Twitter – Social media business strategies blog Mon, 12 Feb 2018 10:53:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Followerwonk: A powerful tool to up your Twitter game Thu, 20 Aug 2015 09:01:22 +0000 Continue reading ]]>
Here’s a video showing you how we’re using FollowerWonk for our new startup, Cruiseable.

And why increasing your @contacts score is vital to your brand’s health

This is part two of a five-part series on “Rise of a startup: Cruiseable.” Today’s installment looks at how we’re using Followerwonk to increase Cruiseable’s footprint in social media. Also see:

Part 1: Great tech startups begin with a great development team

Target audience: Entrepreneurs, startup teams, angel investors, venture capitalists, developers, businesses, innovators, educators, students, journalists, travel analysts.

JD LasicaAnyone who’s programming/scheduling social media updates or running social marketing campaigns for a startup knows that there’s a wealth of good tools out there. If anything, the field is oversaturated with too many choices.

One powerful tool that I think is underappreciated is Followerwonk, a tool from the geniuses at Moz, the inbound marketing software powerhouse, that lets you analyze, optimize and grow your Twitter following. It’s free for 30 days and then costs $149 per month unless you just register for a new free trial. 

Cruiseable score on Followerwonk

Andrew Kamphey, who runs a social marketing consultancy in Los Angeles, has been working with us since April, and we’ve grown Cruiseable’s Twitter following from 600 in April to 5,000 in July (when this instructional video was made) to more than 10,000 today. (Bonus for us: He’s worked in key posts aboard Royal Caribbean ships and has a great idea around the sharing economy for cruises.) Followers isn’t the ultimate metric on Twitter, but it’s one key indicator of whether a brand is gaining traction.

The #1 key metric you may be overlooking? @mentions

Well, the other week Andrew sent me a fascinating, unsolicited screencast about how Cruiseable is doing on FollowerWonk. And as part of our ongoing commitment to transparency, we’ve decided to share it with you. (Remember, this was one month and 5,000 followers ago.)

Here are some of the learnings we’re squeezing out of FollowerWonk — you can likely tease out actionable insights for your brand as well:

• Followerwonk is the only free or low-cost tool that I know of that lets you search Twitter users’ bios for keywords. (I’m sure there are some higher-end paid tools that do this.) Bios offer many more relevant signals than random tweets when you want to zero in on influencers in your sector.

• Twitter doesn’t give you any native capability to look at which top influencers are following you and whom you’re cluelessly not following back. Followerwonk makes it super easy to see the rankings of your followers. For example, in only a few months’ time we had four followers with more than a million followers and another 10 with 500,000 to 1 million followers. Fortunately, we were following all of them, as well as thousands of folks throughout the long tail.


• FollowerWonk gives you an at-a-glance heat map of where most of your followers are located. (We have a lot followers in Los Angeles, (as well as Miami, Dallas, New York, Chicago, Seattle and London.) And, importantly,it lets you drill down to the state, city, neighborhood and see who exactly is following you, so you can get a better sense of your online community.

“If you look at what real people are interested in and what they’re tweeting about, that’s gold.”
— Andrew Kamphey

“I have spent hours on the map alone,” Andrew says. “One, it gives you a good idea of where people are. Two, you can click on their profile and click on it and reach out to them. And third, you can find out what people tweet about at a micro-level. You can look at all the analytics in the world but that that doesn’t tell you what to tweet about. But if you look at what real people are interested in and what they’re tweeting about, that’s gold.”

• Probably the least understood value of Twitter is the ability to foster one-on-one interactions, rather than mass media announcements. Brands like Nike (95 percent), Moz (75 percent) and SproutSocial (68 percent) have been doing a stellar job of engaging their followers through these @contacts interactions. We’ve been upping our score considerably since Andrew pointed this out to us. I’ve never heard of @contacts, so I think Moz is combining @mentions and @replies and calling them @contacts.

Let’s see, what else?

• Like some other analytics tools (SEMrush,, Followerwonk lets you see how your competitors are doing on Twitter with their followers.

• Followerwonk shows you the most active hours of your followers, which takes the guesswork out of deciding when to schedule your key tweets to get the most traction.

• Our Social Authority score was 41 last month; it stands at 52 now. More importantly, like any good analytics tool, it gives you a yardstick to see how you’re faring over time with regard to retweets, url mentions and those all-important @mentions.

Andrew makes the good point that you shouldn’t focus exclusively at the top of the Twitter food chain. All those folks with more than half a million followers get bombarded with retweet requests. A better strategy, he says, is to schmooze up those with 1,000 to 5,000 followers — your peers in the real sense of the word.

FollowerWonk isn’t perfect — it’s still unnecessarily geeky, and a month ago it showed our @contacts at 0.5% and today it says it’s at 79% (the truth is somewhere in between) — but it’s head and shoulders above other Twitter analytics tools in its class.

Next in this series: Glip and Disqus, a pleasant and unpleasant surprise.

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17 steps to get more (legit) Twitter followers Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:01:09 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Twitter-followers
Image by Matthew Johnson

Post by Pete Bray
VP of Social Strategy, Moz

Target audience: Brand managers, marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists and anyone with a Twitter account. This article originally appeared at Moz and is republished with permission.

pete-brayLet’s talk turkey! How do you get more followers on Twitter? To start, put aside those quaint olden-times notions that seeking more followers is unsavory. Heck, even Twitter promotes their tools as means to quickly get more followers.

Of course, the early days of Twitter were very different than today. Back then, there were all sorts of spammy ways to get followers. Perhaps it is the hangover from those days that makes people queasy when thinking of “techniques” to get followers.

Nowadays, though, Twitter has clamped down hard. Spammy techniques will get you banished quickly. And most of those old grey-hat methods don’t even work: Twitter has radically limited how many people you can follow, as well as how many you can follow each hour.

You might ask, why do I want more followers anyway? Twitter does little for SEO, or search engine optimization, at least not directly.

Well, I don’t want to get into a whole sales pitch for social media generally, but a few points stand out:

The more you are followed, the more likely you will appear in the ‘Who to follow’ Twitter promo on the left hand side of
  • Twitter is a lightweight, frictionless, and serendipitous way to engage customers. It doesn’t require an email blast or the customer actively visiting your site. Once they follow you, they’ll encounter you on their timeline during the normal course of their social experience. The little pings and pops you’ll have with them accrue tremendous value.
  • Your follower count is a good measure of your influence, and other people see it as such. The more followers you have, the more you’ll attract, and the more you can use your influence to drive customers, conversations, and engagement.
  • The more you are followed, the more likely you will appear in the “Who to follow” Twitter promotion on the left hand side of

With those in mind, let’s dive into the tactics. I also want to use this tips-and-tricks excursion to highlight two awesome features in Moz’s Followerwonk application.

Tweet when your followers are online

1Followerwonk’s analysis feature helps you do exactly this. You can quickly see when your friends (people you follow) or your followers are online.

