While a dwindling number of business executives still dismiss Twitter as a waste of time, recent research suggests it is one of the most valuable social networks for business. Awareness of Twitter has exploded; 87% of Americans said they were “familiar with” Twitter in a poll taken earlier this year, versus just 5% in 2008 and 26% in 2009. Although fewer Americans use Twitter than Facebook, Twitter users “are far more likely to follow Brands/ Companies than social networkers in general. 51% of active Twitter users follow companies, brands or products on social networks. Twitter users frequently exchange information about products and services.” 71% of business users now say Twitter is a useful tool, up from 59% a year ago. And 52% of journalists say they use Twitter to research stories and discover what’s hot.
So what are the best ways to use Twitter for business? How you can use it most effectively? Which tools are most helpful? You’ll find the answers to these questions and many more here in 50 of the best Twitter tools, posts, how-to guides and rants of 2010 so far.
Twitter Facts, Figures & Stats
New Data on Twitter Usage Can Strengthen Your Twitter Outreach by Search Engine Guide
Jennifer Laycock reports some fascinating statistics and insights from a HubSpot study, revealing factoids such as: the average Twitter user has about 300 followers and follows 170. Thursday is the busiest day of the week on Twitter, and the highest click through rate on tweeted links occurs between 2 and 3pm. Tweets that include links are far more likely to be retweeted than tweets without links. And much more.
The Truth About the Average Twitter User [STATS] by Mashable
Ben Parr digs into a study from Barracuda Labs demonstrating how power users rule on Twitter: “Only 26% of Twitter users had 10 followers or more by December 2009, while only 40% were following 10 people or more (in fact, a majority of Twitter users, 51%, were following less than five people)…only 21% of Twitter users are active users.”
I Tweet Therefore I Am by Brian Solis
How popular is Twitter? Who’s really using it? Brian Solis provides a wealth of statistics that answer these questions and more, e.g., 87% of Americans said they were familiar with Twitter in 2010, up from just 26% in 2009. Total volume is approaching 50 million tweets per day. Women slightly outnumber men, and one-third of Twitters are in the 25-34 year-old age bracket. 63% have at least a college degree, and roughly a quarter earn more than $75,000 per year (a figure that is likely higher, as 27% refused to answer the question).
The Ultimate List: 100+ Twitter Statistics by HubSpot
***** 5 Stars
Kipp Bodnar collects 17 Twitter infographics quantifying everything from the different categories of tweets and how Twitter compares to Facebook to the peak days for different types of tweets and the most-followed Twitter users (Ryan Seacrest beats CNN; that’s just sad).
Tracking the National Mood Through Twitter by The New York Times
Nick Bilton reports on how researchers from Northeastern University and Harvard have analyzed Twitter messages to keep tabs on the nation’s mood. Among the findings: during the work week, people are happiest in the early morning and late evening. When Twitter users get collectively upset, the most negative tweets tend to come from the central states and the East Coast. And as perhaps a hopeful sign, “the peak of happiness on Twitter is reached on Sunday mornings.”
Why should brands bother with Twitter? This table says why by Social Media Today
Dirk Singer uses data from an ExactTarget study to show that “US Twitter users in April 2010 were far more likely than general Internet users to post to forums (75% vs 25%), blog (72% vs 14%), comment on blogs (70% vs 23%) and post ratings / reviews (61% vs 20%). In other words, the 14 million odd people who regularly go on Twitter (as opposed to the 95 million that have signed up), are already active in social media, know how to make things happen and to create noise – good or bad – online, and take conversations elsewhere, be that to blogs, forums, other social networks, or even the mainstream media.”
How-To Guides and Best Practices
10 Tips to Getting More Retweets by TwiTip
Kiesha Easley shares her personal story of transition from Twitter newbie to expert and offers 10 tips for getting retweets she learned along the way including sending direct messages, tweeting others’ blog posts and responding to interesting tweets.
8 Simple Steps to Growing a Quality Twitter Following by Social Media Examiner
Cindy King supplies an excellent guide to creating a tweet plan, a strategic approach to using Twitter, though she helpfully warns “Don’t make the mistake of relying solely on the scheduled tweets in the tweet plan to connect with people and expect to build your business. You still need live tweets to engage with people.”
Secrets of Twitter Hashtags (For Those Still Unsure) by Interactive Insights Group
For those unsure of what hashtags are or unaware of their many uses on Twitter, Robin Broitman offers an extensive list of hashtag resources and guides.
Douglas Idugboe advises Twitterers to keep their Twitter handle as short as possible (to help with retweets), avoid automated DM welcome messages (hate these!), be conversant, and retweet others among his best practices.
Amy-Mae Elliott offers guidance on writing a great bio, selecting a Twitter picture, making the best use of your URL link and using lists to optimize your Twitter profile.
