(Image by clevercupcakes, via Flickr Creative Commons)
By Diane Gilleland
Twitter is such a great tool for meeting people, connecting with them, and promoting stuff. But it can be very time-consuming to use, and it’s also pretty easy to misuse.
Luckily, there are so many helpful extras to make your tweeting easier and more effective. Here are some of my favorites.
Customize your profile page with Themeleon
If you’re using Twitter to promote a crafty business, then it really helps if your Twitter profile page ties in visually with the colors and images of your business brand. Themeleon is a great tool for Twitter-page customization. Once you log into Themeleon through your Twitter account, it lets you upload a new background image, and then helps you choose good background and text colors to go with it. If you don’t have a custom background for your Twitter page yet, you can choose from over a thousand beautiful ones in Themeleon.
Organize your reading with Twitter Lists
Your Twitter homepage also offers a great and under-used feature: Lists. Let’s face it – the more people you follow, the harder it is to read all their tweets. Before long, your Twitter stream becomes simply unmanageable.
Well, you can organize the people you follow into Lists according to theme, and this really helps you read tweets more efficiently. For example, I have a list of crafty people I follow, and another list of publishing-related people, and another of business-related people. That way, when I have a few minutes to catch up on tweets, I can choose a list and read tweets about a specific subject. You can make your Lists public (so others can see them) or private (so only you can).
Pre-schedule some of your tweets with HootSuite
Perhaps the biggest problem with Twitter is that, if you want to stay present with your followers all the time, you have to be on Twitter all the time. But most of us have other obligations (not to mention, craft projects to do), so you might want to try scheduling some of your tweets ahead.
There are a number of tools that do this, and my favorite is HootSuite. This tool does a whole lot more than schedule tweets – it will also send updates to Facebook, and shorten the URLs you tweet. You can even import your Twitter Lists into HootSuite and display them in organized columns.
But pre-scheduling some tweets is very helpful for time management. If you usually share some good links from around the web, why not schedule them to post throughout the day? That way, you can visit Twitter less often and tackle your To-Do list. And why not schedule some tweets for the hours when you’re asleep? There are people on Twitter 24 hours a day – why not reach them?
Spread the word with Pay With A Tweet
If you have something to market on Twitter, you can really turn off your followers by tweeting about it over and over again. So instead, you might try Pay With A Tweet. With this service, you create some kind of small freebie – a PDF tutorial, maybe, or a free pattern.
Now, to get this freebie, all anyone has to do is tweet about another product or project you’re marketing. This is a nice service because you’re giving people something in exchange for helping you spread the word, and it also lets you reach way outside your existing followers. (Would you like to see this in action? Check out the free tutorial a buddy and I are giving away to people who tweet about our ebook.)
Clean up your following with TwitCleaner
People are popping on and off Twitter all the time. Within the group of folks you’ve followed, there’s very likely a healthy percentage who’ve given up on tweeting altogether. There are probably also quite a few who do nothing but tweet links to their online stores every day.
TwitCleaner will run you a handy report that shows you which of the people you’re following haven’t tweeted in over a month. It’ll show you which people are tweeting the same links over and over. It will also show you those who don’t interact with people much, and the ones who aren’t following you back. You can use this information to unfollow the people who aren’t bringing value to your Twitter experience.
Learn more about how you tweet with Twitalyzer
When we’re focused on our next tweet, it’s easy to lose the bigger picture of the story our tweets are telling as a whole. Twitalyzer will analyze your Twitter history and run you a custom report – with what can only be described as an insane amount of detail.
Your Twitalyzer report will tell you, among other things, what kind of influence you have on Twitter. It also tells you who the influencers are in your current network, what days and hours you tweet most, how often you’re retweeted, and what subjects you commonly tweet about. You can compare your Twitter influence to that of any other user. Heck, you can even hook Twitalyzer up with your blog’s Google Analytics, and analyze the clicks that come to you through Twitter.
Seriously, you can spend hours playing with all this data. And you can clearly see how you can improve your tweeting.
About the Author:
Diane Gilleland produces CraftyPod.com, a blog that geeks out on crafting and also helps crafters use the web more effectively to promote their businesses.