Our integration with Buffer really streamlines the process to queue tweets when your followers are fully engaged.

A new chart we’ve added helps you even more:

Here, we highlight when my followers are most active (top chart) with when I’m tweeting (bottom chart). (Sigh, as you can see, I do a terrible job of matching my tweets to my followers.) Do this every week or so, and try to adjust your tweeting so the two charts closely match.

Initiate conversations

2If you go to Followerwonk right now, you can search for key terms in your industry or do a comparison of competitors’ followers. Take a look at the resulting users, then sort them by Social Authority. Find those that have the highest @response rate and engage with them!

But you can take it one step further with our new filter feature:

Yep, now Pro users can quickly filter any list of users by their relationships with those people. You’ll be able to quickly find:

  • Those people who are following you but whom you’re not following back
  • Those people whom you follow but who don’t follow you back
  • Those with whom you have a reciprocal relationship (you follow each other)
  • Those with whom you have no relationship

This way, you can quickly search for any term in your industry and surface a list of users with different types of relationships.

This is helpful when considering the type of engagement to initiate. If they follow you (and you don’t follow them), well, you can more personably address them? No relationship? Then perhaps a responsible @reply to one of their queries? In short, take advantage of the relationships you have right now. And carefully build new conversations with those you don’t.

After all, the more back-and-forth engagement you have with superstars (or even semi-superstars) in your industry, the more you’ll get others in the field to follow you.

Use content as incentive

3Of course it’s not always easy to get others’ attention. But if you produce good content, you can use that as a way to start conversations with experts on Twitter.

In any blog post, for example, you can directly include significant users’ tweets (or quotes or blog elements). Reach out to each of them on Twitter. Invite their comments, or solicit retweets. Did they respond or retweet? Great! Include them again in another blog post in a few weeks and repeat.

Continue the conversation

4Don’t just reply and let that end. Keep the conversation going as much as possible, particularly with positive customers. Close with a question. And with a positive response, reinforce that behavior with a retweet.

You want your Twitter handle in circulation as much as possible. The more others are talking about you, the more likely their friends will take a peek at what you’re about. Here’s a great example from @windows in an otherwise humdrum tech support back-and-forth:


And, you know what, it worked. Here’s my response.


They succeeded in prompting me to continue the conversation, ricocheting their name and message around my network.

Have many more followers than friends

5For many, a sure sign of a spam or an otherwise suspect account are those who have a large number of followers and a large number of friends. It suggests the person’s followers are largely a result of following in anticipation of a followback.

But it’s more than that. Even if you have only 100 followers, if you only follow 10, that ratio suggests you’re more compelling than those with an equal number. So, always keep an eye on your ratio. It has practical benefits, too: You won’t be able to follow over 2,000 people (not that you ever want to approach that many) unless you have a very healthy ratio.

Make your profile and recent tweets compelling

6Look carefully at how you will appear to most people on Twitter. They may see you @mentioned or RTed by others. And they may wonder who you are. So they’ll click on your name and see this little preview. (Note that on mobile the profile they’ll see is even more scant.)

Everyone who previews you will see your four most recent tweets. Remember, @mention tweets (those where you are engaging with others) are of little value except to those with whom you’re engaging. As such, try not to exceed a string of four @mention tweets in a row. You always want a non-@mention tweet with unique, compelling content to serve as a follow-attractant to those previewing your profile.

Note, too, the value of having a lot of relationships. The more you have, the more likely you will have implicit “recommendations” when someone views your profile.

Every tweet has a larger audience than you think (so fill in the gaps)

7Engaging with others is a vital part of Twitter (duh). But @mentions are roadblocks to anyone viewing your profile (except the person at the other end of the mention). For third party viewers, it can be like listening to one half of a phone conversation. So, from time to time, provide strategic retweets of the person you’re engaging with as a means to provide narrative for third-parties.

Track your churn

8Did you know that in Followerwonk we track every person who unfollows you? Yep, we do (Pro version only).

Look carefully at who you’re losing. Sort the list of unfollowers by influence and follower count. Are you losing any big names? On what day? Go and look at that day and see what you did that might have driven them away.

Don’t blindly follow back

9Remember, you want a compelling follower to friend ratio. Your default should be not to return follow, except for those whose content you’re truly interested in. These new followers are “in the bag” and there’s no value, from a follower growth perspective, in reciprocating.

Prune, prune, prune

10On a similar note, get rid of the dead weight that you’re probably already following right now.

Do an analysis of your account. Scroll down and find the list of “recencies of tweets” of your followers and the people you’re following. Ask yourself, “why am I still following people who haven’t tweeted in 2 years?” Unfollow them. What about those tweeting in a language you don’t speak? Unfollow. Or what about those who themselves are following 1000s of people? Do you think they’re really reading your tweets? Consider them, too, as good unfollow candidates.

Go to the “Sort” page where you can view all your followers. Use the awesome new filters to view those users you follow but who don’t follow you back. Are those one-directional relationships worth it? If not, unfollow them.

Follow with a purpose

11You want to be part of a bright constellation of like-minded people in your industry, not part of a mishmash nebula. Why? Because Twitter’s sidebar recommendations for who to follow are very much based on groupings of interconnected people. As such, your follows should be both strategic and designed to elicit follow backs.

So, go to Followerwonk. Search for your industry. Compare your competitors, and sort by influence. Don’t follow those with only a handful of friends (and who have many thousands of followers). Look for those with a relatively equal number of friends and followers. This suggests they’ll likely follow you back.

Also, look for those with high engagement rates. Check their tweets. Look good? Follow them.

Super-engage those super-important

12Remember, most engagements with others are recorded on those users’ Twitter timelines, and those timelines (for many of us) are checked religiously.

So, for those folks with whom you really, really want a relationship, don’t just @mention them. Go the whole nine yards. Follow them, RT one of their tweets, favorite one, and @mention them. It’s exuberant engagement like this that gets noticed, and stands a better chance of getting you on their radar. (Of course, if you get no response, don’t keep pestering.)

Track your follow success

13Just as you can track your unfollows in Followerwonk, you can also track everyone you follow (and whether they follow you back). This is great stuff.

Follow a bunch of people. Two weeks later, look at those follows in Followerwonk. How many now return follow?

What I suggest is setting up a series of experiments. One week, focus on following people you find by comparing competitors. Another week, focus on following people by analyzing a competitor’s profile. Does one outperform the other in terms of follow backs? (If so, repeat that one!)

(We’ll have more tools in Followerwonk soon to help you better track performance like this. Stay tuned.)

Engage un-reciprocating friends in a timely fashion

14So what to do about those you’ve followed who don’t return follow? Consider a targeted engagement. Take a careful look at their use of Twitter.

Note, in this new Followerwonk chart in our Analyze feature, how, for any user, you can quickly assess when that user is tweeting.

Not only that, but we also highlight the types of tweets they’re making at certain hours. Perhaps during the early morning, for example, they’re doing most of their @mentions (a great time to reach them, then); while the afternoons are dedicated to retweets.

