Somehow We Forgot How To Use Twitter For Business
Somehow We Forgot How To Use Twitter For Business

I’m not sure if there is one key to Twitter business success but here’s one thing I’d forgotten and had to re-learn.

I know I’m not alone as a Twitter user, looking nostalgically back to the days when Twitter conversations used to flow. I’ve talked about it here many times before. But where many of us are desperately trying to cling on the Twitter we used to love other users and even Twitter itself seems to be moving away from this model.

Watch to find out my tip for Twitter business success:

Every morning I search desperately on Twitter for conversations, it takes time to scan through my lists and my main feed, to click links and see what people are sharing so I can open a conversation but I know this relationship building will pay off eventually.

I like to get to know people, I enjoy making friends on Twitter, I love that I am never alone when I know a friend is just a tweet away.

However, so many of the wonderful people I follow seem to have abandoned their feeds. They curate content which is great, they ReTweet stuff from the people that are important to them, some of them even ReTweet me and I don’t want them to stop! I miss the conversation. I miss finding out about people, shooting the breeze with people.

Being a content curator on Twitter makes sense. Twitter is a place to discover content so if you show you are a good resource you will attract people to your account. I’ve been guilty of this too. I curate content every weekday, I share my own stuff but I have forgotten to create Twitter content.

I’ve changed recently. I’ve stopped sharing links with every tweet, I’ve tried to recapture the Twitter I love. Instead of posting a link about the latest social media news I comment or ask a question. The reaction has been fabulous. I’m chatting to people again.

Twitter aren’t wrong when they bill themselves as a place where people can stay up to date with what is happening now but as businesses we need to be the ones discussing our industry, we need to be the ones people come to follow, we need to be the authority on our business.

So don’t give up, try my tip, share a tweet, no link, no image just a comment on something even if it’s just the weather (think about it how many beautiful friendships have started with a conversation about the weather). You’ll find that Twitter can work for you too.

 

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Have You Forgotten The Secret Of Twitter Business Success
Have You Forgotten The Secret Of Twitter Business Success

twitter-dashboard-thumb

Last week Twitter did something that astounded me. They released a new feature that I don’t hate. Twitter Dashboard is a tool aimed at small business that rearranges the way you view Twitter.

When you sign up for Twitter Dashboard you are asked for your website address and some interests. Twitter customises your feed with this info. You’ll get a bundle of tweets including your username, shares of your website and tweets with hashtags related to your business.

As far as I can tell this dashboard feed has nothing to do with who you follow but serves up tweets that you should find useful or interesting. And you know what? I did find them interesting.

It also brings some previously difficult to reach features into one place including scheduling (at last) and analytics.

I’ve used Dashboard for almost a week now (on and off) and I’ve pulled together some of the things I think work well and some that need to improve.

Watch below to find out what’s good and bad about Twitter Dashboard

3 Good things about Twitter Dashboard

1. Scheduling

I, like most small business owners use third-party tools like Hootsuite, AgoraPulse or Buffer to schedule my tweets. Scheduling has become a crucial part of my Twitter strategy and it’s always seemed bizarre that Twitter made it so hard. If you have signed up for an ad account you can schedule from there but it’s clunky and hard to access. We now have scheduling just one click away on our Twitter Dashboard.

2. Curating

Because my new home feed is no longer reliant on who I follow but what I’m interested in, I’m finding and reading loads of great content. This is for me the main benefit of Dashboard, I’ve discovered lots of new blogs to follow and it’s spiced up my rather stale collection of content sources.

3. Analytics

Like scheduling, analytics has been available for some time. What’s different here is that it’s one click away on your Dashboard, no need to go to a different site. It’s nice to have stats on tap although I have to be careful not to waste time constantly checking them.

3 Not so good things about Twitter Dashboard

1. Monitoring

I was encouraged when I set up my account that it wanted my website address. I expected to be able to easily access tweets that included links to my site. Unfortunately, these tweets may be there but they get lost in the feed full of curated content on the topics I chose. It would be nice to have a button I could click to see just the website mentions. I won’t be giving up my monitoring tools anytime soon.

