120 is the new 140 – Less is More on Twitter!

Twitter, that wonderful little social networking site that is taking the world by storm, is a “less is more” based social networking site.  The idea is to microblog – sharing tips, ideas, articles as on other networks – using 140 characters or less.  I tend to be a talker, so this has always been an exciting challenge.  But in the world of Twitter a new challenge is emerging:  Saying what you want to say in just 120 characters or less.

In Twitter it is common to “retweet” or “RT” posts that may be of value to your community.  The 140 rule still applies.  In order to be retweeted there must be extra room for both your Twitter name AND the RTers name.  If your tweet is at 140 it must be somehow shortened if it is to be shared.  Thank goodness that spelling counts less than meaning on Twitter! Any method of abreviation is welcome. By keeping it short you are doing yourself and your community a favor, making RT’s much simpler. It encourages sharing and keeps your post active.

Here are some tips to help keep your tweets as short as possible:

URL Shorteners: TweetDeck, Seesmic & PeopleBrowsr all have apps built in to shorten the URL.  Otherwise bit.ly & HootSuite are good URL shorteners that also let you track the clickthroughs. I have shortcuts to both of these in my menu bar.

–  Symbols & Numbers: Replace words with symbols and numbers: and=&, anyone = any1, etc…

– Tweet Shortener: Did all the above but still too long? Use TweetShrink to abbreviate your entire post. This has been a great tweetsaver time and time again! Again, this is already built into TweetDeck & PeopleBrowsr. For example, the last two sentences in this sentence were shortened to “Use TweetShrink 2 abbreviate yr entire post. ths has bn a gr8 tweetsaver time & time again!”

All you need to remember is that getting your point across is what matters.  What words can you afford to abbreviate? If your target audience is other marketers, SMM is probably fine if you are discussing Social Media Marketing.  If, however, your target is a group of small business people who are new to online marketing, they may have no idea what SMM is.  Make sure the words that you abbreviate still make sense to your target audience, and adjust your tweet as necessary.

Sharing is half the fun on Twitter, so do your part to RT & be RT’d.  Accept the challenge and have fun!

PS – Please be sure to share any Tweet Shortening tips you may have in the comments.  We’re always happy to hear new ideas!

101 Twitter Tools to Help You Achieve All Your Goals

New Economics of Advertising: 101 Twitter Tools to Help You Achieve All Your Goals.

Twitter has become an incredible tool not just for communication, but for improving your life. Anyone can use it to expand their social circle, promote their side business, keep their coursework organized, and more. Whether you want to achieve your Twitter goals, or just use it as a tool to achieve others, these tools will help you get there.

Twitter Analysis

If your goal is to be popular and influential on Twitter, be sure to check out these tools that will tell you how you’re doing.

  1. Twitter Grader: Learn your Twitter grade, your local Twitter Elite, and find new people to follow through Twitter Grader.
  2. Twitterholic: Check out the top Twitter users and find out your Twitter stats on Twitterholic.
  3. TweetStats: TweetStats offers a graphical analysis of your Twitter stats.
  4. Twitter Friends: Carefully measure your Twitter conversations using Twitter Friends.
  5. Twinfluence: Twinfluence will measure your Twitter influence based on reach, velocity, and social capital.
  6. Tweetwasters: Find out how much time you and other users waste on Twitter.
  7. Tweet-Rank: Learn about the quality of your tweets by finding out which ones won or lost followers.
  8. Mr. Milestone: Get a tweet when you reach various milestones using this Twitter tool.
  9. Retweetrank: Find out how many retweets you and other Twitter users have through this service.

Information Gathering

With these tools, you and gather information for market research, blog posts, and your own simple curiosity.