You can use this data to help plan a campaign around especially important Twitter users, but it’s also very helpful for non-VIPs.

Carefully purge

15Look, it’s a messy subject: the idea of following someone and then unfollowing them later. And by no means do I propose that as your bread and butter.

But the simple fact is humans live on reciprocal relationships. I extend my hand, you extend yours… or else I’m gonna retract mine!

As such, there’s nothing wrong with prudent unfollowing of those who don’t reciprocate your follow. But give them time, and use Followerwonk to help understand the full history of your relationship with them before you walk away.

Tweet frequently, but not too frequently

16Make a concerted effort to generate new, unique, and compelling content on a daily basis. Don’t just sit and respond, but actively create content. There are plenty of great Chrome (and Firefox) extensions to help make tweeting a less-intrusive part of your regular web browsing experience. Use them to make generating content a natural part of your day. You’re going to attract very few followers without fresh, regular content.

On the other hand, don’t go overboard. Space your tweets out, rather than clustering them all within a few minutes. (Buffer can really help you do this: we.) If you tweet more than a dozen or so times a day, you’ll risk pushing people away.

Respond as fast as you can

17Unless I’m sleeping, I typically will read and respond to any tweet coming my way within minutes. (Try me out!) That’s partly because all the various apps I have instantly alert me. I get emailed with @mentions, desktop alerts on Windows 8, and iPhone alerts, too.

A fast response ensures that you’re catching the other person when they’ve got you on their mind. From there, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to continue the conversation. As I discussed, you want your name in circulation in Twitter as much as possible, because the more it is out there, the more others will stumble across it.

I hope I’ve provided a useful summary of that research above. We’re particularly excited about the two new features that complement these relationship strategies: a new chart detailing when (and what) users tweet, and advanced filters for any list of users.

Peter Bray is vice president of social strategy at Moz. He is the founder of Moz’s Followerwonk application. Follow him on Twitter at @petebray. Moz is not affil­i­ated with and has not reviewed this trans­la­tion. Moz pro­vides the Web’s best SEO tools and resources.
Enlist the power of the crowd for your next live event Mon, 12 May 2014 12:02:07 +0000 Continue reading ]]> apps

How to leverage your audience’s Instagrams, tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, Tumbls & G+s

Target audience: Marketing professionals, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, SEO specialists, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.


Chris AbrahamIcan’t believe you’re still hiring professional photographers with expensive DSLRs who shoot your events live but time-delay the results by days and weeks. Yes, I am looking at you!

I am not saying you shouldn’t hire a professional team for posterity, the annual reports, and your organization’s archive. But why are you time-delaying your fundraisers, events, conferences, gatherings, jamborees, and rally by hours, days, and weeks when you have all the cheap-and-accessible tools all around you to take dozens of “good enough” images real-time, allowing hundreds, thousands, and millions of friends, family, fans, and potential donors, clients, customers, attendees, and members to get a selective and well-curated peek into all the cool stuff you do every day, as it happens, live, en masse, over the course of the entire event, instead of only the tightly-edited album you may only share with your current friends and family, all in one dump, at one moment, well after the event is far in the rear view mirror?

Yes, those professionally shot 16.2 megapixel photos may well be well-lit, hi-def, perfectly posed, and color-corrected, but they’re also planned, dull, and edited down to so few images that all you’re left with are some boring photos of some random “celebrity” at a dais, some sponsors, board members, and honored guests mugging in a huddle, some glad-handing photos, and maybe a snappy of plates of rubbery chicken on linen-festooned banquet tables.

Expand your reach beyond who’s in the room

Keep the pro shooters but look to others who might be willing to live tweet, Vine, Instagram, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumbl on your behalf, logging in to your Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts before the night begins.

Alternately you can follow my advice below and get the sort of impact you need from the events that you’ve spent a lot of money and energy on already — events that could really help your brand profile in the noisy, noisy, world — but at which there are only dozens to hundreds of attendees and not the thousands-upon-thousands you’ve acquired through social media marketing across all of your social networks and social sharing platforms. Plus, there’s the excitement of the check-in, be it checking in on Foursquare, Facebook, Google Plus (or even on Foursquare through Instagram, actually).

Live streaming, live-tweeting, Instagramming and Vine

2014-04-28 13.48.52When I know I need to capture an event via social media, I use two smart phones and several huge, portable, backup batteries. Strangely enough, too few people carry backup batteries for their smart phones.

My two smart phones are an Apple iPhone 5 and a Google Nexus 5. The 5 has passable battery life, the Nexus 5 dies within an hour the way I use it. As a result, I fill up two Radioshack Portable Power Banks, each with 6000mAhs, every night.

The best thing about porting around too many batteries and cables? Well, you can hook your staff and the folks who are attending up with batteries and charging cables and still have your battery needs covered as well. In fact, you might decide to buy a bunch of batteries and chargers and adapters and plugs and maybe even have a safe charging station where people can leave their poor depleted phones. If you play your cards right, half of the people in your banquet hall will be attending your event through the lens of the video display of their smart phone. No, not their camcorder, DSLR, or Canon snappy, but their smart phone, uploading their Vines, Instagrams, tweets, and Facebooks, blogs, Tumbls, and Plusses right then and there, an entire corps of paparazzi.

Make wi-fi an ally, and buy some wi-fi repeaters

Also, offer some really good Wi-Fi, try to not require a password, or make the password so easy and free that it’ll not be a trouble. I recommend buying a number of Wi-Fi repeaters, such as the NETGEAR WN3500RP Universal Dual Band WiFi Range Extender or the cheaper NETGEAR N300 WiFi Range Extender Wall Plug Version WN3000RP — they’ll allow you to fill your halls with sweet wi-fi, amplified from the distant, weak, signal that you’re all using at once. It won’t solve anything, but it’ll boost confidence and the number of bars people see on their phones. And, if I am really busy, I’ll just live in Instagram. I can take short videos on Instagram, a-la-Vine, and also some pretty neat filtered-and-edited images, be it #filter or #nofilter.

Train everyone how to promote your brand via social

2014-04-28 13.06.44If you’re Miriam’s Kitchen, you should bring me in! If you’re not, maybe you can pay me to come in to train up your staff on who, what, when, where, why, and how to properly and professionally document brand, organization, corporate, or foundation events, including location-awareness, checking-in, swarming. Make sure people understand constraint, what you’d like, filters, cropping, titling, descriptions, tagging, hashtagging, @-inclusions, profile-tagging, checking-in, and all the yummy stuff that make these things cool.

Spend some time sharing how Twitter is different than Vine is different than Facebook is different than Instagram is way different than Google+, a platform that makes it hard to ever even cross-post to it. You need to explain the difference between posting to Facebook and Google+ profiles versus Google+ and Facebook Page posting (it’s important). And then, be sure that people realize that every single person you photograph wants to look beautiful, skinny, happy, successful, fit, and kind, so don’t post any photos that show people with double-chins, belly rolls, closed eyes, or food and drinks up in their pie holes. Make sure every image you make and every post you commit to is flattering and lovely. Not because you’re trying to misrepresent the event but because if you post anything awkward, embarrassing, or unflattering, you’ll surely hear about it. Consider twice, post once.

