The Single Best Tip for Using Twitter

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

There are plenty of places online to get tips for using Twitter effectively. (I’ve given you some links at the end of this post.)

But today I’m going to give you just ONE tip. I think it’s the first and most important thing you can do to make your Twitter experience manageable, effective, and even fun. Here it is:

Use Hootsuite.

 (Click for link to Hootsuite.)


Hootsuite is a third-party app that allows you to organize all the people you’re following  into easy-to-read columns. In the photo above, you can see a few of the columns on my Hootsuite. The first is “Mentions” so I can easily see who mentions me, and respond to them. My next column is called “Important” and it’s where I have the business and publishing Tweeters that I want to keep an eye on. If I only have a couple of minutes, I only need to look at this column and I can ignore the rest.

I have several more columns. One is Literary Agents, where I follow about 80 other agents. Another column is “Simplicity” because there are a handful of minimalism/simplicity bloggers that I follow. I have a separate column for my clients, and another for publishers. You can set up your columns any way you like to make it easier for you.

Hootsuite automatically shortens links, and it also allows you to easily pre-schedule tweets.

Why Hootsuite and not Tweetdeck?

I used Tweetdeck for three years and was a huge fan. But I switched to Hootsuite this year for two major reasons:

• You can add other social networks to your Hootsuite display, thereby managing Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc., all in one place.

• Most importantly, Hootsuite has well-functioning mobile apps. My Hootsuite account stays synced across my laptop, iPhone and iPad. This is an incredibly useful function. Tweetdeck has announced that it is pulling the plug on all its mobile apps this May.

If you’re not using Hootsuite (or at least Tweetdeck), you may be having a hard time getting the most out of Twitter, and there’s a good chance you’re completely flummoxed by it. Hootsuite makes it easy and efficient.

What app do you use for Twitter? What recommendations do you have for the rest of us?



The Single Best Tip for Using Twitter… so says @Rachelle Gardner. Click to Tweet.

If you’re not using Hootsuite, you may not get the most out of Twitter. Click to Tweet.


Here are some links to Twitter tips:

A whole treasure trove of articles – from Author Media

The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter – from Michael Hyatt

How to Become a Twitter Ninja in less than 30 Minutes a Day – from Michael Hyatt

How to Use Twitter – Tips for Bloggers – from Problogger

9 Top Twitter Tips You Can Start Using Today – from Forbes





40 Responses

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  1. I use Hootsuite, but I have to admit I should be more consistent with it. Thanks for this reminder and for the great links on how to use Twitter effectively!

    Recently, I have tried this approach to social media. I designate a certain amount of time a day for it. (I don’t want to be swallowed up by it, never to be seen again by my family!)I try one new strategy a day. Even one small thing a day adds up.

  2. Jeanne T says:

    I’ve heard of Hootsuite, and I have friends who use it. Thank you for explaining the benefits of Hootsuite. I like Twitter, but it’s still a bit of a mystery to me. It seems like Hootsuite can help me to lasso in all the tweets I receive. Thanks for explaining this, Rachelle.

  3. lisa says:

    I don’t use Hootsuite. Thanks for this information, it sounds like something I need to check out.

    I did start using buffer. (I can pre-schedule my tweets using this. It makes sharing articles that you read and enjoy as easy as a click of the buffer button.) I find it very helpful. You can also link your tweets to show on facebook (I try to not to post everything on facebook, so I just use it for twitter.)

    I have to admit, keeping all this stuff straight is exhausting. I just read an article with about 100 technologies I had never heard of emerging in the social media world!

  4. Heather says:

    I have a hootsuite account but never really saw the need for it, but after your post I might give it a try again. I have an Android phone, so I don’t think the app is quite as refined for it as for iphone. But I wanted the bigger screen for drawing on…

  5. I’ve downloaded HootSuite but continue to use TweetDeck because of its simplicity (although I have to admit that I ditched the ‘new, improved’ version and went back to the older one). However, between your advice and the rumor that TweetDeck will no longer be supported at some point in the future, I guess I’ll have to try once more to master HootSuite. Thanks for the info and the encouragement.

  6. I do use Hootsuite and LOVE it!

    It saves me so much time to go ahead and set my blog updates for the week and even schedule retweets. 🙂

    Good tip, Rachelle! Definitely recommended.

  7. Thank you! I have been trying to find a way to sift through the noise on my twitter feed when I haven’t got much time (and to reduce the amount of time I spend on there when I should be editing!)
    Am trying to figure HootSuite out now which hopefully will be a good investment of my time! 🙂

  8. I was using Tweetdeck for a while, but never really understood how to use it effectively. I found it more confusing than helpful. I’m going to check out HootSuite, as I really want to use Twitter more effectively and am hoping a technology dummy like me can figure it out. 🙂

    Thanks for the tip.

  9. Thank you for this. Maybe this will make Twitter more comprehensible for me. Somehow I missed that train, and now I just don’t get it. And I’m a young person, too!

  10. Donna Pyle says:

    Use it. LOVE it. Saves me tons of time and keeps me well informed. A must have!

  11. Keli Gwyn says:

    I switched from Tweetdeck to HootSuite over a year ago and have been very happy with it.

  12. Before I began using HootSuite, I was glued to my laptop and Twitter page, leaving little time to write – which was the reason for having the Twitter account in the first place. Now I spend 2 hours each week lining up my tweets, respond when spoke to and scan my page here and there. My writing time has increased ten-fold! Love, Love, LOVE HootSuite!