  1. search.tEarn.com: Unique, social network for viewing photos and videos on any topic and chatting with Twitter users interested in the same subject. Search on any topic.
  2. @myflightinfo: Use @myflightinfo to stay updated on your flight’s status.
  3. Twitterverse: Check out archived timelines and tweets through Twitterverse.
  4. Twitscoop: Twitscoop shares what’s hot on Twitter at any given moment.
  5. Twitbuzz: Twitbuzz tracks the latest conversations as well as popular Twitter links.
  6. StrawPoll: Use StrawPoll to make sharing your opinion as easy as sending an @reply.
  7. Retweetist: This service ranks the hottest links being retweeted on Twitter.
  8. Monitter: Get real time keyword monitoring on Twitter from Monitter.
  9. TweetNews: TweetNews ranks stories based on the amount of related tweets.
  10. TwitterBuzz: TwitterBuzz will tell you what’s being linked to the most on Twitter.
  11. Tweetscan: Set up Tweetscan to make sure you don’t miss any @replies, and to get alerted of your search queries.

Network Building & Management

Find more relevant Twitter users with the help of these tools.

  1. Twitter Local: With this service, you can see tweets from Twitter users in a specific location.
  2. Twubble: Twubble will expand your Twitter bubble, picking out people you may like to follow.
  3. MyCleenr: Sort your friends by their last tweets, and you can get rid of the inactive and useless accounts you’re following.
  4. Follow Cost: This tool will tell you how much effort it takes to follow someone.
  5. Tweepler: Use Tweepler to organize your tweeps based on whether you’re following them or not.
  6. Just Tweet It: Find Tweeple, tools, Twitter bots and more through this directory.
  7. TweetWheel: TweetWheel will help you discover which of your Twitter friends know each other.
  8. SocialToo: SocialToo will help you keep track of all of the people who have followed or unfollowed you.
  9. Twitoria: Reduce your clutter on Twitter by finding your friends that haven’t tweeted in a long time.
  10. TwitDir: With TwitDir, you’ll be able to search for people, and exploring categories including top followers and updaters.
  11. Who Should I Follow?: Using this site, you can get good recommendations for Tweeps to follow.
  12. Nearbytweets: Learn about all of the Twitter users in a specific area with the help of Nearbytweets.
  13. Twellow: Find Twitter users in a specific industry using this service.
  14. Mr. Tweet: Mr. Tweet is a personal networking assistant for Twitter, helping you find relevant followers.
  15. Qwitter: Qwitter will help you manage your network by sending an alert when a person unfollows you.

Twitter Management

Save your time and cull your Twitter list with the help of these tools.

  1. Summize: Retrieve information on Twitter quickly to search Twitter in real time.
  2. Tweet O’Clock: Trying to reach someone? Tweet O’Clock will help you find the best time to get their attention.
  3. Just Signal: Set up a filter using Just Signal to get only the tweets that discuss the keywords you’d like to read about.
  4. TweepSearch: Put your Twitter network to good use and search your followers for specific parameters.
  5. Friend or Follow: Manage your Twitter contacts and find out who’s not following you back through Friend or Follow.
  6. TwitResponse: TwitResponse makes it easy for you to schedule the delivery of your tweets ahead of time.
  7. TwitterSnooze: Put the pause button on a particular user for a while with Twitter Snooze.
  8. Twitterless: Get notified when someone stops following you with Twitterless.
  9. Twilert: Track specific keywords to receive alerts for using Twilert.
  10. Tweetdeck: Tweetdeck has a groups function that will help you more efficiently follow the people you really want to listen to.
  11. Twalala: Put the mute button on certain people and topics for a while if you are receiving lots of updates you’re not really interested in.

Sharing Tools

Promote your business, share photos, and more using these Twitter tools.

  1. Tweetburner: Use Tweetburner to share links, and you can track their usage.
  2. Twitpic: Twitpic makes it easy to take mobile phone photos and share them using your Twitter account.
  3. TwitterHawk: Get targeted marketing on Twitter through TwitterHawk.
  4. Acamin: Acamin makes it easy to share files on Twitter with your followers.
  5. Glue: Post links to books, movies, restaurants and more on Twitter through Glue.
  6. Ping.fm: This service will update all of your social networks at once.
  7. TweeTube: TweeTube makes it easy to share videos on Twitter.
  8. twiggit: Use this automated service to share the articles you digg on Twitter.
  9. Twisten.fm: Share what you’re listening to on Twitter through Twisten.fm.