2. No Twitter lists

I enjoy following a diverse and large volume of people on Twitter. It means there is always something new to look at, but I rely on Twitter lists to stay on top of the most important people in my feed.

Dashboard doesn’t have the ability to access lists. This missing feature alone would stop me adopting it full time.

3. No Mobile In Ireland

When I read Twitter’s announcement I was excited to see there was a mobile version. As someone who travels at least 2 days a week it’s important for me to access my Twitter tools on the go. Unfortunately, when I tried to download the app I discovered that it wasn’t yet available in Ireland.

Conclusion

My initial reaction to Twitter Dashboard was positive. It’s been a while since they’ve created something user-friendly and I can only hope that a more streamlined Twitter advertising interface is on its way to compliment it. However, Dashboard seems incomplete, like it’s a rushed out half solution. I don’t think third-party tools need worry just yet but they should keep their eyes open if Twitter start to add more features.

What do you think? Have you tried Twitter Dashboard? What are your thoughts?

 

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Should You Switch To Twitter Dashboard?
Should You Switch To Twitter Dashboard?
extended 140 character tweets
Could you soon have more space for your tweets ?

BassDrummerEd believes that “limitation makes you be creative”

Last week I was at the Thinking Digital conference in Newcastle, BassDrummerEd was there showing us how he had pushed the limits of his drumming. His stuff was incredible.

It made me think about two of my favourite social networks Twitter and Snapchat. Both have limits and both are networks I enjoy and love. Part of the reason I enjoy them so much is the limitations they impose. For Twitter, it’s the 140 character limit, for Snapchat the 10-second video limit and the restriction on uploading photos to your story.

Twitter character counts may be changing – Watch for more

Twitter was originally limited to 140 characters as it was a text messaging service. Back when it was launched the maximum length of an SMS text message was 160 characters. 140 characters allowed for the text of the tweet and the username.

Although we’re no longer limited by SMS size, 140 has become the differentiator for Twitter. It’s part of the brand and it forces users to be concise and creative to get their point over in a short space of time.

limitation inspires creativity
Wisdom from @BassDrummerEd at the recent Thinking Digital conference

Earlier this year there was a rumour that Twitter were to extend their 140 characters to 10,000. I wasn’t a fan. Luckily they seem to have abandoned the 10,000 character limit.

The latest rumour suggests they are going to introduce stealthy, longer tweets. An article in Bloomburg, as yet unconfirmed by Twitter claims that soon the characters taken up by links and photos will no longer count towards the 140 limit.

This isn’t a surprising update. We can already extend tweets beyond 140 characters with tagging and quote tweet, this is just an extension.

If the rumour is true we’ll be able to use the full 140 characters for the text of our tweet and add links and photos after. This makes sense, at the moment if you add a photo and a link to your Tweet you’re left with just 94 characters for your tweet. Visual content has become a crucial part of the Twitter experience but it seems a shame to loose part of our prose to it.

For once I’m not annoyed, I think I’m OK with this character extension, it leaves the limitation in place, it still forces creativity but it allows us to expand the meaning of our tweets with images and text.

What do you think, is this a good thing or is it just one step on the slippery slope towards the 10,000 character tweet?

 

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You'll Soon be able to tweet all of your 140 characters every time
Are Twitter about to let us tweet longer?
increase twitter character limit 10000
Should Twitter increase the character count to 10,000 characters?

I’ve been away on my holidays in New York for the last week or so. I have just about been keeping up with the news and one topic that popped into my newsfeed was the possibility that Twitter would increase their character limit from 140 characters to 1000.

I really hope the rumours about Twitter increasing their character count to 10,000 characters are false. There have been rumours for a while that they were considering an increase but I expected it to be incremental and almost invisible.

A jump this big would be a shock for Twitter users and would remove the thing, that for me, makes Twitter special.

