Twitter

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Twitter Tips, Tools, and Helpful Hints:

Twitter is a great tool for making new connections on the web.  This information is the result of our current Twitter experience and is updated as we continue to learn and grow.

Although the majority (most) of the sites listed here are free, some of the sites offer both Free and Professional (Paid) services.  We have attempted to identify the paid sites accordingly.  While you may have second thoughts about paying for twitter tools, consider that, in most cases, the free versions offer significant functionality.

If you are dealing with high volume traffic or plan to be a serious or professional twitter / social media user, we recommend signing up for the free services of these sites first.  If your requirements change, it will be much easier for you to upgrade your accounts to an environment that you are already familiar with.

We are active Tweeters on Twitter, follow us @Versalytics.

If you’re still unsure about signing up – read our post “Why Twitter?” to learn more. For another engaging list of reasons to become a part of the Twitterverse, read “Five Paths to Personal Growth Through Twitter” by Suchitra Mishra .

Signing up for Twitter is Free and easy:

Recommended Reading:

The language of Twitter – Twitter Terminology:

  • Twitterverse:  The twitter community at large
  • Tweet (Noun):  Your message or status
  • Tweet (Verb):  To send a message or status
  • Tweeter:  An active twitter user.
  • DM:  Direct Message to a fellow tweeterTwoosh:  A message containing exactly 140 characters
  • Tweeple or Tweeps:  People who Twitter
  • RT:  Used when retweeting and usually precedes the original tweet
  • MT:  Abbreviated form for “mentions”
  • Hash tags or #:  You will notice that some tweets have a “#” symbol before certain words.  These are also known as hash tags and are typically referred to in Searches and Tweet Chats.  For example,
    • #DWTS or #DancingWithTheStars are used to tag tweets on Dancing With the Stars
    • #Idol, #AI, or #AmericanIdol may be used for American Idol
    • #UnderCoverBoss for Under Cover Boss
    • Celebrity Names
    • Business Terms
    • Hashtags are what makes TweetChats possible. TweetChats are a common event where tweets are tagged with the name of the “chat” such as #LeadFromWithin
      • See below for more information on Tweet Chats
Twitter – Rules of Engagement

How hard can it be? After all, everyone’s doing it right?  The short answer is, “It’s easy and yes, everyone’s doing it.”  However, you should become familiar with Twitter’s rules of engagement and support services to avoid problems in the future that may even include suspending or terminating your account.  While the latter may be a rare occurrence, it’s in your best interest to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

When you signed up for twitter the last thing on your mind is “terms and conditions”.  There are a few things you should be aware of and we recommend spending a few minutes to view the pages posted by Twitter at the following links:

Posting Tweets and Twitter Etiquette (Tweetiquette)

  • Use a shortened version of the URL included in your tweet allows more room for your message or for others to add comments when they Retweet (RT) to their followers:
    • http://cli.gs
      • Short URLs with Analytics, Social Media Monitoring, and Geotargeting
    • http://www.bit.ly
      • Recommended:  Permits tracking of clicks
      • Allows bundling of multiple tweets
    • http://www.tinyurl.com
      • Reliability / Link Integrity noted as a concern
    • http://www.adf.ly– Get Paid to Use adf.ly
      • Ads are displayed when tweets are clicked
      • This may become annoying to readers of your tweets.
    • See below for Tweets OVER 140 characters.
  • A word of caution:
    • Shortened URL’s may hide the originating source of the Tweet.
    • Your Tweets may be edited and modified before retweeting by others:
      • They may change the URL that is referred in your tweet to one of their own.
      • They may tarnish or damage your reputation depending on the revised content.
  • Even though Twitter gives you 140 characters, try limiting your tweets to 110 characters or less so others can use the space to RT (RETWEET) your Tweets.
  • Thank others for sharing your content (retweets)
    • Friday is the day to recognize and appreciate your engaged followers.  In fact, you may already have seen #FF or #FollowFriday in your Twitter time line or tweet stream.
      • FollowFridayHelper – Highly recommended, provides a filtered list of users you interact with on Twitter. You can either build a list or thank them individually (recommended at times).
      • TwitFriday is one tool that can help you keep track of who you should acknowledge or honor with a #FF or to simply send a SHOUTOUT.
  • Appreciate those who appreciate you: Direct Messaging / @mentions (MT’s)
    • FollowFridayHelper – Highly recommended, provides a filtered list of users you interact with on Twitter. You can either build a list or thank them individually (recommended at times).
  • Engage with the twitterverse – Reply to Tweets, Participate in Discussions
  • Don’t spam or abuse your followers with advertising.
  • Upload a profile picture – Let the twitterverse know you are a real human being – not an “egg”.  A study of 9 million twitter accounts shows adding a profile picture to your account will increase your following by up to 10 times.

