At a networking talk I gave recently about social media, one of the questions I was asked was ‘how do you use things like Twitter without wasting so much time?’
First of all it’s important to have a focus in what you want out of using social media. It is very easy to go in without any idea of what you want to get out of it, so you watch and read everything that is going on, get sidetracked into areas that aren’t anything to do with you or your business, and before long an hour has gone by.
Whereas if your purpose is to find out more about your niche or subject that is relevant to you, you could post up statements or questions aimed to provoke an answer or feedback, follow like-minded or expert followers who could provide more information about your line of business, or even put up tweets that promote or explain your business (but a word of warning here, Twitter is about networking, not selling) so that interested tweeple might want to read it, retweet it and comment back.
I use TweetDeck to follow mentions of my username or any other keyword I have chosen, columns of interesting tweeple who I like to keep an eye on and experts/competitors you want to follow, and dip in now and again to see what’s going on. I give it about 30 seconds for anything to grab my attention, otherwise I go back to work.
If there is something worth-while, I participate by answering or retweeting what I think is applicable. I wait and read the main Twitter-stream for a while to see if anything comes from my contribution, and respond accordingly. Sometimes I go back to work for a quarter of an hour and then drop in again to see if there have been any more responses to earlier tweets, but again keeping my presence to a minimum.
This is my way of getting my work done, but still being aware of what is happening on Twitter within my pre-determined group of followers.
Alice Elliott works for AppleTree which is a marketing company for up and coming businesses who want someone to ‘get the job done’. She explores social networking for increasing the visibility of businesses online, and specialises in blogging, especially for beginners and those wishing to expand the use of their blogs.