Ten Minute Twitter Workout

Building your empire on Twitter in just 10 minutes a day

by Alicia Cowan 

lady-36446_640Would you believe me if I told you it only takes 10 minutes of daily Twitter action to get awesome results for your business?

It’s true. That’s all it takes. It’s a practice I’ve followed for over 2 years.

To be honest I had no choice. As my business grew (largely thanks to Twitter) I had to come up with a plan that would maintain and raise my profile in the least time possible.

Y’see, I’m just like you. It’s really just me in my business and I have big dreams of creating an online empire which means there’re always 1001 things to do. And, hanging out on Twitter is not high up on my list of priorities.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Twitter. It’s an amazing marketing tool for small, boot strapped businesses, and it has created many wondrous opportunities for me and my business – beyond my wildest dreams!

But there’s also a massive problem with Twitter…

It’s waaaay too much fun – a treasure trove of fascinating shiny distractions. If you’re not careful before you know it you’ve wasted a ton of time in the Twitter time suck. Oops!

So, how do I keep my tweeting down to just 10 minutes a day? I’ll tell you but first you need to know this…

What I’m sharing with you below is a guide. I don’t use this format religiously, but there is a common theme in the actions that I explain at the end of the article. That is the golden takeaway you need to understand to make Twitter really work for you.

Are you ready? Ok…let’s GO!

Action One: Read your mentions and replies, then respond!

Time: 2 minutes

Where: Visit your Interactions and Mention tab in the Connect area

This is BY FAR the biggest mistake that new users make on Twitter: Not replying to mentions or replies.

If someone replies or mentions you, re-tweets or favourites your tweet acknowledge them with a response.

You might receive a message from someone and think, ‘How nice!’ but if you don’t visibly respond that person won’t know it. Plus, you’re limiting the possibility of getting to know that person and them getting to know you.

Granted, you might not be able to keep this up long term but get into this 2 minute habit now because conversations are the first step to getting Twitter magic!

Not getting any mentions? Then you’re not having enough conversations. The remaining actions will help with that so keep reading…

Action Two: Check your new followers and make a connection

Time: 2 minutes

Where: In the Interactions tab in the Connect area

When someone follows you on Twitter it’s a big deal! Someone has looked you up, checked you out and decided they think you’re worth keeping in touch with. That means they are interested in what you have to say – who knows where that could lead!

First, check out their profile then send a reply thanking them for the follow. If you really want to make a great first impression, add a comment about their bio, a tweet you’ve seen in their stream or something to develop the connection further.

Action Three: Skim the messages in your Twitter stream or lists

Time: 3 minutes

Where: Your Home page or lists

It’s impossible to read every single tweet that comes your way. It’s tempting to begin with (it’s no wonder most people think Twitter takes so much time!) but you need to let that thought go. You’ve got FAR more important things to focus on, like building your magnificent empire.

Get into the habit of skim reading. I like to think that if I’m really meant to see a message, it will come back to me again one day. Remember, the universe has your back.

Spend your 3 minutes checking out what the people you’re connected with are posting. Make a point of replying and responding to and re-tweeting these tweets, even though they’re not directed specifically at you.

This is important. So many of my clients worry about jumping in and think that it might be seen as too forward or rude. It’s not. Remember, Twitter is an open platform and being the most sociable of the online networks, sharing tweets with strangers in expected. Providing you’ve got something valuable to add, tweet it.

To be on the safe side, avoid jumping in to a tweet conversation between two people, unless you already know each other. But seriously, what’s the worst that can happen..? Try it!

Action Four: Look for people beyond your Twitter stream

Time: 2 minutes

Where: Twitter Search, followers of friends, trending topics, a keyword or hashtag you follow

Expand your current Twitter community and reach out to someone you don’t know yet.

It’s very easy to stay within the cosy confines of your Twitter inner circle but if you’re using it to raise your profile and meet people who can help your business you need to reach out to others.

Look for connections outside of who you are following. Some key places to try are

  • Trending topics
  • A keyword or hashtag feed
  • Twitter search
  • People your connections, key people in your industry or mentors are tweeting with

Just as I suggested earlier; reply, respond or retweet posts that aren’t directed at you – use this same approach to connect with people you don’t know on Twitter.

Action Five: Share an update or two

Time: 1 minute

Where: Your tweet comment box

Last of all you want to send some tweets to all of your followers. This could be general chit chat, the weird and wonderful things you see as you go about your day, an interesting article, an inspiring quote or a really cool tip that will help others to enjoy their day a little better.

These ALL work really well. They’ll be appreciated by your followers and position you as someone worth knowing. But, if you want to get a conversation going on Twitter there’s an even better way…

Ask a question!

So, come on – tell us what you’re doing and instead of ending your tweet as a closed statement, ask:

‘what are you up to today?’

