Twitter graphI love Twitter; in fact, you could probably consider me a bit of a “power user”, or at least an aspiring one. I use it to keep on top of all the latest trends and techniques in SEO, social media and real life. I find it an invaluable aid to actually doing certain elements of my job like finding new tools and acquiring links, but it’s also just plain fun. Anyone who uses Twitter a lot will find the traditional web interface quite limiting, so today, I thought I’d go over my top five Twitter tools, which will cover using the platform, analysing how you’re doing with it, building influence, finding new people to follow and keeping on top of your reading.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite LogoI’ve finally made the jump to using Hootsuite over Tweetdeck. I might go back one day, but right now Hootsuite’s my weapon of choice. What made me reverse my decision from my Hootsuite vs Tweetdeck post? A couple of things – firstly, I’ve started managing a lot of accounts, or I will be soon and for that purpose, Hootsuite really is the daddy. Secondly, I’ve been using a few machines with a bit less power than I’m used to with my home PC, so the web interface is a bonus.

I’ve recently signed up for Hootsuite Pro, which gives me access to unlimited accounts and RSS feeds (useful) and the Google Analytics integration is great. Right now, if you’re going high-powered with your social media presence, I recommend Hootsuite; it even pulls Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare as well as a couple of other platforms and the Android app isn’t half bad. If scheduled Tweets are your bag (which I don’t really recommend), Hootsuite’s scheduling is the most powerful I’ve encountered too.

What’s it missing? Well, I would love to see a desktop version. I’m also hoping that Google+ and Tumblr integration is on the horizon and I’d be very happy if there was a way to feed in Clicky’s real time analytics service too. As well as that, I’ve found that getting Klout scores to display can be a bit spotty, but other than these minor niggles, Hootsuite’s a great bit of kit.

Crowdbooster

Crowdbooster LogoSo you’ve got quite a few followers now and you think you’re doing well, but how can you tell? How can you find out who your most influential followers are, find out when the best times to Tweet are and track your follower growth? Crowdbooster will do all this and more besides. This Ycombinator-backed project is the perfect piece of kit for someone who’s looking to get serious about their social media, from an enthusiastic amateur to the enterprise-level professional, the data you get access to from this is truly phenomenal.

Crowdbooster will tell you how many people your Tweets reach, track replies and ReTweets and from here, tell you what times get you the most impressions. If you’ve got something important to share, be it a new blog post, a promotion or other important link, you can plan your Tweeting around this time and maximise your reach. It will tell you which people to follow and which of your followers you should interact with. All in all, it makes building that all-important influence easier than ever. It’s free for people to manage up to three accounts and business accounts are affordably priced too.

I’ve got an invite going spare if anyone wants it.

Follower Wonk

Follower WonkThere’s no denying it – Follower Wonk is ugly and has a daft name, but don’t let that discourage you from the use you can get from it. A big part of building a Twitter account is following the right people, people with relevant interests to your own or your client’s and most importantly, people who actually interact with others. That’s where Follower Wonk can help. Simply type a keyword into the search bar and it will pull a list of people that have put that keyword in their profile. For example, you might be interested in following people who Tweet about SEO, so you’d search SEO and be presented with a big list of people that have that in their profile.

That’s not all it does though; hell, Twitter’s own search function does that. What sets Follower Wonk apart is that it will A) find a lot more results and B) give you much more useful metrics than just how many people follow them and how many they follow. The ‘Friends’ column, for example, will tell you how many people from their follower list the owner follows back, which is a great way of gauging if you’re likely to be able to interact with them.
As well as this you can see the number of Tweets (why bother following an account that never Tweets, right?) and how old the account is. All in all, Follower Wonk’s a great resource, whether you go for the affordable premium account or stick with the free account. Hopefully there will be a redesign in the site’s future!

Klout

Klout logoRight, so you’ve got your Twitter app of choice locked and loaded, you’re Tweeting at the right times and following some great accounts. You might even have a good level of interaction, but how can you find out just how influential your account is becoming? How can you track what topics you’re becoming influential about? How can you see if the person you’re thinking of following back is a big deal on Twitter? With Klout.

I tend to think of Klout as something of a “PageRank” for social media. Each user is assigned a rank out of 100 based on a number of metrics including True Reach (the number of people you influence), Amplification (how much you influence them) and Network Impact (how frequently the top influencers in your network share your content).

There are perks available for people that actively use Klout, although these seem to be quite US-centric and it’s nice to have a measure of how “well” you’re doing. The downside is that sometimes the topics it highlights can be a little bit spotty (for example, I think I’ve spoken about iPads once, and it’s one of my top topics) and to be honest, it’s like PageRank in that it’s probably not hugely relevant and isn’t what you’d describe as an actionable metric.

The Klout score is, however, a reportable metric, so if you’re doing social media for somebody, it’s good to give them a number they can understand and personally, as much as I like the in-depth graphs and data that you can get from Crowdbooster and Google Analytics, sometimes you just want it boiled down into a nice simple number.

Instapaper

Instapaper logoIt’s all well and good having a powerful, well-engaged network where lots of great content’s being shared, but sometimes the sheer amount of great content being shared can be the problem – how do you keep up with your reading? You may check Twitter before you go to bed or something, but do you really want to read that article at 11pm? You might be on the train and have a grotty signal on your phone, or you just want to queue things up to read on the journey to work. This is Instapaper’s domain.

Using Instapaper couldn’t be easier – you simply add the bookmarklet to your browser’s toolbar and click it when you land on an article you want to read later. As well as that, there are mobile apps that will let you do the same thing after you tap a link in your phone stream. These articles will be sent to the Instapaper application and you can read these articles whenever you like. Personally, I find it invaluable as it’s the ideal way to stay on top of my reading.

There You Have It

So, there you go. Those are my top five Twitter tools for Tweeting, measuring, analysing, expanding and keeping on top of what I’m doing with the platform. I hope you enjoyed the rundown. If you’ve got any more, let me know. I’d love to hear about them.

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