Twitter is just one of the many tools you can use to drive traffic to your website. But Twitter, by itself, has a lot of limitations if you’re looking for advanced features. Fortunately, there are smart and fearless developers out there that have spent time creating additional apps and plug-ins that can transform a typical Twitter account into a powerful business resource that will help you:
- Drive traffic to your website
- Brand your business
- Get leads
- Interact with your customers
- Get customer feedback
- Track/analyze industry buzz
- Network with people in your industry
- Establish credibility
- Market your product or service
- Spy on your competition
- Increase sales
- Measure the effectiveness of posts/tweets/campaigns
And best of all, Twitter is FREE! Although a lot of the tools and integrations have a fee, most of the ones I mention are either free of have a “free plan.”
I use Twitter and other Twitter tools almost every day for our blog, A Better User Experience, and along the way I’ve created my Twitter Toolbox. 10 tools that make a huge difference in my ability to be effective.
Let’s pull the tools out of the box and have a look.
Before we get into the add-on tools for Twitter, there’s one tool on Twitter that’s worth talking about. Advanced Search. A lot of people do not even know about the advance search tools on Twitter.
It turns out, you can get a lot done with a few simple commands using Advanced Search.
You might have a little trouble finding it. First, you have to search for something in the search bar, then you can select advance search. I had trouble finding it at first. But once you find it, there’s a lot of good stuff you can see.
- Find top trending topics, only the most current or all of it, and just pictures, too.
- If someone is mentioning you, without the @ symbol, you can see that via this advanced search option.
- You can track multiple profiles
- Spy on your competitors
- Follow links from specific people
Next time you’re using advanced search, try this: search a topic with or without links that people retweet by checking the box at the bottom of the advanced search form.
I highly recommend checking out Twitter’s guide to advanced search for more great tips.
TweetDeck is a popular social media dashboard that is owned by Twitter and is a freemium product. It allows you to manage Twitter as well as other social media platforms (Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.) and post updates directly from the dashboard interface.
There are many filters to narrow your results based on variations in Timeline Interactions, Mentions, Search, Lists, Messages, Trends, Tweets, Favorites, Activity.
This is also a good platform to use if you want to schedule your tweets, which is a good idea. Of course it’s best practice to be personally sending tweets, but it not always practical to think we can tweet a few times an hour. If this is you, then pre-loading tweets and scheduling them is a good way to save time. HootSuite, Buffer and Tweet Old Post also allow you to schedule tweets.
I use HootSuites to organize our followers and other social media accounts. It saves time when you can post to multiple social media outlets at the same time. I have used HootSuite’s free plan, but I am considering an upgrade to get access to all the analytics reporting features.
In the same way you can organize your “columns” with Tweet Deck, you can create “streams” in HootSuite. I also use it to create streams based on search keywords such as “#UX” to identify those talking about the topic and gather new leads.
- Manage multiple social networks and profiles under one interface
- Schedule Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn Company Pages and Google + Pages posts and messages
- Track keywords, mentions, and trending topics
- Integrated social analytics so you can measure engagement and campaign success
- Collaborate with team members to enhance social communication and improve efficiencies
Bit.ly is a URL shortner, which not only helps shorten long urls so that they fit within the 140 character count on Twitter; the application and browser plug in helps you track clicks, page views, and engagement. Bit.ly is free and you can use it across all your social media platforms, emails, and other communications.
Also nice are the analytics and reporting features (see below).
I used ManageFlitter after we’d gotten about 400 followers to clean up my the accounts we follow that are no longer a good fit. Manage Flitter is helpful when you want to unfollow large groups of people at once (note Twitter will not let you “unfollow” more than 100 in a day). For example, I unfollowed those with inactive Twitter accounts, without pictures, bot accounts and inactive accounts. Turns out, I got rid close to 20 accounts that I didn’t need in my feed.
Twitter has a set of rules and best practices and one of them is to keep your follow/follower ratio within a specific range. It differs slightly depending on how many people are following you but it’s a good idea to purge unnecessary accounts that you follow from time to time.
Klout is also good for finding other social media users that are similar to you, share your interest or compete with you. You compare them with yourself and others and Klout makes it easy to find influencers in your field.
Klout calls their tool “the standard for influence”. This tool measures your influence (through some algorithm) on Twitter as well as other social networks and gives you a ranking number based on your engagement across all of your social networks (that you add into your Klout account).
As you can see, the “Klout” score for A Better User Experience is currently a 48. Turns out, it’s pretty important to both pay attention to your own as well as others when positioning yourself as any social media marketing authority.
Commun.it is a good tool for relationship-management, particularly, your “high value” members. These are twitter accounts that drive awareness, supporters that spread your word, are your most engaged members & are potential leads.
You can monitor engagement with your business by adding in url’s and keywords that relate to your business or your competitors’.
By grouping your users, you’re able to focus on not only influential users but people who have previously shared your content and have taken the time to engage with you.
Another advantage of this tool is the ability to sort your list according to “most recent” or “highest rating,” which shows your top influencers based on their algorithm.
There is also a “Consider to Follow” feature that gives you a list of people to consider following based on previous conversations, retweets and the followers who have been engaging you.
Buffer makes it super easy to gather and schedule the great content you find while online.
I have it installed on Google Chrome so it’s easy to automatically copy links I want and I can preload it and schedule it in a few clicks. It also integrates with bit.ly so all our links will still be trackable to our bit.ly account. It’s so easy, I use this for preloading tweets instead of Hootsuite.
Another nice thing is that you can post to other social media accounts as well.
When I came across this app, I was so excited to see how beautifully it integrated with Google Analytics. This app turns “t.co” links in your Google Analytics referrals into the list of actual people and tweets that were sent out that drove the traffic to your site! If you’ve committed yourself to getting as much data as you can into Google Analytics for analysis, this is a tool you’ll quickly wonder how you ever lived without.
There is a free version that only allows you to see up to 5 days of follower tweets, but the basic account that allows for unlimited days is only $5/mo.. If you look at analytics as much as we do, this is a no brainer.
If you use WordPress, and have trouble keeping your old, yet still valuable, content in front of people, you want this plugin. Instead of scheduling future posts…it schedules posts from the past!
Ben and I have been talking about how we need to get our older, but still great and relevant content, back in the Twitterverse. We talked about loading each post in TweetDeck or HootSuite, but neither of us had gotten around it. After all, we have over 150 articles and 75 podcasts to to load in and schedule. And that sounded hard. But this plug-in did all the work for us in no time flat!
The plugin connects directly to your Twitter account. Everything is automatic, even adding the hashtags which can be set to display with “tags” or “categories.” You can control send time and volume. If there is a category or specific posts that you do not want to tweet out, then you can remove those form the que.
Ours is set to tweet a post once an hour every day, continuously. We will cycle through all our content every 10 days. It will be interesting to see what it does to our traffic.
Do you have other favorite tools? Something to add to the one’s I have mentioned? Please share in the comments.