Organization & Productivity

These Twitter tools will make your life a bit more streamlined.

  1. Twittercal: Link your Twitter account and Google Calendar to easily keep up with your events and appointments.
  2. Timer: Use Timer to get reminders about tasks through your Twitter account.
  3. TwitterNotes: Organize your notes using Twitter with TwitterNotes.
  4. Remember the Milk: Use Remember the Milk on Twitter to update your to do list.
  5. Tweetake: Tweetake will back up your Twitter timeline for archiving and more.
  6. Nozbe: Nozbe makes it easy to add and update your to do list on Twitter.
  7. Toodledo: This popular to do list app integrates nicely with Twitter.
  8. TrackThis: Send TrackThis your tracking number, and you’ll get Twitter messages every time there’s a change in location.
  9. Joint Contact: Get project management productivity on Twitter using Joint Contact.
  10. Tempo: This time tracking tool allows you to send in updates from Twitter.
  11. Tweet Later: Tweet Later offers a great way to set up alerts, schedule tweets, send thank you DMs, and more.
  12. OutTwit: OutTwit will make it easy for you to use Twitter inside of Outlook.
  13. Jott: Jott makes it easy for you to tweet without ever having to type, transcribing your voice message to Twitter.

Life Tools

With these tools, you can work on relationships, life tracking, and more.

  1. MyMileMarker: Keep track of your mileage with info sent via Twitter every time you fill up.
  2. 21Tweets: 21Tweets offers personal coaching on Twitter.
  3. TwtTRIP: Organize your travel plans and find other Twitter travelers on your way with TwtTRIP.
  4. Tweet Answers: Twitter Answers makes it easy to ask questions and get answers on Twitter.
  5. Twtvite: Twtvite is a simple event organizer that will help you create a tweetup.
  6. Vacatweet: Set up an autoresponder for your Twitter account with Vacatweet.
  7. plusplusbot: Share when someone goes out of their way to help you, or otherwise make your feelings known using plusplusbot.
  8. TrackDailyGoals: Use this site and the #dailygoals hashtag to keep track of your goals every day.
  9. ConnectTweet: Put the voices of your group or business together through ConnectTweet.
  10. Tweeteorology: Find tweets about the weather in any location through Tweeteorology.
  11. DreamTweet: Keep a reminder of your dreams and nightmares, and follow the dreams of others through DreamTweet.

Business & Finance

Use these tools to improve your business and finances through Twitter.

  1. Chipin: If you’re raising funds on Twitter, make use of Chipin to set a goal and let your supporters track the progress of the campaign.
  2. Xpenser: You can Twitter your expenses to Xpenser and they will be recorded for you.
  3. Twittertise: Schedule your tweets and track their clickthroughs with this app designed for Twitter advertising.
  4. TwtQpon: Create simple Twitter coupons for your business with TwtQpon.
  5. CheapTweet: Get all of the deals, sales, coupons and more being discussed on Twitter through CheapTweet.
  6. Tipjoy: Like Chipin, Tipjoy offers a way to create social payments for your cause, content, or people.
  7. SalesTwit: Get contact management for Twitter with the help of SalesTwit.
  8. Tweet What You Spend: Track your cash in a really effective way using Tweet What You Spend.
  9. StockTwits: StockTwits shares the investment discussions on Twitter in real time.

Health

Track your health using these Twitter tools.

  1. Qwitter: Update Qwitter to shame yourself into quitting smoking.
  2. TweetPlot: Use TweetPlot to chart your food and fitness statistics.
  3. Tweetwhatyoueat: Keep a food diary to track what you’re eating every day using Tweetwhatyoueat.
  4. gtFtr: Use the gtFtr tool to record your exercise activity on Twittr.
  5. SugarStats: Track, monitor, and share your blood sugar through Twitter with SugarStats.
  6. FoodFeed: This Twitter-based food log makes it easy for you to track what you’re eating.

