Twitter 101: 5 Twitter Tools for the Newbie

 

Twitter recently celebrated its 6th Birthday and now has over 500 million registered users. In fact, the number of active users (log in monthly) grew from 100 million in Sept. 2011 to 140 million in March 2012. Those numbers are impressive and staggering. For a network whose foundation is a 140 character text message there are a bevy of tools to help users work efficiently. Below are five Twitter tools that will assist in running a solid Twitter account.

HootSuite

This is the Granddaddy of them all. Hootsuite is arguably the best free tool available in all of Social Media. The first thing you should do after creating your Twitter account is immediately setup your Hootsuite account. Yes, it’s that good. Hootsuite allows you to manage, monitor, and schedule activity not only for Twitter, but platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Foursquare.

Hootsuite allows you see multiple streams on one screen. For example, you can see your Twitter Home Feed (stream), sent tweets, mentions, and your tweets (retweeted) all on one screen. While the interface on Twitter isn’t that bad, you need to jump around in order to see all of this information. Hootsuite brings this efficiency right to your fingertips.

Tweepi

The free version of Tweepi allows you to flush followers that aren’t following you back. So let’s say after a month you are following 100 users. Tweepi will show you how many of those 100 are not following you. If there are 40 not following you and you want to unfollow, you can do so by using the “Flush” button. Tweepi provides a check box system where you can unfollow these people.

This must be done individually because of the Twitter TOS (terms of service). For this example, that would be 40 checks. Tweepi also shows you people that are following you that you are not following back. You can follow them if you wish, using the same process. Tweepi offers a premium service for $7.49 and $14.99 per month that provides many bells and whistles that might be of interest as your Twitter account grows.

Topsy

So you’ve created a Twitter account, now what do you Tweet? Topsy (recently purchased by Apple) is great source to uncover content that is trending on Twitter. I think Topsy flies under radar to most twitter veterans as I don’t see it mentioned often, but it really is a powerful resource. This real time search engine indexes and ranks search results based on the most influential conversations.

While you can see most of your tweets that are retweeted through Hootsuite or Twitter itself, sometimes your tweet will lose the @name and thus not be tracked. Topsy solves that issue. You simply put the tweet in the search field and the number of retweets and who retweeted becomes transparent. Another value to Topsy is the ability to reply and retweet within Topsy. You can also follow people on Twitter through Topsy. Topsy easily connects to twitter making this painless.

SocialBro

This is one of the better Twitter Tools that I’ve seen. SocialBro is full of graphics and filters. It really drills down your Twitter universe. One recent feature is Real-time analytics. This shows you how many of your Twitter connections have tweeted in the last five minutes. It updates every ten seconds. SocialBro also suggests your best time to tweet during the course of the week with specific times. SocialBro has a lot of nuggets. For more detail check out, How many of your 100K+ Twitter Followers are Real?

TweetSpinner

– (Purchased by Moz) While the four twitter tools above all have free versions, TweetSpinner has a monthly fee ($15 or $22). It allows you to easily de-clutter your account based on filters you setup. It will generate a group of users you want to unfollow due to inactivity. You confirm these users will be unfollowed on twitter through the TweetSpinner site.

The other value it provides is keyword following and mimic following. So let’s say you want to follow someone that tweets about Social Media. You enter “Social Media” and it will find users that have tweeted about social media with a level follower to friend ratio, since these people are most apt to follow you back. You then use a check box system (similar to Tweepi) to choose the users you want to follow. It will automatically follow those users over the course the day. This is not a mass follow program. It’s a tool to find and follow people using keywords of your interest that have a balanced friend: follower ratio. I would only use this tool if you are serious about your Twitter account(s) and intend on being highly active.

There are hundreds of Twitter Tools out there. While there are others that are noteworthy, I have no doubt you’ll find these 6 very useful in managing your accounts. Twitter veterans, “What twitter tools do you swear by?”

How many of your 100K+ Twitter Followers are Real?

I often marvel at Tweeps that have a follower count north of 100K. I’m talking about non-celebrities of course. This is quite a feat no matter how one arrived at this number. While there are hundreds of Twitter tools out there that can assist in getting followers, it still takes time. You could use every trick in the book, including automated services (usually a no-no which violates Twitter’s TOS), and it would still probably take a year to get over the 100K line. While I’ve always found it to be an impressive number, I know it’s not a real number. Our followers include Bots and inactive users. Everyone has their own definition of an inactive follower, but I would say someone that hasn’t sent a Tweet in an over a month to be inactive. So how many inactive followers do you have?

SocialBro is a tool that allows you to manage and analyze your Twitter Community. It helps in getting your arms around the question in the title, and plenty more. Other Tools include monitoring a hashtag, analyzing your lists, Best time to Tweet, and analyzing competitors. SocialBro also provides a dynamite filtering system where you can isolate certain groups of users.

The chart above from SocialBro shows number of followers and when they last sent a Tweet.

Twitter Followers – 12,018
Tweeted in the last Month – 9,047 (Active)
Tweeted over a Month Ago – 2,971 (Inactive)

So based on my definition of an Active Follower (Tweeted in last month) my percentage is 75.3%. It is actually a bit higher than I anticipated. However, it also means that almost 3K or 24.7% of my Followers are dust. Valuable information that gives you a better grasp of your Twitter account. There isn’t any reason to follow these inactive Tweeps. If you’re serious about your Twitter account, this Tool in SocialBro gives you the foundation to do some cleanup.

Real-Time Analytics – Drum roll please…Earlier this week SocialBro unveiled a Real-Time Analytics feature to its Tool set. This allows you to view active users, and shows their total number of followers, that have tweeted in the last 5 minutes. The screen updates automatically every 10 seconds. This is some great stuff. The picture a below is a screenshot from Tuesday.

Damn, only 86. I actually watched over the last two days, and 97 was the highest it reached. So with over 12K Followers (yes I know about 3K are inactive) there are only 75-97 actively using Twitter at any one time. Ugh. Just to give you some perspective, my 2nd Twitter account started a month ago and just shy of 300 followers, was running between 15-20. This account is primarily filled with people I know. So 86/12,018 versus 17/291. Well, you can do the math. While you can’t control who follows you, being more selective of whom you follow should lead to a more efficient Twitter account.

So do you really have 100K followers? Well not really. Go over to SocialBro and find out your real numbers.