This article was published on May 3, 2011

11 Must-Know Tips and Tricks for Twitter

11 Must-Know Tips and Tricks for Twitter
Lauren Fisher
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Lauren Fisher

Co-founder at Simply Zesty. I love everything social and I think I have the best job in the world! I'm particularly passionate about bloggin Co-founder at Simply Zesty. I love everything social and I think I have the best job in the world! I'm particularly passionate about blogging and seeing innovative uses of social platforms by organisations. Feel free to drop me an email if you've got any questions, comments or you just want to say hi - [email protected]

We’ve collected 11 of the best and most helpful Twitter apps, sites and tips that you might not know, compiling what we think are some of the best tools available to help you get the most out of your Twitter activity.

1. Find out when you were unfollowed and why

This is an excellent tool both for business and personal use on Twitter: Tweeteffect. By searching for any Twitter username, you can see a summary of how many follows/unfollows that account gained over the past 30 days. Where it gets really clever though, is when you scroll down you can see a full summary of your tweets and which ones caused you to gain or lose followers, and how many. Tweets highlighted in green are where you gained followers and tweets in red are where you lost followers. The screenshot below shows an example of this from my Twitter account. Business users in particular should monitor this to look for patterns, as although some may be coincidental you could find patterns emerging that allow you to optimise your Twitter activity.

2. Advanced Search on Tweetdeck

While many people use the advanced search function on Twitter, the same search operators apply when searching on Tweetdeck. This can make for a much more efficient and streamlined way to search, if you want to filter by location for example, or exclude certain keywords from your search term. You can do this by loading up the search bar as you would normally (by selecting ‘add column, then ‘search’), and simply applying the search operators. You can then save those searches for instant updates. Here’s a handy list of the search operators that you might want to try, with the full list available here :

3. Optify – Measure your Twitter campaigns

Optify is a social media monitoring tool that contains a free product for Twitter, allowing you to measure the success of your Twitter account. While it offers much of the same tools available within CoTweet for managing your Twitter account, Optify does offer a lot more in the way of Twitter analytics, which is key for any business active on Twitter. Though you’re required to set up an account to use Optify, you don’t have to add any credit card details and the Twitter section is always free to use. I recommend you set up an account on Optify to gain full visibility of your performance on Twitter, as they offer an impressive advanced analytics suite. The tool also allows you to track leads  and referral traffic from  Twitter, so you have full visibility of the ROI of your activity:

4. Monitor your new followers

Tweetdeck has a handy option that not many people use or discover, that allows you to monitor your latest followers. You can find this by adding a new column in Tweetdeck and then select ‘Core’. This will bring up an option on the right called ‘New Followers’. Select this and you’ll have a new column on Tweetdeck that only contains tweets from your newest followers. This is an excellent way of building out your community on Twitter and making sure you’re keeeping track of your new followers. It can be easy to stick to the same people on Twitter and not follow your new followers back, but this helps to ensure you can always find valuable new connections :

5. Share Screencasts on Twitter

This is a great way to add different content to your Twitter stream. Screenr is an app that allows you to create screencasts instantly, including the option to add an audio commentary. This screencast can then be shared straight into your social networks, including Twitter. The site is very quick and easy to use and I think it offers a great way for companies to share new content with their users, such as showing them a new section of their site for example. It’s also likely to engage your followers a bit more as they might not be used to seeing this kind of content within Twitter.

6. Twitter for Android

Tweetcaster is a very cool app available for Android users. The mobile app allows you to create multiple Twitter accounts that can be managed with the same screen, which is great if you run personal and business profiles. The app has lots of nice functionality to make for an easy Twitter mobile experience, including being able to easily navigate to different user profiles and easy integration of complementary services such as shortening urls, sharing photos and videos. Tweetcaster is also available as an app for the iPhone, though it appears to be getting the most positive reviews across the Android platform, with poor image quality seeming to be an issue for the iPhone version.

7. Post images from Flickr

Flick to Twitt is a nice app that allows you to instantly share your photo uploads in Flickr, back to Twitter. This is a useful app as there is a correlation between active Flickr users and Twitter users. Though there are plenty of photo sharing services available through Twitter, such as twitpic or Yfrog, Flick to Twitt offers a simple one-click process to tweet your Flickr uploads instantly. You don’t need to create a separate profile, simply add your Twitter and Flickr logins and you can instantly share links to your photos.

8. Twitter SEO Tip

I found this interesting SEO experiment using Twitter Lists, courtesy of Peter Drew, that can be easily replicated across any Twitter account. SEO still applies to Twitter profiles in the same way as any other site and this tip shows you how you can use SEO on Twitter lists to help improve your Google ranking for your chosen keyword. By creating a Twitter list that has your chosen keyword in it, such as you can help your Twitter profile rank for your own name, plus your chosen keyword. Though this will happen naturally as you’re added to Twitter lists, you can help control this by creating your own that contains a keyword you’d like to rank for. When Peter Drew ran the experiment he found the Page Rank steadily improving for the list and despite not promoting it at all, it had a Page Rank of 4 within 2 weeks. Through further optimisation, the term is now appearing in the top 50 results on Google, showing the importance of SEO via different means within Twitter.

9. Find trending topics

Twopular is a useful site that allows you to find the trending topics on Twitter, split by hours, weeks, months and the past year, allowing you to access archived trending topics. While the homepage of the site provides lots of useful information on current trending topics, there’s lots more you can discover by clicking further, such as the ability to compare trending topics, adding in your own search terms to compare to the trends offered. Their ‘sparklines’ are also particularly interesting, allowing you to see peaks in trends over time, with the option to drill down further to see particular results:

10. Find deals on Twitter

This Twitter coupon search is a handy tool that allows you to see which deals are currently being shared on Twitter.  You can search by keyword or type to see a current Twitter stream of people sharing offers in real-time. What I like about this is that it adds some authority to deals. Though there are plenty of deal aggregator sites, the user experience is often messy, leading to old links or offers that aren’t always legitimate. As this is based on links being shared, there is an element of trust in the results. You can click right next to a result to claim that coupon code.

11. Browse your Twitter friends

This is a very cool site that allows you to easily track connections with other new users and discover new people to follow. To use the app, simply put in your own (or any) Twitter username to bring up your latest connections. You can then click on the avatar for the profiles returned, to instantly see their own latest followers, tracking your connections between the two. By continually clicking and dragging you can build out the connections returned, making it incredibly easy to find new people to follow. Warning: it can get a little addictive.

Did we miss one? Please share your thoughts and let us know the top tools, apps and tips you think should be on this list in the comments.

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