Blogging

Bring your blog life and Twitter life together with these tools.

  1. Add to Any: Get your posts shared on Twitter by using Add to Any on your WordPress blog.
  2. TwitThis: Make use of this plugin to send Twitter messages about your blog post.
  3. MyTwitter: Use the MyTwitter plugin to display your Twitter status on WordPress.
  4. Twitpress: Twitpress will send out a Tweet every time you post a new blog entry.
  5. TwitterCounter: With this plugin, you can display the number of followers you have on Twitter.
  6. TwitterFeed: Announce your blog post on Twitter with a customized message using TwitterFeed.
  7. FriendFeed: Announce your blog post on Twitter.

Twitter Etiquette: How to be polite on Twitter

There are many things to learn on Twitter.  One of the most important when you are first starting out is some general tips for Twitter etiquette.  These are ways to generally be courteous and use the manners your mother taught you.

1. Saying Thank You. When someone follows you or mentions you on Twitter, it is polite to say thank you.  Send a DM to say you appreciate their follow, or @reply a thank you for mentioning you in a tweet.

2. Retweeting (RT). If you see a tweet that you think your followers would appreciate it send a Retweet. There are apps that automatically RT (such as TweetDeck), but if you are online you want to copy the entire tweet, go to the message window, type “RT @” then paste the message and send. This gives credit to the originator.

3. Being Retweeted. If your tweet was retweeted try to send a thank you. Public or Private, either is OK.  It’s just nice to let them know that you noticed.

4. Saying Please. If you are sending something asking people to do something, make sure you say please (or plz for short)

5. Don’t use foul language. While some may not mind, many of your followers do not want to see tweets with foul language. Remember that there are a lot of kids on Twitter too, who don’t need to be reading that either.

6. FollowFriday. This is a great way to recommend and show appreciation to the tweeps you find valuable.  Every friday people send tweets that include the Twitter name of tweeps they think should be followed, along with the hashtag #followfriday. The idea is to get your followers to also follow them.  You’re helping your fellow tweeple to build their community and saying thank you for being them at the same time!

7. Tweet how you want to be Tweeted. Don’t spam people with marketing messages. Don’t be rude, and don’t gossip. Do be conversational and helpful.

8. Offer a helping hand. If someone in your community tweets that they need help, or just some cheering up, be there for them. It will come back to you.

These are some basics to help you remember how to be polite while using twitter! Please feel free to share this with your friends and new twitter users, and add your own Twitter Etiquette tips in the comments.  Happy tweeting!

3 Great Apps to Help You Get Targeted Twitter Followers

One of the keys to successful Twitter marketing is of course to have people reading your tweets – followers. But not just any followers, the more targeted followers you have the better your success will be. Before you start your campaign you should have a specific group of people in mind – the type of people who will be interested in your product, whether it is specific to certain areas or age group, etc…  So where do you find followers?  Or even better, where to find your followers withing your target group?

In order to gain followers, you will need to follow.  Many of those that you follow will follow back – a sign of common courtesy and respect on Twitter. This is the best way to start.  There are several great apps out there that will help you locate and target specific types of people, or those in specific locations.  This is the best way to get your Twitter follower base started.

A few quick tips & reminders before we get started:

– Building a good, targeted following will take time.  Be prepared to focus at least 1-2 hours per day until you get up to 1000 followers.  The more you can spend the quicker your following will be built, but it’s not all about speed either.

– Of course most people want to see results fast, and the more time you spend on this the faster you will see results. But don’t spend more time than you can afford. There are other aspects of your business that need tending to!

– Don’t follow just to follow.  Be sure to do a quick check on their tweetstream and their “follow back” habits. If they tweet primarily spam or all RT’s they are most likely a bot. Following will do you no good. If they follow far less than are following, they don’t follow back and again, unless you really do like their tweets and want value for yourself, no good to follow.

Now, on to the apps!

TweepSearch

This is a great app that allows you to search all of the 4,000,000+ Twitter profiles that they have indexed so far.  The results will show their Twitter profile, website & location.

