We've all heard of the buzz around social media and the hype around the likes of twitter, facebook etc. OK, you've got yourself a twitter account. But what next?
Twitter is not just the next "cool" or "trendy" thing that exists just for you to join and brag about to others. Its more of a connecting tool, where you can share views with others, just like facebook; though twitter is not as much of a sharing tool as a "shout" tool: You're shouting out to the world and you know there are people listening. What you talk about is also a matter of choice and opinion, It could be what you're doing now (status updates), what you think about things (views, opinions) or News (Like the recent earthquake). And how much blogs influence what web surfers buy on the net is not so well understood, but social media is impacting this very quickly. But this is not all. If you're a company or a brand, you can get to build a whole personality around yourself to interact and listen with customers / prospective clients, general public. The interactive nature of the system makes it much more effective at what marketing is all about: engaging the user.
- Why brands absolutely DO belong to twitter by mashable discusses exactly this. Its fun to note the ideas they provide if companies like coca cola were to ever have a twitter profile:
"Coca Cola has millions of ways to go with this, from showing old ads, to trivia to history and answering questions about the product. I see many ways that staple brands—ones that people would think would be boring online—can be exciting. Not all brands need to reinvent the wheel with their own Social Networking sites. Some of the best tools like Twitter are out there for free to let people know all this great stuff about you."
- For brands and businesses / organizations who want to project themselves using the new social media technologies, mashable has its own list of Top 10 Reputation Tracking Tools Worth Paying For. They charge a small fee to analyse the company profile and tell you what people think of them and other analytics including brand personality and keyword based searches. Ofcourse, if you want some free tools, there is a short list of them although not all that fancy and maybe requires a bit of effort. An interesting service is filtrbox which does a host of activities related to brand monitoring, but the service seems a bit cluttered in some places, too naive in other places and in general shows a lack of focus IMO. Although these tools (like MyReputation) are centered around SEO, they do have the focus around brand building and engaging with the users / customers / clients. Buzzlogic comes very close to this goal.
I feel this space is still naive and needs lot more innovation to deliver valued services.
- For other organizations who have no clue about what they need to do once they've gotten into social media / microblogging, there are these handy "How to Develop a Social Media Plan for Your Business in 5 Steps" which btw apply to individuals as well, because as Reid Hoffman puts it, you are the entrepreneur of a small business: the business of your career.
- In case you're an artist or a designer, you might be interested in twitter tips for artists.
Once you've got yourself into the social media space and have become active, there are these handy tools that you can engage in, either for pure fun or for real analysis:
- Yacktrack allows you to track conversations accross blogs, bookmarking sites, microblogging sites depending on keywords you provide.
- Socialmention is a realtime search aggregator that searches through blogs , microblogs and other social media networks for the keywords you provide (it uses other search services like google blogsearch, technorati search, twitter search etc behind the scenes).
- Twinfluence shows you how much of an influence you have over your network and your second level network. some consider it as a metric of popularity or authority, others see it as a metric of reach or visibility (of yourself as an individual or a brand)
- Twitter-friends is the best tool according to me. It shows you all kinds of statistics / graphs of your social network, activity, replies, messages etc. And it doesnt require a twitter login, so you can explore safely.
- Twittercounter is a tool that shows you how many people follow you and how this number changed over time, along with a graph. Interesting for analysis.
- Tweetoclock lets you find out what is the best time to tweet someone or when they're most active.
There are many other tools that I havent yet come accross (or just arent all that interesting to note!). I'll add them here when I do.
All these signify that user generated content is not limited to what we have seen so far. The level of interactivity is just beginning to showcase itself, there is a long way to go.
Update: Found a lot more new stuff since I wrote this post. Here's an update -
Favourite (and good) Twitter Client tools for desktop
- Tweetdeck - "The default columns can contain All Tweets from your timeline, @replies directed to you and direct messages. The GROUP, SEARCH and REPLIES buttons then allow the user to make up additional columns populated from the live tweet information. "
- Feedalizr- "Feedalizr is becoming a way for you to “re-mix” the web and we notice that lots of our users are using the product in the discovery of serendipitous content. Not so much reporting to each other about what they had for breakfast… This is largely a function of how twitter/friendfeed are evolving. I think the facebook status update makes feedalizr the must have web 2.0 killer app (if I may say so myself - and you guys can flame me cause I am wearing kevlar !)." by John Kotsaftis
- Twhirl - Very similar to TweetDeck though slightly less in features.
Some new (and amazing tools) for twitter users:
- TweetBurner - Heard of feedburner? This does the same for tweets. You can check out which of your links were clicked how often and manage many other things.
- TweetTimer - Need to be reminded of something at some time? Just follow timer and send a message in the format mentioned here
- TweetBeep - Twitter alerts by email. (for eg, if anyone tweets your name or id, you get notified).
- Quitter - Tells you who stopped following you, and the most likely tweet that lead to that unfollowing. Pretty cool.
- TweetLater - lets you time tweets, so that you can tweet them later.