Below is a list of a number of useful tools you can use to help you make effective use of Twitter.
Twitter Advanced Search
A little bit buried away on the Twitter website, the advanced search is a really useful tool. Amongst the many ways in which you can search, it enables you to find tweets from particular accounts, to particular accounts, in a particular language, at a particular location (useful for finding tweets posted in a particular area about a particular thing eg psychology in London), in a particular date range and even whether the tweet is positive or negative!
Tweetdeck is a handy web-based tool that enables you to add multiple columns of Twitter content to a single dashboard. Rather than having to flick between notifications, your home stream and a particular hashtag on the Twitter website, you can have all of these streams open in one place, saving you having to switch back and forwards. Tweetdeck can be particularly helpful to follow conference hashtags as you can follow it without having to jump from your home stream or your notifications to see what’s being said.
Tweetdeck also has the advantage of enabling you to manage several Twitter accounts from one dashboard, saving you having to log in and out of the web interface if you manage more than one account.
Buffer is a great tool that really saves time in managing your Twitter account. Once logged in, you create a schedule for the week, selecting a range of times for your content to go out, then you simply add tweets and Buffer does the rest. You can link Buffer with a range of other services (including Feedly – more on this in a mo!) and add a browser extension to your browser of choice. With the browser add-on you merely have to click the Buffer button whenever you come across an interesting webpage and it will be added to your Buffer (including the web page title). There are also Android and iOS apps that perform the same functionality. If you think you don’t have enough to time to manage a Twitter account, start using Buffer. You’ll be amazed how much time you save and how much engagement you get simply by spending a couple of minutes “buffering” up a load of tweets!
Feedly is a very popular RSS reader (other RSS readers are available!). Basically it enables you to “subscribe” to individual websites and have the latest content from the website’s feed sent direct to your Feedly dashboard. You can create folders to organise content by subject to make it easier to manage, and you can share content direct from your Feedly dashboard at the click of a mouse. The great thing with Feedly it can also be connected with Buffer so you can send articles and content direct from your Feedly dashboard to your Buffer schedule with just a couple of clicks. This saves huge amounts of time and ensures that you post regular, interesting content to your Twitter account throughout the day without you even having to open up Twitter. I personally manage a number of accounts and I certainly wouldn’t be able to do so so easily without Feedly and Buffer! (There also official iOS and Android Feedly apps.)
Tweets with images often prove to be very popular on Twitter. A popular image format is the image with text overlaid on top format. It can be a bit tricky to create professional looking variations of this theme, but fortunately Pablo (by the people behind Buffer) makes it much easier. Simply upload an image (or use one of the example images provided), blur or switch it to black and white, add some text and then download the resultant image or share direct to Twitter/Facebook/Buffer. The additional bonus is that the resultant image is the exact size as the image preview on Twitter, so everyone will see the full image without even having to click to expand (how lazy we have become!).
Another popular image format posted to Twitter are the humorous (well, sometimes anyway!) image/text combo memes that seem almost inescapable on social media (see below). Imgflip is a great tool to help you create them and share via social media. There are loads of options if meme-ing is your thing!
Yet another option is Giphy which, as its name suggests, is a collection of GIFs (short animated clips) that you can share via social media. As with Imgflip, GIFs are really popular on Twitter and often used as a more sophisticated alternative to emoticons (well, as sophisticated as a short Simpsons clip can be anyway…).
If you use Buffer, Tweriod is a particularly helpful tool. Once you’ve signed in via your Twitter account you can request a report on your account which will present you with a time chart indicating when your followers are online. Once you have this report, you can use it to help inform your Buffer schedule and ensure that your tweets go out at peak times when most of your followers are online (if that sort of thing is important to you…). Tweriod is free, but there is also a paid option which might be useful if you have over 1,000 followers.
Weird name, but a great tool for stat nerds. Followerwonk basically provides huge amounts of data on any Twitter account you enter into the search box (via the “Analyze” tab once you have signed in). Data includes: the location of your followers/the people you follow, inferred gender of the people you follower/your followers, follower counts of the people you follow/follows you and loads more. Basically, if you love pouring over data and want to learn more about your followers, Followerwonk will be right up your street.
There are also a bunch of apps available for your smartphone to help you manage your Twitter account, including:
Twitter – Official App (iOS/Android)