The Minimalist Guide to Twitter: How to Handle It in 15 Minutes a Day

The Minimalist Guide to Twitter: How to Handle It in 15 Minutes a Day

Has this ever happened to you?

You started a blog and excitedly venture over to Twitter to share your newest blog post.

You type your message, click Tweet and you’re just about to leave when…

Something in your timeline catches your eye.

It’ll only take a few seconds to check it out, right?

Then you see something else. Then something else.

And before you know it, an hour has passed and you’re left wondering where the hell your time went.

It’s a common problem. Twitter’s a powerful tool for bloggers, but it’s also a dangerous distraction.

Scrolling endlessly through your feed can feel productive – particularly when you tell yourself it’s research – but deep down you know it’s the opposite. Even the “proven” social strategies seem to deliver nothing.

So, is it possible to get the benefits of Twitter without being sidetracked by the distractions or wasting time on ineffective tactics?

Fortunately, it is.

In fact, it’s possible in just 15 minutes a day. Here’s how…

The Secret to Getting Better Results in Less Time on Twitter

Twitter can be a valuable tool for bloggers, but it can also be a major time suck. Being successful on Twitter with minimal effort means being ruthless with your time.

Typically, bloggers face two main obstacles to a minimalist approach.

Firstly, the Twitter platform itself is loaded with distractions. The feed constantly updates, leaving you anxious to stick around just to see what the next tweet says. Twitter Ads and “helpful” suggestions of new people to follow threaten to send you down a new rabbit hole every few minutes. And frankly, it’s overwhelming.

Secondly, the web is swimming with advice about getting better results from Twitter and so you can easily struggle to cut through the noise. A Google search for “Twitter marketing” returns 678 million results. Good luck sorting through all that! The result is that you feel constant pressure to try the latest strategy without knowing whether it will work.

Despite these distractions, a couple of simple rules will help you make the most of your Twitter time without becoming a Twitter addict.

Rule #1: Visit Twitter.com sparingly

It’s counter-intuitive, but you can achieve most of what you need to do as a Twitter-savvy blogger without actually visiting Twitter.com.

Minimizing the time spent on the main site lets you focus on your agenda – not Twitter’s – and numerous tools exist that allow you to leverage the platform more indirectly.

Rule #2: Stay focused on a small number of goals

Much of the overwhelm that bloggers experience in relation to Twitter comes from a lack of focus. They try too many approaches at once, hoping that one of them will lead to success.

That’s why it’s important to get laser-focused on a few goals.

Let’s look at what those goals should be.

2 Smart Goals for Traffic-Hungry Bloggers

Most bloggers ultimately want more traffic from Twitter and that means concentrating on two specific areas:

  1. Getting more followers (particularly users who have a large network of their own)
  2. Increasing conversions (i.e., getting more clicks from your tweets)

Sure, other goals may lead to more blog traffic, but time spent on these two has the best chance of yielding results. Here’s why:

  • The more followers you have, the more people on average will see each of your tweets. This means more people to click your links and retweet your content.
  • The higher your conversions, the more traffic you get on average from each tweet.

Remember, we’re not trying to do everything that works. Just to get smarter about where we’re spending our time.

The Most Effective Tactics for Getting More Followers and Conversions

If you want Twitter success in just 15 minutes a day, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for goofing around.

Getting more Twitter followers and converting more tweets into clicks boils down to using a small number of proven tactics.

So let’s review those tactics before digging into how you can make them work effectively in the least possible time.

The following Twitter behaviors are the building blocks of any successful Twitter strategy:

  • Tweeting often. At one level, Twitter success is simply a numbers game – you’re not going to gain traction on the platform with one tweet a week. With the right combination of value and frequency, followers will start to form a habit of clicking and sharing your tweets. Five tweets per day is a good base level – increase for as long as engagement continues to rise.
  • Using hashtags. Hashtags are the glue that bonds Twitter discussions together. Total strangers who share a common interest can be connected with a single hashtag. Using hashtags is the easiest way to expand your reach beyond your current follower list and tap into the full power of the Twitter platform.
  • Retweeting influencers. Retweeting – Twitter’s version of content curation – can be valuable for your followers and a way to get noticed by the influencers whose content you share. A retweet is a gesture of goodwill and a great way to start a relationship with an influencer who may reciprocate with a follow or a future retweet of your content.
  • Favoriting tweets. Like retweeting, favoriting is an effective way to get noticed by influencers who might one day share your content. When you favorite a tweet, the owner receives a notification – often by email – alerting them. This is a cool way to “introduce” yourself to influencers who you want to share your content and tweets.
  • Joining Twitter chats. How often are people interested in networking with strangers? Not that often, but it happens during Twitter chats all the time. Twitter chats relevant to your industry are a great way to get more followers and conversions.
  • Writing a killer bio. Your Twitter bio is your social media elevator pitch. Make sure it describes who you are, gets people excited to follow you and uses keywords relevant to your business.

Those are the basic tactics. But how will you implement them without sacrificing too much of your precious time to the Twitter gods?

3 Simple Ways to Minimize Your Time on Twitter

The tactics described above are highly effective, but they still have the capacity to eat into a big chunk of your day.

The key to time-efficient Twitter mastery is to find ways to get the benefit from the various tactics without having to spend lots of time on them.

And there are three basic strategies for achieving more in less time:

  • Efficiency – reducing the time required to complete necessary manual tasks.
  • Optimization – getting better results from the effort you put in.
  • Automation – converting time-consuming manual tasks into automated tasks.

Let’s take a closer look at each to identify all the ways you can use Twitter not just faster, but better.

Strategy #1: Increase Your Efficiency

Take advantage of keyboard shortcuts

One way to spend as little time as possible on Twitter.com is to be as efficient as possible while you’re there.

So did you know that Twitter has simple keyboard shortcuts for common tasks?

Imprint these on your brain to save mouse clicks – and precious time:

  • n – new tweet
  • f – favorite tweet
  • r – reply
  • t – retweet
  • cmd + enter – send tweet

Some of these work in popular Twitter apps such as TweetDeck too!

Cut through the noise with Twitter influencer lists

Retweeting and favoriting influencers’ tweets are powerful tactics, but how do you find them without getting lost in a river of content?

The trick is to create a small number of carefully-curated lists of Twitter influencers. Once you have a list, you can bookmark its URL and navigate directly to that page when you visit Twitter, avoiding your main feed altogether.

twitter-lists

Third-party tools such as TweetBe.at and Twitlistmanager make building Twitter lists very easy. And if you are following a specific hashtag – for example one related to a live event – the List Builder for Twitter Chrome extension can automatically create lists based on hashtag use.

If you really want to get fancy with lists, you can use Zapier to save tweets from influencers to a Google Spreadsheet. There, you can analyze them further and keep a real-time swipe file of inspiration for your own tweets.

Easily find shareable content with these new Buffer features

Most bloggers are aware of Buffer – it’s a fantastic tool for scheduling your Twitter (and other social media) updates in batches.

But Buffer also has a couple of less-well-known features that will help you discover high-quality content to share, normally a time-consuming task.

Similar to Twitter lists but centered around sites not users, the new “Feeds” feature connects your Buffer account to your favorite site’s RSS feeds so you can add articles to your queue with a single click.

Also, check out the Daily app (iOS only) – a Tinder-style app that uses the “swipe right if you like it, swipe left if you don’t” model to quickly share from a list of daily favorites curated by the Buffer team.

dailyapp

Strategy #2: Optimize Your Efforts

Discover the perfect time and frequency for your tweets

You wouldn’t be surprised to learn that tweeting when it’s the middle of the night for most of your readers is unlikely to get the best results. But working out the optimal time for your tweets is not so easy.

Tweet frequency also affects results. Track Social found that brands get much higher engagement – up to 300% – by tweeting more than once a day. But more than five tweets per day lowered engagement levels. Of course, this doesn’t mean that five tweets per day is the right formula for every blogger, but a sweet spot likely exists for your audience too.

