How to be a Twitter Pro in 15 minutes a day

published on March 3, 2011 in Social Media

This is the second guest post from Kathy from CPA Site Solutions, providers of websites for accountants in the U.S.A. If you want her to write for your blog, check out her bio at the end of the post.

No time to properly manage your Twitter account? Then read on.

If you’ve managed to set up a Twitter account and started following people, you might have noticed something:

Twitter can be a huge time suck.

Twitter newbies end up reading each single tweet in their timeline and discovering that the majority of them are junk.

So how do you participate in the Twitter culture without wasting all your time?

Simple: with lists.

Different Follows for Different Functions

How do lists work? When you follow someone, think about their relationship to you. Are they a friend? a colleague? a publisher? a vendor?

Once you determine their “category”, click on the “list” icon (see circled icon in the figure below) and choose “Create a List” from the drop-down menu.

Twitter lists button

Twitter lists button

You can make whatever lists you like. Here are some examples of the lists our clients find helpful (note that blank spaces aren’t allowed in the list title, so you need to use hyphens or underscores):

  • clients
  • prospects
  • accounting-industry
  • technology
  • friends
  • colleagues
  • finance-news
  • marketing
  • vendors

Lists Save Time and Energy

If you find that just the idea of getting on Twitter exhausts you, then lists might help. Just a few relevant lists mean you can bypass your time line altogether. Then you spend less time staring wearily at your time line and more time learning and interacting.

There may be some lists you check every day – like “finance-news” and “friends” – and others you keep up with once a week or so – like “technology” or “marketing.”

Lists on Twitter = Targeted Research

One of the best aspects of Twitter is its function as a news compiler. When you need ideas for an article or blog post, head over to your Twitter account to see what folks are posting about.

Without lists, you’re stuck going through the time line and seeing too many posts about who’s having soup for lunch. But with lists, you can go straight to the promising tweets.

Follow for Reputation – Without the Bloat

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the question of whom to follow on Twitter.

The first says to only follow those who add value, like news publications, innovative corporations, or important folks in your field.

The second says to follow anyone who follows you.

As a service professional, it behooves you to go with the second school of thought and follow anyone who follows you. This wouldn’t be true of all businesses, such as publications, large companies like At&T, or even a grocery store chain.

But because you’re in the business of building relationships with current and potential clients, you can’t afford to ruffle anyone’s feathers by not following them back.

With lists, you can follow as many as you like and not worry that your time line will be bloated beyond usefulness. If you follow someone who followed you but you don’t know who they are, just throw them into the “prospects” list. (And if that person truly looks like spam, don’t put them on a list at all, and let them languish in your time line.)

Don’t Let Twitter Take Over

Once you have lists in place, you should be able to dip in to Twitter for just minutes a day, get what you need, and leave. Just 15 minutes a day should be plenty.

Happy (efficient) tweeting!

Kathy O'ConnellKathy O’Connell is a Certified Public Accountant. She’s also a founding owner, editor, staff writer, and CFO of CPA Site Solutions, a company in Vermont, U.S.A. that designs accounting and CPA websites. If you want Kathy to write for your blog, email


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Redkathy March 4, 2011 at 2:57 am

Great advice! Twitter lists, facebook friend list, wherever lists are available they serve as a time saving purpose.
Redkathy also wrote St Patrick’s Day Family Food Fun


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