The No. 1 complaint from businesses new to social media is: “I just don’t have time.” What these people don’t realize is that social media doesn’t always require a huge commitment, especially Twitter.As Facebook constantly changes its algorithm and increases preference for promoted posts and ads, turn to Twitter for free and effective small business social networking. Your plan of attack involves two main tools: Hootsuite and Twitter Lists.
Once you’ve mastered this setup, your daily Twitter routine will winnow down to 10 minutes in no time.
1. Set up your Hootsuite account
Hootsuite is a free social media dashboard. There are others available, but this one is my favorite. Once you’ve linked your Twitter to Hootsuite, you can add streams, social networks (which we’ll ignore now) and tabs. Add these streams to your first tab: Scheduled Tweets, Sent Tweets, Mentions, Direct Messages and My Tweets, Retweeted. Simply click “Add Stream” and follow the prompts.
2: Create Twitter Lists
Jump over to Twitter.com and navigate to your settings (the gear symbol in the upper-right corner). Click Lists > Create list. From here, curate public and private lists to organize the type of content you want to see by topic, user, hashtag, etc. Organize your lists by theme, and choose specific Twitter users to fill each one.
Be sure to create one secret “Important Connections” list that will hold all the smart people you wish to network with on a daily basis. Other list ideas include “Clients,” “Super Fans,” “Industry Leaders,” “Favorite Blogs,” “Social Media Superstars,” “Chefs I love” and the like. Get specific here.
3: Add your Twitter Lists to Hootsuite
Create a new tab on your Hootsuite dashboard by clicking the black plus sign. Label it “Important.” This tab will be your second stop in your new Twitter routine. In this tab, click “Add Stream,” then “Lists.” From your lists, choose a few of your most pressing streams, including your “Important Connections” feed. Create a few new tabs and organize your remaining Twitter lists by topic. Four streams fit in each tab comfortably, but you can add up to 10.
4: Add #hashtag streams to Hootsuite
Create a new tab called “Hashtags” and fill it with at least four important hashtags you follow. Don’t forget about industry tweetups that would be good for you to keep an eye on. If you’re a writer, follow the #amwriting hashtag. If you’re a fashion blogger, follow #stylechat, which is an industry tweetup. Under “Add a stream,” search for the hashtag that is relevant to your business or your brand, and create a stream. If you’d like, add relevant hashtag streams to your your themed tabs, as well.
5: Begin your 10-minute per day routine
Log in to Hootsuite and check your first tab, which includes any mentions or tweets you’ve received. Respond to these first. Now check your “Important” tab. Like, respond to, or retweet anything that interests you from your important connections or your brand’s super fans. Now check your hashtag tab. Is there anything interesting going on in your industry? Use that inspiration to write up a few new posts. Use Hootsuite’s “auto-schedule” feature, which optimizes your posts to publish at the next high-traffic time. They’ll appear in your “Scheduled Tweets” stream on your first tab.
If you have time left over, browse your other streams for fun. The more you practice this routine, the faster you’ll get. If you use relevant hashtags, tweet interesting content, respond to tweets and retweet others, you’ll gain a following with only 10 minutes per day in no time.