10 Essential Twitter Tools and Services - dummies

10 Essential Twitter Tools and Services

By Laura Fitton, Anum Hussain, Brittany Leaning

You need the right tools to get the most out of Twitter. New tools, services, websites, and applications are created for Twitter users every day, so the list of tools that you can choose among is always growing.

Popular new tools emerge all the time, and, of course, the best tool for you really depends on your needs. That being said, the following tools are the best that we’ve found right now.

TweetDeck

Type: Desktop client and Chrome application

TweetDeck is a free desktop application, owned by Twitter, that gives you the tools you need to keep track of large numbers of people in your Twitter stream. It allows you to put people in groups, keep permanent search windows open, publish and schedule Tweets, monitor who’s talking to you, and much more. It does all this in a customizable interface, showing multiple streams of Tweets next to one another in real time.

If you want a free and easy way to monitor and manage your personal Twitter presence, try TweetDeck. Your experience with this desktop application will be even better if you use a large monitor and keep the program up and running.

Hootsuite

Type: Business dashboard

If you want a corporate solution that lets multiple users monitor and schedule posts to multiple accounts, you should look at Hootsuite. This tool displays all your Twitter accounts in a single interface and lets companies assign individual Tweets to employees for follow-up.

It’s common to include a full disclosure in your profile if you have multiple people tweeting for your company or if you have a ghost tweeter tweeting for you. For shared accounts, authors often sign the end of their Tweets with a caret (^) and their initials.

Social Inbox

Type: Business dashboard

If you want a corporate solution that lets you connect your Twitter account with smart information about your customers and prospects, you should look at HubSpot’s Social Inbox. With this tool, you can see exactly whom you’re interacting with, whether it’s a prospect, a customer, or a person who has never interacted with your company before.

The tool offers a browser plugin, which means you have access to many of its features, like seeing which Tweets come from customers or prospects, right in your browser when you’re using Twitter.com.

If you’re tweeting for a business or organization, make sure that you’re measuring more than just followers and retweets. It’s also important to measure the number of clicks of your Tweets and the number of resulting prospects or revenue.

Twitter app

Type: Mobile app

Want to tweet from anywhere? If you have a mobile device, the official Twitter iOS or Android app is the way to go. Find it in the App Store on your Apple device or in Google Play on your Android device.

Check your carrier’s data charges before using Twitter’s mobile app. Twitter may be free, but some of the associated data usage may come with hidden costs.

Wefollow and justunfollow

Type: Networking

Wefollow and justunfollow let you see who you’re following, who’s following you, and which follows are mutual, all in a nicely tabbed, avatar-based list. You can fix any follower/following discrepancies right from the site interfaces. These sites help you follow people who better match your interests.

Twitter Counter

Type: Measurement

If you want to see how your following has grown over time or how many followers you had on a specific date, make sure to check out Twitter Counter. With this tool, you can even compare how many followers you’ve gained over a six-month period with how many Tweets you sent per day during the same period.

Bitly

Type: URL shortener

This free and easy website lets you shorten, customize, and track the links you send out on Twitter. Bitly automatically generates a short link with a random mix of letters and numbers so that it fits better in a 140-character Tweet.

However, you can always customize the link you’ve automatically received so it fits better with your personal branding. The stats you see with Bitly links include daily and hourly click stats to identify spikes in click-throughs, the networks your Bitly link was shared on, and the countries in which people were clicking most.

If you add a plus sign (+) to the end of any Bitly link, you can see click stats for that link. If you add + to the end of this link in the website address bar and press Enter, you’ll be able to see stats about how many clicks it got over time. If you add a Bitly link to your Twitter bio, you’ll be able to see how many people are clicking the link.

Buffer

Type: Publishing

Buffer suggests fully crafted Tweets to you based on who you follow and what topics you generally tweet about. When you choose to add these suggested Tweets to your queue, Buffer schedules them at staggered times based on a schedule you preset; that way, you never need to worry about overlapping.

Staggering your Tweets and spreading them out throughout a week will help you avoid seeming spammy.

Canva

Type: Visual content creation

If you’re not naturally design-inclined, Canva is a great free tool to help you craft a beautiful header and other tweetable images without learning any fancy design skills or programs. This tool is essentially plug-and-play, optimizing sizes for the exact dimensions you’ll need on Twitter.

Because Twitter now displays images automatically, you’ll find that more and more people are using them to increase engagement on individual Tweets.

Topsy

Type: Measurement

Topsy shows you how many mentions a certain hashtag or Twitter handle had in the past hour, day, week, or month. You can see which days or hours had the most mentions and which Tweets were the most popular.

If you’re at an event that’s using a specific hashtag, plug this hashtag into Topsy to see how influential it is.