Aug 14, 2009

Using Twitter Power Tools to Improve Your Social Media Productivity

Now that the hype has settled and the new website smell has faded, let’s take a look at Twitter and how to maximize it’s effectiveness via third party Twitter tools.  These tools come in various forms; from websites, desktop apps to mobile phone applications, there are many ways to get your tweets in order.

Seesmic Desktop, along with Tweetdeck, is one of the exciting Adobe Air desktop apps to try for Twitter.Seesmic Desktop, along with Tweetdeck, is one of the exciting Adobe Air desktop apps to try for Twitter.

Multi-Account Management

Twitter is a great tool, but their website is pretty simple – and that has it’s pros and cons.  The pros being the ease of using it.  For casual Twittering, it handles most of what you need.  But what if you have a personal Twitter account and a work Twitter account – or even more Twitter accounts to promote various aspects of your business.  Now having various browsers open to manage all those accounts at once is not efficient – time for a tool that allows you to manage multiple accounts at once in one user interface.  Their are numerous choices out there, but the ones I recommend looking into the most are HootSuite.com, TweetLater.com, TweetDeck, Seesmic Desktop and Twhirl.  All these tools are fantastic to easily post a tweet from different accounts without switching browsers or logging in and out of the Twitter website.

Beautiful interface, great features, lots of fun to use - HootSuite is a hoot!Beautiful interface, great features, lots of fun to use – HootSuite is a hoot!

Following more than a few hundred people on Twitter but have only a handful whose tweets you really want to read?  TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop let you group those you follow into smaller more manageable lists.  You could create a list just of family members and friends, just of business contacts or whatever other criteria you wish.  Then you can just view one of these lists so it is easily to see these posts without them getting lost in the Twitter stream.

One of the biggest problems I have with Twitter is having the time to Tweet.  My day is busy and I can’t spend my time at work managing my Tweets.  This is where TweetLater.com and HootSuite.com shine.  You can load up a number of interesting tweets when you have 15 minutes available and schedule these tweets to get spread out throughout the day.  Now you can look like you’re busy tweeting throughout the day!  Busy Twitterers are more likely to gain more followers and get more visibility within their current Twitter network.  HootSuite.com even allows you to track stats of your post’s links so you can find out how many people are clicking on the links you are sharing.

Manage Followers/Unfollows

When you get to hundreds of followers, at some point you’ll realize you are following a lot of people you don’t really need to be following.  Maybe you followed them simply because they followed you.  But their posts have nothing to offer you or are so infrequent you never see them.  You try and track them down in your followers list, but all that scrolling through pages is not an effective use of your time.  With a tool like Twitter Karma, you can easily see all your followers and those you are following on one page.  And unlike the Twitter website, you can see at a glance if the following is mutual.  What’s that, that person you were thinking of unfollowing is not following you anymore anyway – Twitter Karma is a good way to find those tricky individuals that follow you first to get you to follow you back only to then unfollow you afterwards to make their numbers look better.

Twitter Karma is an easy way to manage your friends and followers on Twitter.Twitter Karma is an easy way to manage your friends and followers on Twitter.

Grade Your Performance

What is your influence on Twitter?  How do you rank overall?  Hubspot has a clever little tool to help you get an idea of your level of influence on Twitter.  Go to http://twitter.grader.com to see how you stack up.  This is mostly for fun, but you can pick up some tips on increasing your Twitter influence and find other Twitter users of interest in your area.  Best of all, it gives you a goal to try and beat which encourages more Twitter activity.

Secure Your Tweets

You have to have a backup plan for when things go bad.  That Twitter Fail Whale could surface at any moment and eat your tweets and followers.  Stories have been told of users accounts getting wiped out, either in full or partially, for no other reason than a Twitter technical issue.  So, if you are investing valuable time in your Twitter account, then it makes sense to get it backed it just like any other valuable data you have.  A tool to do this easily is TweetBackup.com.

Share Media

Yep, you can do more than just share 140 characters on Twitter.  The most well know media sharing tool for Twitter is TwitPic which lets you share photos.  TwitVid.io is a newer one that lets you share video.  The video you share can be an uploaded video or one you take on the spot from your computer’s webcam.  You login to TwitVid.io using your Twitter login and post you video to Twitter directly from the TwitVid.io website.  Another cool service is TwitDoc.com which allows you to share files on Twitter.  It works in the same manner as TwitVid.io, but it also has a Desktop Application available.  Say you want to post a PDF document of a business flyer up for your followers to see, TwitDoc.com allows this – just make sure if you’re on the receiving end of a TwitDoc that it’s from a trusted source.

TwitVid.io - a good site to share video on Twitter.TwitVid.io – a good site to share video on Twitter.

Take Your Tweets With You

On the go a lot?  Have a smart phone?  Then get a Twitter application for your phone so you can Twitter from anywhere.  I can only speak for iPhone apps as that’s the phone I use, but I’m sure if your phone is smart, it has a Twitter app available.  The iPhone Twitter app I like best is TwitterFon.  It is easy to use and even ties into TwitPic if I want to tweet a photo from my phone.  Many of these apps are free, so try a few and decide for yourself.

Promote via Twitter

Got a great blog post or webpage?  Use TweetMeme.com to make it easier for your viewers to retweet the content by placing a TweetMeme “retweet” button on your blog or webpage.  If a viewer likes your info, they just need to click the “retweet” button to broadcast the content to their followers on Twitter.  In addition, your TweetMeme retweets get tracked and if you get enough viewers clicking on your TweetMeme retweet button you will get extra publicity on the TweetMeme website (can you say “Digg.com”).

Build Community

If you really want to connect with your Twitter community, try Mr. Tweet.  This is a great tool for two reasons; 1) you can recommend other Twitterers (people love getting recommendations) and 2) you can get recommendations of other Twitterers that you may wish to follow but aren’t yet.  When you recommend someone on Mr. Tweet, it is recorded on the site and you can also have your recommendation tweeted on Twitter.  Also, Mr. Tweet only looks to recommend people you should follow that have recommendations from others you already follow – in other words, recommendations from Mr. Tweet are really recommendations from those you already know on Twitter.  This leads to having a higher quality of overall friends in your Twitter stream.

I pity the fool who don't use Mr. Tweet.
I pity the fool who don’t use Mr. Tweet.

Got More?

This is a very short list of all the Twitter-related tools that exist.  You may find some that work best for you differ from this list – if you do, tell me what it is and how you’re using it?

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