In part 2 of our 3 part series on Twitter for businesses, we talked about the primary functions available in Twitter such as:
- Finding people to follow
- Getting followers
- Direct Messaging
- At-ing (@)
- Hash Tags (#)
These are the main functions that you will use on Twitter, and the fundamentals you will need to know in order to successfully market your business on Twitter. In this 3rd part, we are going to discuss 3rd party services that extend the functionality of Twitter. What does this mean? The services will allow you to do things that Twitter can’t currently do such as:
- Schedule/Automate Tweets.
- Manage multiple Twitter accounts with one login.
- View Stats & Analytics
- Post your tweet simultaneously to other platforms such as Facebook.
- Assess how successful you are on Twitter vs your peers.
Twitter Tools: Third Parties
Once you’re comfortable with Twitter, and you’re a Twitter Pro, you may realize that there are some features missing. This is where 3rd parties come in such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Klout.
3rd parties extend the functionality of Twitter, and make the experience more enjoyable, and more efficient. It is nice logging into one account, and being able to manage 3 twitter accounts, a facebook page, and a Google Plus account.
You can’t do that with Twitter, and that is where 3rd parties come in. 3rd parties are easy to integrate, they often use Twitter’s OAuth service. OAuth allows you to sign up with the 3rd party by logging in with Twitter, so you don’t need to create accounts for all of these different services, you just use your twitter account.
Twitter Tools: Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a great 3rd party that lets you do many things such as:
- Manage multiple Twitter accounts with one login
- Manage other social networks (Facebook, Google Plus, etc)
- Schedule Tweets for future dates/times
- Pull analytics (stats) against your Twitter account
- Allow multiple users to manage a single account
There are more features, but I’m just trying to demonstrate some of the uses. I use Hootsuite, but Tweetdeck does many of the same things. I’ve never used Tweetdeck, but there are plenty of comparison articles out there to help you decide on what you want.
Hootsuite just fit my needs perfectly, it is free (as is Tweetdeck) and it is very easy to use. I don’t think I could ask for much more.
Twitter Tools: Klout
Klout is a fun 3rd party that assigns a numeric score on a scale of 1-100 which shows where you are in the world of Tweeters. It also helps you to understand what you can do to be a more interactive Tweeter.
On top of the numeric score, you also get accolades (awards) for doing certain things. Additionally, they’ve instituted a system called +K, which is a rating system. Essentially, you see a list of your Twitter friends, and next to each of them you’ll see 3 words that describe what they tweet about.
You can click the words that you think they are most influential about, and this will help their overall score. As an example, you’ll see my name with 3 words next to it. Often they are Finance, Personal Finance, and Netflix (I complain about Netflix a lot). If I influenced you at all about finance, then you can click that word, and Klout will know that I’m influential on the topic of finance.
Before we get into this, I want to caution that 100% automation will guarantee one thing: an unsuccessful Twitter account. People don’t like automation because it defeats the purpose of social media: personal interaction.
There is nothing more impersonal than a fully automated Twitter account. Automation is a good option to supplement your tweeting frequency, and it is also good if you’re too busy to tweet, but you want your account to still clearly be alive.
There are many tools that can automate Twitter such as Hootsuite, which allows you to schedule tweets. Additionally, if you operate a blog, then you can use Feedburner, or any number of other tools to push your articles to Twitter.
As I said, automating Twitter is very impersonal and should be used as a supplement, or a last resort. You’ll always get more interaction when you’re posting live and reacting immediately, rather than automating a tweet, and responding later.
Each of these 3rd parties warrant their own articles, so these should only be considered shallow summaries. I highly suggest investigating the services that you think sound useful, but be careful: the rabbit hole goes very deep!
There are many very worthy services out there, but I’ve used these services and found them useful. There are others that I’ve used but didn’t have room for them in this article, but I may cover them at another time. There are 3rd parties that will:
- Automatically follow people back.
- Follow a bunch of people at once that have mentioned a keyword.
- Keep track of who unfollows you.
- Let you know who you follow, and how useful/useless they are to follow.
Keep on practicing and learning. You’ll never know anything, but the more you know, the more you grow (Thanks NBC!).