Another school of thought says the more you tweet, the more clicks and retweets you’ll get overall, even if the average value per tweet is lower. Buzzfeed posts nearly 100 times per day and still gets 370 retweets per tweet – but they have a large following and will certainly be spending longer than 15 minutes a day on their efforts.

Here are a few tools to help you optimize the timing of your tweets.

  • Tweriod analyzes engagement on past tweets and suggests optimal times for posting. You can connect it to Buffer and automatically use Tweriod’s suggested times for queued tweets.
  • Hootsuite has an Autoschedule feature which uses an algorithm to decide when your tweets should be posted based on past history and other user data.

Use targeted tools to optimize other Twitter tasks

Adjusting your tweet timing and frequency are not the only ways to optimize your Twitter efforts.

You can supercharge various other Twitter tactics by getting smarter about where you focus your limited time.

Here’s how:

Strategy #3: Automate Common Tasks

Automation is the Holy Grail for the time-conscious Twitter user. Setting things up so you can gain followers and increase traffic without any additional manual effort on your part (beyond any initial configuration) is one of the best ways to scale your Twitter activity.

ifttt

Fortunately, you have no shortage of automation options.

The downside is that searching for the perfect set of automations is just another time suck, so find a few tools that work for you and ignore the rest.

The following list is a great place to start:

  • IFTTT: Create custom recipes to automate a variety of Twitter-related tasks, for example: add content from RSS feeds to Twitter or Buffer; automatically add users whose tweets you’ve favorited to a custom list; trigger an email when a important influencer posts a new tweet. (You can find more ideas here.)
  • SumAll: Get daily email reports about your Twitter activity and engagement.
  • Buzzsumo: Get a notification when a topic, person or brand is being tweeted about.
  • Mention: Track mentions of topics and people on Twitter and beyond. Get email updates on new mentions.
  • Evergreen Post Tweeter: Automatically tweet old posts on your blog using a WordPress plugin.
  • Nuzzel: Receive a daily email of content that your Twitter followers are talking about.
  • Timing App: Find out exactly how much time you spend on Twitter.

Your 15-Minute Daily Power Plan for Twitter

Now that you have all the tools you need to manage Twitter efficiently, it’s time to craft a 15-minute plan of action.

Here’s a template you can use to plan your own Twitter strategy, broken down minute by minute.

1 – 5: Check your Twitter notifications and reply to people who have questions. Check analytics in Buffer, Hootsuite or Twitter Analytics for yesterday’s wins. Apply those lessons to today. Specifically, look for tweets with a high number of clicks or retweets. If you’ve found something that works well, schedule it again and don’t be afraid to ask for a retweet from someone influential.

6 – 10: Check email alerts from Buzzsumo, Mention, Nuzzel, etc. Schedule tweets/retweets in Buffer and add relevant content ideas to your swipe file. Share your latest content with your best followers and ask them to share it. Pro tip: Make sure your Evergreen Post Tweeter schedule doesn’t overlap directly with your Buffer schedule. Use the data from Tweriod to optimize each.

11 – 15: Add content to your Buffer queue via RSS feeds. Add your own content and that of other influencers. Try to share content your followers won’t find elsewhere by regularly visiting relevant subreddits and forums. Use Hashtagify.me to add the best hashtags.

Are You Ready to Become a Twitter Minimalist?

In the real world, most bloggers take one of two paths with Twitter.

Either they launch themselves headfirst into every new Twitter strategy and try not to worry too much about all the time they’re spending (or maybe wasting) on social media.

Or they ignore Twitter altogether and simply try to suppress the fear that by doing so they’re making a huge mistake and missing out on tons of targeted traffic.

But a third path exists. Twitter minimalism.

The Twitter minimalist creates the perfect balance between effort and results.

They focus on just a few tactics. They get efficient with necessary manual tasks; they optimize to achieve better results; they automate to put their Twitter success on autopilot.

So why not invest a little time in creating your own 15-minute Twitter power plan?

Because when you do it right, a little effort can go a long way.

About the Author: Jimmy Daly is the content editor at Vero. Based in Tucson, Ariz., he is a runner, fitness nut and outdoorsman. Follow him on Twitter and Google+ for updates on email marketing, content, productivity and fitness.