Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category

2.26 Blog Carnival: Twitter Buzz

Welcome to the February 26, 2010 edition of Twitter Buzz. This is our first carnival post, and we’d love to hear feedback on how you like it!

How to Use Twitter

Making Twitter Fun

Measuring Results

People to Follow

Connecting Twitter to Other Outlets

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Twitter Buzz using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Technorati tags:, , social media, twitter

HootSuite Makes Twitter Easy!

We’re always happy to find tools that bring some efficiency into our daily schedules. Twitter, a microblogging site, has become a regular part of our routine, and we’ve tried several tools to help us manager our Twitter communications. We have been thrilled to find HootSuite, and simple tool that does everything we would want for our twitter account.

HootSuite offers broad functionality

  • Manage multiple Twitter accounts
  • Filter out each time your username is mentioned
  • Follow tweets that mention specific keywords
  • Follow users in a specific Twitter list
  • Easily add edits to tweets you want to retweet
  • Auto-shorten URLs so you don’t have to visit a URL shortening site
  • Schedule Tweets in the future so you don’t shot-gun blast all your tweets at once
  • Follow, unfollow, DM and add users to your Twitter lists
  • Track clicks on the links in your tweets
  • iPhone compatible (app costs $1.99)
  • Manage other social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc)
  • Improve time manage and effectively fit social media into your daily schedule

HootSuite tutorials

We love this tool so much, we have collected some video tutorials to help you learn how to manage Twitter through HootSuite.

Learn more at our FREE webinar

Landau Digital is offering a FREE webinar on how to use HootSuite to manage Twitter. If you want to participate, register today since space is limited. We also offer one-on-one HootSuite and social media tutorials if you need some help getting started.

What is a Twitter #Hashtag?

As Twitter has grown, people follow hundreds of people, and as a result it’s not so simple to read all the tweets. As a result, various methods have evolved to help categorize tweets to make it easier to sift through and find just what you’re looking for. Hence the birth of the Twitter “hashtag”.

A hashtag is simply a keyword or group of keywords with the ‘#’ sign in front of the them. For example, #design or #socialmedia would both be hashtags.

Why call it a hashtag?

I’m sharing this explanation with you because I didn’t know the answer until I looked it up. Apparently the ‘#’ symbol (which I’ve always called the pound sign or number symbol) is frequently called a hash sign or hash symbol. So clearly it is called the hash tag because it is the “hash sign + a tag word”. Learn more about this hash symbol on Wikipedia.

Hashtags makes it easier to follow information streams

When you send out a tweet on a particular subject, you can use a hashtag to let followers know that it belongs in that category of information. Many people use programs like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck to filter tweets based on specific hashtags.

For example, on our Landau Digital Twitter account, we filter tweets based on #usability, #socialmedia, #blogging, #joomla and #SEO hashtags. This helps us keep up on the latest tweets in these areas, even if we aren’t following the people who sent the tweets. We’ve found some fabulous people to follow this way!

Hashtags make it easier to search

You can search based on hashtags too. Perhaps there is a current event that you’d like to see the stream of tweets from all over the twitterverse, you could search by the hashtag for that even. For example, we have the Academy Awards coming up shortly, and if you search for #academyawards in Twitter, you will see everybody who is talking about it.

Some people auto-retweet based on hashtags

We found out this gem quite by accident. We used the #seo hashtag when tweeting about one of our blog posts, and somebody who wasn’t even following us retweeted it. Next week we used the tag again, and we saw the same person retweeting for us. That’s when we realized that people are using tools like Twitterfeed to auto-retweet based on specific hashtags.

Hashtags can be a secret code

During the Haiti earthquake many people in Haiti had mobile devices, and Twitter became a way of communicating what was going. As a result, a group of coders from around the world decided to create a disaster-response syntax using hashtags (read the article here: New Twitter Hashtag Syntax for Sharing Information During Catastrophes). You can even create your own hashtags for a group of people that you communicate with regularly on Twitter. This will make it easier for them to find the threads of your conversations.

How do I make my own hashtag?

Hashtags.org is the official site that organizes these tags so they can be utilized in Twitter. To create your own hashtag group:

  1. Go to hashtags.org and search for the name you’d like to use in the search box in the top right.
  2. If your hashtag name does not exist, then go back to your Twitter account and following @hashtags. They will auto-follow you back.
  3. Now send out a tweet with your new #hashtag.
  4. Hashtags.org will pick up your new hashtag and add it to their index.

Hashtags have their own RSS feeds

Once your hashtag is in the index, it will have its own feed which you can follow. The feed is always going to be http://hashtags.org/feeds/tag/TagName. Note that it is NOT http://hashtags.org/feeds/tag/#TagName. The ‘#’ sign cannot be used in a URL, so it is not part of the feed URL. So give it a try, here is the hashtag feed for Twitter: http://hashtags.org/feeds/tag/twitter

You have to use the hashtag to be included

This might seem obvious, but in case it isn’t, you do have to put the hashtag in as part of your tweet. There is nobody at Twitter central who reads and categorizes the tweets, so it’s up to you to include it. Of course that does mean your tweet itself needs to be shorter in order to include the tag, but the categorization benefit outweighs the shorter message.

Do you have a #hashtag you love to follow?

Let us know your favorite #hashtags you like to follow by adding it to our comments. It might help you gain some new followers!