Show interest in your followers and encourage some interaction then watch the magic happen!

That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Of course not. What’s more, I’ve been over generous with the time I’ve given for each part. You can shoot off a reply or mention and share updates in seconds so there’s really no excuse for not doing this.

Have you spotted the common theme threading through these actions?

They are all pro-active.

There’s no lurking or hiding away in the corner. Each action involves reaching out, responding and approaching others: joining conversations, starting conversations, replying to and mentioning others (even if you don’t know them yet), re-tweeting, sharing information that your followers will enjoy and find useful.

In short: being visible.

If you want your Twitter time to be ultra productive, you have to be seen and sometimes that means stretching out of your comfort zone a little bit.

Afterall, isn’t that what it takes to build an empire?


profile pic 180x180Alicia Cowan is a social media strategist, consultant and trainer for small businesses, and creator of Twitter Brilliance, the most comprehensive Twitter marketing training programme available online.  Alicia combines her love of systems and marketing with straight talking clarity. Finding simple ways for her clients to attract more business using social media, blogging and email marketing in an authentic and practical way is what she gets excited about.

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  1. Great article! Until now I have tweeted randomly and never really used twitter very consciously. As I sad: Until now! Definitely trying your 10 minute twitter workout! Thanks!

    • Too often we approach it as down time – which is fine unless it’s really business time…

      I’d love to hear how you get on with the workout and what difference it makes to your tweeting. Good luck!

      • Thank you Alicia,

        Already I’m loving this approach; I am not wasting time and have made contact with some very interesting people, also my number of followers have increased quite quick :)

  2. Love it! Great job Alicia, and smart pick for an article Natasha.
    I was posting my updates on Twitter 1st, and then doing everything else. I like the idea of posting the update last, so that’s what appears as my most current message.
    And yes, you are right, Twitter CAN cause us to play around and waste a ton of time (it is fun!)…that’s why I actually use a kitchen timer when I’m there…to be sure I don’t get distrated and waste time. I use the timer when I do other tasks as well. As a mom of 2 little ones, and an entrepreneur, I just don’t have too much time to waste.
    Great post once again, really resonated with me.

    • Thanks Nelly! Your timer idea is spot on. Allowing a specific time frame and knowing you’re going up against the clock really helps keep focus. Thanks for sharing your tip with us. :)

    • First time commenting on a post like this EVER. Thank you for the concise info it is extremely helpful and I look forward to implementing it today. I kept going back and forth with whether or not to start in on twitter in addition to facebook and a possible blog… It is a realistic daily addition to my daily schedule. THANK YOU for making it that way : )


  3. nvorompiova /

    @Wietske: Sooo happy to hear that!!

    @Nelly: Wonderful tips, Nelly! I agree, the kitchen timer can do magic :)

  4. Thank you, Alicia. I have spent so much of my time on Facebook that Twitter seems like a foreign county to me. I need a little “picture” tutorial to even find the tabs you mention but I’m willing to to work it! xxxooo

    • Great, Sue!

      If you’re still finding Twitter a little hard to grasp, spend that 10 minutes a day milling around and getting used to the platform – you’ll get it in no time. :)

  5. I especially liked the tip “sharing tweets with strangers is expected” I just recently jumped on the Twitter bus so I have only 1 follower. Will report back here how it goes thanks to your amazing and still doable tips.

  6. Natasha,
    Thank you so much for having Alicia guest post on your blog today. I truly look forward to receiving both of your newsletters in my email each week. It is so helpful to have an exact list of what to do in the limited amount of time I have on Twitter each day. It’s really empowering and makes me feel like I really can get all of this stuff done. Thank you.


    • nvorompiova /

      Thank you for such a heartwarming comment, Raki! So pleased to hear that you find the content of our sites useful and actionable! :)

    • Thanks Raki – so pleased you found this useful and stopped by to let us know! :)

  7. Thank you for another great article on how to do Twitter. I have shared on both my Facebook page and Twitter feed, as although I am still learning the art of using it to its full advantage. I hear so many other small businesses say they just don’t get it. I understand the getting completely distracted and occasionally, I think that is a good thing, as you sometimes end up finding new and interesting people that you would have never interacted with.

    Alicia – thank you for writing in a style that is easily understood for even the new users of Twitter.

    • Thanks for sharing the post around, Amanda!

      I love what you say about getting distracted being a good thing. You are completely right. It’s often when you’re ‘switched off’ that you find the most interesting connections…

  8. Golden system. I am in to implement. Thank you.

  9. As someone just about to take that plunge into Twitter (nervously about to set up the acct), this came at the perfect time for me. I’d been wondering how much of my time this would take up (knowing how much Facebook takes up already) and I’m going to print this out and tape it to my wall so I can keep on the Twitter straight and narrow! Do you offer a similar strategy for Facebook or Pinterest?


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