Do you use Twitter? That’s a hot question these days. With more than 11 million users, the microblogging service is becoming an incredibly popular networking tool.
Still, most people struggle when it comes to using Twitter effectively. This may be especially true for businesses, which tend to feel pressure to join Twitter, but don’t quite know where to begin. If you want to use Twitter, but aren’t sure how to use it well, these process by using these 10 essential Twitter tools for business may help smooth the learning curve:
This time-saving application operates on your desktop. Through it, you can not only tweet, reply, direct message, and retweet, but create groups of followers, shorten URLs, send pictures, and execute customized searches. You do all this, and more, through Tweetdeck’s dashboard, which offers all the features in one place. See John Jantsch’s video at Duct Tape Marketing for more. Biggest benefits: Saving time and streamlining Twitter functions.
Tweetie is kind of like a Tweetdeck for your iPhone. You can tweet, reply, retweet, send direct messages, browse users, post compressed links, view Twitter trends, and more. If you have a Blackberry, try TwitterBerry, which is quite similar. Other mobile phones will have their own Twitter clients, which a simple Google search should help find. Biggest benefit: Having a time-saving Twitter dashboard in your mobile device.
Twitt(url)y tracks and ranks URL shared on Twitter by popularity. A quick glance at a Twitt(url)y list will help you peg trends, popular products and reports, and gauge what’s on peoples’ minds. Retweetist and Tweetmeme provide similar services. Choose the software that best fits your personal needs and style. Biggest benefit: At-a-glance access to the hottest Twitter trends helps you keep up with the Zeitgeist.
If you Twitter frequently, and Twitter is important for your business, this stats tool will help you take the next step towards becoming a master tweeter. TwitterFriends allows you to analyze your Twitter habits–do you only post links? Only conversational replies?–then improve on them. The tool also analyzes how socially relevant you or other people in your extended network. This will help you find new, influential Twitter users to follow, adapt your own tweet style, and get a better grasp of your shortcomings. Biggest benefit: Improving the efficiency and efficacy of your Twitter use.
SocialWhoIs helps you find out more about people by entering their nickname and social media service. Find out more about who’s following you–and, conversely, who you want to follow. It helps you find the most relevant people for your inquiry and field, rather than by popularity. Biggest benefit: Finding new, relevant contacts.
You don’t need to be a Twitter user to cull value from TweetGrid, which lets you follow topics, people, groups, events, and more in real-time on a search dashboard. It helps you what products, services, brands, and topics are creating a buzz on Twitter, when, and for how long. This makes it a good monitoring device for reputation management and communications professionals. Coupling TweetGrid with TweetBeep, which sends you email alerts whenever someone mentions your brand, you, or your competitor, makes for a free, complete reputation-management suite. Biggest benefit: Second-by-second reputation and brand awareness.
Allows users to send tweets that only end up inside a designated group. The is a boon to workgroups, communities, and people who need to keep tweets private. Biggest benefit: Keeping potentially confidential tweets within a designated group.
Update and listen to Twitter from Microsoft Outlook, or categorize keywords, tweets, and searches into Outlook folders. A handy organizational tool that cuts the application fat from desktops. TwitterMail, a similar service, lets you post tweets and follow replies through Web-based email. Biggest benefit: No need to download, open, or learn a new application to use Twitter.
Twellow calls itself the Twitter Yellow Pages. Unlike the traditional phone book, however, Twellow lets you search Twitter users by category or keyword, helping you find networking contacts, competitors, and other people to follow. WeFollow, another people-finder app, helps you find popular/most-followed Twitter users by category. Think Lance Armstrong, Guy Kawasaki, Time Magazine, and other big-leaguers. Biggest benefit: Finding people to follow who will inform you, teach you, and help your business grow.
10. Follow Cost
How annoying will it be to follow a certain person on Twitter? Follow Cost answers this question for you. All you have to do is enter the person’s Twitter name into the app, and it spits out a user’s average number of updates, and what percentage of their tweets are replies. Biggest benefit: Headache avoidance.
For rolling updates and good reviews on new Twitter tools, visit Brian Solis’ blog.