Recently it struck me out of the blue. Every day, I am spending a ton of time on Social Networks, mainly Twitter and Facebook to connect with lots of new people. It is an integral part of our startup and helps us a great deal to get the word out.

Not everyone can do that. There are a lot of people for whom Social Media is only one part of their business. Sounds stupidly simple right?

So, I sat down and thought what would it be that gives you the best results if you only had 20 minutes everyday for Twitter? Which things can you cut out?

Here are a few pointers that I believe are most valuable based on our own data research and looking at the best Twitter users out there.

 

5 minutes: Consistently Post Great Tweets

To me, the most important part when it comes to a great presence on Twitter is to regularly post great content for your followers. Looking at the stream of the top Twitter marketers like @TweetSmarter, @MayemStudios or @MQTodd, this seems to be confirmed too. They simply go out of their way to Tweet the best content they can find for their followers and it has paid off greatly for them.

In order to get a consistent and regular stream of Tweets going every day and not spend more than 5 minutes, scheduling some Tweets is crucial. So, the way I go about it is to put about 5 Tweets into my Buffer every morning to be Tweeting over the whole day. Of course, there are a ton of other tools you can use to achieve the same:

 

5 minutes: Follow Relevant People

Aaron Lee, alias @AskAaronLee, one of the most prolific Twitter users there is, once said to me:

The best Twitter tool out there is the Twitter Follow Button

And I couldn’t agree more. For a lot of your efforts to pay off, it is vital to simply start following people I found. Now, of course, following people randomly through schemes or software might be a waste of time. Yet, there exist a lot of great directories you can go to in order to find relevant people.

 

Get 200% more clicks on Tweets

By Buffering Tweets, they are posted at optimal times giving you 2x more exposure.

For example, sites like Twellow, WeFollow or Listorious let you search people both by location and topic.

Another tip that helped me tremendously is to start following bloggers and commenters from blogs you frequently read. They can help you to build a very targetted and relevant following that you can reach out to at any time.

This doesn’t have to take up much time. Do a few directory searches based on your niche and hit the follow button. That’s it.

 

10 minutes: Reply, Connect and Reach Out

Now, the largest junk of time I believe should be spent in actual replying and reaching out to people. Interestingly, Dan Zarrella mentioned in his latest webinar, that this doesn’t necessarily increase clicks and reach.

My understanding here is very different. Measuring the value of individual connections you have built is hard. Yet, you will only be able to get it if you actively reach out and reply to people. What I found is that if you are in need, want to ask questions or simply participate in a healthy discussion on Twitter, yet have been a broadcaster all the time, it will be hard.

So spending your time building actual relationships that go beyond a quick “hi” can pay off greatly. Here are a few tips on how I go about reaching out to people if there are 10 minutes left:

  • Reply to people that retweeted you by checking out their bio and following them and making a thoughtful comment.
  • Reply individually to your new followers, by looking at their bio and finding something you really appreciate about what they do.
  • Answer a question someone asked in your Twitter stream
  • Simply browse through your stream, retweet thoughtfully and jump into conversations.

 

Image by b_d_solis

Your Results

Even by only spending about 20 minutes each day I believe you are set to increase exposure for yourself or your business greatly on Twitter. The most important part to understand is that you get comfortable dipping in and out of your Twitter stream. Don’t worry if you miss a Tweet or an @reply, for as long as you are committed to continue the conversation.

 

Get 200% more clicks on Tweets

By Buffering Tweets, they are posted at optimal times giving you 2x more exposure.

Following these steps, you have built a relevant following of people you know and respect. On top, you are able to provide them with great content day in day out. You can reach out to them for help or feedback at any time. You can do all this by spending 20 minutes only every day.

 

What do you think about this strategy? How are you spending most of your time on Twitter?

 

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Written by Leo Widrich

Co-founder and COO at Buffer. I enjoy working on company culture, customer development and marketing. For more personal posts, check out leostartsup.

  • Great post Leo. The awesome thing about using Buffer is that it really does help you tweet smarter. Whenever I’m reading an interesting article, all I have to do is hit the Buffer chrome extension. It’s really helping my startups twitter as well..

    • Great tips. Though I don’t really like scheduling tweets, it is a good way to make sure you are tweeting good content at optimal times. I would suggest combing your favorite blogs and sites relevant to your topic to find 10-12 articles and then schedule them about an hour apart.

      Eric Wheeler
      http://wheelerblogs.com/

  • I think this is a great strategy for those short of time. Heck, even though I have a lot of time, I should be doing this and save my time for other tasks, Twitter can consume a big part of your day if you don’t control yourself, lol. 