Twellow

The Twitter Yellow Pages.  You can lookup tweeps by location, by interest, by field… Simple to follow those you find! While you’re there, be sure to add your own twitter profile to the database so those interested in what you have to offer can find you.

Monitter

Great app that allows you to search tweets based on multiple keywords. You can also narrow by location – very good if you want to target people in a specific geographic area.

Using these apps you will soon see your followers grow, and begin to become the followed (without initiating it).  Of course this will require you to participate, be conversational and posting tweets of value – all of which will be addressed in future articles!  Please feel free to comment about the free apps you have used to find your own twitter followers or to contact me with any specific questions.  I look forward to seeing your Twitter success stories soon!


Online Marketing Summit: Social Media Basics | Online Marketing Blog

Online Marketing Summit: Social Media Basics | Online Marketing Blog.

At Online Marketing Summit held in Minneapolis and hosted by ClickZ, Caitlin McCabe of Sway Inc spoke to the audience about Social Media and had these insights:

1. For people who think Facebook is just for kids, go search for groups relevant to you and you will find them!  Facebook offers many targeted marketing opportunities.

While there are hoards of people, both professional and not, look for niche social sites where you can reach 100% of your target audience as well as an audience that is more engaged than perhaps the average Facebook user.

People with more friends aren’t necessarily more valuable. Do they know all their friends and who are they? However, on a niche social network like BakeSpace.com, the friends are much more targeted than a big brand like Sara Lee.

2. Check out the IKEA video channel on YouTube. Creating video content, if relevant to your target market, is excellent. In addition, the video content can create more for your target audience to bump into online.

3. Launch a blog if you have the time and resources to allocate to it. Think about how big  the conversation is that you want to have. Do you have something to say every day, every other day or every other week. This should help you determine whether or not to start blogging.

Do the planning before you do the blogging. If you outline a content plan and you don’t have content beyond month 1 or 2, you are going to run into problems. Get going on aligning your blog to overall marketing initiatives to help you create a content plan that extends 6 months and beyond.

If you do start a blog, keep in mind that in the first 2 months no one will read it, comment or maybe even care. But don’t give up! Give it the time it needs and socialize. Go comment on other blogs and bring those bloggers back to your content.

4. If you aren’t tweeting yet, start listening. What are Tweeple saying about your brand. And what are industry thought leaders saying?  Knowing what people are talking about can help you decide how and when to engage. At the very least, go register your Twitter handle so a competitor or money-minded company doesn’t do it first.

5. You can connect Social Media to ROI, but only after an extended period of time and not your first priority. The first priority is connecting with the target audience via conversations, not marketing messages.

Questions from the Audience:

Q – How do you find niche social sites?
A – You can find niche social sites by searching, looking at blogrolls and sites that target market friends are talking about.

Q – Can you reach out to bloggers as an individual or as the company?
A – You can do both, dependent on the blogger. If the blog you are talking to is small, then tailor the message and reach out with a non-mass email type note.

Building Your Twitter Followers: Slow but Steady Wins the Race!

There is a lot of hype on Twitter now about these auto-follow programs, building followers on auto-pilot.  But is that really the best way? I suppose for some it may be, but I prefer to use the old fashioned method of networking.  It’s what Twitter was made for.  Sometimes event this method can get you fast results, but often it will take more time, with your follower growth gaining momentum as you establish your reputation and credibility within the online community. Slow but steady wins the race!

Networking and effective social media marketing is about much more than numbers. Growing your followers manually assures a personal and targeted approach.  You know who you are inviting and who you are following.  You communicate, converse, and build a relationship with them. The first step to building followers is to follow.  Here are some tips to locate people you want to follow:

Search for people with like interests. The great thing about Twitter is that people are there to share as well as to learn and help one another.  Don’t be afraid to have “competition” in your group.  I guarantee you can learn from them, and them from you.  There is something they can offer that you can’t and something you can offer that they can’t – it’s the beauty of networking.  You can use Twitters Search for people, or one of the numerous apps such as Monitter or TweetDeck to view streams mentioning kekywords. Follow them and establish communication.  I will write another article soon outlining some of the great apps you can use with Twitter.