I understand why they are considering it. The 140 character count sounds like a gimmick. They need to appease shareholders and get more people signing up and using the service. Is the 140 limit one of the things holding people back?

As much as I love that the 140 character limit forces me to be concise, I do feel that on Twitter I’m part of an exclusive club. A club that understands the rules and the language that the character restriction demands. I’m sure to an outsider that this can seem intimidating. By increasing the limit, by essentially removing it, Twitter will be a crowd pleaser.

I object! Here’s a quick (not entirely serious) video I made on holiday in NYC last week to express my feelings on the topic…

When I access Twitter and Facebook from my phone I already find the two networks very similar. So much so that on occasion I’ve been using Facebook whilst convinced I was looking at Twitter. The interfaces are so similar it can be hard to spot which one you are using.

I love Twitter for its uniqueness. I love that it makes us concise, that because of the limit I can pop in for five minutes and get an overview of what’s going on in the world, what concerns the people I follow today, what stories do they have to tell? If we want to tweet longer we can already do so, we don’t need 10,000 characters.

Of course, at this early stage we don’t really know what Twitter is proposing. My guess is that they are keen to jump into the blogging arena like LinkedIn have with publishing and Facebook have with Instant Articles and Notes.

What do you think, should Twitter expand its character count? Will it encourage you to use Twitter more or would it make you abandon the network? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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tweet longer than 140 characters
3 ways to tweet longer than 140 characters without leaving Twitter

It’s been hinted at by Jack Dorsey, it has been anticipated, but I for one wouldn’t welcome tweets longer than 140 characters. 

I don’t have any children, but I’m beginning to think that Twitter is acting like a teenage son (or daughter). The network we enjoyed, nurtured, watched grow has suddenly started acting differently. It’s stopped worrying about what we think and has started doing stuff that is cool with it’s new friends.

I’ve ranted about some of the changes before. I wasn’t a fan of hearts when they appeared, but I’ll forgive my Twitter anything. I’m jumping on board and using hearts more than I ever used stars.

Then Twitter stole my share count. I wanted to give it a good talking to about that one. But I’m still hanging in there. After all I love Twitter, I’m not going to give up on it.

Today I see they are experimenting with a Facebook-style newsfeed algorithm. I want to scream. Why does Twitter have to be so awkward and annoying?

Why 140 Characters?

140 Characters is what defines Twitter. If they get rid of that limit will it lose its unique selling point? Will I loose Twitter forever?

The limit comes from Twitter’s origin as a text service. In those days SMS Text messages were limited to 160 characters and Twitter needed 20 of those for the username.

The truth is that you can already Tweet over 140 Characters. All of the methods below work within the existing Twitter architecture, and they do work. Maybe Mr. Dorsey doesn’t need to do anything. I think we’ve got it covered already.

#1 Reply to your own tweet

This is the simplest way to extend your tweets beyond 140 characters. You don’t need any images or tricks, you don’t have to leave Twitter.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Write part one of your Tweet and post it
  2. Hit the reply button
  3. Delete your username from the reply
  4. Write part two of the Tweet and post it

You can repeat this process until you have finished your message. The first tweet and the replies will appear connected by a blue line when viewed in the Twitter stream.

How to tweet longer than 140 Characters
Your tweets will appear joined by a blue line

#2 Write your message and screen grab

If you have a lot to say the first method might seem cumbersome. This second one works well when you have a lot to say.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Type the extended section of your tweet into the notes application (or the equivilant) on your phone
  2. Take a screen grab of the note (home + power botton on iPhone, power + volume down button on Android)
  3. Write your tweet – maximum 118 characters
  4. Add your screen grab as an image to your Tweet
  5. Tap on your image to crop and filter it
  6. Tweet

Twitter now displays images in full so people will be able to read the full text of your note in the stream.

tweet longer than 140 method 2
Twitter now displays your full image in the stream without expanding

#3 Use photo tagging

This one should be used with caution. If you are mentioning a lot of users in your tweet instead of using your 140 characters to mention their usernames you can add an image and tag them.

