5 Free Tools to Make You A Twitter Pro

Twitter has finally opened analytics to all its users. This is welcome news for individuals. While Twitter had made paid analytics available to agencies and marketers, individuals had to rely on third party apps to get insights.

With around 250 million accounts, Twitter’s user base is about 5 times smaller than that of Facebook. Maybe analytics was released to engage users, maybe it was always part of a plan to make this feature available over a period of time to everyone. It’s difficult to put a finger on one specific reason, but we’re happy nonetheless.

Unlike Facebook and Orkut, Twitter is the only platform which doesn’t seem threatened by a drop in user base over the next few years. It has attracted celebrities and made them accessible to common man. It is undeniably the best source of breaking news in the world today and probably the best idea and knowledge sharing platform. Then why is only about 15% of India’s internet population present on it? Why do brands (or their agencies) fail to capitalize on this awesome tool to establish their online reputation?

Well, for one, many brand managers (and social media marketers) don’t quite understand how Twitter functions. They bombard the platform with promotional tweets and expect a hoard of followers. Most people link the success of their Twitter accounts to the number of followers. While that is one factor which we will always chase, it is not the only one. Also, the vast amount of content being shared on Twitter can overwhelm users – make them feel all at sea.

If you’re promoting your brand without adding value to readers, you’re doing Twitter wrong. It’s about being there, listening to conversations, making sense of them, providing your inputs and using posts which you read to come up with content marketing hacks. And fear not. It is easy to sync with you get the hang.

Here are 5 free tools which enable you to become an effective Twitter user:

Bufferapp

One of the most popular free tools for posting on social media (especially Twitter). Renowned as a Facebook/LinkedIn post and tweet scheduling tool, Bufferapp also lets you tweet instantly. Links tweeted are converted to the bitly format by default, though you can choose to revert to the original URL.

The analytics tool is handy for tracking the performance of each tweet sent from Buffer. So if you see that a post has done well in the past and are short of ideas, you can re-share it after a month or 2.

Alternately, you can make use of Bufferapp’s suggestions if you’re running short of content to tweet. You can tweet an article via Buffer right from your browser. You can also select a specific quote from the article and click on the Bufferapp icon, the app intelligently tweets your link with the selected text as the headline. Cool huh?

People also use this tool for scheduling posts on Facebook, but the Facebook’s inbuilt scheduler feature is more useful and effective for their platform. You also cannot view real time Twitter updates. For that, you have the option below.

Hootsuite

I can’t stop raving about this tool. Apart from scheduling tweets, Hootsuite makes it convenient for you to track feeds related to your subject on Twitter and Facebook. Simply enter the keyword(s) in Hootsuite’s search box and click ‘Add Stream’ on the tab where the results show up. These streams can also be of lists formulated by you (more on lists in point 5).

Your feed is updated real time, ensuring you stay well informed on everything happening in your field. Respond to questions of people, which establishes you as an expert in your field. You can also generate ideas for content marketing material by reading people’s conversations. Plus, you can not only RT a tweet, but also manually RT after adding your comments in it, just like the mobile Twitter app.

Pullquote

Ever read a quote online and liked it so much that you want to tweet it? Well, Pullquote lets you do it beautifully. Simply install the extension in your browser and use it when you want to tweet a quote from a page.

The tool converts the quote into a picture and shares it. You can also crop a photo and share it, adding your comments in the tweet. Pullquote is a great tool to awesome content on Twitter pictorially. The only drawback, however, is that you cannot tweet a link. For sharing a link along with the image/quote, you can take help of the tool mentioned below.

 

Bitly sidebar

bit.ly links, when shared, look way cooler than the conventional abc.com/xyz. But you already know that, right? Additionally, bit.ly links can be used to track how many times your link has been clicked on.

Once you’ve tweeted a link, simply compare the number of times people have clicked on the link versus the number of impressions. While it may not be an accurate figure, it may give you a rough idea of how effective what you typed while sharing the link was. More clicks (even if it hasn’t got RTs) means your ‘copywriting’ idea worked, and you can try replicating that for other tweets too.

Bitly links are not accepted on some popular social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Blogadda, etc. For those, you can use the article’s original URL.

Twitter

What good would a social platform do if it cannot have some inbuilt features which make it awesome? 2 features which we must make use of in Twitter are Search and Lists. The Twitter Search is as good as Hootsuite in providing you with tweets which are related to your subject of interest.

Also, if you want to know how a specific article is being discussed on Twitter, merely paste the article’s URL in the Search box. For instance, if you want to know what people on Twitter think about this article, simply copy the link and paste it in Twitter’s search box.

Also, Lists is a kickass feature to get feeds from people from a specific field. So if you want to stalk the competition, you can create a list of them, keep it private and keep a tab of their tweets. On the other hand, if you want to share insightful tweets of influencers in a field related to yours, create a public list and add them to it. Let others also refer to your list and know how awesome you are.

Conclusion

Twitter is a platform where you (and your brand) won’t be spamming followers even if you post 10 times a day (unless it’s all at once or about the same thing). Promotional tweets and Twitter contests for our clients typically result in negligible conversion.

Twitter is a far more effective digital message spreading platform than any other – Facebook, LinkedIn or Google Plus. It can help portray your brand as a thought leader in its field and convert viewers to followers, then buyers, and ultimately into loyalists.

Using the tools above (and now Twitter analytics), you can listen to conversations on Twitter, create and promote terrific content and track your engagement levels. Effective use of Twitter also gives a content writer a whole bunch of ideas for the next blockbuster corporate blog post.

I haven’t added many tools like Seesmic, TweetDeck, etc. to the list. I’ve found the above mentioned 5 to be most effective. Do you know of any other tools which have been missed? Do leave a note about them in the comments section. Also do share this article with others so that awareness about how Twitter works continues to spread.

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