Section 7: Twitter
Step 4: Know Your Tools
Step Four: Know Your Twitter Tools
There are a few tools that can shave time off your Twitter posting and make it easier to engage. Let's take a look at these, right now...
1. Facebook Twitter app. This Facebook app lets you post your own tweets to your Facebook Page (or profile, if you prefer). It also provides a call to action for your Facebook friends to "follow me on Twitter", as well as helping you find those friends who tweet in the first place. To locate it, log into Facebook and type "Twitter" into your search box. It will come up first in the search result drop-down:
Click on the icon, and then when the Twitter app page opens up, click the "Go to your Twitter Profile Settings to start" button.
Fill in your information to post tweets to your Facebook Page or Feed or "share your Twitter profile with your friends on Facebook." (Don't worry. You can choose where on Facebook Twitter should post your tweets.)
2. Use a tweet manager/dashboard such as HootSuite or TweetDeck. This is a great option if you have multiple Twitter accounts.
Both of these allow you to preschedule tweets or see all of your Twitter content at a glance, so that you don't have to keep clicking through to locate replies, conversations or Retweets you've made (or your own tweets others have Retweeted).
TweetDeck allows you to:
• Compose a message by clicking on an icon
• Add multiple Twitter accounts
• Add accounts for Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn
• Manage your Twitter Lists
• Add or delete columns containing your Twitter feeds
• Sync your columns with TweetDeck on the iPhone
• Search, using the "add columns" button to create a search column
• Decide if you'd like pop-ups every time a new message arrives in your Twitter feed
You can also choose which columns to display - for example, "Mentions", "Direct Messages", "Trending", etc. -- as well as download TweetDeck to your desktop.
HootSuite is built much along the same lines, and offers both free and paid options.
It's simply a matter of which platform feels more comfortable to you. It's very easy to keep an overview and save time with a Twitter dashboard like TweetDeck or HootSuite, and it’s great for visual learners.
3. Badges and Chiclets. Be sure to set up and use your Twitter Chiclet on your website, if you'd like to your visitors to see your tweets.
4. Remember to check authority sources such as tech RSS feeds you've subscribed to... such as Mashable's video announcement about Twitter launching a major redesign. You'll be ahead of the crowd in learning about new features and changes.
5. Twitter for Android -- If your mobile device is an Android or Blackberry, install this app right from your Twitter feed page. You'll find this and other tips you can follow on the right hand side (simply click on it to start the set up process):
6. #Hashtags -- Use relevant hashtags to join trending conversations and present your tweets to potential followers who otherwise might not find you.
A Hashtag is simply any word you like with a "#" in front of it. Including a hashtag in your tweet means that anyone on Twitter using the same hashtag will be served your tweet:
Twitter will automatically serve up a bunch of currently-trending hashtags in the right-hand sidebar of your Twitter feed. You can pick one up from existing Twitter friends tweeting about that subject. For example, you could write a post that says: "Crosses in nature - black and white photos: ow.ly1aBa2: #ArtPhoto" and have your tweet seen by everyone following the #ArtPhoto hashtag.
Or you can start your own and call on others to re-tweet it.
Hashtags can be a powerful tool when you're:
• Promoting a webinar or other event for your business
• Focusing on a specific topic you'd like your followers to see
• Positioning yourself to align with a certain group
• Looking for followers (or people to follow) with the same narrow focus
7. URL shorteners -- since a tweet cannot be any longer than 140 characters, it's necessary to use URL shorteners such as bit.ly.
There’s another strong reason to use it. Bit.ly allows you to easily track your tweets and view a timeline of how many clickthroughs your tweets are individually gathering.
You can also use HootSuite's Ow.ly to upload your photographs and provide short links.
Find your own best uses for Twitter. Mix up the types of tweets you send, share photographs, and use hashtags.
Always thank people for retweeting your content and reply to direct mentions, if you want to make people feel important.
But, above all, if your followers or potential customers prove to be strong Twitter users, get into the habit of tweeting daily and engage them in active conversation.