Let your entire team post as your organization

2014-04-28 13.06.09This takes both training and trust, guys, but you’ll be well-rewarded for your trouble. Get together before the event and either pile all the smart phones on a table and let a couple geeks who know their way around Instagram, Vine, Twitter, etc, set everyone up on their own phone with direct access to the brand’s account. Alternately, maybe you can get a bunch of phones that are the property of the organization and hand them out for the night, already set up for the Wi-Fi and pre-logged in for all the sharing platforms you intend to you. Hopefully you’ve already trained everyone up and let them all know how to best fill out all the content you need before posting, including using filters and light photo editing skills.

You also need to inform people what to do if there’s a terrible auto-correct mistake, a miss-post, or a misspelling: delete it yourself? What if it’s been cross-posted via Instagram to Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and the lot? Is there someone at a desktop who can be a live air-traffic-controller? Is there someone you can text or call? Is there someone who can monitor all the streams to quickly delete any and all posts that don’t make the mark (without hurting anyone’s feelings?)

Empower your attendees to live-tweet about you

2014-04-28 13.08.13I love to live tweet events for Vocus and Miriam’s Kitchen — for free. I love how lovely they are to me.

They invite me to things and spoil me and make me happy and amused — and when it comes to Miriam’s Kitchen, I am changing lives! I know there are loads of people who work with Miriam’s Kitchen who would love to be tapped as a either part of above-mentioned “Team Tweet” or as part of the friends and family Team Livetweet that the attendees are more than welcome to become. In the case of Miriam’s Kitchen “Mission Possible” fundraising gala, they’ll want to devise a hashtag that everyone can use for the event, maybe #missionpossible or #missposs14 or #missposs — who knows — as well as the proper mention in every post, including @miriamskitchen. Maybe the hashtag could even be #mp14 to make sure the hashtag is as easy and simple and short and east-to-include as possible — and is in every single social media post.

2014-04-29 09.37.13And, be really generous with the retweets, reblogs, reposts, starring, favoriting, hearting, and all that. I know I already said it but it demands repeating.This requires some training, of course, and something you’ve already offered to your team, but it also requires doting and appreciation, too. I always live tweet, Vine, Facebook, Tumbling and Instagram all of my volunteering at Miriam’s Kitchen. Every single time. Because I love them. However, I work twice as hard doing it whenever I get lots of love, appreciation, favoriting, liking, hearting, retweeting, and reposting. So, one of the mandatory jobs that the air-traffic-controller needs to do is engage all of the live-tweeting attendees! You need to. Maybe, you even need to set up a moderated and curated screen that features the social media conversation that’s happening, real-time. Hey, it works for professional sports teams with their fans, it works like catnip if you really want people to live tweet your event.

Keep it simple, keep it Instagram

Like I mentioned earlier, Instagram is easy. It’s all photo-based, it doesn’t really need too much writing when you’re in the lurch, and it does an amazing job of cross-posting across Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, and Foursquare. Only thing is, you’ll need to make sure you connect your Facebook to the correct place: Pages and not personal timelines.

Post to brand pages and not personal timelines

Instead of your own personal Timeline, if you’re a Team Livetweeter, you should like to the Facebook Page you need to be associated with. There are two ways: Either log in as someone who already has permission to post to your brand’s Facebook Page; or, the FB Page administrator needs to make you an administrator of their Facebook Page. Alternately, if you’re the admin, you’re responsible to add everyone who needs to post to your brand’s Facebook Page access to that page, by adding them all as managers for the course of the event. Then, if it’s no longer useful or necessary, remember to remove their access as managers after the event is over.

You can always pare down the flood of posts later

2014-04-29 09.37.04There will be too many posts over the course of your event, especially if you give every team member who wants it, access to tweeting, etc, on your behalf as you, real time, but that’s OK. The next day (or that night) you can edit, edit, edit. It’s OK. Or just leave it. If you’ve done a good job promoting your event or your conference well in advance to your followers, members, and fans — and if you let them know you’ll be live-tweeting (and which hash tags you’ll be using) — then they’ll forgive the flood. Let it be, let it go — enjoy the rush. But, it is worthwhile going through everything with a fine-tooth comb, looking for unflattering images or adding tags to untagged photos if you recognize people and are connected to them via social media.

This is a great opportunity to follow people who love you already. It’s also an opportunity to thank people personally for their help. I might even collect all the people who live tweeted (and retweeted and favorited and so forth, even if they were not in attendance) and then include them in a #followfriday love pile. If someone’s willing to tweet you, they’re worthy of your like; if someone’s willing to live-tweet you (for free) then they’re worth of your love.

Post best-of photos in an album afterward

2014-04-29 09.37.00When you get your images from those fancy Canon, Sony, and Nikon DSLRs, upload them and post those guys to social media, of course, but also create “Best Of” albums as well, highlighting the best life-tweeted, live-Tumbl’d, live-Facebooked, and live Flickr’d photos and posts into one big pile of appreciation and love, including not only the life-tweeting teammates but also the best-of photos and tweets from the attendees as well — and include attribution and links and so forth. They’ll love being part of that end-of-party page-3 mention, especially of they’re tagged and thanked. How do I know? Well, because I really appreciate it. It’s some hard work, I warn you, but they work will only take you a couple-few hours on the Monday afterwards (or even the Sunday after, if you’re a workaholic) but you’ll really make people’s day! And, they’ll brag, share comment, and make a fuss again and again, well after the event’s been long forgotten.

Remind your team to log off from your brand’s social media accounts

Don’t forget to get all of your trained up team mates and staff to unlink their social media accounts to your profile. Maybe even check, There are so many stories of people forgetting to log off from their corporate profiles only to tweet and post totally inappropriate photos that night after a few too many Fireball Cinnamon Whisky shots at the after, after party. I know you can do it. It’s so worth it.

2014-04-28 13.09.19I think I have made it more complicated and complex than it is because I really would love people to do live-tweeting in a super-big way.

I want a hundred people to be making a noise on behalf of fundraising events, symposia, or conferences. Every conference should be its very own SXSX! You can always scale everything down to just a few people. Also, ask your lawyers. Maybe you’ll need to post a note at the entrance letting people know that the event will be live-tweeted to social media and that their likeness will probably end up somewhere on the Interwebs, “just in case you’ve invited your secret lover to this event and don’t want the entire world — and your spouse — to know.”

Go git ‘em! I know you be able to rock it, move the chain, and get yourself your very first Twitter trending topic!

Main photo credit: Jason A. Howie via photopin cc

Do your Twitter followers matter to your brand? Mon, 24 Mar 2014 12:01:55 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Hard at work

Think about the kind of Twitter users you follow back

Post by Tristan Anwyn

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

When you were at school, there was a good chance that if you got caught hanging with the troublemakers, you were considered guilty by association.