    For more information on Tweet etiquette readTweetiquette – Twitter Etiquette, Top 10 Do’s and Dont’s of Twitter by Neal Chambers at englishspark.com

Tweets are intended to be short, but if you simply can’t contain your tweets to 140 characters, there are options:

  • Twitlonger:  Use twitlonger to create posts longer than 140 characters.  The site creates and sends a post through twitter.  “Sign In with Twitter”
  • TinyPaste:  Create a message using tinypaste.  Tinypaste has other tools as well to bookmark and paste browser content.  Visit http://tinypaste.com for more details.
  • Deck.ly or TweetDeck/deckly:  Read and Write extended messages.  This functionality is built directly into TweetDeck (see link below).

Twitter Jail (#TwitterJail)

As mentioned earlier, Twitter has imposed limits.  Twitter will temporarily suspend your account if you send more than 100 tweets per hour or more than 1,000 tweets per day!  The length of time is indeterminate but all indications are that your account may be suspended for up to an hour.

How will you know if you’re in Twitter Jail? You will receive an error message when attempting to send your tweets, although the message does not explicitly state the reason why.

The following link also provides additional information regarding twitter limits, e-mail updates, direct messaging, and more:  http://support.twitter.com/groups/31-twitter-basics/topics/114-guidelines-best-practices/articles/15364-about-twitter-limits-update-api-dm-and-following

Managing Twitter

As the number of followers and people you are following continues to grow, you will need a better method to manage your tweets, messages, mentions, trends, and so on:

  • http://www.TweetDeck.com (Highly Recommended)
    • Manage multiple accounts, direct messages, mentions, trends, recommendations, twitter streams and so much more.
    • If you have two monitors, then TweetDeck is definitely one of the preferred Twitter Management tool available.
  • http://www.HootSuite.com
    • Allows multiple Twitter Streams to be viewed in a single pane.  Free and Paid versions available.
    • Includes social analytics
  • http://www.socialoomph.com (Recommended)
    • Numerous features to manage your twitter account.  Free and Professional (paid) services available.
    • Manage Multiple Accounts, send Direct Messages, Schedule Tweets and much more.
  • http://www.seesmic.com (Highly Recommended – Easily Manage Multiple Social Media Accounts)
    • Desktop and Web Applications Available
    • Enable / Disable a wide variety of Multiple Social Media plug ins – You will find most of everything you need
      • Manage all major social media accounts in one application
      • Analytics, Shorteners, Tweets, Pictures, Video
      • Seesmic is also integrated into Ping.fm

Managing Twitter from eMail

It can be cumbersome to keep monitoring twitter in real time.  The following site(s) offer twitter management using your e-mail.

  • http://tweetymail.com/
    • Provides varying levels / limits of twitter management Free, full, max, and business services are available.

Managing Tweets / Conversations

  • Twitoasterby Arnaud Meunier (@rno)
    • Twitoaster threads and archives your twitter conversations, bringing you all the background, context and statistics you need. It’s all about improving & optimizing the way you communicate with your followers.
  • http://www.ping.fm
    • Tweet to multiple social media accounts – Facebook, WordPress, LinkedIn, Blogger, and many more

Followers

Not everyone is going to follow you simply because you chose to follow them.  Also, some people may follow you only to have you follow them back.  A short while later (hours, days, or even weeks), they may decide to stop following you.

There are no limits to the number of followers, however, there are limits to the number of accounts you can follow (more on this later).

  • http://www.FriendorFollow.com
    • Allows multiple Twitter Streams to be viewed in a single pane.  Free and Paid versions available.
  • Many of the Twitter Management Suites provide follower management tools.
  • http://www.tweepi.com
    • Offers both Free and Premium (paid) upgrades to manage your “tweeps”
    • Remove those who are not following you back
    • Choose to follow those who are following you
    • Follow followers, friends, and lists.
    • Unique Paste & Analyze feature using comma separated list of users.

Finding Followers

Most of the Twitter management sites find and offer potential twitter connections based on people you have already chosen to follow.  Another resource that you may find useful is Twellow, the equivalent of the “Yellow Pages” for twitter.  This service is free and easy to use.  With this service you will be able to navigate through various categories, find like twitter connections, and list your twitter account accordingly.

