Free Social Networking Tools
As you get more and more sucked into social networking for your business it becomes increasingly important to ensure that you get the best efficiency out of the time that you spend. Maybe two or three years ago I would sit at my computer in a morning, open Outlook and check my mails, now it’s all to easy to do the same with all the social networking opportunities that are out there but it’s all too easy to find ourselves social networking from first thing in the morning until lunch time and then thinking “what have I achieved?”
I bet there’s many of you out there that can empathize with me so I’ve been doing a lot of work to ensure that whatever time I spend social networking is giving me a good return on my investment. In particular I find that Twitter is becoming more important in my daily routine so a lot of what I have to say revolves around some of the free Twitter tools out there but there are in addition some knock on effects to other business social networking sites too such as Facebook and Linkedin.
How do you ensure that when you Tweet you’re actually finding people and not just tweeting into a black hole? The first thing to do is to ensure that your followers are targeted, in other words people who are actually interested in what you are tweeting about. Getting targeted followers is a difficult job and to my mind I’ve so far only found one tool that does this for you with any degree of success and that you have to pay for.
There are free tools out there however that tell you whether your tweets (in fact the links) are being read and getting people to click through to your site or the product you are promoting and these include bit.ly.com and tinyurl.com – 2 link shortening sites. The service is in effect two fold because the link shortening first of all helps you get the most out of the 140 characters that you are allowed per tweet on Twitter but then each shortened link is also a unique code that allows the click through rate to be reported.
Monitoring this click through rate will help your work out how to write and target a tweet so that it gets read. Techniques to use include how you write the Tweet, ask a question rather than make a statement and also the time of day that you tweet. You may find that you get a better response to Tweets that go out at lunch time for example than those that go out in the evening.
Scheduling tweets brings me onto the next free software tool that you can use because let’s face it, none of us are awake 24/7 so being able to automate some of our tweets can really help. To do this there are a number of “dashboards” available and the functionality of these dashboards is growing fast. Some offer their own URL shortening and tracking service, all offer the tweet scheduling and in addition (and the reason why these sites are called dashboards) you can get a summary of all your social networking activities in one place at the same time.