Go Beyond Twitter: Improve your Twitter Strategy with Social Research Tools

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TwitterNow that you’ve mastered the tweet, the hashtag and the retweet, it’s time to graduate into the next level of Twitter–and that means developing follower strategies, finding influencers, and moving from the generic Twitter “best practices” to what really works for your brand and followers. We’ve compiled the best social media tools to take you from a tweeting novice to a power user.

Keep Your Followers in Check. A complicated question for brands is getting a grasp on how many brands you should be following. When does your number of followers fall into the “too many” category? Generally, a 60-40 ratio of those you follow vs. those who follow you is a good rule of thumb.

So how do you build up your followers and find the people that are most interested in your product–all while avoiding the spammers and inactive users?

Here are the tools we’ve found helpful:

  • SocialBro. SocialBro allows you to view detailed analytics of your followers, helping you find the people you’re following who aren’t following you back, inactive followers, influential followers and more. SocialBro also provides analytics and insights on your account.
  • WeFollow. WeFollow is a directory of Twitter users. So if you’re looking to find people to follow that are on TV or interested in technology, WeFollow can help.
  • Twellowhood. Twellowhood, a function of the larger Twitter directory Twellow, lets you identify influential tweeters by location.
  • Klout. Klout identifies how influential a user is based on their social interactions across a number of networks.

After a bit of time (generally a month), you should take a few minutes and return to your following and follower lists and remove any users that aren’t active or seem spammy. In addition, you’ll want follow back any new followers you received.

Hashtags & Search.

Now that you’ve gotten some posts under your belt, the next step is to find additional conversations of interest to become involved in. There are two easy approaches to finding these conversations: keyword and hashtag searches.

A simple Twitter search is a handy tool if you want to scratch the surface of available data from Twitter, but using a search operator can better filter and drastically improve your results. Use “#keyword” for a hashtag search or “key -word” for tweets that contain key, but not word. Check out Twitter’s chart below for more useful search operators:

Other powerful tools are available as well. Sites like SocialBro (noted above) and many Twitter mashups can help find and visualize just about any type of information. Other social research tools we find useful include:

  • Nearby Tweets. Nearby Tweets lets you search by location and keyword–so if you’re only looking for allergy sufferers in Chicago, you can filter searches.
  • WhoTweetedMe. Curious who is sharing your links online? WhoTweetedMe looks up URLs to find users sharing your content.
  • Hashtags.Org. Hashtags.Org is one of the largest hashtag indexes out there. Find hashtags on just about every topic, see what content is gathered under that tag, and who the tweeters are.
  • LoudTwitter. Search Tweets by hashtag, keywords and even link domains–even if shortened.

Analytics.

Now that you’ve expanded your following and your content areas, it’s time to measure your efforts. With your Twitter activity, you may have realized that there isn’t a built-in analytics dashboard for Twitter yet. That can be pretty inconvenient! So if you’re looking for tools to measure your KPIs, these sites will help you get the job done:

  • TweetReach. TweetReach helps you determine the reach of keywords, specific phrases or text, URLs or usernames. Within each report, you’ll see the number of accounts reached, top contributors, and tweet impressions (broken down by users seeing 1 tweet, 2-4 tweets, etc.).
  • Twitalyzer. Twitalyzer provides a lot of metrics in one place–included are Klout scores, Peer Index scores, top retweeeters and mentions, as well as activity trends.
  • TweetArchivist. TweetArchivist provides insights such as tweet volume on a keyword or hashtag to help determine topic popularity, top users to identify influencers within a topic, and top URLs to find top content sources. Also available is “Source” data, so you’ll be able to see if your users are tweeting from Web or applications, to help better tailor content to your users.
  • Twilert. Consider Twilert the Google Alerts of Twitter. Set up automatic searches for keywords or hashtags and frequency of report delivery to keep on top of the topics most interesting to your brand.
  • Tweet Grader and Tweet Level. These two tools help determine your influence on Twitter–and the influence of any other user you’re curious about.
  • Tweets Map. In addition to giving you a map of where your Twitter followers are–including the percentages in each location–you’ll have access to many more insights on your followers.

Do you have any other best social media tools that we left off? Let us know in the comments!

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