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A Guide Through Twitter’s Best Native Features

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The number of Twitter tools out there can be overwhelming for many businesses. When clients come to me in a “Which one is best? Which one should I use?” panic, I usually refer them to something they’ve overlooked: plain ol’ Twitter desktop. Here’s why.

Saved Searches

Saving (and regularly referring to) key terms relevant to your business is a great way to develop your professional skills, network with like-minded professionals, and keep abreast of current discussions in your marketplace. As you see from my Twitter saved searches, you can save both keywords and hashtags.

Twitter Saved Search Results

The searches can get pretty specific. See my last term highlighted in blue? When I select that option, it gives me people within 15 miles of Boston who have recently tweeted with the word “vegetarian.” Many third-party apps still can’t get this granular with location searches.

Once you select the search you’re interested in at the moment, you can see all the tweets on that topic presented to you in chronological order. You can even whittle down that list to just your followers’ discussion on that topic.

Pronounced Trending Topics

Stuck on what to tweet about?  Look at trends in your area to see what’s got local people all abuzz.

Trending Topics on Twitter for the Boston Area

On a rare night in Boston, baseball fans were rooting for the Atlanta Braves with the hashtag #FearTheChop. By clicking on the trending hashtag, you can witness the world’s largest peanut gallery in action during the ballgame.  If a baseball themed message would be appropriate for your business to tweet, send one out using an appropriate trending topic.

Twitter also makes it easier than most third-party tools to change the location of popular tweet topics. Are you based in Boston but have an office in Caracas, Venezuela? Click “change” on top of trending topics and discover what people there are discussing.

Advertising

Twitter is on a mission to make advertising easier for small and mid-sized businesses. They’re even advertising, as seen in this example, to get businesses familiar with the Twitter advertising platform.

Twitter ad to attract small businesses to advertise on Twitter

One useful ad type is the Promoted Tweet, which places a particular tweet of yours in the newsfeeds of those who tweet about a given topic. While Twitter’s targeting capabilities don’t yet match the granularity of what you might experience running a Facebook sponsored story or promoted post, Twitter does allow you to select users based on keyword, gender, location, and devices (laptop, iOS, Android).

If you have a Zumba app or teach an online Zumba course, do you see how getting your specific tweets in the newsfeeds in your target audience might be useful? How about if you’re hosting, say, a financial planning summit in Denver?

Analytics

Another perk of running ads on Twitter is the ability to use its detailed analytics. Want to see how many clicks, retweets, and replies your tweets are getting? Is your follower base growing at a steady rate? This is just some of the free data Twitter now provides for accounts that advertise on its platform.

I especially like that I can sort by the number of favorites my tweets receive — I have yet to see this feature on any third-party tool I use.

A snapshot of Twitter analytics
I use more Twitter tools than I care to admit — that’s part of my job of being a professional geek. But more and more these days, I am delighted by what I find and use simply by logging on to Twitter.com. Let me know if you feel the same way!

Headline photo credit: iStockphoto

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