Archive for twitter

Twitter Filters Help You Find Info Faster

Twitter announce some new search filters last week. These filters will help sort through the enormous amount of information on Twitter and help you find the information you are looking for faster.

You access the new filters by first performing a search – the filters will appear in the left hand column of the search results.

Here’s a screenshot of my results when I search for “Estate Planning”. The red arrows point to the boxes containing the new search filters.

twitter-search-filters

The filters are pretty self explanatory, but here is a quick summary

  • Everything – all results. Clicking on “Everything” also resets the people and location filters to “All People” and “Everywhere”
  • People – profiles who have the search phrase in their profile description.
  • Photos – containing the search phrase in their description, hashtags, etc.
  • Videos – containing the search phrase in their description, hashtags, etc.
  • News – results related to your search
  • Advanced Search – this is not new, but is now much easier to find. Clicking on this filter brings up the Advanced Search page (https://twitter.com/search-advanced) where you can refine your search even further.

The next two boxes contain filters that can be used in combination with the ones above, allowing you to narrow you results to just people you follow and/or people located near you.

Here is a short video showing the filters in action:

Twitter Adds Tweet Scheduling–Sort Of

tweet-schedule.jpg

Twitter recently added a new feature that allows you to schedule your Tweets in advance. I probably won’t use it – here’s why.

The scheduling feature is embedded inside of the Twitter Ads interface. You can use it to schedule unpaid tweets, but you have to navigate to your Twitter Ads account first. You can create a Twitter Ad account for free (learn more here).

1. Go to https://ads.twitter.com or from your Twitter account, click on the gear and Select Twitter Ads:

access-twitter-ads

 

2. From the Ads dashboard, click on the blue compose button at the top, right of the page.

ads-tweet-compose

3. This will bring up the familiar dialog box for composing a tweet, but you will see three tabs at the bottom of the window. By clicking on the Scheduling tab, you can access controls to set the date and time you wish to publish your post.

tweet-schedule

The Delivery tab allows you to choose Standard (tweet to all of your followers) or Promoted-Only (tweet to users targeted in your campaign). The Promotion tab allows you select the campaign this tweet belongs.

So why did I say I probably won’t use this new feature to schedule organic (unpaid) tweets? Mostly because it is too cumbersome to access. Most of the tweets I create or share happen during the flow of my regular work. If I’m doing my morning reading and I find something I want to share, I want to compose my tweet right then and there and get it over with. Even though I have a Twitter ad account, I can’t schedule directly from within Twitter; I have to follow the steps above. It may not seem like that much extra effort, but it really interrupts my whole workflow.

That’s why I still love using Buffer, as it allows me to simply click a button on my browser toolbar, compose a post to share on Twitter or a number of other social media accounts, schedule it, and keep on moving.

I do see how the new scheduling feature inside of Twitter could be useful for those who like to sit down and schedule all of their tweets for the day, week, or month at one time.

Vine is Twitter’s New App Helps You Create and Share Short Videos

twitter's vine application

Twitter recently released Vine, their new  mobile service that lets you capture and share short (6 second) looping videos.

Videos are captured using the Vine app, currently available on the iPhone and Ipod touch. You can download the app for free from the App store.

Recording is extremely simply – you just hold your thumb against the screen to begin recording and remove it to stop. Video clips can be shared on Vine, Twitter, or Facebook.

It is still early, but the tech press seems to like Twitter’s acquisition of Vine. The folks at TechCrunch believe Vine makes Twitter a better social network:

Vine Just Made Twitter A Stronger Social Network | TechCrunch - techcrunch.com1/25/13

However, the story is not without controversy. The NY Times blog is carrying a story about some potential privacy snags:

 

Twitter Introduces Vine, a New Video Feature, but With Privacy Snags - bits.blogs.nytimes.com1/24/13

And Facebook quickly blocked the Vine app from being able to find your Facebook friends.

Facebook Cuts Down Twitter’s Vine - mashable.com1/25/13

It will be  interesting to see if small business owners will take to Vine and how they will use it. Have you created any videos with Vine?

The Key To Small Business Social Media Success

The key to effectively using social media for growing your small business isn’t picking the right tool, or determining the right number of hours per week to spend on social media, or any of the other myriad of tips and tricks we hear every day.

