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Social Media Tools You Should be Using, Part 1

Try these tools to manage and improve your Twitter activities.

Facebook. Twitter. StumbleUpon. Google+. These are just some of the many, and we mean many social networking avenues out there.

Trying to manage all your social media channels can be tough, but there’s value in it, as many sellers have learned. Brieanna Owens, an eBay seller and owner of Playtime Friends and Loveys on Bonanza, has been using social media tools for her business for more than a year. She decided to try Twitter, after hearing several sellers say they had gotten a great response by promoting their businesses on the microblogging site and other social media sites.

The results have been encouraging. Owens now has more than 34,000 followers on Twitter, and the number of views her listings get has gone up. More importantly, so have her sales, she adds.

“I fully recommend to sellers every day to use social networking sites,” Owens notes. “You get to meet so many interesting people and find other people with the same interests as you. Many times, those same people will make a purchase from me instead of my competitor because I took the time to say ‘Hello.'”

Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? But can a seller make a splash on so many social networking channels and keep it all organized? We found a few tools that will help you not only manage your blogs, posts and tweets, but also stay organized and see what others are saying about you on social media. We’ll start with a few handy tools you can enlist for your Twitter account. In our next article, we’ll discuss tools you should use for other social media channels.

Analytics can be helpful if you’re just starting out and are still unsure how often and when you should post

bitly

bitly is a helpful tool for merchants who want to include links in their posts, whether on Twitter, Facebook, blogs or elsewhere. The URL-shortening tool is meant to be used on Twitter, but it can be used on multiple channels.

What makes bitly stand out from other URL-shortening services is that it not only lets you post directly to Twitter, it also lets you track the number of click-throughs the links you share receive. You can even see the time and date people clicked on your links.

This can be very helpful if you’re just starting off with social networking and are still unsure how often and when you should post. bitly helps you answer those questions by allowing you to look back over the past 30 days of posts to see which links got the most clicks and which types of posts were attractive to followers. bitly will even let you see in which country the people who clicked on your links are located.

HootSuite

HootSuite is another great tool for Twitter users, notes Marlene Gavens, an Internet and social marketing expert. It, too, allows you to post directly to Twitter from HootSuite.com, but it also offers features to let you schedule posts and see what others are saying about you or your business, at a glance.

HootSuite displays your Twitter home feed, any Twitter mentions of you and/or your business and the direct messages others have sent you. This makes it easy to respond to questions or complaints, and just interact with current or potential customers, quickly and easily.

The scheduling feature might come in particularly handy if, let’s say, you’re having a big Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day sale and you want to announce its kickoff to your followers bright and early without having to compromise your eight hours of sleep. You can even schedule periodic tweets during the day to remind shoppers of sales.

Another thing you can do: Create reports about your Twitter performance with HootSuite to see how effective you’re being with your 140 characters.

Following people with similar interests is a good way to increase followers, and your influence on Twitter

Twellow

Twellow will help you address the matter of “who should I follow?” It’s become known as the Twitter Yellow Pages and can help you find others with similar interests, be they other sellers, industry experts you can learn from, liquidators you can buy from or buyers you can sell to. Why is this important? Because following people with similar interests is a good way to increase the number of followers you have, and increase your influence on Twitter—and it can result in a few sales, too, as Owens reminds us.

By simply entering a keyword or phrase at Twellow.com, you can easily look up people who share your interests (and who might be interested in the products or expertise you have to offer), see their twitter profiles, how many followers they have and where they’re located. Then with a simple click, you can follow them and hopefully they’ll follow you right back.

Timely

Timely is a tool that’s all about time, and it’s another tool Gavens recommends. It examines your last 199 tweets to find the optimal time to post tweets to reach the most people.

When you sign up for this service, you schedule tweets in advance and the queue kicks them out to the world when the optimal time hits. The service will also show you the number of retweets and click-throughs you get. We found that using this service in combination with bitly can be advantageous, and helped us increase our number of followers.

Feel more at ease about Twitter? We hope so. In Social Media Tools You Should be Using, Part 2, we’ll help you tackle and manage your other social media channels.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of TheOnlineSeller.com. In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Hootsuite is my dashboard of choice, I use bit.ly to shorten links here and there and timely to space out certain updates. I haven’t used Twellow much but I will look into it a little more.

    One other tool that I would recommend is Buffer. Its a good way of queuing up tweets etc. so that you don’t bombard your followers with tweet after tweet. They are kind of like timely but there are some points of difference with one of them being you can get a buffer button to add to your site.

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