Bit.ly is just a URL shortening service right? Wrong! Used by @marismith, @techcrunch, and @problogger, a free Bit.ly account will give you access to a dashboard where you can shorten and share links to multiple Twitter accounts. You can also see the stats for any Bit.ly links you share through your dashboard and plug your Bit.ly API key into Tweetdeck, Twitterfeed, or Seesmic to get stats for links you share through those applications as well. As an added bonus, you can even create your own custom short domain to match your brand so you can have branding similar to Mashable’s on.mash.to and Amazon’s amzn.to custom URLs.
Buffer is deemed the smarter way to tweet, and is used by @tweetsmarter, @jaybaer, and @askaaronlee. It allows you to simply schedule your tweets to be spread throughout the day so you don’t go through a reading spree and inundate your followers with 20 tweets within an hour. You can also get great analytics on your tweets which will help determine what your audience loves, or doesn’t, out of the content you share as well as the times of day you get the most action on your tweets.
CoTweet, used by @nealschaffer, @chrispirillo, and @emarketer, is considered a Twitter marketing tool for companies who want to engage, track, and analyze conversations about their brand. The free version allows you to manage your Twitter accounts, collaborate with multiple users, track clicks and limited analytics, schedule tweets, keep conversation history for 30 days, and more. The enterprise version (starting at 1,500USD a month) allows integration with Salesforce, advanced user roles and permissions, workgroups, and full analytics.
HootSuite is one of my personal favorites as far as Twitter management is concerned, and is also quite popular amongst the social media elite including @chrisbrogan, @tweetsmarter, and @tamar. It is a freemium tool, meaning that you can use the free plan if you have fewer than five social profiles to manage. But the Pro version for unlimited social profiles including enhanced analytics isn’t too steep at only 5.99USD per month.
Paper.li is a unique application that allows you to collect tweets and curate them manually or automatically in a newspaper-style format which can be automatically shared daily on your Twitter account. Used by @scottmonty, @guykawasaki, and @leeodden, this app is a great way to collect the top tweets from your followers, people on a specific Twitter list, or even anyone who mentions a particular #hashtag. It does drive a nice bit of traffic to sites mentioned by top users, so while some people may not like to be mentioned, others greatly appreciate it!
SocialOomph is another freemium service used by @mike_stelzner, @smallbiztrends, and @jeffbullas that allows you to schedule tweets, track keywords, extend your Twitter profile, and much more with an unlimited amount of accounts for free. If you choose to go professional for 29.97USD, you get additional features such as Facebook scheduling, tweet via email, have others update via email, manage DM spam, broadcast DMs to all Status.net followers, and again, much more. Plus, for an additional 3.97USD you can automate following those who follow you and sending welcome DMs to new followers.
Triberr is an invite only community used by @lewishowes, @seanmalarkey, and @nealschaffer that allows you to join “tribes” of like-minded bloggers in order to expand your reach on Twitter. Simply plug your RSS feed in and members of your tribe will tweet each new post. As a member, you can set yourself up to do automatic tweeting of other member’s posts or manual tweeting when you have reviewed and approved of the posts. I personally just copy my Triberr tweets into HootSuite for full scheduling control.
TweetDeck is a desktop Twitter management tool used by @jasonfalls, @problogger, and @marshallk. It has features similar features to HootSuite in terms of creating columns to organize your Twitter activity as well as the ability to send longer messages using their Deck.ly service which creates a shortened URL that directs followers to the rest of your tweet beyond 140 characters. I love the interface of this one, but since I use multiple computers, it makes more sense to use a browser-based application instead of one you have to install on a local machine.
Twitterfeed, used by @sengineland, @amyporterfield, and @cindyking, allows you to add RSS feeds (yours and others) to be shared automatically through your Twitter, Facebook, and other social media accounts each time there is a new update to them. You can customize the tweets to show the title of the new post, the link (shortened by your preferred URL shortener), and even add a RT @username or via @username so you let the blogger know you’re always tweeting their posts. It’s a great way to curate content for your audience automatically, but just be careful that the blogs whose feeds you use always publish quality content.
Visibili is a free service used by @brett, @davepeck, and @denisewakeman that lets you create a custom sharing bar that goes with any links you share through their service. This custom share bar can have your name and social sharing icons as well as links to your website and even a Tweet button which recommends your Twitter accounts and Facebook Like button that connects to your fan page. It can be connected to your Tweetdeck or Seesmic desktop apps, installed on your blog for outgoing links, and installed as a bookmarklet on your browser bookmark toolbar as a quick way to share with your customization at the top of every link!
What Do You and Your Favorite Twitterers Use?
Now it’s your turn. What Twitter apps do you use to manage and update your Twitter account? What apps do your favorite Twitterers use? Share your thoughts on these and other apps in the comments!
Also, if you want to find out what others are using, my method was viewing their tweets in HootSuite which lists what application sent the Twitter user’s update. It’s a great way to find out what apps are working the best for people your industry!
About the Author: Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her blog Kikolani focuses on blog marketing, including social networking strategies and blogging tips.