I believe Twitter search is it’s killer feature. It’s what makes Twitter one of the best social networks for finding customers.
Get your search terms right and you will find people looking for what you do. In this weeks video-cast I show you how you how to use Twitter search and how to use Topsy to search for influencers on Twitter.
You will notice in the video that as well as using twitter advanced search I was inputing ‘operators’ or search parameters directly in to the search box. This is a good way to bypass Twitter advance search. Instead of having to go back to the form every time you want to add a parameter you can type them straight into the search box.
This is particularly handy if you want to find tweets near a specific location. Twitter have recently taken the ability to name a town and see tweets from that town out of Twitter search.
Here’s what you need to input to theTwitter search box if you want to find tweets sent within 15 miles of my hometown of Athy for example:
How do you measure your success on Twitter? Is it follower count? Mentions? Click throughs on links? Something else?
This weeks cool tool Twitonomy is a really useful Twitter analytics tool. It can show you some info about your own account including how many mentions you have had over a period of time. This saves a huge amount of time when you are building your account. If people aren’t mentioning you your message isn’t getting out.
It also allows you to analyse other accounts. This is useful if you are building an influencer list. It gives you headline stats on how many conversations users get into and how many links they share.
There are lots more functions within Twitonomy but I’m going to stick to these two features in this post.
Here’s how it works
You will need to sign in with your Twitter account to get started
Your Mentions & RT’s
Click ‘Mentions & RT’s’ on the top menu bar
Twitonomy will show you the number of mentions that you have had over a specific time period. On the free plan this date range is set by Twitonomy but if you upgrade you can specify a period of time that you want to measure.
Underneath this is a chart showing the number of mentions you have received. As you can see I had a peak in mentions towards the end of February.
Scroll down and you can see who has been mentioning you. Firstly ‘influential’ users, then those who mention you the most. No surprise that my business partner in We Teach Social Lorna is my biggest fan.
Scroll down again and you can see information about the number of RT’s you have received and the potential reach that these have given you.
Scroll down further and you can discover more about the number of favourites you have received.
This is great info to keep an eye on. I’d recommend putting it into a spreadsheet so you can measure growth over time.
View Your Own Profile
Click on ‘Profile’ in the top menu bar and Twitonomy will show you some info about your own account. It analyses your Twitter behaviour displaying:
How often you tweet
How often you use the RT button
How often you mention other users
How many of your tweets include links
How many of your tweets include hashtags
How often you use the favourite button
What is really cool is that it not only counts the number of times you do these things but it shows the percentage of your tweets that include them.
From here you can also see; your most RT’d tweets, your most favourited tweets, who you interact with the most and some stats about when you are online.
This is good information but it’s even more useful when you use it to analyse other accounts.
If you click a username within Twitonomy it will analyse the account of that user. You can also just type their name into the box to the top right of the page.
This is a good way to analyse followers. For example if you want to get into conversations with someone take a look at the percentage of replies. If this is low you could be wasting your time trying to chat to them.
In the example below you can see that Lorna is quite conversational so it should be easy to chat to her on Twitter. She doesn’t send that many RT’s using the RT button but almost half of her tweets include links. This means there is a chance that she’d share your content if she finds it useful.
Just these few features make Twitonomy a really useful tool and they are all available for free.
A lot of the coolest functions are only available on the premium version. What is nice about the premium pricing is that you can sign up for just one month, no need to subscribe.
If you are planning on doing a social media audit on your own account or if you want to spend a bit of time on influencer research it’s well worth the upgrade.
Even without paying for the premium features this is a really handy tool for measuring your own success and deciding on who you should be following and talking to.
Twitter conversations can make a good foundation for a blog post. If you embed tweets in a post you can showcase some great tweeters, share responses to a question you have written or collect together a bunch of tweets from happy customers for a testimonials page.
The good news for self hosted WordPress users is that it’s really simple to embed tweets to a post or page. Here’s how.
I discovered this trick when I was collating tweets as a roundup of the We Teach Social #TalkingSoc tweet chat. Although Storify does it more effectively I like that when we embed tweets we can include them on our own website as part of a longer blog post. If you don’t use WordPress you can get the embed code for a tweet by clicking on ‘More’ underneath the tweet and ‘embed’ from the drop down menu.
Have you used embedded tweets as part of a blog post? Did you know you could skip the longer embed tweet version? Let me know below.
Twitter Custom Timelines could be a useful way to curate tweets on a specific topic or to document a conversation. They work in a similar way to Storify.
The big difference is that you can only collate tweets (obviously) and that they are displayed in chronological order. For this reason they aren’t quite as good at collating Twitter chats but they are a good way of pulling together the best moments from a a chat.
Here’s how to set them up:
Other uses for Custom Timelines
Save tweets that are complimentary to share as customer testimonials.