Paying for Followers:

If twitter is a social media platform, paying for followers through “automation” may seem a little unorthodox.  The objective of these sites is to build a network of “targeted” followers. So, depending on your objectives, it could be worth your while.  Of course there are no guarantees that these same followers will continue to follow you for the long term.

  • http://twit4followers.info Finds targeted followers at varying rates depending on the size of your order.  Orders are based on batch sizes. Note the timing to complete the orders.  Depending on the size of your network, you may already be achieving these growth rates through regular / normal twitter activity.
  • http://www.TweetAdder.comAutomatically builds a targeted Twitter Network and features auto follow, auto unfollow, auto tweet, auto messaging and more. This site offers a free trial and paid services thereafter.
    • This is almost a “set it” and “forget it” type of site.  We recommend adding this to your site after you have had some time to understand twitter.
    • Your followers and those you follow expect to be dealing with real people at some point unless you are setting up a “business” account.

A word about Followers and Following back:

It really won’t take too long before people start following you.  At first you may not be too selective about who follows you and you may not be sure who you should be following either.    Although you may have heard the unwritten rule that its good etiquette to follow someone who follows you – DON’T.  You may be surprised to learn that all followers do NOT have the same intentions as you do:

  • Some who follow you are only interested in building their own following.
    • When you follow them back, they are quick to stop following you.
      • You can use tweepi (see below) to see who who has stopped following you.
    • Visit their profile page and see how many they are following and how many are following back
    • While on their profile page, see who they are following.
  • Automation – Follow / Follow Back
    • These profiles usually follow very few people.
    • There may be an extremely limited number of tweets
    • Check the date / time of their last tweet
      • Never ore extremely few tweets – Never active
      • Months ago – Inactive
      • Hours / Minutes – Active
  • Others are only interested in promoting their MLM campaign or advertising.
    • Visit their profile page and see what types of tweets they send
    • If all they do is spend time promoting themselves, they won’t be helping you.
  • Be aware that some programs exist that will automatically follow you back when you follow them.
  • Keep in mind that the tweets of everyone you follow become part of your “tweet stream” of messages.
    • You may not be interested in a continuous stream of advertisements
    • A steady stream of inspirational quotes may also be a major distraction, unless you like that sort of thing.
  • You may also want to be weary of those who immediately want you to join their face book page.
  • Remember, Twitter is a social network.
    • Having followers who don’t engage with you really isn’t that fun or exciting.

Before following back:

  • Review the “Followers” profile and determine whether their intentions match with yours
  • Review their most recent tweets
    • Are they interactive or ads only
    • Are they active – relatively frequent
    • Is the content suitable
    • Is the tweet stream automated or “real life”
  • Do / will they engage? There’s no sense tweeting if no one is “watching”

This list is not exhaustive and is by no means intended to restrict your twitter activities.  How you choose to use your account is obviously up to you.  Choose wisely.

FOLLOWING – Important Note:  There are Follow Limits:  Reasonable limits have been imposed by twitter to limit the number of accounts you can follow.

  • 2,000 – Following more depends on your account and is based on your “followers / following” ratio.
  • 1,000 – Maximum number of new accounts you can follow in a given day.
  • There are few options available if you hit a limit > 2000
    • Unfollow a few accounts you’re currently following, or
    • Wait for additional accounts to follow
  • If you’re having trouble following others visit twitter’s “Following Problems” page
  • To learn more about twitter’s follow limits visit twitter’s “Follow Rules and Best Practices

Managing Lists

As the number of people who are following you continues to grow, it may be helpful to organize them using lists.  For example, you may want to maintain a separate list of personal friends and another for business contacts.

One of the more difficult tasks is keeping track of people who are no longer following you and those who may have just started to.  Although you could use FriendorFollow as suggested above, there is another option available:  http://www.tweepi.com.

Feeding Twitter:

If you have a blog or web site with an RSS feed you can use a free service like TwitterFeed to automatically manage blog posts and updates.

Twitter Backup Tools

Although Twitter is concerned with “What’s happening?” in real-time (now), you may still want to backup your twitter data / account.  The following tools allow you to do just that:

  • http://www.tweetake.com
    • Easy Sign In with your twitter account
    • Backup Followers, Favorites, Direct Messages, Friends, Your Tweets – Everything
    • Files can be save to Excel-Compatible Files (UTF-16) UTF-8
  • http://tweetbackup.com/
    • Daily Tweet Backup on the Internet

Twitter / Social Media Ranking:

Twitter is a great way to make connections on the web.  If you choose to use the services below, don’t get too concerned over the rankings.  Enjoy the Twitter experience for what it is intended to be.  Attempting to change your behaviors to “influence” your rankings may not necessarily serve any immediate benefit.  Twitter is dependent on the connections you make, not your immediate ranking.