How to Monitor Your Brand Using Twitter Search by Pamorama
The always insightful Pam Dyer embeds and summarizes a video from John Hayden demonstrating how to create saved searches (for your brand, competitors, industry terms, etc.) in Twitter, track URL mentions, create feeds from searches and more.
Seven Habits of Highly Effective Tweets by Smedio
Jay Adams suggests that the “Twitter traits that make for effective tweets” include clarity, brevity (pretty much a requirement given the 140-character limit), and strategic use of keywords and links among other characteristics.
62 Ways to Use Twitter for Business by GigaOM
Twitter isn’t just for linking to blog posts or telling the world what you had for breakfast, as Meryl K Evans demonstrates in this extensive list of the business uses of Twitter such answering questions, providing highlights from a conference or event, getting and giving referrals, finding topic experts and tracking conversations about your brand.
The Ultimate Guide to Twitter Theme Design by 1stwebdesigner
***** 5 Stars
Anastasia Miles provides an outstanding, detailed, richly illustrated step-by-step guide to creating an attractive and effective Twitter background.
5 Secrets To Get Retweets That The Experts Won’t Tell You by Tremendous News
Am irreverent yet informative post that could have been included instead in the most-entertaining-of-the-year category, but is too helpful not to put here, on how to get more retweets. Example: “1. Focus On The Sexually Active. Think of a retweet as an STD. But one that’s not devastating. One that still retains a measure of hilarity. Crabs. Let’s do crabs. Now picture twitter as sexy college campus during the first week of school…Who is in danger of getting crabs?…Is the fat, hairy terroristy looking dude going to get crabs? Of course not. So don’t fill your followers with people like him. Focus on the sexually-liberated cool kids.”
21 Twitter Tips From Socially Savvy Companies by Fast Company
The ubiquitous Brian Solis offers tips for Twitter success based on the experience of real-world companies like Dell (special offers), Comcast (customer service), using dedicated brand channels (Ford) and developing new ideas (Starbucks).
Twitter 101 for Business: A Special Guide by Twitter
Must-reading for any business owner or executive who still doesn’t “get” Twitter – the folks actually behind the world’s most popular microblogging platform put together a detailed guide to using Twitter for business, covering everything from getting set up and learning the lingo to building relationships and measuring value.
The Ultimate Guide for Everything Twitter by Webdesigner Depot
In this ambitious, long and lavishly illustrated post, Angela West compiles a remarkable collection of Twitter tips, etiquette, jargon, tools, apps, icons, WordPress plugins and more.
50 Power Twitter Tips by Chris Brogan
Social media rock star Chris Brogan offers 50 tips for interaction, technical considerations, business, integration, and off-Twitter activities (e.g., “Think of Twitter as a guidance system to what you think is interesting. A lot of that is likely off-Twitter.”).
10 Reasons You’re Not Getting Followers on Twitter by Social Media Today
Paul Sutton lists factors that can turn off potential followers on Twitter including using your profile to sell, excessively automating your tweets and tweeting repetitive messages.
Twitter Tips – Things You Should Know by Trailblaze Social Media with Josh
Joshua Lyons provides a short but useful set of tips he believes can help “make the difference between mediocre Twitter use and excellent Twitter use.”
David McClellan presents an outstanding to optimizing all of the elements of your Twitter profile (name, bio, avatar, URL and feed) for search.
Twitter SEO Best Practices by SEOptimise
Tad Chef covers the best practices for SEO with Twitter: how to rank in search with your profile and tweets, get found in Twitter search, make your tweets spread virally and capitalize on Google real-time search.
Successful Twitter Marketing Strategies by Social Media Optimization
According to a MarketingProfs study, monitoring and responding to brand mentions are ranked among the most successful Twitter marketing tactics by both B2B and B2C marketers. Driving sales directly was ranked by both groups as the least effective use of the platform.
In Social Media, Twitter is Just the Start by Social Steve’s Blog
Steve Goldner lays out a strategy for using Twitter in conjunction with other social media tools like blogs, YouTube and Flickr to optimize your social media marketing success.
7 Insanely Useful Ways to Search Twitter for Marketing by OPEN Forum
John Jantsch shows how to target Twitter users by occupation, bio or location and get the most out of Twitter by creating “some very powerful searches and alerts combining Google and Twitter.”
9 Questions for Analyzing the Tweet Stream by iMedia Connection
Frequent best-of contributor Daniel Flamberg outlines the two biggest issues facing brands on Twitter, nine questions for addressing them, and a strategy for answering those questions to “get a feel for what’s being said, understand competitive comparisons, potentially identify brand loyalists or opinion-makers worthy of extra care and attention and intervene before problems or negative comments cascade into real trouble.”