To collate the best tweets from a conference or a social media event.
To keep a record of special offers you may wish to access later.
To bookmark good links.
I have to admit that I’d been putting off using custom timelines as they required me to use TweetDeck. As a Hootsuite girl I had been resisting. I was pleasantly surprised to see how quick and easy it was to get started with TweetDeck now. I think I will use it from time to time to collate Custom Timelines.
Have you used Custom Timelines? Would you be put off by having to use TweetDeck? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do leave me a link to any Custom Timelines you want to show off too.
This weeks cool tool Dlvr.it auto shares blog and news content to social networks. It’s an easy way to ensure your blog posts are getting shared. I don’t however recommend using it exclusively. As I mentioned in my post on Scheduling you can tweet the same link to your own content more than once a day on Twitter. Dlvr.it just covers one of those shares.
Although automating is a great time saver, and this tool works well for Twitter I always recommend customising and timing posts specifically for Google+ and Facebook.
Click on ‘Click here to name your route’ and give it a name that describes it. This is handy if you set up multiple routes so you can keep an eye on statistics. In the example I’ve chosen ‘Blog to Spiderworking Twitter’
Next click on ‘add’ next to sources. This is where you tell Dlvr.it what content you want to share.
Click on the orange ‘RSS’ symbol
Click on ‘add feed’
Now add your blog feed address to the site. If you don’t know what it is, in most cases it will be http://yourwebsiteaddress.com/feed
Click ‘feed update’ in the top menu and you have the option to set how often Dlvr.it checks your website for new content, if you are an avid blogger or manage a site that posts many times a day you can choose how the app handles this content here.
Click ‘save source’ at the bottom of the page.
Now it’s time to add your destination. In my case a Twitter account
Click ‘add’ next to destinations
Choose the network you want to send your feed to
Click ‘Connect to…’ and allow permissions
From the ‘Post Content’ menu you can choose how much content you want to post to Twitter with your automated Tweet. I’d recommend only posting the title and the post link as this makes it easier for other people to share.
You also have the option to add a prefix or suffix to your automated tweet. In the example I’ve added the prefix ‘New Post’. If you are sharing content from a blog that isn’t yours you could include the Twitter handle of the blogger after the tweet.
From the advanced menu you can choose to automatically add hashtags to your tweets. If you choose this option Dlvr.it will turn any categories from your blog posts into hashtags. You can also choose the maximum amount of automated hashtags you want added to your tweets.
Once you have finished click ‘save’. Now you are good to go. Dlvr.it will automatically start checking for new content and posting it to Twitter when it finds it.
Once your route has been running for a while you will be able to see some statistics related to it.
Click ‘Stats’ on the top menu. This displays how many click throughs your posts from Dlvr.it got and where the people who clicked it live in the world.
I really like this tool, I use it to update the We Teach Social twitter account with content from all of our collected blogs. It means our usually pure information account is always updated.
I love Twitter lists, I use them everyday. Although I like to dip in and out of the main stream on my Twitter account there are a few Tweeters that I enjoy interacting with. My Twitter lists mean that I can dive in and see what those people have been tweeting and filter out everyone else. For example my ‘Social Media Peeps’ list is always full of great links and information. It helps me stay in touch with what is happening in social media.
Creating lists can be a painstaking experience, particularly if you follow a lot of people. I know I’m always finding new people that should have been in my favourites list that I missed but as I follow over 2,000 people it’s hard to keep on top.
This weeks cool tool ‘TweetBe’ was introduced to me last week by Siobhan at Burren Ecotourism group. It simplifys the list making process and most importantly saves you time.
Do you ever post time sensitive tweets? Maybe it’s announcing that an event is happening tonight, or a time specific promotion. Leave these tweets live on Twitter and it could get messy. Someone could ReTweet what is now inaccurate information. You could get bombarded by customers who want to avail of an expired discount or turning up on the wrong day for an event.
This weeks cool tool Spirit has the solution. It allows you to add an expiry date to your Tweets, deleting it from Twitter after a timescale that you set.
Allow the permissions to access your Twitter account
Now you are set up you can add a hashtag to your tweets to let Spirit know when you want them deleted.
These can be formatted in minutes:
Here’s one I scheduled for deletion within two minutes:
As with all cool tools something can always go wrong. My 2 minute tweet was not deleted within two minutes but more like 6 minutes, I’m not sure if this is because of the short expiry I gave it. Still I was delighted to see it disappear.
Hat tip to The Verge where I originally found this tool.
Sentiment that works best (positive and negative words)
How capitalisation effect retweets
The most retweetable words
How hashtags effect retweets
How quotations effect retweets
How links effect retweets
How calls to action effect retweets
How questions effect retweets
It makes really interesting reading and although I wouldn’t stick by the results religiously there are some tips to pick up if you want more Retweets. I’m definitely going to be adjusting my strategy slightly in the future.
