitter users who are using Twitter merely for the link bait will use hashtags to draw people to click on those links. Learn to distinguish between the nuggets of gold and link bait spam and you can pare down your searches and lists even more.
You’re next! How do you quiet the Twitter noise and make it a productive tool for your business?