The key to effectively using social media in small business is to start by defining business goal – what is it (specifically) that you want to accomplish? Do you want to:

  • Increase your store sales by driving more traffic to you store?
  • Find the best people to hire for your open position?
  • Increase referrals by teaming up with strategic referral partners?
  • Improve your ability to serve your customers by keeping up with their industry news and competition?

Once you define your business goal(s), you can start to ask important questions like:

  • Who should I be talking to? Where do they hang out?
  • Why would anyone take the action I am asking them to take? What’s in it for them?
  • What should I be measuring to help me determine if I am headed in the right direction? How will I know what’s working and what’s not?
  • Once a conversation begins, what’s the next step?

With your business goal defined, your next step is to determine how to use your social media communication tools to get someone (including yourself) on the path or continue along the path towards fulfilling that goal.

For example, if your goal is to increase referrals by building a referral partner  network, there are several steps along the path to meeting that goal. You can’t just connect or “friend” someone online and then wait for the business to roll in. You must to identify and approach potential partners, meet with them and decide whether you are a good fit,  work to achieve and maintain “top of mind” with them, and manage the giving and receiving referrals. All of the steps along this path require communication; whether social media is appropriate for each individual step will depend on a myriad of factors – much the same way you know when it’s ok to send an email but in some cases you need to pick up the phone or meet in person.

If you find yourself getting caught up in trying to find the right tool or the “magic formula” for social media success, trying taking a step back and defining the business goal you want to achieve.

Twitter Disables Automatic Updating of LinkedIn

Are you on LinkedIn? If so, you probably received and email last Friday announcing that because Twitter “recently evolved its strategy” and is changing the way Tweets appear in third-party applications, Tweets will no longer be displayed on LinkedIn.

You can still share your LinkedIn updates on Twitter by checking the box with the Twitter icon, and click “Share.” This will publish your update to your LinkedIn connections and push it to your Twitter followers. This works just like it did before. The part that changed is automatically sharing updates you create on Twitter with your LinkedIn network.

Personally, I welcome this change. In my experience, automatic updates from Twitter raised the level of noise on LinkedIn while providing little, if any, value. I have heard some bloggers and commentators argue that the automatic update was a good way for them to keep their LinkedIn account alive and relevant. Well, activity doesn’t equal relevancy and we’ve all been to networking events where there is one person who walks up, interrupts, talks about themselves and leaves without asking how they may be able to help. I guess they are alive, but I haven’t seen this strategy be effective.

If you were using the automatic update feature that pushed your Tweets to LinkedIn, I hope that instead of looking for a new way to blast your message with minimal effort, you will take this opportunity to think about how you can be more effective in your communications with your different networks.

Twitter’s Enhanced Profile Pages

Not to be outdone by Facebook, Twitter profile pages will soon be sporting a new look with their Enhanced Profile Pages.

According to Twitter, enhanced profile pages will be a way for select users to showcase their best content on their Twitter profiles.

One cool feature for small business owners to pay attention to is enhanced profile pages are completely public – people can view it without joining or (or being logged into) Twitter.

The most obvious way you will be able to tell that you are looking at an enhanced profile page will be the the presence of a 835 x 90 pixel header image right below the account information. You can a logo, tagline or any other visual branding to the header to help communicate your brand on Twitter.

You will also have the opportunity to feature your content by promoting a Tweet to the top of your profile page’s timeline (at no extra cost) to highlight your important content.

Currently, enhanced profile pages are only available to a small selection of brands and partners. Twitter is not “able to accept public requests for enhanced profile pages at this time”. Enhanced profile pages are currently available to a small selection of brands; they will be rolled out more broadly in the coming weeks and months.

More information about enhanced profile pages, along with some screenshots, can be found on Twitter’s support site.

Buffer App Now Supports LinkedIn

Last October I posted about Buffer, a handy tool for collecting things you want share with your Twitter followers and Facebook friends and then publish them according to a preset schedule.

This morning, the folks at Buffer announced they now also support LinkedIn – here is the link to their blog post.

Adding LinkedIn follows the same simple procedure as before. Starting from your dashboard (the website, not the toolbar) you simply click on the “+Add” button which will bring up this dialog (click on the image to see a larger version):

LinkedIn and Buffer App

Click on the “Connect LinkedIn” button an you will see the familiar message asking you to grant permission for Buffer to access your LinkedIn account. Grant permission and you are done.

As part of the change, Buffer also made some changes to the number of accounts you can have in each of their plans:

  • The free plan now allows you to connect 3 accounts (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn).
  • Their Pro plan gives you the ability to connect up to 6 different Social Accounts.