  • http://www.klout.com(@Klout)
    • Klout is an “influence ranking” and uses True Reach, Amplification, and Network parameters to determine your Klout Score
    • Klout (Beta) is a Google Chrome Extension that adds Klout Rankings to your Twitter Timeline.
  • http://peerindex.net(@PeerIndex)
    • PeerIndex is a Social Media ranking system.  You can use this service to rank Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and up to three (3) Blog URLs.  For additional information visit the Peer Index Blog
  • Before signing up to a ranking / index service, consider the purpose for doing so.  I contend that if you do the right things right, your twitter experience will be rewarded by following great people and having even greater people following you.  The purpose of twitter is to be engage people in an open online community.  If your tweets / content are worth reading and forwarding to others, you will quickly find that your following will grow with people that look forward to connecting and engaging with you.
  • http://twitalyzer.com
    • Social Media analytics – Free Benchmarking and PAID Plans offering 3 levels of service.  Multiple social media accounts are assessed in the analytics provided.
  • http://twittergrader.com
    • Twitter ranking site – Provides Ranking and Grade for your (or any other) username.
    • Question the value of the result to help improve your twitter experience.
Chats on Twitter – Real Time / Live Action!
As mentioned earlier, hash tags mark tweets against a certain topic or forum.  If you search against a hash tag, you will see all the tweets containing the word or hash tag.  If you’re following a real-time event (sports or reality TV), you may find that the tweets appear at an overwhelming rate. TweetChat allows you to:
  • Control and pause the tweet refresh rate (5 seconds to 60 seconds)
  • Some chats have many participants and the tweet stream is rapid.
  • Send Tweets from the “Chat Room” forum
  • Hash tags are automatically added to all of your tweets – A major convenience.
  • Reply to Tweeters,
  • Retweet Tweets,
  • Feature or block users,
  • “Favourite” the tweets you like.
  • Toggle fonts (Small / Large)
This service is free and you can simply Sign In through your twitter account (oAuth).  TweetChat makes it possible for you to focus on the “chat” or discussion without having to concern yourself with hashtags or getting lost in the tweet timeline.  It’s a terrific and highly recommended tool.
Here’s a short list of some recommended Tweet Chats:
  • #SpiritChat Sunday 9:00 am EST
  • #SoulCall Sunday 10:00 am EST
  • #BlogChat – Sunday 9:00 pm EST
  • #LikeableChat – Sunday 10:00 pm EST
  • #UBUSensations Tuesday 7:00 pm EST
  • #UBUSensations – Tuesday 7:00 pm EST
  • #LeadFromWithin – Tuesday 8:00 pm EST
  • #BeALeader – Thursday 7:00 pm EST
  • #KaizenBiz – Friday 12:00 pm EST
Other Twitter Resources that you may find helpful:

Audio MP3 / M4a Files and Twitter!

  • http://www.twitrax.com
    • If you’ve ever wanted to upload an MP3 or M4a visit this site.  You Tracks are easily uploaded with the click of a button.  Tweets announcing your new release are automatically sent to the Twitterverse.

Making Money

Value of Your Twitter Account

Although the algorithm for calculating the value is unknown, the following site will determine a monetary value for your Twitter account:

This page is updated as new and useful tools are found, tried, and tested.  Feel free to leave your comments below, we appreciate your feedback!

Although the majority (most) of the sites listed here are free, some of the sites offer both Free and Professional (Paid) services.  We have attempted to identify the paid sites accordingly.  While you may have second thoughts about paying for twitter tools, consider that, in most cases, the free versions offer significant functionality.

If you are dealing with high volume traffic or plan to be a serious or professional twitter / social media user, we recommend signing up for the free services of these sites first.  If your requirements change, it will be much easier for you to upgrade your accounts to an environment that you are already familiar with.

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10 thoughts on “Twitter”

    1. Thank you for your kind words Suchitra. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about when I first signed up for Twitter so I decided to become a student of the “twitterverse”. Having learned what I could at the time and discovering the many positive things about Twitter, I had to share.

      I look forward to reading your post and can definitely appreciate your wanting to write about Twitter in kind. Perhaps I’ll add a link as a related post. Stay tuned for that.

      Thank you and I’ll be sure to see you on Twitter!

  1. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of Twitter Lean Execution – Intelligent Metrics . Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

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