**Warning don’t be a spammer** Although this is effective if you are mentioning people, maybe you have included them in a post or are sharing a moment you had together, be careful of spamming. Don’t tag people just to get their attention. Instead of getting lots of ReTweets and hearts you’ll find yourself unfollowed an blocked.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Compose your tweet – maximum 118 characters
  2. Upload a picture or video to accompany it
  3. Click ‘who is in this photo’ underneath
  4. Start typing the name of someone you want to tag
  5. Choose them from the drop down menu
  6. Send the tweet

Your tweet, the photo and the users you have tagged will appear in your tweet.

tweet longer than 140 using photo tagging
Tag your photos instead of adding user names to the tweet

 

tweet longer than 140 using photo tagging
Choose users from the drop down menu

 

tweet longer than 140 using photo tagging
Your tag will appear above the photo and won’t take up any of your 140 characters

I have a feeling Twitter will start increasing the number of characters we tweet stealthily. First they’ll allow us to add links without them counting towards the character limit. Next it will be photos and video. I can’t see many of us complaining about that. Then eventually they’ll phase out 140 characters altogether.

It’s bound to happen but I’ll miss the uniqueness and the challenge to be concise.

For more social media tips, pick up a copy of the We Teach Social – 365 Social Media Tips Kindle book on Amazon.

What do you think?

Do you use any of these methods to tweet longer?
Should Twitter abandon the 140 character limit? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

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twitter hearts v favourites
twitter hearts v favourites

When Twitter changed stars to hearts last month many users weren’t impressed. I wasn’t impressed. I liked Favourites, I used them to bookmark content and tweets, I used them to save testimonials.

In reality, I’d been battling against a new way of using favourites for a while. They may have served a different purpose in the past but over time users had started to click the star the same way they clicked the Like button on Facebook. After trying to resist, I eventually gave in and joined the crowd. Twitter had changed its vocabulary and I needed to keep up. Since the switch to hearts I’m liking with abandon. I no longer have a ‘favourite’ strategy. I like Tweets I see to let people know I’ve seen them o to indicate I agree. Just like on Facebook.

Here Are My Thoughts On Twitter Hearts v Stars

Why Did Twitter Introduce The Heart?

I don’t know for sure but I have a good guess. Twitter has a problem, although it has a strong user base many of those users are lurkers. They never Tweet, favourite, RT or interact with the content they see. If Twitter is to grow it needs to get those users participating. The heart button encourages this, it matches the hearts we see on other social networks like Tumblr or Instagram. It’s a familiar symbol that will make people feel more comfortable, they’ll know what to do.

It’s paid off. According to reports, more people are liking than used to favourite. Both existing users and new users are embracing the heart.

What Can Small Businesses Learn From Twitter Hearts?

Small business owners, myself included, pour their hearts into their businesses. They work long hours and for the first few years at least sacrifice their social life and sleep. When you are that invested in your business any criticism can hurt. We react to it in two main ways:

1. We get upset – When we put so much into what we do any criticism can hurt. The only solution to this problem is to grow a thicker skin. It can take time but it will save you torment if you can develop one.

2. We try and fix it – When we are dealing with customers we have to treat their complaints seriously and address them. However, when we receive criticism outside customer service issues we need to take a step back. If Twitter had listened to the people who complained about the heart and backtracked they wouldn’t have grown engagement on the network. They wouldn’t have reached a business goal. Sometimes we have to ignore the critics and accept that we know what we’re doing.

What do you think? Do you take criticism to heart? Have you ever changed something you do as a result of criticism and regretted it? And more importantly are you on team star or team heart?

Leave me a comment below.

 

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The end of the Twitter share count is here. It hurts but does it matter?
The end of the Twitter share count is here. It hurts but does it matter?