Nowadays, the company you keep online can affect your brand’s reputation for good or ill. Just ask Republican politician Newt Gingrich, who ran into a mini-scandal during his 2012 presidential campaign when it came to light that 92% of his Twitter followers were fake accounts.

So how does the company you keep affect your brand?

Guilt by association

When you follow an account, visitors to your Twitter profile can see that you’ve followed it and make assumptions about your brand based on whom you follow and interact with

If your brand is built on being family friendly, would you endorse an adult film company in your advertising?

It sounds preposterous when it’s put like that. But, in fact, that’s what you’re doing every time you add an account to your followers: endorsing it. When you follow an account, visitors to your Twitter profile can see that you’ve followed it, and make assumptions about your brand based on whom you choose to follow and interact with.

Building a good Twitter following is undoubtedly important, but indiscriminately following accounts isn’t the way to go. Following accounts that don’t offer good value in line with your own company message can damage your reputation.

Before you add an account, ask yourself if you want to send the message that you like that account and are happy for your brand to be associated with it.

Consider your reputation

What happens on Twitter doesn’t stay on Twitter. Google can index your tweets, meaning that what happens on Twitter is out there on the Internet for your customers to find for years to come. No, Google doesn’t index who you follow, but it will index not only your own tweets, but your @replies to other accounts, and their replies to you.

In essence, this means that if you tweet @ your favorite beer company that you can’t wait to ditch the office and get the party started, Internet users can see that and draw their own conclusions. What can seem like a light-hearted comment or a personal tweet that isn’t related to your official capacity has an uncanny way of coming back to haunt you.

Be careful who you follow on Twitter – and be mindful of the conversations you engage in, too.

More isn’t more

You likely wouldn’t want people knowing that you follow this guy.

When it comes to Twitter followers, too many companies take the attitude of “more must be better.” It’s easy to assume that following lots of accounts will make your brand look popular and active. However, if your follower list is mostly inactive or irrelevant accounts, your brand will seem unfocused and your Twitter will look random and unkempt.

Some people take the search for quantity to extremes by buying Twitter followers. These followers are often fake accounts, which can damage your reputation in more ways than one. Savvy internet users can use online tools to flag up fake follower counts, which as Newt Gingrich found out can make you look like a phony who is trying to buy popularity.

There’s more to it than that, though: Buying Twitter accounts can damage your reputation by damaging your followers. Fake accounts can contain malware. This means that your legitimate followers may find themselves on the receiving end of spam, or even become victims of hacking or phishing scams. Being associated with those kinds of accounts can do untold damage to your reputation.

Slow and steady is the route to brand success with social media

Building a good Twitter account can be a vital part of your brand’s online marketing presence, but stay aware that what you say and who you say it to can have a far-reaching impact on your reputation. It’s far better for your business in the long term if you build your Twitter reputation slowly, using real conversations with real people, maintaining a Twitter image that is honest, professional and authentic.

Whether your business offers advertising and marketing services, a wireless credit card machine to enhance sales with customers, or any other number of products and/or services, don’t underestimate the power of Twitter.

With that in mind, what steps are you taking to build a Twitter reputation that will boost your brand’s image?

Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, content marketing and SEO.
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Stop begging on social, it looks pathetic Wed, 19 Mar 2014 12:01:37 +0000 Continue reading ]]> WARNING: Stop begging. You look pathetic.

Harassing people to share your content is not a social media strategy

Target audience: PR professionals, marketers, content creators, communicators.

David SparkIn a previous whitepaper, How to Trend on Twitter, I recommended that people blatantly ask for retweets because your followers want to help you out and would support you in your endeavors … up to a point.

But all of these pleas eventually start to have the reverse effect. If you constantly barrage your friends with RT and “please share” requests, they’re going to get irritated.

It’s like having a friend whom you’ve helped move once before but who asks you to do it again. Dude, hire some friggin’ movers!

The sentiment is the same when you continuously beg for RTs. Dude, hire a friggin’ publicist!

When retweets turn into a relationship-destroying strategy

Begging for RTs is not a marketing strategy. It’s a relationship-destroying strategy.

HazardousSocial150“Entitlement abounds on the social web with so many communications starting with ‘give me,’ ‘do this for me,’ or ‘share this with your fans’ without anyone ever thinking to create value first,” complained Lee Odden (@LeeOdden), author of Optimize CEO at TopRank Online Marketing, and editor at

“Asking for retweets is simply unnecessary,” noted illustrator Len Peralta (@lenperalta), “Either your content is compelling or it isn’t.”

“Earned attention comes from an investment in your community with real returns, not just superficial social shares. Creating value in meaningful and interesting ways before ‘the ask’ represents the kind of social media engagement that motivates action, and attracts even more fans,” said Odden.

This post is an excerpt from the ebook “Hazardous to Your Social Media Health: 50 Previously Condoned Behaviors We No Longer Recommend.” Includes insights and quotes from 56 social media influencers. Get your copy of the ebook for free.

Add these 6 tools to improve your social workflow Thu, 27 Feb 2014 13:04:26 +0000 Continue reading ]]> twentyfeet
TwentyFeet is like Google Analytics for social media.

TwentyFeet, Gmail Inbox Checker, WhoTweetedMe & 3 more!

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaFor corporation founders like Bob Parsons of GoDaddy, managing social media workflow is paramount to staying in touch with customers and maintaining an existing client base. GoDaddy manages a social media account on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, and Pinterest (and, likely, some that I’ve missed). However, if you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, social workflow is just as important as it is to the big leaguers.

I’m not part of a social media marketing agency or huge corporation, but just handling social marketing for my own individual blog requires me to use tools to improve workflow. Keeping up with the daunting aspects of social marketing makes it almost impossible to do anything else. The right apps, extensions, and software, however, have helped me do the work of many by helping me become organized and efficient.


1Like Google Analytics for social media, TwentyFeet uses graphs and charts to show me the impact you have across all your social media channels. This single tool can turn you into your own social media marketing agency.


2WhoTweetedMe is an excellent tool for anyone who relies heavily on Twitter for marketing. If you’re like me, you have lots of Twitter traffic and very little time. I use this tool to help me decide which people are the most important to interact with simply by cutting and pasting a URL into the tool’s search bar.


3I use Twylah to capture and preserve all my best tweets into a single attractive page. To avoid having to either waste precious time going through my feed or resigning myself to the fact that my finest updates are lost forever, I use the tool to centralize my tweets that relate to social marketing.

Twylah can turn your best posts into their own brand.


4Of all the auto-posting apps, Buffer may be the best of the bunch – at least of those geared toward social marketing. Not only does it make it easy to share pre-loaded tweets, but scatters them out at the times that are most efficient for your specific account.

Let’s Crate

5Similar to Dropbox, but better and simpler, Let’s Crate uses a technique that could make any social media marketing agency more efficient. I simply drop my files in the crate, and the tool generates a single link for me to share across all my platforms.

