Twitter Tools


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Michelle Finkler wrote this roundup on how to improve your media company\'s Twitter strategy by using Twitter tools. She also designed the layout for this center spread.

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Twitter Tools

  1. 1. IdeasImprove your Twitter strategy with these Web-based tools By Michelle Finkler AssocIATE EdITor Whether you’re a Twitter novice or enthusiast, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to making the most of the microblogging site. But have you always wondered just how valuable Twitter can re- ally be to your media company? Twitter is a powerful way to attract and engage followers, according to Paul Wagner, CEO of Portland, Ore.-based Forkfly. You can evaluate and improve your media company’s Twitter presence with the following Web-based tools, Wagner said. Twitalyzer Website: Friend or Follow is a free way to find out who you’ve followed who hasn’t followed you back. Cost: Freemium What it does: Gauges the overall impact of your Twitter account. Friend Twitalyzer rates your Twitter account’s engagement, generosity in retweeting These Twitalyzer ratings tie together, he said, affecting your score in other metrics. of information that you have to filter through yourself,” he said. “What happens or Follow other users’ tweets and other metrics, such So if your generosity drops, so does your with Facebook are a couple things. Let’s as which tweets have been the most suc- velocity or the speed in which your mes- say I post a really long message to Face- Website: cessful, Wagner said. sage is pushed into the stream, he said. book. When I say ‘really long,’ I mean Cost: Free “Engagement simply means, ‘What are “What this means in essence is that our more than 140 characters. What happens What it does: shows who we doing to create a dialogue?’” he said. message may sit there for some time before is because my Facebook feed is linked to “If we post a tweet and someone responds someone picks up on it and rebroadcasts Twitter, my message is cut short [on Twit- you’ve followed who hasn’t to it, are we saying thank you? Are we giv- it,” he said. “You’re at a big advantage as ter]. Since Facebook posts tend to be a bit followed you back. ing feedback?” a news organization because the type of longer, they don’t translate well to Twitter. Wagner said a newspaper’s generosity content you’re putting out there is going to You’ve got to compress to get your mes- Friend or Follow is a quick and rating on Twitalyzer should be in a very be relevant and worthy of being shared in sage across on Twitter. If you don’t get easy way to find out who hasn’t high percentile, meaning you are retweet- real-time. If you’re putting out something your message across, you won’t get picked followed you back so you can un- ing fellow tweeps’ posts, he said. that says, ‘Freeway closed between exits up and retweeted.” follow them, Wagner said. “Let’s say you have someone who is 23 and 25,’ that’s something people are Another service, Twitter Grader (Twit- “It’s very simple,” he said. “If regularly retweeting your message,” Wag- going to pick up on.”, is similar to Twitalyzer they’re not following you back— ner said. “Twitalyzer will show who your Wagner also warned against linking your but free and much more simplistic in eval- unless it’s a valuable source of top followers are—the ones who love your Facebook page to your Twitter account uating your feed on Twitter, Wagner said. information that you might want content and share it with their friends. since, as a media company, you’re trying It shows the number of updates, the number to rebroadcast in your own chan- What would be generous of our [Forkfly] to accomplish two different goals with each of tweeps you’re following, the number of nel—they’re completely worthless feed to do is anytime they have something platform. followers you have and your rank out of to you. I’m not sure who you to say that is of interest, to rebroadcast it “Twitter is a constant flow—a stream of the roughly 9.5 million active Twitter us- might want to follow in your area. to our 9,300 Portland followers.” consciousness. This is a constant barrage ers. Maybe it’s the mayor of your Twitalyzer is a Web- town, and he hasn’t followed you based tool that back. Don’t delete the guy or girl. rates your Twitter That’s probably a bad idea since feed’s overall they’re a useful source. But if it’s impact. Twitalyzer the guy from the bike shop down is a freemium the street, and he has not followed service with you back, delete him and be done subscriptions starting at $4.99 per with it.” month. Continued on next pagePAGE 12 The Inlander | | JUNE 2011