If you logged in to your blog this morning you probably noticed a massive drop in your share count. Suddenly your Twitter stats are reporting zero shares. It’s not a glitch, they aren’t coming back. Twitter have killed the ability to view how many times your web pages have been shared on their site.

Why Have Twitter Killed Share Counts?

I was prepared for today’s sharecopolypse. I read the announcement when Twitter originally made it, but it didn’t really sink in until I read this post on Social Media Today by Andrew Hutchinson. It was his post that inspired today’s vlog.

I may have known it was coming, but it still hurts. It hurts to suddenly see those Twitter shares disappear from my site but could this be a good thing? I’m always looking for the silver lining. Watch my video to find out if and where I found it.

Stats have been something I’ve been obsessing about recently. I just finished a three-part blog series over on Agora Pulse and it’s made me think a lot deeper about my statistics, which ones are important and which aren’t? You can read the series here starting with part 1.

Share counts do matter to me, but they aren’t one of the numbers I use to measure my social media success.

Why Share Count Matters

My share count is a stat I am attached to. Seeing that people are reacting to my content makes me want to create more. It’s an incentive to keep going. Not only is it satisfying to know that people liked my content so much they wanted to share it, but it is also great social proof. When someone lands on one of my most shared articles they will feel confident that it’s good content and read on. They may even be encouraged to share themselves.

Only the Twitter count has disappeared. We can still see how many Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest shares we’ve had. I do wonder will people be less inclined to share on Twitter if they can see no one else is?

How To Find Your Twitter Shares

You can still find tweets that mention your website on Twitter. The easiest way to do this is to paste your website address into the Twitter search box (no need to include http or www). This will pull up all the Tweets sharing links to your site, even if the link is shortened.

Search Twitter for mentions of your website.
Search Twitter for mentions of your website.

You can also use a monitoring tool to find them. Here’s three I use:

  1. AgoraPulse (disclaimer I write for AgoraPulse blog) Monitoring website shares is baked into AgoraPulse’s social media management tool.
  2. Mention – This tool monitors the web and the social web for mentions of your website.
  3. Topsy – This is a free tool, it works the same way as Twitter search, but it also filters results. You can choose to view tweets just from influential users.

Finally

Loosing those Twitter share counts is upsetting, disappointing, annoying but it’s just a statistic at the end of the day. Instead of focusing on the number of shares work on creating content that is relevant to your target market and to your customers. Make sure that the people who do share are the ones who count.

What do you think? Why are Twitter killing the share count? Will it make you share less on Twitter? Leave me a comment below.

 

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Get More Buzz For Your Social Media Contests With Rafflecopter

 

Get More Buzz For Your Social Media Contests With Rafflecopter

Many businesses are lazy when they think about setting up social media contests. They resort to the obvious and set up a rule breaking Like & Share contest on Facebook.

To run a successful contest you need to think beyond Facebook and if you really want results you need to plan. As with any plan the first step should be to decide what you want to achieve.

Do you want:

  1. More social media followers?
  2. More interaction?
  3. To broaden brand awareness?
  4. To gain email subscribers?
  5. To get leads?
  6. To gather user generated content?

If your goal is 1-5 above it’s worth taking a look at this weeks cool tool Rafflecopter for setting up your social media contest.

Here’s how it works:

What I like about Rafflecopter:

People can enter multiple times. You can add lots of entry conditions giving people extra points each time they enter. This promotes more sharing from users.

It’s not just for Facebook. Rafflecopter contests can be embedded in your blog or added to a Facebook page. If these options don’t work for you Rafflecopter will create a page on it’s site for your contest that you can direct people to.

It helps you pick a winner. Rafflecopter has an inbuilt random winner selector. If you prefer you can view all entries and pick a winner manually.

It takes minutes to set up. Many of the full featured contest apps I use take a big chunk of time to set up. As you can see in the video above you can have your contest ready to go within three minutes.

What I don’t like about Rafflecopter:

The sharing options are what really makes this app but I have some reservations. Are we gaining valuable social media followers or are we just attracting people who like doing contests? When we ask people to share a tweet or pin an image are we encouraging people to share quality content or are we encouraging people to spam their friends?

