5 Twitter Tips You May Not Know

twitterbirdAs Twitter turns the corner on the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” and heads full speed ahead into the “Trough of Disillusionment,” I thought I’d share 5 tips that have continued to make Twitter a meaningful, useful tool.  Some of these you may know, some may be new.  This is aside from new features coming like Twitter Lists and the ability to report spammers directly from the web version.  If you know of others I’d love to hear them.

  1. Authorize your API connections. It seems like every other week a new Twitter scam pops up sending DMs on behalf of many unsuspecting users.  Of course you can change your password to protect yourself, but many apps require an authorization for your account.  Be sure to check http://twitter.com/account/connections to make sure everything there is legitimate.
  2. Twitter provides their own widgets. There are apps galore out there, but did you know Twitter has developed their own series of widgets for you to use on websites, blogs and elsewhere? Check out http://twitter.com/goodies/widgets to find widgets to show search results, your recent tweets, or your favorite tweets.  Here’s a quick sample of a search widget, showing scrolling chatter ahead of the 2nd TWTRCON conference coming up on October 22 in DC (want to attend? I have a 20% discount code: TWTRAC – I think the agenda is shaping up to beat the first one in SF earlier this year…) [Reading via feed? Please click through to the post to see the widget.]
  3. twittersearchUse RSS to track mentions. I use Google Reader to keep up with many blogs, but sometimes I miss a reply on Twitter if I haven’t logged in for awhile.  If you want to make sure you never miss a mention, create a simple Twitter search on your Twitter name and grab the RSS feed in the top right corner.  I’ll go through that list on occasion to make sure I didn’t miss anything, but a business could import that feed into a more robust tool for reporting and assigning responses.
  4. Get more use out of your Favorites.  I’ve always thought the “Favorites” function was under-utilized.  I tend tto use favorites most often to mark links to go back to read later, especially while I am on the road and using my Blackberry – sometimes taking the time to click through to links doesn’t help.  Once again Google Reader to the rescue.  Your Twitter Favorites are actually available via RSS as well, even though there is no RSS link on the page.  Here is the syntax:  “http://twitter.com/favorites/{twitter name}.rss” - now I can use them like a bookmarking service, feed them to a widget elsewhere and save them even for sharing with others via Google Reader’s sharing functions.  It’s almost a backdoor way to “retweet.”  Here is my feed, which I use very similarly to how I decide what to bookmark in Delicioushttp://twitter.com/favorites/adamcohen.rss
  5. There’s an app for that. Everyone has their favorite Twitter applications – the proliferation of 3rd party apps is profound.  My personal crutch is Tweetdeck, which has allowed me to create groups in order to more closely follow friends, industry experts and mentions of clients (more casually than a social media monitoring tool).  Rather than go deep on more apps, in the last few weeks one of my favorite microblogging experts, Laura Fitton, has launched One Forty at  http://oneforty.com – it’s the online equivalent of Apple’s App store but much broader – there are mobile apps for the iPhone, Blackberry and other devices, desktop apps, Twitter analytic services and more.  Integrated to your Twitter profile, oneforty.com allows you to rate and suggest services.  This site will clearly help sort through what the best and worst 3rd party apps are out there.  Laura is a featured speaker at TWTRCON too.

What other Twitter tips do you have to share?  I’ve been using Twitter for more than two years but continue to learn ways to make it an effective tool and build connections. Were these tips old news to you?  (Did you know that Disqus, the comment system which I recently installed here, allows you to authenticate via your Twitter account?  Sweet.)

Photo credit: cotinis via Flickr

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

How to Show The Value of Twitter In 2 Minutes or Less

2170597742_77181240ccTwitter is not a service that will appeal to everyone.  Allegedly 60% of Twitter users leave after the first month (although this doesn’t include those who switch to desktop apps like Tweetdeck).  I’d argue it’s because they only have Oprah and Ashton Kutcher showing them the ropes and need some better guidance; Twitter is intuitive to use but not to build a network or get the most value out of it.  Here are some simple steps to show someone the value of Twitter.

