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How to Use Twitter for Business and Be Strategic

The Use of Social Media Management Systems:

You have set up your Twitter account, created lists, and started engaging with people that you want to do business with (see the earlier parts of this blog, First Steps for Twitter Beginners and How to use Twitter for Business and Create Twitter lists – A Three Step Plan to Be Strategic).

Now, you are ready to start using some of the great software tools (Social Media Management Systems) out there to evaluate what is working, where you get the best results, and to spot opportunities.

1. Monitor Twitter conversations and spot opportunities

Twilert is a great tool. You can set it up so that it pings you if any Twitter user asks, for example, ‘can anyone recommend a good PR company’.

In our blog on the ROI (return on investment) of social media, you will see that spotting just one of these conversations can turn into thousands of dollars of business.

You get a free trial with Twilert. Use it to work out the best phrases for you to monitor and how far geographically to go.

A year ago, we were helping a client set up a new intranet and posted on Twitter ‘can anyone recommend good intranet software’ – or it might have been ‘what do you think is the best intranet software?’ An intranet company spotted this because they had set up their own Twitter monitoring alerts – 200 miles from us, geographically – and, as a result, contacted us and were invited to tender.

2. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is one of the most popular Twitter monitoring and managing tools. You can see activities on all of your social media accounts at a glance on one page – as well as monitor a particular Twitter conversation or see what your clients are discussing.

You can set up your dashboard with different columns for different activities. Here is a screengrab from one of our accounts to give you an idea:

Hootsuite view

As with most of these tools, there is usually a free basic account – or at least a free trial – with options to upgrade for monthly fees. Here are Hootsuite’s payment plans below, which, you can see, are pretty reasonable.

Hootsuite screengrab

As you continue to create new connections and curate great lists of thought leaders and influencers, you can jump into this tab and see a steady stream of updates and shared posts. If you see a great post, you can share it right within HootSuite.

3. Bit.ly

Bit.ly has long been one of my personal favourite evaluation tools. I already briefly touched on this in this blog. Its prime function is to shorten weblink addresses (the URL) so that you can include links on Twitter or LinkedIn posts (without these tools, the web address would take up your whole post!)

But, once you have posted the link onto your social media, bit.ly then tracks what happens to that link: how many times people are sharing it, at what time of day, and where they come from. You can see which are popular posts of yours – and which don’t seem to attract any attention.

Once you know this, you can start testing out ideas – is it the time of day or week that you are posting that makes a difference? Is it that some headlines make people want to click and share more than others? Or, is it a particular topic that seems to appeal to your network?

The screengrabs below show the life of a Bit.ly link that we created for one of our blogs Networking Tips – make the most of Business Events. We put this out on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ and you can see which ones were shared, the times of day, and in which countries.

Bit.ly screengrabBit.ly 2 screengrab

4. Free Tools

There are many free Twitter tools out there to help you with analytics, chatting, fresh content, and mentions & monitoring. You need to choose the ones that you find most helpful for your business.

5. Tweet Chats

What is a tweet chat? A tweet chat is a live Twitter event, usually moderated and focused around a general topic. A Hashtag is used to filter all the chatter on Twitter into a single conversation (check out “The Beginners Guide to the Hashtag” for a good background lesson on hashtag usage on Twitter). You need to choose a set time/day for a tweet chat so that the moderator, guest, or host is available to engage in the conversation. These are often 7pm or 8pm on a weekday evening (Tuesdays and Thursdays are popular) but you need to work out a time that suits the businesses or individuals who you want to take part in your tweet chat.

To participate, all you need to do is tweet during the designated time using the conversation hashtag. It’s also possible just to follow the conversation by searching for the hashtag without engaging.

6. Google Analytics

Finally, don’t forget Google Analytics. You should have set this up to track traffic to your website and you can check out which social media source is driving interest to your website and when.

The only warning with all these tools is that once you get into them, they can become addictive! Manage your time and ensure that you are being strategic in what you measure!

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