    I just started using HootSuite instead of TweetDeck and I am scheduling tweets way more now so I am active with great links through out the day. 

    • Hi Brankica,

      Great to see you here and yes, just like you say, this is all that the time it really has to take!

      Awesome, glad scheduling helps you to keep your Twitter stream consistent! 🙂

  • Thanks, some useful tips

    • Hi Karen, awesome, so glad the tips were useful! 🙂 

  • Clear-cut observation & sharp tips for the busy folks. I’m spending almost 200 mins/day on Social networks! 🙂 Still I can use these pointers which are valid in general. That’s the beauty of it, Leo. Thank you!

    • Hi @1af0fc460d587dd2240d885015867415:disqus , always a pleasure to see you here. Awesome, so glad even for a power Tweep like you these ideas are still useful and you are right, this is the beauty here! Everyone can succeed with it! 🙂 

  • Frances

    Another great post, Leo. I have a question: Is Buffer going to add a URL shortener? That would be great!

  • Nice point of view! Will try it!

  • ‘Only 20 minutes a day’ – I don’t think IMHO you can build solid relationships this way if all you do is automate & respond to any reactions. Opening up conversations, asking & answering questions will bring more visibility than a few automated tweets. I think if you take advantage of the serendipity of twitter you will have more success – online is just a replica of the physical world, but better. The water cooler moment, the exchange of news, the new found friends – it’s social and therefore should not be limited to 9-5. Making yourself identifiable as a person, for who you are and what you do is crucial to becoming known. If you must automate during Mon-Fri, 9-5 then my advice would be to network socially in the evenings & weekends and inbetween your ‘auto-tweets’ otherwise how will you build relationships?

    • Hi Lesley, I quite agree.  I make use of Buffer to re tweet articles I
      have found interesting and IMHO worthy of sharing.  Which I think is
      completely ok to automate.  But, as you say… its called ‘Social’
      Networking for a reason, so I go with your advice – I only automate mon –
      friday and 8-6, and it’s in addition to ‘me’ tweeting, network updating
      etc. 

      One interesting metric for you, buffer keeps stats on clicks, retweets
      etc … this was the most clicked on article I have retweeted.  LOL does
      that mean our work here is far from done 😉

  • Anonymous

    Leo & Joel,
    You two have done such a good job with buffer! Still loving it! Yesterday when I was teaching a class SM I had all the students sign up for buffer accounts and use for the rest of the day. They loved it!!! I always show everyone Buffer! 

    • @kimbagareen:disqus , wow, thanks so much for helping us spread the word. It is really amazing to see that Buffer is so useful for you and you are telling so many people about it! Let me know if I can ever be of help in the future! 🙂 

  • Daleaceron

    Very good points. I’ve been trying to figure out what can work best without “living” on Twitter and I like your approach.

    (Also I think you meant “chunk” : Now, the largest junk of time…)

  • Anonymous

    Great tips thanks. So important to engage and join conversations with youf followers

  • Buffer is most useful and this was all good advice, thanks 🙂

  • Great product. I like this… that said, while I think this is a very relevant post/theme, and while much of it sounds easy, I’m curious how it actually plays out. Question for @bufferapp:twitter : 5 minutes: Consistently Post Great Tweets.” Sounds easy. “Just put 5 tweets into my Buffer.” Where do the tweets come from? That has to take more than five minutes, no? Creating “Consistently Great Tweets” takes time. The posting is not my concern. The ideation, ensuring it’s relevant and accurate, getting it down to 140 characters (or less for retweeting/quotable tweeting) and THEN scheduling 

    • whoops… missed a bit: “and THEN scheduling”… takes more than five minutes, no? The process, I guess, can take 5, but only after you’ve taken the time to build enough content to use on the fly?

      • Anonymous

        Hi Mike, you are raising a fantastic point. I think you are right, at the start, it may take longer than 5 minutes. What I think though, after you know your favorite blogs and have your Twitter lists ready, you can quickly find some awesome content and pump 5 Tweets into your Buffer. I think the quality will still be high, yet it is very time efficient! 🙂

  • Ecoconexiones Scc

    I really love buffer it is simple and great! Thanks! 

  • Another great one, Leo! I admire your effort to make this all day task – off and on – take only 30 minutes. I’ve tried many times to keep it down to that, with little success. I don’t know if I’m just having too much fun, or I get really involved with some post’s idea, but 30 minutes is gone. I do have lots to show for it, but other projects loose this time. I’m going to faithfully try this method to see if I can actually keep it to 30 minutes. Thanks again for your suggestions!

  • Ann Crome

    Sounds relatevely straightforward to a new Twitter user with some useful links.

  • Thanks these tips can truly help the lean startups