Benefits of Twitter by Boomtown Internet Group
I’m guessing English isn’t Priyo’s first language so pardon the grammar and word usage issues here, but he presents a nice list of the benefits of Twitter use for business such as for collaboration, promoting content and improving SEO.
The A-Z List: How Twitter Can Make You A Better Blogger by Ink Rebels
***** 5 Stars
Diana Adams puts together a remarkable and entertaining post, lavishly illustrated, extolling the benefits of Twitter from A (“A is for – Ask”) to Z (“Z is for – Zen”).
14 Cool Things People Do On Twitter by Penn Olson
Sarah Chong’s recommendations for Twitter use range from the common (learn, be heard) to the unusual (monitor sensors in your home, catch thieves) to the truly inspired (write poetry).
Twitter Tools and Reviews
Twitter stats and analytics tools – top 10 by Social Media Today
Chris Norton writes that “There are hundreds of twitter tools that measure different statistics out there but many can be a bit of a waste of time. I have been through most of them in the last few years and given them some kind of test” before setting out mini-reviews of his top 10 picks including TweetStats, Tweetmeme and Twitterholic.
Get rid of stale Twitter users that have stopped tweeting by Social Media Today
It’s Chris Norton again, this time providing a quick review of UnTweeps, an handy tool for culling inactive Twitter users from those you follow.
The Complete Twitter ‘Follow / Unfollow’ Toolkit by COMMS Corner
The brilliant Adam Vincenzini offers a concise but valuable list of tools and advice for managing your Twitter following.
Guest author Frank Podlaha explains how to craft a search strategy and then use tools like LocalChirps, Twitscoop and Radian6 to cut through the clutter on Twitter and find exactly what you’re looking for.
Twitter ROI: Show Your Clients the Effectiveness of Twitter Campaigns by Web Analytics World
36 Twitter Resources: Advanced Twitter Search for Business by Social Media Today
Coree Silvera compiles an outstanding list of tools for Twitter research and monitoring, directories and geolocation, along with links to articles on improving Twitter search skills.
9 Twitter Apps Worth Another Look by Web Analytics World
27 Twitter Tools To Help You Find And Manage Followers by 1stwebdesigner
4 Free Tools that Publish Blog Updates to Twitter by Freesourcing Blog
Top 20 Sites to Improve Your Twitter Experience by Mashable
Vadim Lavrusik offers his list of “the top 20 third-party websites for making your Twitter experience more useful and easier to manage,” including tools for management, filtering (such as the very cool create-your-own-newspaper site Paper.li), spotting trends, making lists, finding new followers, measuring influence, sharing photos and video, conducting polls and more.
The Ultimate Collection of FREE Twitter Tools by Regillo Consulting Group
***** 5 Stars
An outstanding collection of Twitter tools for analytics, business, follower/following management, network building, information gathering, media sharing, organization, blogging and more.
Don’t want to go through the trouble of creating a coolio Twitter background from scratch? Themeleon is a cool tool that automates Twitter background theme development.
***** 5 Stars
One of the tightest Twitter tools around, Tweetake lets you export your followers and following lists to Excel for analysis, grouping, backup or any other purpose you can think of. In the words of the site, “The brainchild of Alfred Armstrong and Nikki Pilkington, Tweetake is here to allow you to back-up your followers, people you are following and Tweets with just one click.”
Sort of Swiss Army knife for Twitter, Tweasier’s functions include Twitter analytics, finding and sorting followers, email alerts, conversation tracking and more. Free and fee-based versions are offered.
Slick map-based interface lets you zoom in on any geographic area to find local Tweeps to follow.
Twitter Rants and Musings
Another post that would have been a great post to include in most-entertaining-of-the-year as well. We’ve all seen the buffoons on Twitter who somehow manage to amass a large following despite offering no apparent value or even seeming to have a clue as to what “social” media means. Noting that “there are also bandwagon-jumping companies and celebrity glory-whores who go at Twitter like a portly dude at a buffet. They use it as self-centered bullhorn and nothing more,” Lauren Litwinka here brilliantly categorizes these Twitter-star wannabes into archetypes such as “You have 822,780 followers. You follow two people,” “Your feed consists of status updates. And only status updates” and my favorite: “You share would-be Zen gems through a f*cking API.”
Ten Things You Need to Stop Tweeting About by The Oatmeal
Simply awesome. Anyone who’s spent any serious time will relate to this entertaining and creative list of things we’re tired of seeing people tweet about, including what they’re eating, their workouts, their pets, and the incredible (or not so) number of Twitter followers they have.
Timothy James Duffy argues that Twitter’s popularity is fleeting, it offers most users little value, and it will never make money. Agree? Disagree? Check out the 72 comments in response to this post.