5: Twitter Time Savers

A question I am often asked by “Twitter Gems” readers who e-mail and tweet me is: How do you find enough hours in the day to Twitter? The answer: It’s not easy, but there are time-saving applications to help you stay up to date with Twitter activity, and designers continue to develop ways to improve functionality. (As iPhone users know, “There’s an app for that!”) Here are five programs to help Twitter users stay current:

  • The TweetDeck (www.tweetdeck.com/beta) or the Seesmic Desktop (www.seesmic.com) application is a huge time saver because it allows you to keep up with multiple social media applications in one space on your desktop. Multiple Twitter feeds, search queries (important for seeing keywords and staying on top of your brand buzz in real time), and Facebook updates (including ones from fan pages) can be viewed in one place—no more jumping from platform to platform to post or respond.

  • Twaitter (www.twaitter.com) and Tweet-U-Later (www.tweet-u-later.com) are two of the most user-friendly tweet schedulers—applications that allow you to sit down at the beginning of the week and plan some tweets to be released on a timer. I don’t recommend that you use only scheduled tweets, because you never want to lose the “social” part of social media, but businesses can use this tool to impart some basic information, such as a scheduled trunk show or special event.

  • TwitterFeed (www.twitterfeed.com/dashboard) is one of my favorite time savers because it automatically updates your blog, Facebook, or GoogleReader feed to Twitter, eliminating the need to manually post updates to every platform.

  • TwitterSearch (www.search.twitter.com) is not an application but a feature of the Twitter site, and it’s what Twitter is all about: getting results in real time. For example, set up a Twitter search for engagement ring or jewelers on your desktop, and when Twitter users tweet any of those terms, you have the opportunity to immediately reach out to the person or glean or provide insight into what people are saying about your industry. The possibilities are endless.

  • Hashtags—words prefixed with the # symbol—add metadata to your tweets (which are limited to 140 characters) and offer a way to find Twitterers interested in the same topic, event, or location. For instance, if I were looking for something to do in my area in Orange County, Calif., I would search for #TwOrCo. The meaning of some hashtags—e.g., #jewelry or #metalsmith—are obvious, but to translate others, visit www.tagdef.com to check for current usage.

Tweet questions to me @aflyonthewall.