Gmail Inbox Checker

6This Chrome extension is a very simple, easy solution for Gmail clutter. Infinitely better than all of Gmail’s built-in priority-classification systems, Gmail Inbox Checker makes sorting, prioritizing, and responding to emails a piece of cake. It also lets me increase workflow by offering customized notification settings.

I don’t know where I – or my social marketing strategy – would be without the help of the litany of awesome tools designed to make my life easier. Everyone’s needs are different, so start with these, look around, and decide which ones are right for you. But remember – you’re not alone and don’t need to do it without help.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about social-media marketing, profiles online business tools, and writes about prominent business people. Follow him on Twitter.
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The wrong and right ways to use humor on Twitter Wed, 05 Feb 2014 13:01:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> twitter-logo
Twitter can be a powerful social media marketing tool when used correctly.

Post by Brian Flax

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

brian-flaxAs a social media manager and search optimization strategist, I’ve used Twitter extensively as a social media marketing tool for businesses across the United States. When I’m deciding what type of message to tweet, I always keep the business and its target market in mind. Humor is a great way to reach your audience, attract more followers, and obtain valuable retweets from other users of the service. However, it must be deployed delicately and with discretion.

In this article, I’ll discuss the importance of humor that social media marketing experts can use in their day-to-day marketing campaigns. We’ll also look at how humor, when used the wrong way, can hurt your campaign and anger your customers. Here are some real-world examples that can serve as a guidepost so you can avoid offending your audience.

Not everyone shares the same point of view

I always determine my audience before sending out a tweet to my followers. This is a step professional social media marketers never leave out. If I’m tweeting toward a younger audience, I tend to use humor in my updates more than if I were reaching out to an older demographic. In any case, I never use humor that could be found offensive to any particular group. For example, as a rule of thumb, I tend to keep politics out of the conversation, as political views tend to vary widely among my audience.

It’s always my goal to get a conversation started, obtain retweets, and ultimately market the brand. When doing so, it’s important to remember that not everyone shares the same views I do, so even when using humor in my updates, I tend to stay as neutral as possible.

One example of a business using a political event to market their business is Kenneth Cole. The company used the protests in Cairo in an attempt at humor, which ended up backfiring and angering their customers across the globe. Although they ultimately ended up removing the tweet, it was far too late, and the damage had already been done. Screenshots of this infamous Twitter disaster can still be found around the Internet today.

Stay away from making fun of current events or politics. Not everyone shares your point of view.

Keep personal tweets clean — always

Although I’m a social media marketing specialist during the day, I also use social media and networking services in my personal life. Problem is, people can still connect my personal account to my business, so it’s important I maintain a positive image even when tweeting to my private network of friends. Just like most things on the Internet, I never know what can spread like wildfire and end up affecting my business and my clients.

Recently, Justine Sacco, a public relations executive for InterActiveCorp, posted a tweet in bad taste on her personal Twitter account. The tweet, which can be seen below, ended up angering her followers and made its way to media outlets across the United States. The tweet was a failed attempt at humor that put her in the spotlight and ultimately cost the PR executive her job.

If you represent a brand, keep your personal Twitter account in check, as well.

How to use humor correctly

Although things can go bad quickly, I still try to use humor in my Twitter updates when the content warrants it. Instead of making fun of politicians, current events, or groups of people, I tend to use funny quotes, the weather, and other consumer-friendly topics that can’t be taken offensively. I always stay away from political topics, race, gender, or any other group that can pick my tweet apart and use it against me.

As a social media marketing specialist, it’s my job to represent my clients. This means being selective with the type of humor I use, timing it right, and being creative without targeting anything or anybody specifically. There is always a chance that an attempt at humor can backfire, so I make sure I think of the consequences before I click “tweet.”

Humor can be a powerful marketing tool for both business and personal social media accounts, and it would be a shame to ruin it by posting a tweet in bad taste.

Brian Flax is a freelance writer and social media marketer based out of the Washington, D.C., area. He is experienced in a variety of topics including education, technology, and mobile payments.
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Social media may not be 100% free for much longer Wed, 29 Jan 2014 13:01:50 +0000 Continue reading ]]>
Instead of paying for content distribution, look at forming meaningful relationships with your customers for free word-of-mouth advertising.

Rely on supporters’ genuine enthusiasm rather than on paid distribution

Target audience: Marketing professionals, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, social media managers, Web publishers.

Post by Brian Flax

BrianFlaxFacebook and Twitter are well-known social networking sites that businesses can easily use for their social media marketing campaigns. Although services like Facebook Advertising do come at a cost, most features on Facebook are provided free of charge – at least for now. It seems like every other week, we’re seeing a new IPO for a social networking site, meaning companies now have to appease investors and turn a profit, ultimately at the cost of users of the service.

In this article, we’ll take a look at social marketing sites that are moving away from offering free services and passing the cost on to business users.

Gathering Facebook Likes

Like most social media marketing experts, I use Facebook to market to my clients and create an online community for them. Although I’ve used Facebook Advertising as a way to create targeted pay-per-click ads for my clients, gathering “likes” has been a task that could be completed free of charge, at least for the most part.

Facebook is constantly looking for ways to generate additional revenue, so why not charge for “likes”? For most of 2013, Facebook had been moving away from offering businesses free newsfeed distribution to consumers who “like” the business’s page. Although the change hasn’t happened all at once, it seems like moving to a paid model for newsfeed distribution will soon become a reality.

Think about it. As a consumer on Facebook, how many advertisements or posts have we seen on our newsfeed from brands we’ve “liked”? The number has most likely declined. Instead, we’re seeing advertisements from companies that have paid to have their message distributed to our newsfeeds as a sponsored or suggested post.

What I used to be able to provide for my clients free of charge will now have to be passed on as a cost of using the service. It affects my bottom line as a social media manager and raises the cost of the products and services I can offer to businesses. In others words: Good for Facebook investors, bad for social media marketers.

Facebook offers numerous ways for business to advertise as it moves away from free content distribution.

The cost of Twitter

Just like Facebook can place relevant advertisements in consumers’ newsfeeds, Twitter acts in much the same way. As a tool for social marketing, I can pay Twitter to promote my client’s accounts as a way to attract more followers. I can choose to advertise the account in a specific geographic area, gender, or by targeting users who share an interest that’s relevant to the business I’m promoting.

Although promoted accounts can be a valuable tool for social marketing, they come at a cost. When promoting an account on Twitter, businesses are charged whenever the account gains a new follower by clicking on the promoted ad.

Twitter also allows businesses to promote individual tweets to a targeted user base. Promoted tweets can be targeted toward specific geographical areas, interests, gender, and even the type of the device the consumer uses. Both promoted accounts and tweets are valuable social marketing tools, but they come at a cost and are not included in Twitter’s free business features.

