If you were to ask me what my favourite social network was, I’d have to say Twitter. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy and see the power of other networks. On the contrary! I’m a huge fan of Google+ and I actually get more engagement on Google+ than I do on any other platform. I’m also seeing more and more referral traffic from Pinterest, particularly now that I’ve spent time optimising the images on my blog and using the rather fabulous Social Warfare Social Sharing plugin.
This article is concerned with Twitter and 4 tools which will help you grow your business using that social network. However, don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Do some research and find out where your customers and potential customers are. However, I’d be surprised if Twitter wasn’t one of your most important networks.
Twitter is a fast moving social network, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially after you follow more than a couple of hundred people. How can you use Twitter more effectively? How do you reach the people you want to reach without using up all those precious hours of the day?
I’ve come up with 4 tools that will help you be more effective and productive on Twitter.
Many people’s experience of Twitter is via the Twitter website. When it comes to managing your business’ Twitter account (keeping track of mentions, monitoring keywords and analysing your Tweets) you can do a lot on the main Twitter app. However, you are unlikely to be very effective- it’s all too easy to lose track of your interactions, and it isn’t easy to find out who your core audience is. You can’t schedule Tweets, or tag or review them for later. That’s where a social media management tool comes in very handy indeed!
Many of you will have heard of Hootsuite, but there are a huge number of tools out there, and I’d like to recommend AgoraPulse. Whilst Hootsuite has a free plan, AgoraPulse does not, with prices starting from 29 Euros per month. But, don’t be put off by the price- you get a lot for your money, and in many cases AgoraPulse can actually be less expensive:
- Unlimited team members included in each plan
- Powerful and engaging reports with the ability to export to Powerpoint
- Integrates with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
- Build Facebook apps
- Manage and view sponsored and “dark posts” from Facebook including their comments and the ability to reply
- Ability to compare with your competitors
- Ability to schedule your social media updates
If your business has a presence on Twitter, Facebook and possibly Instagram, then AgoraPulse is well worth considering. It will help you save a huge amount of time by showing which Tweets haven’t been replied to yet as well as giving detailed and easy to use reports.
One big advantage is the way you can quickly reply to people who have mentioned you. In Agorapulse, mentions appear in your Inbox, and keywords you monitor in the monitoring stream. You can also filter by mentions or direct messages, show tweets you have previously flagged or show tweets with a specific tag.
Once you’ve replied to a tweet, it removes from view, so you always know which tweets are outstanding. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with tweets and mentions on Twitter or a 3rd party app such as Hootsuite, but Agorapulse allows you to get that “inbox-zero” feeling very quickly.
You can schedule Tweets in the future with and have the ability to embed images. Since Agorapulse allows you to add unlimited team members, the calendar view is useful in that it shows all your forthcoming tweets over the coming weeks and months.
Agorapulse’s reporting feature displays your audience growth, popularity (mentions, retweets, favourites) and your most retweeted tweets. One of my favourite features is the way you can view the users with whom you interact most, your top ambassadors (giving you an insight into your alpha audience), your top influencers. You can even download these as a CSV file to view in a spreadsheet.
IFTTT is a bit of a geeky tool which stands for “If This Then That”. But don’t be put off by the geeky bit- whilst it is incredibly powerful, it’s very easy to use. IFTTT helps you connect services together- allowing you to do something with one service as a result of something happening on another service. To give you an example, you could post from Twitter to Facebook when you use a certain hashtag, or you could back up your Tweets to a tool like Evernote or Google Drive. Once you have set up your recipes, you are good to go- and IFTTT will automate the process until you tell it to stop.
Here are some example IFTTT recipes that will help you be more productive on Twitter:
- Include Instagram image on Twitter
- Archive your Tweets to a Google Spreadsheet
- When someone links to a page on your website on Twitter add them to a Twitter list
Buzzsumo is an amazingly useful and powerful tool that recently has been receiving quite a lot of, well, buzz! Its central feature shows you to view the most shared content on a specific website, or by a particular author or key phrase. It’s useful in finding out what articles are being shared the most on a website or on a particular topic.
For example, say you were looking at ranking well and being found for the phrase “financial advice” in the UK. Firstly, enter “financial advice” into Buzzsumo and click search. Once you’ve got the results, enter “United Kingdom” in the country field. You could also filter by date (for example only show content created in the past month) or by content type (for example only show articles, infographics or videos).
You can see how many times each content has been shared across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. If you want to concentrate on a particular network, then you can sort by that network.
However, you can dig deeper and find out who specifically has shared a particular piece of content on Twitter. This is very useful in, that you can connect with the people who are sharing similar articles to you. For example here is a list of people who shared an article I wrote for Social Media Experts. I can easily scroll down the list and view detailed information on each person:
- Page Authority (from moz.com) – the SEO ranking of their URL
- Domain Authority (from moz.com)
- Followers- the number of people following them on Twitter
- Retweet Ratio – The percentage of their tweets that are retweets.
- Reply Ratio – The percentage of their tweets that are replies. This shows how often they engage with people.
- Average Retweets – The average number of retweets this users gets per tweet.
You can sort the list by any of these metrics to help find the influencers you want to connect with, and then you can follow them or add them to one of your Twitter lists directly through the dashboard.
Feedly allows you to subscribe to all your favourite websites, and be notified of new ones. It’s a great way to categorise your reading material, and reduce the likelihood that you’ll miss an important article. All the magic happens using a type of feed called “RSS”.
Although RSS was very popular with geeks and technology-minded people, it never caught on in a big way. Although Feedly uses RSS feeds, you never really need to know this- it allows you to subscribe to almost any website and sort them into categories of your choosing:
Feedly also allows you to share articles to your social media channels. You can share to Twitter as well as Facebook, LinkedIn and other networks, and it also integrates well with scheduling tool Buffer.
I’ve even set up an IFTTT recipe that schedules these articles throughout the week using Buffer– which has saved me a huge amount of time.
Finally, you could add a trending feed from Buzzsumo. This would enable you to see what content is trending on a particular topic directly on Feedly. You could then share some of these trending articles to your social networks easily. To do this, search for your trending topic on Buzzsumo and click on the RSS button. You can then add this RSS feed to Feedly.
Feedly has a free and a paid plan, but the majority of businesses will be perfectly happy on the free plan.
Although I have only shared 4 social media tools in this article, all of them will help you become more productive and effective in your social media efforts. Of course there are many more I could have included, but it’s best to start with a few tools and integrate them into your work flow. As always, let us know what you think in the comments below, and if you have a favourite tool you’d like to add, please mention it!