I’m not a social media expert (there’s no such thing), but I know a fair bit about this new form of marketing. This is due to spending quite a lot of time on different social networks. Of all the different ones out there, the one I probably spend most time on is Twitter. I like how you can engage with people so quickly and directly, I like how you can still grow a following organically, and I like how you can only tweet with 140 characters.
I also like how there are lots of free tools out there for Twitter. Of all of them, here are 10 you should be using.
If I was writing this a year ago I wouldn’t be including Twitter’s very own analytics platform because was only available to advertisers. But things have changed and you can now see where your followers are from, how many engagements tweets get, how many impressions they receive and more.
Hootsuite is arguably the best-known free Twitter tool out there. It’s actually more than a tool – it’s a social network management platform where you can control your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter activity in one place.
It boasts lots of very useful features – scheduling tweets, link tracking, creating search columns to name but a few. I use it every day and will continue to do so for a long time.
If you want to see how your followers are growing on a weekly/monthly basis, Twittercounter is where to monitor is. Twitter Analytics offers a similar tool, but Twittercounter’s is easier to digest. If you want to track other accounts’ growth you can do this by upgrading to one of the paid plans.
Tweetdeck is pretty much the same as Hootsuite, but it offers one extremely useful feature – it allows you schedule tweets with pic.twitter images – something other tools don’t. Considering the engagement tweets with images get recently, this alone is a reason for using it.
If you, like me, have been on Twitter for a while, chances are your account needs some cleaning up. This might mean unfollowing accounts that have gone dormant, ones that don’t have a profile picture (known as an avatar) or ones that are in a different language. Manageflitter lets you find these accounts (and unfollow them if you wish) plus lots more.
Bufferapp is great for people who want to be active on Twitter every day but don’t have the time to be on Twitter every day.
After you open an account you can choose set times to tweet every day. Then once these times are locked in, each time you ‘buffer’ a tweet it’s automatically scheduled into one of these pre-chosen times. So if you want to tweet five times a day, choose the times then ‘buffer’ five tweets first thing every morning and you’ll be active throughout the day.
Wondering how many tweets #thedress received when it sweeped the world? Or what English Premier League team between Liverpool (#lfc) Manchester United (#mufc) and Manchester City (#mcfc) receives the most tweets over a 30-day period? Visit Topsy Analytics and you’ll be able to see this and more.
Despite the somewhat dodgy name, Followerwonk is great for analysing your Twitter followers. It will tell you where your followers are located, when they tweet, what they’re interested in and more.
One thing Twitter is great for is monitoring what people are saying about your brand. The only thing is, you might not be on any Twitter apps to monitor. This is where Twilert comes in. Similar to Google Alerts, it will send you realtime alerts when your brand name, keyword or hashtag is mentioned on Twitter.
We’re all aware that hashtags are an important part of any account’s Twitter activity, but we’re not all aware what hashtags. Hashtagify.me helps rectify this. To see what hashtags are related to another hasthag, simply enter it into the #tag field and it will tell you. Simple.
What free Twitter tools do you use to market your tour or activity business? For more tips, you can download a free copy of our social media ebook:
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Written by Colm Hanratty
Colm is Founder and Managing Director of digital marketing agency Sixtwo Digital. After running Hostelworld.com’s content and social media for almost 11 years he felt it was time to branch out on his own, using all his experience to educate others in the travel space.