The future of content distribution

In an article published on ZDNet, writer Tom Foremski adds that even search engines are catching on to the paid distribution model, replacing organic SEO-optimized search engine results with content that has been paid for. This can easily be seen in the most recent Gmail update with the introduction of the “Social” and “Promotions” tabs, which automatically filter out emails and newsletters sent by companies and social media services.

It won’t be long before other services start charging for content distribution, as well. Other prominent social marketing sites such as LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr can also benefit from paid distribution, increasing company revenue and regulating the type of content each company distributes to its user base.

Now is the time that businesses should start focusing on creating meaningful relationships with their customers, rather than pushing content to “share” and “like.” When consumers are passionate about a company or brand, it’s much easier to have a message spread organically by word of mouth, rather than pay a social network for targeted distribution. I’ll be focusing my efforts in 2014 by creating meaningful relationships on social media, focusing on my audience, and looking for ways to spread content organically rather than paying for it at a premium. How about you?

Brian Flax is a freelance writer based in the Washington, D.C., area. He has worked with numerous clients, including FindTheBest, Demand Media and Timothy Broas. Connect with Brian on Twitter.
5 successful Twitter campaigns by brands Mon, 16 Dec 2013 13:01:10 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 4-logos

How customer incentives can attract more followers for your business

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Guest post by Brian Flax

brian-flaxConsumers love free products, services, and incentives, and what better way to advertise to a large audience than by using a free service like Twitter? If your business already has a following, then your work is halfway done. As a business owner, all you have to do now is think of a good customer incentive you can post for your followers.

Don’t fret if you’re just getting started on Twitter; posting customer incentives can be an easy way to attract more followers and some retweets and favorites in the process.

Let’s take a look at some real-world examples of customer incentives posted on Twitter that helped increase customer loyalty and drive traffic to various businesses.

Walgreens’ free download

1Consumers love it when you can simplify their life in some way, and Walgreens took advantage of this fact in this effective call to action.

By directing followers to a free download that allows them to send photos from their phone to a local Walgreens for printing and pick-up, Walgreens attracted 99 retweets, 53 favorites, and a handful of comments from customers praising the app and sharing their success stories. Best of all, it didn’t cost the company a dime to promote.

Wendy’s 30 days of prizes

2Wendy’s created a successful Twitter campaign that was aimed at acquiring more followers and offering them a chance to win a daily prize. Titled “30 Days of Bold,” all you had to do was follow the Wendy’s Twitter account for a chance at winning a prize every day. They also used the hashtag #getbold to increase exposure. The end result of this one tweet was 170 retweets, 52 favorites, and almost 500,000 followers looking for a chance to win a daily prize.

Taco Bell’s free tacos

3During the 2012 World Series, Taco Bell asked followers to retweet this tweet if they thought a base would be stolen during one of the games. They used the hashtags #StealATaco and #WorldSeries to help with promotion and exposure. As a result, the tweet was retweeted 2,107 times and favorited 149 times. What did the consumer get? A free Doritos Locos Taco whenever a base was stolen during the World Series.

Taco Bell continued their use of the #StealATaco hashtag, and after Hurricane Sandy, gave out free tacos to those affected by the storm. It appears that was an effective way to increase customer loyalty. When your posts are retweeted by other users, you have a better chance at picking up additional followers.

McDonald’s recognition

4In addition to recognizing your Twitter followers and customers, it’s never a bad idea to partner with other brands and mention their products in your tweets. McDonald’s recently posted a tweet that advertised not only their own product, the Quarter Pounder, but also recognized their partnership with Coca-Cola in this tweet. The tweet was retweeted by Coca-Cola, advertising both products to each other’s group of followers. The tweet was retweeted 57 times and favorited by 73 Twitter users. A link was included that Twitter users could click on to play a game promoting both McDonald’s and Coca-Cola products.

Another example can be seen directly on Coca-Cola’s Twitter profile. The company recently partnered with Ford to introduce their PlantBottle technology into Ford’s cars, helping clean up the environment by using recycled material in the fabric of Ford’s cars.

Be on your best behavior

5In addition to using customer incentives to increase customer loyalty and drive traffic, business owners should be aware of certain behaviors that can help attract and retain followers.

Syncsort, for example, uses Twitter as a way to engage with their followers by posting consistently, responding to their followers’ questions in a timely manner, and mentioning other companies in their updates. All of these behaviors help to increase their exposure, add followers, and provide exceptional customer service to retain current customers and attract new ones.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on incentives – you just need to have a good idea. Offer a free download, partner with another company to promote your product or service, or donate to a cause whenever your posts are retweeted. If you have the budget, try offering a free product or service or run a contest where your followers have a chance at winning something related to your product or industry.

Brian Flax is a freelance writer based in the Washington, D.C., area. He is experienced in a variety of topics including social media marketing, Internet technology, and education.
Twtrland: Find the top influencers in your sector Mon, 16 Sep 2013 12:01:10 +0000 Continue reading ]]> twtrland
Some of the social analytics firepower that Twtrland provides.

Tool puts 60,000 topic experts at your fingertips

Target audience: Businesses, brands, digital marketers, advertising agencies, SEO specialists, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, social enterprises, educators, journalists, Web publishers.

JD LasicaOne of the most common questions we’ve received at over the years is this: How do I find the influencers in my space?

It’s an important question — one that shows an awareness that the rules of digital marketing have changed. Today it’s less about blasting out your message and more about convening a conversation about your latest product, service or cause. But who do you invite into the conversation?

There are lots of new tricks up a digital marketer’s sleeve these days. Those just starting to get a handle on the influence landscape would do well by creating several Twitter lists. Make some of them public — who doesn’t like being called an expert in their field? — and some of them private, for your own eyes only. That way, you can follow hundreds or thousands of people and just ignore the firehose by focusing instead on the streams containing influencers’ tweets.

Being strategic beats being random, hands down.

Twtrland has managed to compile groupings of influencers in 60,000 topic areas, from sustainable agriculture to user experience, based on both machine and human intelligence

If you have even a modest budget, I suggest trying out some of the slick new social customer relationship platforms — such as Nimble, Zoho CRM, Sugar, Insightly, Avidian Prophet — which we wrote about in 5 top CRM tools for small business, alongside other favorites of ours like Sprout Social, Zuberance and SocialBro.

If you’re planning a serious marketing campaign, you may want to step up to a more advanced solution to find and engage with influencers in your space, such as Marketo, Lithium, the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Social Toaster (which I wrote about here) or dozens of other choices. Social CRM platforms differ in their offerings, but they’ve matured to the point where they really offer a lot of value. (Please tell me you’re not just using an Excel spreadsheet!)

Whether or not you use one of these platforms to engage with your community, two relatively new tools have emerged to help make finding influencers a whole lot easier. One is Little Bird, still in beta, which I wrote about in May and still use.

The other, which I’ve become enamored with in recent weeks, is Twtrland, which bills itself as a social intelligence tool. More than 2 million people visit the site each month; it’s a Web platform, so no app yet.

