Twitter is currently taking over as a major news and networking site. The number of active Twitter users is actively on the rise, passing 200 million in December of 2012. Chances are, if you watched the Olympics last year or any of the presidential debates, you tweeted your thoughts, feelings, and funny moments in 140 characters for the entire world to see. The amount of traffic on Inauguration Day in 2013 even crashed Twitter for some users disabling them from sharing their thoughts, hashtags, and @ replies to the world.
It’s getting hard to avoid at this point. Heck, every Senator and 90% of House members are now tweeting their thoughts and feelings.
Twitter can be an extremely effective tool for creating and delivering your brand as well as networking with top professionals. The problem? Many individuals aren’t using it correctly. Is your Twitter profile important for your brand and reputation? Absolutely.
A quick Google search for my name listed my Twitter profile as the seventh listing down, after my LinkedIn profile, website, and several author bios on a variety of sites. Yours may be even higher.
If you’re looking to strictly improve your search results and you have your own personal website, I highly recommend finishing up your Google + profile. Who knows how long the network will stay alive, but it will help with your Google results. Here’s an awesome article from Brian Gardner on claiming your Google authorship of your site.
So, you realize Twitter may be important in helping you develop your brand, whether you’re a personal trainer, sales rep for a nutrition company, doctor, or just someone looking to network. What now? Here are the top tools to help you develop your own brand in 140 characters or less.
Finding Who to Follow
In order to network with top industry professionals, you have to be following someone along the way. Following others is the quickest way to gain interaction. You’ll be on top of the latest news in your particular niche. Here are some tools to figure out who to read and follow.
While I don’t use Listorious a ton, it can be extremely useful for anyone starting out or just looking to change up their social media presence. It highlights the top Twitter users (ranked by influence and stats) and subdivides them into categories. Many of the profiles listed are going to be celebrities and top brands. That doesn’t matter. If they are in your niche, follow them anyway.
This may be one of the easiest ways to connect with people who share your same passions and interest. For instance, say you’re extremely interested in health and fitness. Adam Bornstein (@BornFitness) is a key player in the health and fitness realm on social networks. Tweepi allows you to follow individuals that are following Adam, as well as see who Adam is following himself. This is a great opportunity to expand your network and interact with others.
*Note: Tweepi now makes it mandatory to sign up for a membership – something I hate. But, it’s worth it for the amount of information it provides.
Managing Your Twitter Account
There are tons of apps out there to help you manage your social media presence. Here are two I love:
Many of the top brands and individuals use HootSuite as a method to managing their Twitter presence. On top of just Twitter, HootSuite allows you to manage Facebook, LinkedIn, and many other top networks from the same app. They also make the screen extremely easy to follow.
On top of that, HootSuite just added a new feature called auto-schedule which takes into account peak volume of your social network and schedules your posts accordingly. I’ve used it intermittently in the past few weeks. I can’t really say it’s unbelievably effective right now, but only time will tell.
In the search for the most user-friendly app out there, I stumbled across and currently predominantly use Tweetbot – and for one primary reason: lists. While your Twitter stream is constantly updating with mindless ramblings intermixed with sponsored stories from top brands, it can be hard to keep up with the people you actually care to hear about. Lists are extremely effective at narrowing down the individuals you follow, and I haven’t seen an app display them better than Tweetbot.
Finding Tweetable Content
This greatly depends on your particular niche, and the direction you’re headed with your content. Here are a few ideas:
Mashable – technology, business, and viral content
SInce it’s updated constantly all day with social media and tech pieces, this is almost a no-brainer. Anyone involved in that space likely already peruses the site for interesting info. Choose a few articles and tweet them out. Mashable also includes indicators to let you know what’s going viral and what’s not.
Fast Company – business, innovation, and technology content.
This is a relatively new one that I’ve stumbled upon. They have a great compilation of interesting content that is broken down into several categories.
Storify – a quick search yields the top stories being discussed across the internet
Want to find out what the top brands and individuals are tweeting out? Enter a keyword into the search up to and Storify will dig for the best stories out there so far.
Huffington Post – breaking news and popular blog columns
As one of the largest online sources for breaking news, the HuffPost is constantly being updated with columns, articles, and news stories. If you want to find out what’s happening in the world, check here.
Forbes – Best for: business, technology
Forbes is a leading business site. I haven’t used a ton of their content since the majority of my interests come from health and fitness, but a few of the articles due cross the boundaries.
Perhaps the best method of finding tweetable content comes from your own RSS feed or Google reader. When you find a site or blog that peaks your interest, add it to your RSS reader. Search through the accumulated files on a weekly basis and tweet out interesting findings.
Need to update your reader? Here are some to start you off.
Posting all of your thoughts and interesting articles at one time can backfire. Inundating your followers with information can lead to being unfollowed. Spreading information out throughout the day both increases your presence by increasing the amount of times you tweet throughout the day while also delivering content in a digestible format. As I mentioned above, Hootsuite has an autoschedule to help you space out your posts. Another option is to use Buffer.
Buffer is an app that allows you to set designated times to send out your tweets. While you’re perusing informative content, you can add the interesting pieces to your buffer and the app will send them out at scheduled intervals. With the Pro (paid) version of Buffer, you can dictate different times for different days in case you want to post differently on the weekdays vs. weekends.
So, how are you using Twitter? Has it been helpful in increasing your brand or distributing your product? And, of course, follow me on Twitter.