I find it hard to write about Twitter etiquette as I find that one person will passionately believe one thing whilst another will passionately believe the reverse. There are however a few hard and fast rules and I’ve included those below. I’ve also included some shared by my Facebook followers and some I try and stick to myself.
Hard and fast rules
Don’t use abbreviation unless 100% necessary. It may look unprofessional and can be hard to understand.
Don’t get drawn in to a public argument on Twitter. No one ever comes out well from these. If someone persists in arguing with you either take it offline or ignore them.
Do be polite and courteous as you would be in real life (unless for some reason your business requires you to be rude)
Don’t be tempted to send a direct message to each new follower, particularly if they are automated messages. (Thanks to Azzy O’Connor for this suggestion)
Do be sincere and transparent, lies and cover ups are easily exposed on social media and if you get found out you’ll be trending on Twitter for all the wrong reasons.
Do apologise if you get something wrong.
Don’t ask for a RT – You will see a lot of statistics showing that asking for retweets increases the number of shares you get but from a branding perspective it can make you look desperate. (This is one of my personal rules)
As long as you only have a few people RTing your content or conversing with you make sure that you respond to each of them personally. Take time to look at their profiles and tweets so you can personalise your responses. Even using someone’s real name can make a big difference.This one came up a lot from the people on Facebook and I have to admit that I don’t always thank people. I’m at the stage when I get quite a lot of interaction and it’s hard to keep up with all the shares and comments so I made a decision not to thank everyone for shares. I still appreciate them but I figured that sending out a group message or a general ‘Thanks for all the shares’ would seem impersonal. Unless I could be personal I felt it would be insincere. (lots and lots of my Facebook community shared this, see more here)
Don’t just share your own content, try and share at least one piece of content from someone else for every link to your own. Different social media practitioners will give you a different ratio for promoting yourself v promoting others but as a rule of thumb make sure you are sharing as much as you are promoting. (Thanks to Steffen Coonan for this suggestion)
Don’t talk about how many followers you have, it makes you look either desperate if you only have a few or vain if you have a lot.(Thanks to Úna-Minh Caomhánach for this suggestion)
Don’t challenge people for not following you publicly – if someone chooses not to follow you don’t be offended. (Thanks to Úna-Minh Caomhánach for this suggestion)
Don’t call people out for bad Twitter etiquette (Thanks to Annmarie Miles for this suggestion)
Don’t overuse hashtags. Putting tags in the flow of a tweet can make them hard to read. As an absolute maximum add three hash tags and put them at the end of the tweet. (This is one of my recommendations)
If you are using Twitter for business don’t over share. People don’t want or need to know that you are going to the shop for milk. (This is one of my recommendations)
Try and avoid automation. Limit applications such as foursquare or Instagram that automate Twitter updates. They don’t add value to your business. (This is one of my recommendations)
Don’t retweet people who praise you. No one likes someone who constantly boasts. Sharing testimonials from time to time is find but constantly retweeting praise makes you look self involved. (This is one of my recommendations)
My recommendations aren’t right for everyone. It doesn’t annoy me when people do these things but they are part of my own personal brand. It’s worth drawing up a list of guidelines for yourself and deciding on what the dos and don’ts of your own business are.
As I was putting this together I realised that there were far more don’ts that dos. I think this is often sparked by our annoyances at the things people do, we tend not to praise people for good etiquette.
There aren’t that many huge mistakes that you can make on Twitter, as a society we are very forgiving. I remember quite a storm brewing up at the beginning of the year about a cafe in Dublin that had been rude to a customer online, I don’t remember the name of the cafe now and it certainly hasn’t put me off going there for life. If I have had a good experience with a business I won’t reject them just because they got something wrong on social media. If you find that you’ve made a mistake the best thing to do is apologise and move on, don’t get into prolonged arguments about it.
This weeks cool tool is a really simple one but it’s also really handy for Twitter. Letter count does exactly what it says. It counts the number of characters that you type into a box.
Why is Letter Count useful? As part of my online Twitter course I take students through creating a killer Twitter profile. Profiles on Twitter can be 160 characters long. Knowing how many you have used or how many you have left is really handy when you are trying to compose the perfect bio.
By creating your bio within Letter Count you can be sure you won’t go over that 160 limit.
You may also find this handy if you need to compose a number of Tweets in advance. I try and keep my tweets to 120 characters maximum so that there is room for others to quote my Tweet or use the old fashioned method to share. If I needed to write a number of Tweets in advance, if I was promoting something or even if I wanted to come up with different headlines to share a blog Letter Count would make it far easier.
It may have use beyond Twitter too. When setting up Facebook ad’s we are limited to 90 characters in the description and 25 in the heading.