The Newcomers Guide To Twitter Part 8: Making Twitter Work For You #New2Twitter

The Newcomers Guide To Twitter is a ten-part series of introductory lessons, tips and suggestions for people using Twitter for the first time. Please share these articles with your friends, family, colleagues and anyone you know who is struggling to “get Twitter”.

So, you’ve studied the basics, chosen the perfect username, setup your profile at, started following some cool people, picked up some followers yourself, wrote some really great tweets and figured out Twitter etiquette. So far, so good. Now, you need to make Twitter part of your life… without making your life part of Twitter.

How? It’s all about balance. In this article we’ll look at 8 tips for improving your Twitter productivity.

1. Keep Twitter Close…

For optimum results access to Twitter should always be two clicks away from wherever you are. Whether that’s your desktop, smartphone or iPad, keep Twitter close by. You never know when you might need it (and vice versa).

2. … But Not Too Close

You don’t have to tweet every little thing, every minute, of every day. Less is more. People tend to do their best thinking and come up with the greatest ideas when they’re doing something else. Go out for a run, see a movie or read a book. Just don’t tweet about it while you’re doing it.

3. You Don’t Have To Follow Everybody On Twitter

Indeed, relatively, you need to follow hardly anybody. We’ve made this point several times throughout this guide but it needs repeating: Twitter doesn’t work if you follow too many people. So, just follow the right people. And right, as always, means right for you. Lots of the newspapers, feeds, commentators and pundits share variations of the exact same content – usually the only difference is the editorial, which is a very personal preference and that’s where you should align yourself.

4. You Don’t Need To Follow Anybody Back

Again, we’re repeating ourselves here, but this is critical. Following somebody back simply because they’ve followed you on Twitter might seem like the polite thing to do, but it’s crazy behaviour. Follow who you find interesting. Unfollow (or ignore) who you don’t. It’s really that easy. And if people complain, you’ve made the right choice.

5. You Don’t Need Dozens Of Lists To Make Twitter “Work”

If your Twitter network so big that you have had to create lots and lots of lists and columns to be able to keep track of everybody, then something has gone wrong. This isn’t balance – it’s madness. Lists are great, but you shouldn’t need more than a couple. Max. And if dipping into your home stream terrifies you, you’re doing it wrong.

6. You Don’t Have To Read Every Tweet

To be honest, you’d be mad to try. Not only is it impossible, it’s often redundant (for the reasons above) and essentially pointless. Don’t worry about it. Read what you can, when you can. You can always go straight to another user’s profile to catch-up.

7. You Don’t Have To Tweet

It’s OK to lurk. About 50 percent of Twitter users do little else. Don’t feel like you have to tweet all the time. Don’t feel like you have to tweet at all.

8. Use HootSuite (And Schedule Tweets)

If you’re using Twitter to promote any kind of business or service scheduling tweets ahead is a really good idea. HootSuite makes this really easy. Indeed, HootSuite makes Twitter a lot easier, and the basic version is free. Try it. That said, there is no perfect Twitter software client, and there likely never will be. The best Twitter client is the one that works for you. Try as many as you can, and make your choice.

9. Don’t Automate Anything

While scheduling tweets is encouraged, don’t set up any kind of automated tweets (or responses to tweets) using third party Twitter software. This sucks 100 percent of the time, and the vast majority of Twitter users – certainly folks who matter and whose opinion you will care about it – hate this. In particular please do not setup automated direct messages that “welcome” people who follow you on Twitter – it’s one of the fastest ways to get them to unfollow you on Twitter – and also avoid ticking boxes on any social network that wants you to share your updates automatically on Twitter. That benefits them, not you. This includes FourSquare, Instagram, social games, and so on. It’s absolutely fine to share content from these platforms on Twitter, but do it manually, yourself – not by proxy.

10. Master Twitter Search

It will save you a lot of time. Memorise the operators.

Being able to pull up Twitter Search and blast off a complex query when and wherever you feel like (and need) it, and getting results in real-time – that will keep updating, again in real-time – is both a privilege and, for marketers and brands in particular, a real asset. Indeed, you could do nothing but use Twitter Search and still generate huge value from the network. Make the most of this gift.

This post is part of The Newcomers Guide To Twitter, a ten-part series of introductory lessons, tips and suggestions for people using Twitter for the first time or thinking about signing up for a profile. Click here to see the other posts in this series (and if you’re just getting started, here’s part one), and please hit the comments to share your own Twitter tips.