The verdict

Rafflecopter is a neat little app for setting up social media contests. I prefer the email subscriber and social follow options than the sharing options. This way I’m gaining leads but avoiding encouraging spam.

Your Turn

What do you think? Are social sharing contests spam? Would you use this app?

Leave me a comment below.

 

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A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

Last October Twitter made one of the biggest changes to it’s service. After years of being a text only service they allowed images to appear in the stream.

At first I was concerned that it would slow the load time of the app. Luckily this doesn’t seemed to have happened. I was also worried that we’d see a flood of Facebook style memes but it seems the people I follow don’t share many of those either. In general it has made the Twitter experience better. I used to have to click to see a photo. You might not think this is a big deal you might think but psychologically I was making a commitment by clicking.

Now the images slow me down, as I scroll through my feed the photos catch my eye and attract me to specific tweets. They have become a hugely powerful part of what Twitter is.

In this post I’ll look at images on Twitter, when we should share them, what size they should be and we’ll look at some examples of what I think works well.

When to share an image

Photos have power but only when they are good. If you are thinking of putting a text quote on a blank background and sharing it stop now. You are just creating a tweet in a really long winded way. A good image on Twitter should be enough to slow down someone scrolling through the stream and at best make them click either to see more of the photo or the link that accompanies it.

1. Images with links

If you have written a blog post or article try sharing a strong image with it. This should be an attention grabbing picture. Take a look at this one from Lifehacker. It’s colourful, it catches the eye and the text really makes me want to click the link to find out the solution.

Creating The Perfect Image For Twitter

2. Share a moment from your day

When we follow brands on Twitter we often forget there are humans behind the logos. If you have to use your branding for your avatar you can still show your personality and images can be a great way to do this. I love this picture from Designist, it shows me a bit of the personality behind the logo.

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

3. Conferences

Conferences are great places to meet new people and connect with people on Twitter.  I’ve met lots of business contacts after tweeting with them at conferences. I’m never at a loss for someone to have coffee with.

It’s a good idea to share relevant snippets of information that you pick up at conferences with your followers but now we can share pictures from the day too. If you are doing this think about how you can make your photo unique. Don’t let your image get lost in a sea of similar images from other attendees. Can you get an angle that no one else can? Perhaps it’s the food, an interesting installation or a selfie with one of the speakers. As we have learnt from Ellen at the Oscars, a selfie taken at the right time and place can be hugely popular.

Eye catching images will stand out in the search results from the conference hash tags and people will begin to recognise your name before you even tweet them.

This image from Documentally seemed to be shared from a post conference dinner.

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

4. Because you just took a great photograph

If you are somewhere beautiful or if you just nailed it and happened to get a great shot share it. It’s not always going to be appropriate for your business but like the ice cream shot above it’s a good way to let people know there is a person behind the brand.

5. To demonstrate a point

I saw the photograph below in my Twitter stream today. Initially I was expecting a link to accompany it but it really isn’t neccessary. This is an example of when a picture really does tell a thousand words.

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

What size should your image be?

If you want your picture to show in full in the Twitter stream you need to create an image that has a 2:1 ratio. That means it should be twice as long as it is deep. The optimum size for an image you upload to Twitter is 1024×512 pixels. It displays as 440×220 pixels in the feed. You can use PicMonkey (affiliate link) to scale your images to the right size or create images that are the right size.

If you upload an image that doesn’t fit the ratio it will be cropped in the feed. Twitter will still show the full picture when someone expands the tweet or clicks on it.

Take a look at this image shared by Monster Energy. The image that displays in the feed gives no hint of what is really happening in the photo.

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

How does Twitter choose what part of the image to show

If you have an image that doesn’t fit the correct ratio Twitter crops it in the feed. We don’t really know exactly how Twitter chooses what part of your image to show, there is no obvious trait. Sometimes Twitter will show the bottom, sometimes the middle sometimes the top of an image. It is thought that Twitter chooses the most interesting part of the image. As we can see from the example above it doesn’t always get this right.

