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Twitter Lessons Learned from Covey

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Inspired by the most excellent, but sadly departed Dr Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People), this is Covey’s Third Habit; Put First Things First, in which he explores how to prioritise tasks and activities in order to be most effective.

We use these tools in our own business and thought it would be interesting to apply Covey’s Four Quadrants to how effective Tweeters spend time on Twitter.

Quadrant One: Important and Urgent

Covey describes this quadrant as crises that demand our attention, pressing problems and deadline driven projects.

In Twitter terms these are replies to tweets and thanking people for retweets, mentions and Follow Friday shout-outs or requests for information by journalists or followers interested in doing business with you. Taking part in hashtag chats which happen at a given time for a limited period. These are urgent. These are important to the relationships you’re forming on Twitter or managing leads you might have generated from your efforts.

It’s important to your business and/or your Twitter relationships that these are done and are done now.

Quadrant Two: Important but Not Urgent

The most important quadrant, filled with activities which are strategic: preparation, prevention, planning activities and content. Creating great content that your audience will love and want to share to promote your brand.

Time spent here is engaging with your audience, replying to their tweets, retweeting their content, establishing connections with new tweeters you’ll come to value.Learn Social Media with a Pro

Quadrant Three: Urgent but Not Important

Covey describes this quadrant as those constant interruptions which don’t progress you toward your goals.

For me, I sit those spam DMs, spam messages and links, responding to automated followers to say “hi” and getting no response.

Quadrant Four: Not Urgent and Not Important

What’s left in quadrant four? Trivia. Being busy for the sake of being busy. Wasting time engaging in pointless conversations which will get you no closer to your business goals. Following and unfollowing hundreds of accounts every day just so as they’ll follow you back and your follower count will increase.

Taking part in trending hashtags which aren’t relevant to your business or audience. OK, guilty as charged on the hashtag games – what? I have to have a little fun in my own time!


Quadrant - Boarder and Logo


Twitter Takeaways

Quadrant One is where you’ll most likely spend most of your time, responding to inbound tweets and engaging in timely hashtag discussions and hopefully following leads your efforts created.

But every spare moment from this activity should be committed to Quadrant Two; creating content your audience will value, love and share. Not just following, but replying, engaging, retweeting, discussing. Building relationships with those in your network. The more time you spend on activities in Quadrant Two, the more impressive your performance will be in Quadrant One – it’ll prevent some of those pressing problems becoming quite so pressing or demanding in the first place.

Time spent on Quadrant Three activities should be avoided at all costs. Those spam followers? One look at those numbers and you can spot them a mile off. Don’t even bother. Just ignore them. They’re in it for the numbers. They don’t know what you know, that Twitter is all about relationships and engagement not having as many followers as Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber.

So what of Quadrant Four? Leisure. Have a bit of fun. Of course, have a bit of fun, but have a bit of fun with people you want to engage with. But wait, that’s Quadrant Two! Yes. It is. There’s nothing valuable for you here. Stay away.

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