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January 12, 2011

Picking Twitter Tools for Your Business

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Social media is not yet a science and it’s even sometimes difficult to find the logic in it all, so proven theories on Twitter tools, unfortunately, do not exist. But, you can do research, apply deductive reasoning, test and form hypotheses about which tools will work best for your business.

There are hundreds of “top Twitter” this and “top Twitter” that lists roaming around, and it can be a little overwhelming. So, here are a couple tips on how you can whittle those lists down into something manageable to experiment with.

Internet marketers: You can also brush up on your knowledge of Twitter tools so you can best advise clients on what will work for them.

Chocolate Tools

Understand the Genres of Twitter Tools

New Twitter tools come and go so quickly these days, it’s sometimes hard to keep up. First, identify what you want to do with your Twitter account(s), then seek out the tools that can help you do it.

Some Twitter tools perform very specific functions, while others address several objectives at once. Just some of the things Twitter apps can help you with are:

  • Managing Twitter followers to see who is following you that you aren’t following back and vice versa.
  • Directories for finding people so you can engage in the communities that matter most to your business.
  • Managing Twitter productivity to streamline your Twitter usage outside of the traditional Twitter user interface.
  • Managing your brand on Twitter through design and brand tracking to ensure your business is putting its best foot forward.
  • Searching and aggregating current or popular topics and trends to see what people are talking about.
  • Sending images and/or video on Twitter to make the experience even more interactive.

Start Reading User Reviews

You should apply the same techniques to choosing Twitter tools as you would to choosing a restaurant, for example.

You’re going to want to find candid reviews about the tools from the people that have used them before, so you don’t waste your time.

A site that I have found really helpful in choosing Twitter tools based on functionality and user reviews is OneForty.com.

Toolkits - OneForty.com

This site allows you to search for Twitter apps based on many of the functionalities I mentioned above, plus it has reviews from people who have used them.

It also suggests similar apps based on the one you are researching, and it gives developer information, press mentions and related tweets about the tool you’re looking at.

It even has an area on the site dedicated to Twitter Toolkits, where users can share their arsenal of Twitter weapons with readers (see Toolkits to the left; click on image to view page).

When you’re poking around for tools, remember that some have free and premium options, where you’ll have to pay for the upgraded service.

If you do your research, oftentimes you can find free tools that offer the same functionality that some of the other tools charge for.

As some tools gain popularity, we might see them beginning to charge for their services, so get in on the good apps while you can.

Begin Testing

Once you’ve found some Twitter tools that look good for your business, get in there and start experimenting with them. You’ll likely find out if the tool is working for you with a couple weeks of continued usage.

You may only need a tool that automated tweets for you, for example, or you might be the kind of business that is looking for analytics so you can take Twitter usage to the next level.

As I said before, some Twitter tools address many of these functions in one. HootSuite, for example, just won the Best Social Media Management Tool award from the 4th annual Mashable Awards at the beginning of January.

Hootsuite manages more than just Twitter though, it can also manage up to five social networks for free.

If you’re looking for something strictly Twitter-focused to manage it on a high level, many of us here use SocialOomph and TweetDeck.

And why not give back to the community once you’ve experimented a bit? Spread the word about the tool, and tell people what did and didn’t work for you by leaving reviews on OneForty.com.

If you have any more tips, please leave a comment below. Tweet on, people!





8 responses to “Picking Twitter Tools for Your Business”

  1. Grace Morris writes:

    Wow, there are more social media tools then I ever knew about! One that I personally like experimenting with is FourSquare. And I’ve heard businesses can do some pretty cool and innovating things.

    I read about it in a blog where a restaurant used FourSquare to drive traffic on a particular day. Via Twitter they saw a lot of their followers used FourSquare so they researched how FourSquare worked. Then they identified what the significance of the badges were, found one that was intriguing to them and decided to use that badge as the basis for their campaign. They sent out an invite via Twitter announcing the day and time for the event, and that if X number of people show up then they will all obtain this badge. Even FourSquare got involved to promote. It was the “Swarm” badge which means more than 50 people check-in at same place and same time. The turnout was unbelievable because the number of people that “checked-in” during that period of time was about half the total number of people that use FourSquare in that one city alone.

    Just found the link for the story from the blog, here it is:
    http://blog.steffanantonas.com/case-study-how-to-use-foursquare-to-draw-a-crowd-into-your-restaurant.htm

  2. Tihomir Petrov writes:

    Very good! I think that via twitter directories we could target very well our business in the microblog. I also think that if we would like to make more followers we have to use twitter adders!

  3. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hi, Grace! Yes, there have been some phenomenal case studies like that for businesses. Gap had a deal with users who checked in to the store with the Facebook Places feature, where they gave away like 10,000 jeans. Possibilities to market your business are becoming endless. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hello, Tihomir! Isn’t it great that people are creating all these apps to make our social media tools work better for business? Thanks for joining the conversation.

  5. Jeorge Peter writes:

    You’ll likely find some helpful tools for twitter over the et, you just have to learn how to use it effectively.

  6. Sean Hecking writes:

    Jessica,

    Nice post and some good tools for managing Twitter. About every other month, I go through my Twitter followed list and do some basic house cleaning. I look for people I follow that do not provide a whole lot of value or simply do not follow me back. This really helps save time having to read tweets from folks that are just blasting out tweets or are not engaging.

  7. Jessica Lee writes:

    Exactly — there are so many out there with many different functions. Only way to find out is to dive in and start using them. Thanks for your comment, Jeorge!

  8. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hi, Sean! Agreed — good strategy. I do the same, too. Our feeds can become overwhelming. I have a few hundred people in my stream right now, so I can’t imagine what it looks like when you have thousands. Leaves us wondering if it’s quality over quantity that matters most.



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