Developing a Digital strategy 008 – Practicalities, how to use Twitter tools

Using the right applications for twitter can can give you a powerful tool, save you time and keep you uptodate with your network and what is being said about you.

Tweetdeck

This is one of the most useful social networking tools at the moment. Tweetdeck helps you organize the people you are following on twitter into groups, enables you to set up searches, post to Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace with the additional feature that the Linkedin integration also allows you to view your network updates and change your LinkedIn status.

You can also manage your twitter lists which is useful if you want to follow a particular topic (eg a neuroscience list made by one of the science bloggers) and view the profile of the people in the list. You can also set up twitter searches on topics or to find out what people are saying about you.  Private messages and replies can easily be seen, shortening URLs, retweeting is easy and there is a new feature – location data shows where the tweet was sent from. You can download Tweetdeck here.

Echofon

Previously known as TwitterFox this is a Firefox extension that allows you to quickly see what is going on in your network without having to leave whatever page you are on in your web browser. For example, here I am using Feedly to follow someone and see what they have posted in different parts of the Web whether it be on twitter, blogged, bookmarked or uploaded on YouTube (in each case I clicked on +f to add the feed to my feedly) while following my twitter stream using echofon.

feedly and twitter

How to use Twitter

You can have a personal as well as corporate twitter account and keep the two separate.  For the corporate account add ‘tweeted by….’ in the bio so there is a face and name to what would otherwise be a faceless entity.  This does mean that people will also click through onto your private account, which is good for your own online visibility but does mean that you need to keep your personal tweets professional.

As an example, I tweet as myself, @dreamingspires, but I also tweet for a clinical research site (BodyInMind.com.au).  In the @bodyinmind twitter bio, it mentions the key researcher but it also says ‘Tweeted by @dreamingspires’.

If you are using twitter for your organisation, remember that Twitter is a search engine and you can use it for research – what are people saying, and why – so set up your Tweetdeck to track comments on subjects.

Some practical tips

  • Share twitpics. Even when in a hurry people will click on a photo link (create a twitpic account or upload photos from your computer).  It shows you’re a) real, b) interesting and have a life and c) have something to say.  Things that catch your attention are likely to catch others attention from the serious to funny.
  • Please don’t make all your tweets serious and business.  It’s boring.
  • Ask questions – but note that not everyone deserves a reply
  • Don’t follow everyone back – only those that you feel will add to your twitter stream.  Use Tweetdeck to sort your followers into groups
  • Be polite and thankful – just like in real life.
  • Highlight what is special.  It’s not as easy as it sounds – recognize what it is that catches your eye and then share that with your network (this is where your RSS feed comes in).
  • Don’t tweet old news – make sure your RSS (Feedly) is uptodate, read it daily and share it.
  • Share some things about you, your company, your product. Snippets of inside information are interesting too – things you’re preparing for release, people you are talking about/to.

DONT use twitter just to talk about you or your products – it’s will make you very boring and, frankly, makes you look far too self-important to be worth following

If you have signed into Google Reader or Feedly (see my post Developing a Digital Strategy 006 – practicalities what to do) here is some advice on how you can follow Twitter Users In Google Reader by @DrVes to keep up to date.

PeopleBrowsr

Once you have mastered Twitter, and TweetDeck have a look at PeopleBrowsr – it has Lite, Advanced, and Business modes – and really is a ‘control console’

PeopleBrowsr is a data mine and social search engine for real time conversations. We’ve built a set of applications sitting on the data mine to monitor your brand, identify your audience, analyze tweets sentiment, filter the buzz, manage feedback, share accounts, run campaigns, track keywords, build widgets and engage across multiple social networks simultaneously

PeopleBrowsrIt is worth watching the videos on how to use it, it is a good tool, but to get the most out of it you will need to spend some time getting to know it and I would recommend mastering TweetDeck first before venturing further to try PeopleBrowsr.