When it comes to promoting your blog, you can’t beat getting the message out on Twitter. But the problem with a fast-moving real-time social network is that if you don’t have the right tools, you’ll find it hard to make an impression.
So if you’re going to stop wasting your time and start putting the social networks to good use, you’ll need to put together a toolkit. And these five indispensable Twitter tools will provide you with everything you need to start socialising in an intelligent, effective way.
5 Twitter Tools for the Busy Blogger
As useful as Twitter is, there’s one major problem with Twitter.com. It’s shite.
If you try and do everything through the main website, you’ll get nowhere fast. Without anything to sort or filter your feed, keeping track of feeds and lists, monitoring trends and making sure you’re attracting the right followers can be a full time job. That doesn’t pay.
Fortunately though, unlike Google+, Twitter can be used through third party software and tools. And it should be.
But by using the following programs, plugins and apps, you’ll find that you use Twitter far more effectively and efficiently. You’ll organise incoming information, promote yourself effectively and engage with far more people – which will lead to a significant increase in your blog’s reader base. So stop wasting time, and start adopting some time saving Twitter tools:
Managing Your Accounts
If you want to start getting the most out of Twitter, you’re going to have to step away from that terrible website and start embracing applications as your primary method of using the service. And the go-to app for the serious Tweeter is TweetDeck.
You need TweetDeck because it’s going to let you organise your feed. So start setting up columns. Your main feed gives you the same unfiltered morass that Twitter.com does, but with the useful addition of tailored trends showing what the people you follow are discussing.
To compliment that, you’re going to need a few new columns. Columns tied to hashtags and lists are going to let you keep track of topics, influencers and various niches, while columns tied to search terms are going to show you just who you should be connecting with.
With a bit of tweaking and some adjustments to the notifications, you’ll now have a management application that gives you instant, efficient access to a variety of topics and audiences. Which you’ll find far more useful than the deluge you’ve been working with so far.
Additional note: It’s a good bet that some of you are about to scroll down and post screeds explaining why TweetDeck is terrible and Hootsuite is the king amongst Twitter tools. It’s OK. You don’t need to. I already know you’re wrong.
Scheduling Your Tweets
Twitter feeds move quickly. What you post at five to ten will be ancient history by ten past. Gone and forgotten. So how on earth do you expect to make an impact if you do all of your daily tweeting in a ten minute period?
It’s a common mistake made by people who don’t have time to post at regular intervals. They think that splurging a solid block of updates between 12:27 and 12:34 is an effective way to engage with people, and then they wonder why they’ve only got six followers.
Buffer eliminates that mistake. You simply feed it your tweets, and it dispenses them at predetermined intervals. So if you can only spend 10 minutes a day on your social presents, spend it loading your Buffer in the morning. You’ll then get all the benefits of a regular tweet pattern (increased visibility, better engagement, higher levels of recognition) but with none of the time-stealing drawbacks.
You’ll also make friends in your niche – because everyone appreciates a plug for their post that kick starts a new wave of interest a few hours after the initial buzz has died down.
You’re blogging with WordPress, aren’t you? Yes? Not Blogger? No? Good. I can take you seriously, and we can continue.
Your Tweets have a useful shelf life that can be measured in minutes. If you’re blogging right, then your posts should have a useful shelf life of months or years.
So as you can see, there’s an issue with your promotion being stale and ignored while your content is still relevant. And that’s where the next of our indispensable Twitter tools comes in.
Install Tweet Old Post now, and within a few minutes, your blog will automatically be sharing that great old content with the world automatically. You won’t have to lift a finger. Just tell the plugin to ignore any posts which are out-of-date, seasonal, or just plain embarrassing, and then forget all about it and concentrate on the future.
And while you’re doing that, TOP will be beavering away in the background, finding a new audience for old content. Just don’t be surprised to find that you wake up one morning with a few dozen retweets and a handful of comments on a post you barely even remember writing.
Monitoring Your Followers
Quick Disclaimer: If you get really upset when random strangers unfollow you on social media sites, Qwitter is going to trigger a meltdown. So skip onto the next Twitter tool, and maybe go hug out your abandonment issues with a friend. I’ll be here when you’re done.
Repeat after me. Caring about who has stopped following you is not about ego. Not. About. Ego.
It’s a common misconception that caring about follower numbers means you’re emotionally invested in a number on a screen. It’s doesn’t. It means that you want to reach an audience.
And to reach that audience, you need to know they’re listening. So sign up to Qwitter and register for a weekly list of the people that have stopped following you.
This does not mean you’re going to get offended and hound every last person that’s moved on. It means that you’re going to look for trends. If large numbers of people from one of your niches are continually ditching you for pastures new, you’re not giving them value. So start posting more content that’s relevant to them.
When you’re posting relevant content, your unfollowing numbers should drop off, and you’ll know you’re covering the right ground, and that people are more likely to be listening to you.
I pay more attention to people with a few dozen genuine followers, than I do to people who are followed by thousands of spam bots. And I am far from alone in holding this opinion. So as well as watching who’s unfollowing you, you need to carry out regular audits of who’s paying attention.
By using Status People, you can request an instant update on the makeup of your follower list.
You’ll be given a list analysing who follows you, which will be broken down into percentages. If you want to use me as your benchmark (and who doesn’t?), my current follower makeup is 1% Fake followers, 10% Inactive followers.
It’s the fake followers that should concern you.
While it’s a fool’s errand to go through your list and delete every spam bot as they appear, you do need to keep an eye on that Fakers bar. If it starts getting as high as 5% or even (horror of horrors) 10%, you’re not going to look particularly authoritative.
So check Status People once or twice a month, and block the spammers as necessary. Because along with helping you look more professional and switched-on, it’s going to stop those dodgy spam companies from spying on your feed. Which is something nobody wants.
And a Bonus Tool for Analysing Your Impact
If there’s a benefit to Klout arbitrarily assigning a numerical value to your tweets, I don’t know what it is. And at this point in the game, I don’t much care either. I think we’re all a little past the point where Klout is taken seriously, let alone viewed as an indispensable Twitter tool that’ll make your life easier.
Analysing the impact social media is having on your blog doesn’t require any Twitter tools – and it’s one of the things you can do manually. If your number of readers, commenters or customers is increasing, you’re having the right impact. And no change to your Klout score will affect that.
These aren’t the only tools out there that’ll help you improve the way you use social media. So if you’ve got a favourite tool that I’ve missed off the list, let the world know in the comments section below. Who knows? You might just force me to update the post.
But I won’t take back what I said about Klout.
If you’re reading this, then you’re almost certainly a Twitter user and/or a writer. Which means you’ll love Writer’s Retweet by Working Verse, on for one night only at the Lowry Theatre, Salford. 20:00, February 2, 2013. Tickets £8.00