  1. Pick a topic the person is passionate about.
  2. Go to http://search.twitter.com and run a search on the term.
  3. Find an interesting tweet or post about the topic, and click through to the profile of the person who posted it.  If the profile looks interesting, follow that person.  Follow a few folks like this.
  4. Start a conversation, reply to one of the posts as if you had started a conversation in line at the supermarket.
  5. Look for someone sharing a useful website or blog post related to the topic, click through to the blog and consider subscribing to it.  Maybe reply to the author via comment or back on Twitter to let them know what you thought.
  6. Spend a few minutes in the conversation and see what happens.  Try again the next day.
  7. Repeat.

Within a few minutes you’ll likely get valuable content and conversation to you, relevant to a topic you are interested in.  You might even find a job listing.  I just tried this approach on 3 people – using photography, user experience and summer camp – and went 3 for 3 on “wows.”  New to Twitter? Let me know if this helps.  Twitter veteran? What else would you recommend to get someone started?

ps. Try “ball bearings” – you’ll find manufacturing suppliers, engineers, and people who like Fletch.

photo credit: 2create via Flickr

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

10 Quick Tips for Retailers to Engage in Social Media Right Now

In the last year I’ve immersed myself in social media, Chris Brogan has been a continual source of inspiration and guidance. His blog, chrisbrogan.com, is a virtual treasure trove of nuggets for social media junkies and new folks alike. Chris recently published an eBook called: Fishing Where The Fish Are: Mapping Social Media to the Buying Cycle. Today I was in a discussion with some colleagues about a client who is interested in “getting into social media.” While reading Chris’s eBook, I was inspired to jot down some very quick tactical tips and suggestions. I spun this toward retailers since it’s the space I work in but it really could apply to any company or industry. Thanks to Chris for the inspiration, who likely has written a similar list already for getting folks “plugged in.”  

10 Quick Tips for Retailers to Start Engaging in Social Media Right Now

1. Do a Google Blog search on your company’s brand, category and industry. Start doing this on a regular basis and read through the content. Start to get a pulse, subscribe to some Google Alerts on the topics.

2. Do the same search using search.twitter.com. There are lots of resources and guides on using Twitter and other microblogging platforms – but creating an account and getting acclimated is a longer term investment of time. I would start with looking for mentions and understanding what is being talked about. For that matter, Marc Meyer has a great post on many ways to listen to many sources in social media.

3. Join Facebook. Connect with friends, colleagues, get to know and understand how it works. Look for colleagues from your company and see how they are representing themselves. Are there Facebook groups mentioning your company? Does your company have a page? What about your competitors?

4. Join LinkedIn and set up your profile. Also connect with friends and colleagues. Get to know how the social network works. Understanding social networking will be important – as will the ability for customers and business partners to know you exist.  Learn about who you should connect to and who you should avoid on each network.  Here’s my view of how I scrutinize connections, but many people use social networks differently.

5. Ask around your company and find out who blogs, who is on Facebook, who is on Twitter or who is using other social media tools. You can learn a lot about social media by observing what they see and do in this space. I think you’d be surprised at how many folks in the organization already have a blog, even if it’s a personal one.

6. Start using a RSS reader like Google Reader. Search for reviews of your products or services. Find 5 sites where people are talking about them, in forums/discussions, blogs, or other sites. Subscribe to feeds from those sites to start listening.

7. Start using a bookmarking site like Delicious or StumbleUpon. Create a category or tag for blog and press mentions, and start to save/accumulate links about your company and industry.  Connect to colleagues with similar interests and see what they find.

8. Find 5 blogs in a related industry by searching in Technorati, Delicious or another bookmarking service. Read through posts, and comment on them. Be sure to disclose which company you are with if you are promoting or voicing an opinion on a product or service, including a competitor’s.

9. Go talk to Legal. Is there a corporate policy on social media? Does your industry have specific concerns about participating representing the company? Understand the guidelines and policies if they exist.  Scott Monty has talked about how this step was crucial when he joined the team at Ford as to lead their social media effort.

10. Go talk to PR. Chances are they are wrestling with understanding blogs and the importance of reacting timely to concerns. Let them know you are interested to and willing to share a voice.

a bonus tip:

11. Understand this is a journey, not a flash in the pan. Social media requires commitment and a lot of listening well before you will be in a position to come up with a case study in the space.  Just executing against this list will require some time investment.

What did I miss?  Was this helpful?  What has helped you ramp up in social media?

Photo credit: StephanGeyer via Flickr