Twitter Tools – getting the most out of this social marketing tool

Barely a day goes by without a new social marketing tool being announced for Twitter.

Twitter - the local Social Marketing ToolThere are so many social marketing tools available, for every platform you want to use. I sometimes find it a daunting task to keep up, unless I dedicate an entire day to testing and using them. Of course, another challenge is when you decide to sign up for a 30 day free trial for those that are not free, you know full well that if you don’t keep an eye on it, your credit card will be automatically charged after 30 days. While I try to do my best to keep up on the latest and greatest I often miss some cool tools. That leads me to believe that one of the keys to using Twitter effectively is to know which options are available out there and which tool is the most suitable for certain application.

So, consider this as an unfinished post, or I should say an evergreen post… one I will have to update constantly.

Finding people – the raison d’etre of social marketing tools

Twitter is all about connecting and carrying on a conversation with people. Which can make it the ultimate social marketing tool. Many people, however, find “finding people” to be a daunting task. Once you get over that, and find people to follow and talk to, Twitter becomes exceptionally useful. You can share thoughts, ask questions, get updates about news, music, brands, and businesses, and discover helpful links and information.

The following tools will help make “finding people” simpler, easier and a lot less daunting – to help you grow your social marketing network quickly, effectively and sanely.

Twitter People Search–Twitter’s built in people search is probably where you should start. Twitter searches the “real names” people enter in their bio fields. Twitter’s accompanying bio information is slim, and because they don’t force you to use your real name, it can be a bit difficult to find people – especially ones with common names. It also makes it hard to verify that the people you find are actually who you’re looking for. Still, it’s a good place to begin your search. (Stay tuned for an update on Twitter’s recently revamped search tool, too!)

Tweepz–Tweepz lets you limit searches to specific parts of Twitter’s user information (like name, bio, and location), filter results by follower/following numbers, location, and other extracted terms, and greatly improves on the layout of the search results.

Twellow–Your best bet for finding like-minded Twitter users might be to use a directory, and Twellow is certainly one of the most complete. Nearly 6 million Twitter user profiles are indexed in Twellow and placed into a huge number of categories. You can search the entire lot of profiles, or confine searches to a single category. Twellow also operates a local directory called the “Twellowhood.”

WeFollow–Created by Digg founder Kevin Rose, WeFollow is a Twitter user directory that organizes people by hashtags. WeFollow is user-generated and anyone can add themselves by tweeting @wefollow with three #hashtags that describe them.

Just Tweet It–Just Tweet It is another user-created Twitter directory. It’s not quite as well organized or easy-to-use as Twellow or WeFollow, but it is certainly large enough that you should give it a browse when trying to locate people in your interest areas to follow.

How Do I Use Twitter for Local Social Marketing?

The are over 200 million registered users on Twitter and the daily sign up rates for new users is at 460,000. On average, there are 140 million tweets sent out a day. Whether it’s on improving customer service, locating a job, researching your market, or networking your business or service, Twitter is an incredible social marketing tool for getting real-time, relevant information on just about any subject.

Twitter can become infinitely more beneficial, though, if you use it to connect with people in your town. Finding local Twitter users to connect with is great for networking, but also for getting quick, local information about things like jobs, news, politics, weather, food, and more. Someone tweeting from London can’t help you find a good place to eat in New York City, and if you live in Chicago, tweets about the weather in Los Angeles won’t be very enlightening. Here are effective ways to use Twitter as a local social marketing too to find users in your town.

Twitter People Search— Again, searching twitter.com can be an effective method. If you wanted to search for a local Spa you could type in Best Spa in the advanced search option. There you can add your location either by name or zip code and choose the distance in miles from that area.

Twellowhood — This is a great tool for finding the people right around you and connecting with them. For local businesses, being able to isolate physical regions makes twittering more efficient and your every tweet more powerful. You now have a way to connect with those around you and provide them with highly specialized and localized information.

TwtVite — Organize or Attend a TweetUp – What is a TweetUP. It’s a great way for people to meet and gather and have a social event together and you use Twitter to invite them. Using a Social Media marketing tool like Twitter makes it incredibly easy to spread the word about your upcoming function or event. You may be familiar with a tool like Evite.com, well TwtVite.com is the Social Media equivalent of this application.

Nearby Tweets — Nearby Tweets is a geography-centric Twitter tool (localizing Twitter) for social networking, building customer relationships, and monitoring real-time buzz. As a business, it’s important to know what your customers are thinking and saying about you. Just enter your business name in Nearby Tweets’ keyword search and see what comes up. If anything comes up about you, address as many comments as possible. What a great way to create a loyal customer base!

TwitterLocal — Combining the power of Local Search and Google Maps with the popularity of Twitter, customers can find a business or service they are looking for, read the latest tweets about the city and tweet about the business reaching 100s of followers with a single tweet. This supercharged business directory allows consumers to spread the word about a business to their friends and followers. Twitter has also extended its Local Trends feature to 70 more cities and countries, including Japan, South Africa, Santiago, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. Now, users in more than 100 international locations can discover what topics are trending in their region. To see what’s being discussed in a given area, click the “change” link underneath the “Trends” subheader and select a location.

I’ve just scratched the surface on some tools that you can try with Twitter. Stay tuned for more upcoming posts on “What If You’ve Followed Too Many People,” “Sharing Tools on Twitter,” “How to Run a Contest or Poll on Twitter.”