Sharing from Instagram

There are a few reasons why sharing from Instagram doesn’t work well on Twitter

1. You have to leave the Twitter website to view the Instagram photo. This is prohibitive particularly for mobile users who may not have a strong wifi or 3G signal.

2. We tend to add loads of hashtags to our Instagram photos. This doesn’t work well on Twitter. Autoshares from Instagram tend to look like an unreadable list of tags and don’t inspire a click through.

If you want to share your Instagram photos on Twitter there is a work around that will share your image in the feed.

Using IFTTT  create a recipe that will share your picture as a Twitpic on Twitter every time you share an image on Instagram with a specific hashtag. Viewable in the stream. If you use this recipe make sure that you are including Twitter friendly text in the description.

Are you using images as part of your Twitter strategy? What sort of photos are working best for you? Do you find they result in more clicks to your blog posts or RT’s. I’d love to hear your experiences. Leave me a comment below.

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Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

You no longer have to shorten links in order to insert them into posts on Twitter. Twitter will automatically shorten any link you add to twenty one characters. This doesn’t mean that you should abandon link shortening. In this post I’m going to show the advantages of using a tool like Bitly to shorten the links you add to your tweets.

What is Bitly?

Bitly is a tool that allows you to shorten links that you insert in to your tweets. The advantage of this is that you can see how many times that link has been clicked. You will discover some demographic information about the people who clicked and you will identify influential people.

The real killer feature is that it doesn’t just measure the click throughs from your short link. When the same link is shortened by multiple users Bitly will collate the statistics from all of them. For example you may see that your shortened link has been clicked 5 times but the total number of clicks to the original webpage is 50.

How does it work?

Visit the Bitly website and sign up for a free account.

Go to the webpage that you want to shorten and copy the entire link from the address bar.

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

Paste the link in to the box at the top of the Bitly site

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

A new window will appear. Your link is now shortened.

Click ‘copy bitlink’ to copy the link and paste it in to a tweet or post.

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

From this window you can customise the link. This allows you to append your link with something that is easy to remember or tell other people about. For example I have customised the link above to bit.ly/googleplussearchvid.

To share your link directly to Twitter or Facebook click ‘Share’. Bitly will create a post for you. Add your Facebook or Twitter account here to share it.

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

Note it is only possible to share to a personal Facebook profile, not a business page from here.

Statistics

Once you have shortened the link you can see statistics related to it.

From the Bitly home page click ‘view stats’ underneath a link you have shortened

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

From this dashboard you will see overall statistics including how many times it was clicked via your link and via all Bitly shortened links.

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

Click ‘See all stats for bitlink’ to get more detailed information.

Scroll down and you can see a graph displaying the links performance over time. If you hover your cursor over a specific date you can see an hourly breakdown.

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

Scroll down again and you can discover where the link was shared. Click on the little arrow next to each site and you will see more data.

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

Scroll down again and you can see where the people who clicked your link are located.

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

Finally at the bottom of the page you can see who has shared your link. Seeing this data depends on the privacy settings of the person who shared.

This is really handy information. If you find that a specific person has sent a lot of traffic to one of your web pages it gives you the opportunity to thank them. It’s a good measure of who is really influential. If their links are getting clicked a lot people are paying attention to what they say.

Browser extension

Using Bitly gets easier if you use their bookmarklet or browser extension. These tools allow you to shorten the link to the page that you are currently viewing. It’s easy to install and you will find it here.

Bitly also integrates with Buffer, WordPress and others.

Bitly is a very useful tool for measuring your social media success. You can see if your tweets are effective at driving traffic to your site and other sites and it can help you find influencers.

It’s not just for Twitter either. You can add shortened links to any post or website the same way that you add a regular link.

Do you still shorten links? Do you use Bitly or another service? Let me know in the comment section below.

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