If you haven’t had a chance to try Buffer, I highly recommend that you do. If you use this link to sign up – http://bufferapp.com/r/d1015, both you and I will get space for an extra post in our buffers.

Buffer – A Great Tool For Sharing Content on Twitter

bufferLogo

“Be Awesome on Twitter” say the folks at Buffer. Buffer helps you be awesome on Twitter by giving you a dead simple way to collect the things you want to tweet about and then share them with your followers throughout the day.

I’ve been using buffer (bufferapp.com) for just over a week now and I love it. I typically catch up on my reading early in the morning. Before buffer, if I found things I wanted to share I had two choices; 1) tweet them immediately or 2) cut and paste a link into a tool like Hootsuite and then schedule it to go out. While this doesn’t seem like a lot of work, it really interrupts the flow of reading.

With buffer, when I find something I want to share via Twitter, I simply click on a toolbar icon on my browser, or select the “Send to Buffer” feature in Google Reader. When I do, I get a dialog box like the one below:

bufferExample

From here, I can edit the description, add hashtags, etc. When I choose “Add to Buffer”, it goes into my queue where it will be posted on at on of the preset times in my schedule. Here is a screen shot of the dialog box that allows you to set your buffering pattern:

bufferSchedule

You can even have a different pattern for different days (i.e. weekend vs weekday) by using the “New Buffering pattern” button.

Another feature I really like is the ability to rearrange the items in your buffer using a simple drag and drop interface. Because I organize my Google Reader feeds by topic, I may have several tweets in a row in my buffer about a similar topic. Using the drag and drop feature, I can spread these out throughout the day.

In addition to using Buffer in your browser and Google Reader, you can even add items to your buffer via email. It looks like the folks at Buffer are also working on adding the ability to update Facebook as well.

Use this link to sign up for Buffer and we will both get some extra space in our account.

Twitter Web Analytics

Twitter recently announced their new tool, Twitter Web Analytics. Twitter Web Analytics is designed to help you:

  • Understand how content from your website is being shared via Twitter
  • See how much the amount of traffic Twitter sends to your site
  • Measure the effectiveness of your Tweet Button integration

This should be a great help in knowing which content you are sharing is gaining attention with you audience.

Twitter Web Analytics currently being rolled out to a small pilot group of partners, and should be available to the public within a few weeks.

Here is a screen shot from the Twitter dev site showing some of the analytics that will be available:

twitter_web_analytics

Twitter is providing an API for their Web Analytics, which means you may seem some updates to your favorite Twitter clients incorporating this new data.

Starting Conversations on Twitter

twitter-bird-googleWe hear a lot about using social media for listening, starting, and participating in conversations, but how do we actually get a conversation started?

One way to start or join a conversation is to answer questions for people. During my presentation at the Constant Contact event last week, I talked briefly about using Twitter’s advanced search function to look for people asking questions about your area of expertise. For example, if I own a barber shop or hair salon, I may want to search Twitter using this search phrase:

“hair cut”  near:66219 within:15mi ?

to find and join conversations relevant to my business.

One of the challenges you may run into using Twitter search this way is it can be difficult to separate all of the people trying to sell products and services (other providers) from the ones who are looking for solutions (prospects).

For example, if I was an estate attorney and I search for:

“need a will” ?

using Twitter’s advanced search, I will find a lot of messages from attorney’s who want to sell their services.

One way to address this issue is to use Google to search Twitter. Back in March of 2010, John Jantsch wrote a very useful blog post titled 7 Insanely Useful Ways To Search Twitter for Marketing. In his post, John gave an example of how to use Google to search Twitter for profiles containing the word “attorney” – intitle:”attorney * on twitter” site:twitter.com

You can also use the search operators that John describes to exclude items from your search results. I query below, I want to find the phrase “need a will” from pages on twitter where the word “attorney” is not in the profile:

“need a will” -”intitle:attorney * on twitter” site:twitter.com

The minus sign in front of “intitle:attorney” is what tells Google to exclude those items.

One quick note, you can’t combine Twitter’s special search terms with Google’s, which is why you don’t see the “near:66219” in the Google search above.

Take a look at John’s post referenced above and play around with using Google to search Twitter to help you find relevant conversations with people who need your products and services.

Leave a comment and let me know your favorite way to start conversations on Twitter.