  2. 2. IdeasContinued from previous pageTweet AdderWebsite: TweetAdder.comCost: Prices start at $55What it does: Allows you to searchfor local, active Twitter users, so you roughly an hour because it doesn’t want to do this too quickly or that could alert Twit-can follow them and get followers in ter that something is amiss. So the 300 getreturn. added. What’s the next step? The next step is to wait. You wait roughly a week. If they Wagner said media companies can beef have not followed you back within a week,up their Twitter feeds and the feeds of their they are not going to follow you back.”local advertisers by using Tweet Adder. The next step is to unfollow, Wagner “We have social media feeds all over said. Of the tweeps that you’ve followedthe country with sizes ranging from 3,000 during the past week, Twitter Adder willto 12,000,” Wagner said. “What we’ve show who has not followed you back sostarted to do there is take local merchant you can delete them.content and rebroadcast it. What we can Tweet Adder allows you to search by location and activity, so your newspaper can find active “Statistically, roughly 15 to 20 percentdo that merchants can’t and what we can tweeps in your area. of those that you follow will follow youdo that they don’t know about is use soft- back with each batch,” Wagner said. “So,ware like this to quickly ramp up Twitter In the markets that Wagner has been weeks and you decide to add 400 followers if 20 percent is the number, I’ve just add-efforts. Still, Twitter is only as good as the working with, he said they were able to get that day, you may get banished for the pe- ed 60 new followers over a two-day period.nature of your feed and the number of fol- 2,000 to 3,000 new followers in the period riod of a week. That’s for your first of- You’re going to do this every day. You’relowers who decide to opt in.” of a month. Results may vary, however, fense. If you do it again, you’re gone. They going to cycle through this—add, unfol- Wagner said it’s easy to acquire a lot of since you still have to make sure that will get rid of your feed.” low, add, unfollow.”junk followers, but finding quality follow- you’re putting great content on that feed, To be safe and not draw attention from Twitter Adder can also be used to man-ers can be challenging. Tweet Adder, how- he said. Also, the process of using Tweet Twitter, Wagner said Forkfly has found age your feed and send delayed tweets, likeever, allows you to search by location and Adder to build followers is gradual since success in the following steps: Make sure HootSuite allows, though Wagner saidactivity, such as searching specifically for following too many tweeps at once will you’ve posted quality content to the feed what Twitter Adder is best at is managingTwitter users in the Portland area who have trigger a red flag with Twitter, he said. at least daily, find all the local followers multiple feeds, searching by parameterstweeted during the past five days, he “Twitter is very careful about spam, and active on Twitter during the past five days and adding local followers.said. I don’t just mean sending out a bunch of and add roughly 300 new followers using “This is about finding qualified people “That’s a wonderful search parameter,” junk messages,” he said. “What they’re Tweet Adder. that you want to follow in your commu-Wagner said. “What Twitter will tell you really looking for is are you adding too “How do you add a follower?” Wagner nity only,” he said. “It’s easy to build ais that they have two billion users world- many followers at a time, and if so, why asked. “You’ve done this search, they’ve follower base on Twitter that will do youwide, but what they don’t tell you is that are you? And if you are adding too many given you this list and you click ‘Add Fol- absolutely no good because the bottom linemost of them are dead or not using the followers at a time, what’s the nature of lowers.’ ‘How many would you like to is, if you’re just adding random peoplesystem. You want to make sure you’re us- your content? So they’ve got this crazy add?’ 300. This is who you’re fol- from around the country, they don’t careing the active base, which is what this algorithm, and if you go in there and lowing. You’ve followed 300 about your content.”system is really great at doing.” you’ve got one tweet over the last three people over a period of Twitter Counter Website: Cost: Freemium What it does: Projects your Twitter feed’s growth in followers. Wagner said Twitter Counter is a great way to see how your Twitter feed is trending with regard to attracting followers. “What this will do is give me some rapid stats on they try to delete spam followers, which is why you’ll my growth,” Wagner said. “So every once in a while, see that drop-off.” you’ll see that we dropped a few followers. Twitter will do a scan of their entire database of users, and Contact: Paul Wagner, JUNE 2011 | | The Inlander PAGE 13