Twtrland: Get insights, reach influencers, discover trends

Guy Avigdor

Guy Avigdor: “People use us for influencer marketing, to write blog posts, to generate sales leads, for community management — for any form of social media marketing.”

A few days ago Twtrland rolled out a new dashboard for businesses, which provides a new business emphasis on its offering. (Click “start free trial” to check it out for free for seven days.)

Guy Avigdor, co-founder and vice president of business development at Twtrland, gave me a run-through of the service. Twtrland has always billed itself as “a simple way to get insights about your social presence, reach influencers and discover market trends,” but its new features make it even more business-friendly.

Debuting in April 2011 and headquartered in Haifa, Israel, with an office opening soon in New York, Twtrland’s eight-person team has managed to compile groupings of influencers in 60,000 topic areas, from sustainable agriculture to user experience to almost anything you can think of. Through a combination of machine intelligence and human indexing, they identify influencers not based on, say, the description in their Twitter profiles but based on the content they actually produce.

What Twtrland offers, in a word, is context for your Twitter routine, giving you data about which Twitter users are most worth following. As I always advise in my social media webinars, you need to find your top influences and schmooze them up!

Who uses Twtrland? “People use us for influencer marketing, to write blog posts, to generate sales leads, for community management — for any form of social media marketing,” Avigdor said.

The basic service is free, with Pro accounts generally running from $20 to $100 a month, though the company does a subpar job displaying pricing options. Take the free seven-day test drive and decide what’s right for you.

A rich trove of social analytics

Here’s how Twtrland works. You sign in via your Twitter or Instagram credentials and register with your name and email, or just use Twtrland anonymously to conduct a search.

Twtrland can show you at a glance how often you’re retweeted, how conversational you are, how often you share others’ tweets, the demographic makeup of your followers and much more

Naturally, you’ll want to see how Twtrland sizes up your own Twitter account, right? (Go ahead, I’ll wait!) Plunk your Twitter handle into the big, fat search field and a few seconds later you should see a snapshot of your Twitter activity (you can see my Twtrland profile at top), displaying:

• The number of tweets per day you average

• The number of times you are retweeted for every 100 tweets you post (Avigdor said 62 is “way above average,” though Twtrland should provide a benchmark so you can compare it to a typical user — context, you know?)

• The number of replies you post per 100 tweets (an important stat — if the number is below 5, it means you’re using Twitter as a broadcast medium and not for conversation)

Twtrland also shows you your followers’ gender gap (for me it’s 54% women), their location (76% from the U.S. — you can also get more granular, with 27% of U.S. followers from California, 18% from New York and so on) and how many people you’ve talked with recently (wassup, Lil B From The Pack!).

At the top right is a pie chart with a color-coded breakdown of your tweets: retweets that you posted (in my case, 28% — again, you shouldn’t make Twitter all about you, so RT generously), replies (aka conversations, 26.7%), links (tweets containing a link, 30%), mentions (7.8%) and plain tweets (6.3%). How does your breakdown compare?

sloane davidson

You can see at a glance how chatty someone is: Chris Brogan, for instance, tweets an average of 51 times day while Tesla Motors tweets once a day. And you can get even more granular. Want to know how many top Twitter users from Germany follow you or how many 20- to 40-year-old celebrities follow you? Twtrland gives you a way to parse the data.

Further down the profile page you’ll find “Famous words,” some of the top tweets from the account over the years, Followers Analysis, a breakdown of your followers’ demographics (marketing, social media and business top my hit parade), Business Insights, photos and videos shared, endorsements and more. And this is cool: A section showing which brands the person interacted with (see the Sloane Davidson example above).

Keep in mind, you can do the same search on any Twitter user’s handle — including brands, small businesses, celebrities, nonprofits, friends. And you can also conduct searches by location, which comes in useful for small businesses, geolocation-specific start-ups or brands with a campaign in a specific region of the country.

How to home in on the top power users

Influencers who are entrepreneurs in California.

Influencers who are entrepreneurs in California.

But the most impressive feature of Twtrland is its ability to bubble up influencers, or “power users,” as they put it, in a particular niche. Marketers have long understood the power of identifying audience segments, and Twtrland offers some top-flight social analytics. Check out the data in some of these searches to get a better sense of Twtrland’s capabilities:

Influencers who are California entrepreneurs (see at 100% resolution)

Women 20-40 from NYC

Marketers from Florida

Fashion Influencers 

• Bloggers from the UK

One of the most interesting slices of data is the list of Top Followers for each profile that appears in the left sidebar.

Prepare to spend some time with Twtrland, because it takes some practice to master all of the power under the hood. Looking for influential people in travel such as journalists, bloggers, writers or editors? Avigdor suggests the following options:

• Use the twtrland search (NOT the tracker) to search for: Most influential people in Travel, Travel Writing, Traveling, etc., OR

• Use the tracker to track mentions of keywords you think people that are relevant would mention. such as #Travel, #TBEX, Italy vacation, etc.

• For a simpler search, you could use traditional boolean search terms — “travel writer” OR “travel journalist” OR “travel blogger.” For a deeper dive, see the site’s search instructions.

Summary: One of the best social discovery tools on the market

For whatever reason, Twitter still limits you to creating no more than 20 lists. As someone who maintains both private and public lists in varied sectors — startup entrepreneurship, social marketing, nonprofits, journalism and other big, fat verticals — I find this limitation absurd, pointless and frustrating. But with Twtrland, you can create as many lists as you’d like. You can, for instance, create a list of power users who follow Robert Scoble on Twitter. Or identify the top influencers who follow a brand like Nike or Coke.

In addition to creating umpteen lists, you can also create private comments or notes about a person so you can refer back to it later. And while the service is not a full social CRM tool — it doesn’t show you a history of your interactions with a customer — Twtrland is integrated with both HootSuite and Nimble, so you can now use all three to good effect (as I do).

Twtrland is not a one-trick pony, despite the name (for the record, they lowercase it as twtrland). Today you can search out influencers on Twitter and Instagram, but in a few months they expect to add Facebook and the experts’ Q&A sites Quora and Stack Overflow, Avigdor said. Also coming soon: dashboards for brands.

The service isn’t perfect: It’s not crystal clear when you’re better served by using the Tracker instead of Search. The demarcation on searching on your Twitter followers vs. everyone on Twitter isn’t clear. You can’t copy and paste many of the fields. I wish I could see at a glance which of the top influencers following me I wasn’t following back, or which of the top influencers in a sector I was already following. There are a few technical hiccups: “Add Top-50 to List” buttons didn’t work for me in Firefox or Chrome. And the data is sometimes incomplete: Where’s Jason Calacanis or Kara Swisher or Om Malik in the list of California entrepreneur influencers?

And, most importantly, why are Joan Rivers and Ann Curry on the list of women ages 20 to 39 from NYC?

But it’s getting better all the time. All in all, Twtrland is perhaps the most affordable social intelligence tool you can add to your arsenal. And shouldn’t you be increasing your social IQ?


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