Use Twellow to find more people who might be interested in you, or who have like interests. Twellow is like the Twitter Yellow Pages, you can find people in specific locations and/or in certain fields.  A great way to find a targeted group of people to follow.

Look at the people who have followed those with like interests. Don’t necessarily follow them – only follow the ones you believe you could offer something to, and those who could offer value to you.

Keep in mind when following people that those who have high followers but low following will most likely not follow you back.  Only follow if you believe their tweets are something that will benefit you. Otherwise you will clog up your stream with unwanted tweets.

The next step is to be seen. There are some great apps and methods that will help others looking for people to follow to follow you.

Apps to list yourself/business in:
Twellow
TweetPenquin
WeFollow

Other ways to be viewed by those not already following you:
– Use hashtags (#) that are already in use. If you tweet a quote use #quote.  A marketing tip use #marketing.  Many people have a running search for these keywords and tweting with them will allow more people to see what you offer.  When they like your tweets they will follow.
– Use keywords.  Think of words people would use to find you or your product/service.  Be sure to use those words in tweets as well as your profile.
– Comment in forums, blogs and articles, mentioning that you can be followed on Twitter (include a link to your profile)
– Submit articles & blogs that link to your Twitter Profile.
– Add your Twitter profile to your other  Social Networking accounts such as FaceBook & LinkedIn.

Of course once you get the followers you want to keep them!

– Make sure you follow back those who follow you, it’s simple etiquette.  A good way to protect yourself from spammers when doing this is to use TweetLater and unfollow those who unfollow you – use the 24 hour delay in case an unfollow is accidental. – Be sure you tweet regularly and tweet value.  Don’t just talk about your lunch or your sick dog.
– Don’t just talk at your followers, talk with them.  Respond to questions, join & start conversations.

Using these methods will help you to grow a great, targeted community that you will enjoy being a part of.  Don’t worry too much about your “twitter grade” or how “influential” you are – simply be you and enjoy your experience with your newfound Twitter friends.  If you have more tips for finding followers manually please feel free to add them to the comments.  Happy Tweeting!

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Future articles coming soon will explain how to manage your followers, which twitter apps to use for what, linking your social media accounts and more. Visit often or subscribe to my blog using the links in the right column.  Don’t forget to vote for us on Technorati!

Twitter Marketing Services: Buying Followers???

The concept of buying followers is not new.  There are hundreds of apps that you can buy to help you build your followers quickly.  Now uSocial will let you buy groups of follwers from 1000 to 10,000. I don’t know about you, but it seems that this really ends up defeating the purpose of Twitter!

It reminds me of the old fable “The Tortoise and the Hare”.  The Hare thought his speed assured him the win.  He sprinted then rested – thinking he was on auto-pilot.  But sure enough the persistence of the slow but steady tortoise helped him to victory.

People are simply to impatient, believing that building followers quickly is better than building relationships slowly. They want it on auto-pilot thinking that nothing more is needed than a large following.  Building followers the old fashioned way by searching, conversing & communicating may seem slow, but shortcuts and speed are not always better.

Twitter is about connecting, networking and building relationships.  If you purchase a group of followers you do not know, have not known, and most likely will not even attempt to actually know any of them.  Followers should be gained because they are interested in you and what you have to offer.  No service can “guarantee” followers in specified time unless they are spamming everyone they can find and hoping for auto-followbacks.

When I market for others I focus on locating targeted followers – people who might have an interest and be a good match for the person/company/product/service.  This may not be the fastest way and may not build mass followers quickly, but it will build a good core of followers who genuinely want to see what you have.  It will bring a more loyal following, people who will interact with you and give you honest feedback.

True, the more followers you have the more potential for new customers or fans. But having a large amount of targeted followers, with whom you have had personal contact, will bring even MORE genuine, happy customers as well as free word of mouth marketing!

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