Tools to Manage Your Twitter Account(s) – Part 2

twitterTools to Manage Your Twitter Account(s) – Part 2:

This is part two in a series (read part one here) I’m writing about online tools and good UX approaches for managing your social media accounts. In this section I write about getting good content for your Twitter followers, so they keep following.

Three Rules:

  1. Tweet Relevant Content
  2. Be Helpful
  3. Give Back

Tweet Relevant Content

The very best way to get a good group of followers is to have something interesting to say. “Buy my widget right now!” is not interesting. “Go to my Facebook page and like me there” is also not interesting. “1 out of 4 advertising clicks came from mobile in 2012″ is interesting–to people who care about advertising and mobile.

Know what your audience is interested in, and tweet about that. Conversely, follow tweeps that are interested in what you want to tweet about. Either way, you’ll be retweeted and favorited and that will get you more followers.

Tools for Making Tweets

There are tools out there that will comb through your website and create relevant tweets for you. Some even plug them into your tweet scheduling software so they’re spaced out over a week or two. If you really hate tweeting and find the whole process of writing relevant, 140 character messages to 10k strangers onerous, these might work for you.

Tall Tweets- Helps you write tweets that are longer than 140 characters. This can be handy if you want to dump in your product description, or your whole website content, and have tweets come out the other end. The tool will slice and publish your “long tweet” into smaller chunks of 140 characters or you can even publish the entire messages as an image.

Tweet Cranker – Point it at your website and it will pull the content and turn it into multiple tweets. You can even set it up to schedule those tweets over a period of time, then download them into your tweet scheduling tool, like Hootsuite. Uber cool, kinda pricey.

Be Helpful

Here’s a great list of Twitter Etiquette by Gretchen Louise. As she points out, the golden rule for writing tweets is to be helpful. How do you do that? By using Hashtags, Mentions, Retweeting and helping to promote others–not just yourself.

Use Hash Tags and Add Your Comments to the Conversation

Use hash tags whenever you can. This # is the hashtag, and if you put it in front of a word it will turn it into a search term. Other Tweeps who search on that tag will see your tweet. I like to use the #startups tag. Also, #founders #entrepreneurs #davemcclure #taxreform #nomoreguns … you see how that works? Edie Melson posted a great article last year all about getting hashtags right.

Here’s some excellent sites that will help you find relevant hashtags/topics to discuss:

Hashtags.org – Lists trending hashtags by topic.

Trendsmap – Really neat data visualization site! It’s a real-time mapping of Twitter trends across the world.

What the Trend – Also lists current trending topics on Twitter, so if you want to talk about what everyone else is talking about, check the first five on the list here.

Also, don’t forget the Trend box on your Twitter page. That works pretty neatly, too, at least for the top 10 topics of the moment.

If none of these sites have the topic you want to discuss, or if you’re wondering if a hashtag already exists for a topic, do your own search on it from your twitter page. Just type in the topic and scan the tweets to see how others refer to that topic. Is it #Oscars or #Oscars2013? Find out which hashtag is being used the most and use that one.

Or you can make them up. Sometimes hashtags are used as wry, self-referential comments on your own tweet. #ainticool

Pulling Someone Into the Conversation – Mentioning

You can also use someone’s handle in your post to pull them into the conversation. This is called Mentioning, and if you do it, they’ll get a notice (quite probably in their email) that you’ve just mentioned them. This is like a little poke that says, “Hey, I’ve said something about you or I wrote something that I think you’d be interested in. So come and read it.” Most tweeps, even the big-time influences, will check out a tweet where they’ve been mentioned. If they like what you said, they might even retweet it to their followers. Which is huge if they have a big following.

Just don’t overuse this. Like the boy who cried wolf, or the child constantly tugging on his mother’s sleeve, it gets annoying if you do it too much. Make sure that whoever you mention is likely to be interested in how you mentioned them. And that you only mention them once or twice. Five emails that someone has mentioned you in their blog in the same day is annoying (sorry Dave).

Give Back

Ask yourself, will my followers find this at all useful? Is it humorous, or insightful, or informative? If it’s just a comment about a random occurrence during your day, tell it to your cat. Your followers want something that provide value. Retweet, comment on someone’s tweet, provide information and promote your Followers, too.

And if someone retweets you, mentions you, or sends you a direct mention, reply back. Thank them for helping to promote you to all their followers. That’s the glory of Twitter.

Next up: Monitoring your account with Hootsuite and other Tweet Schedulers.

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