  13. I use Tweetdeck for Twitter parties and following a single hashtag, but I use BufferApp to schedule my tweets and FB page posts. Scheduling is key for me; otherwise I think I’d have to live on social media.

    My husband is a Hootsuite devotee; if Tweetdeck goes the way of Google Reader, I’ll be joining him.

  14. I use tweetdeck… but you might just have me convinced to make the switch! I haven’t been as active on twitter as I used to be as I’m trying to manage my online time better (i.e. not be attached to my computer 75% of the day so i can actually do things like *gasp* take care of my family…) so this seems like it could be a SUPER useful tool!

  15. Jenny Leo says:

    The timing of this post could not be more perfect. I just launched a new Twitter account and am flailing like a flounder. Thanks!

  16. Dale Rogers says:

    I finally learned to use the “Lists” option that Twitter offers. It has helped tremendously with the increasing number of people I follow. If I want to see someone’s tweets all at once, I go to that person’s page.

  17. J. F. Smith says:

    I’m an avid Twitter user. I just signed up for Hootsuite because of this and I swear it’s making my eyes cross! I too make use of the Twitter Lists – that way, I can zero in on what content I’d like to see very quickly.

  18. I’ve been a Tweetdeck fan, but am not happy with the newest version.

    OK…I’m giving HootSuite a try…I already love the ability to switch easily from one account to another…I just haven’t figured out the # and column stuff yet. Tomorrow’s project!

    Thanks Rachelle for the great advice…and always helping us (authors and “pre-authors”) stay on top of the social media maze!

  19. Lanny says:

    My question is: how important is it for a budding writer to have a twitter account? I don’t (FB, yes)and I hadn’t planned on getting one; but if it affects my potential audience I’ll swallow the bullet.

  20. Thanks for the headsup on Hootsuite! I don’t use Twitter as much as I like, but looking forward to it. Maybe Hootsuite will help motivate me.

  21. Thank you. I’ve needed something like this 🙂

  22. Larry says:

    No one has offered their Twitter handle yet?

    On a blog post about social media, no one has sought to further their followers?

    Having publicly stated my disdain for social media, methinks only I have a free pass on this, my fellow Tweeples. 🙂

  23. Rachelle,
    Love your use of “flummoxed”
    Jumping on Hootsuite right now
    Thanks for ramping up my use of Twitter

  24. Peter DeHaan says:

    Thanks for the recommendation.

  25. Sue Harrison says:

    Thank you, Rachelle. I have a tendency to come to each new app or type of social media with a great deal of kicking and screaming. Your blog post helped me shut my mouth and still my feet! Hootsuite here I come.

  26. I started using Hootsuite a long time ago, then switched to Tweetdeck about two years ago because I wanted an app I could keep open but without keeping my browser open when I wrote. Sadly, the new Tweetdeck (thanks, Twitter. <–heavy sarcasm) doesn't allow me to minimize it to the taskbar, and with other changes, I'm not happy with it anymore.

    Does Hootsuite still require the browser to be open or is it now a separate app? I can't find that information on the website.

  27. Juliette says:

    I like the way Tweetdeck has new Tweets pop up in the corner of the screen while working, which is the only way I keep up with Twitter – does anyone know if Hootsuite (or another service) does something similar?

  28. Thanks, Rachelle! Now that I’m building my Twitter following bit by bit (Melinda V Inman @ShowKnowGrow)(there’s the requisite mention), it’s time to organize. You provided a clear and simple how-to. Grateful!

  29. Okay, I’ll try it. Even though I have no desire to learn how to use yet it–and it looks so confusing–I’m holding my breath and diving in. If it’ll make Twitter easier to manage, then I need it.

  30. Monika says:

    I downloaded HootSuite thanks to your post, and so far I LOVE it. This is going to make things so much easier, thanks!

  31. Lynn Rush says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE HootSuite. Love that you can add the other medias. I was also with TweetDeck before I found HootSuite. 🙂 My character has a Twitter account, and I love how easily I can “post” as her and interact with readers. It’s super fun!

  32. Lori Lipsky says:

    I appreciate the recommendation. Maybe it’s time for me to try out HootSuite, too.

  33. benzeknees says:

    I signed up for Hootsuite to try to get better organized. I seem to spend too much time trying to keep up with what’s important to me because I had no way of sorting it all out. Thanks for the recommendation!
    BTW, when will be doing the second book in your series?

  34. Ok —are email and FB dead? How is everyone keeping up w/ all the tweeting, blogging etc. and still writing? Am I just a tech idiot or a frustrated newby?

  35. Dan Erickson says:

    I just got started with hootsuite. I ‘m still experimenting with it. I haven’t been able to get Google+ on my iPad version.

  36. This comes at an opportune time. I returned to tweet deck after a long absence and discovered it had a new new which I don’t care for and which I’m having a hard time negotiating. Thanks Rachelle

  37. Bernice says:

    Thank you! I signed up for Hootsuite awhile ago, but haven’t used it for a long time. Guess it’s time to cross over the Great Divide and get serious 🙂

  38. I love my Hootsuite! Got both my crit partners hooked on it too. It’s so easy to lay stuff out and manage multiple accounts all in one place. Still fine-tuning my Twitter account columns.

    It’s worth the effort to figure it out and play with it. I don’t use it much for Facebook because I have my news feed fine-tuned to the point where Hootsuite can’t display it how I want it.

  39. I need a how-to. Don’t know what to give it access to in setting it up. Trying hard to figure it out. Feeling kinda stupid here.