11 Ways to Start Conversations on Twitter

Twitter is the talk of the town, but if you’re new to it, it can certainly feel overwhelming. You may have heard it has potential as an effective publicity/networking tool, but how the heck do you get to know people on Twitter? The key is to jump in and engage in the conversation. If you are going to be a virtual wall flower in the social media arena, then guess what, you will not create the connections you seek. So take a risk, and start a conversation!

People use Twitter because they want to connect

People aren’t just tweeting for the heck of it. They have joined in and participate because they want to connect with other people. There are many reasons why people want to make these connections. Some reasons include:

  • To learn new things
  • Connect with people in their industry
  • Publicize themselves or their company
  • To draw traffic to their blog or website
  • Create a network to disseminate information on a social cause (i.e. education, animal rights, etc.)
  • To consolidate researching on the web by following people who provide links in a particular subject area
  • To make friends

Starting a conversation on Twitter is not hard

People are Twitter WANT to connect, so don’t be shy! I think many new users feel they are some how intruding or “that person doesn’t really care.” But you would be surprised how much people do care, and do respond. Here are 10 ways you can start a conversation on Twitter. Take a chance, you might be surprised who talks back!

1) Retweet with a comment. Just a plain retweet (RT) is good too, but if you add a comment or question, it offers an opinion that can start a conversation. It’s even better if they have posted to their blog or website, and your RT comment refers to the site itself. For example, you could say:

“RT @username this information… <- really loved this, but do you think it works for everybody?”

Sometimes people don’t respond to a retweet right away, but if there is somebody you really want to connect with, continue to RT their tweets, and eventually they will respond to you.

2) Answer somebody’s question. They say only 15% of Twitter users actually read the tweets that are posted. This means you have a tremendous opportunity to shine if you reply to somebody’s question. People often ask for help on Twitter, so if you can offer assistance, this is a great way to gain a new friend! If there are specific people you want to connect with, put them into a Twitter list so that you can easily view their tweets without having to sift through everybody else. Stay on top of what they are saying, and then you will be prompt in replying to any questions they may share.

3) Ask a question. You can ask a broad question to all your followers, or ask a question to a specific user. Either way, this is an excellent method for beginning a dialogue. I often post questions on Twitter that go unanswered, but when I get an answer, I take advantage and begin a dialogue with that person. Sometimes my questions will create a dialogue with several people, and that’s when it gets very fun. I also make a note of the usernames for use in Follow Friday tweets, always noting that they are great conversationalists!

4) Share a controversial opinion. This works particularly well if the subject matter is currently being talked about in the news. Debates are an excellent way of engaging others. Just know that the conversations can become heated, so keep this in mind when using this tactic. At the same time, a 140-character-a-point conversation can be a quick way to engage a whole group of people.

5) Jump into a conversation. Twitter is a public conversation platform. If people wanted their words to be private, they would use the DM (direct messaging) in Twitter. So when people are conversing, it is okay to jump right in! If you feel you have something to add, then type away. This is an excellent way to observe others, then engage them. Often you can learn a bit about people by watching their tweets, and then you can jump in when you see a conversational opening.

6) Give thanks for a retweet. There are people following you that will RT your tweets. So don’t forget to thank them for a retweet. And make that thank you mean something by personalizing it. Either by coming up with a creative thank you, or by reading their profile and writing something about what they stand for. For example, when I get a tweet from a fellow web designer, I always let them know I am flattered that a fellow designer supports my post. Then that person knows I’m not only grateful, they are now on my radar as a designer. I may also throw in a question like, do you build your sites in Joomla?

7) Offer support in a crisis. People sometimes share struggles they are having. Recently one of my Twitter friends, @robertbravery, had a computer crisis — his entire website had gone done, and he couldn’t get it back up. While he was half way around the world from me, through Twitter I was able to offer emotional support. He genuinely appreciated it, and I was surprised a couple days later when he thanked me in a blog post. While you may not be able to “do” anything physically, a sincere, supportive tweet can lift somebody’s spirits.

8) Send the person a DM. Not all people reply to their DM’s, but if you are trying to reach somebody in particular, sometimes you have a better chance of them reading a DM than a tweet amongst the Twitter stream. Keep in mind that if you send anything offensive or too spammy, the person can block you. But a well-worded DM can certainly open a conversation. For example, I recently received a DM from a young man who does template optimization for Joomla. He knew I needed somebody, and he probably realized I may not see his tweet, so he sent me a message directly. It worked, and now we’re talking for business.

9) Reply to people’s comments. This one seems obvious, but it’s amazing to me how many people let a conversation drop after just one turn. You can use a tool like Hootsuite to track conversations between you and other people. This way you can be certain to know when you should come back with a reply. Also, with something like Hootsuite, you can see all replies you’ve received, so it helps you to remember the people that you have engaged with.

10) Do a Follow Friday tweet with a note. Follow Friday is all about recommending people you like to follow. But just posting a list of names doesn’t really say why you like to follow them. Personalizing your Follow Friday tweets will have a greater impact on the person you want to connect with, and also let others know that you engage on a personal level with Twitter. Follow Friday is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to let specific users know how much you enjoy reading their tweets. And once they realize that, it will be easier to implement items 1-9 and engage them in conversation.

11) Create a hashtag group. Hashtags are keywords preceded by the # sign (#webdesign or #twitter are two examples). Hashtags help to categorize information in the Twitterverse. If you have a group of people you enjoy conversing with regularly, consider creating a hashtag that defines you. This way it makes it easy for all participants to find all tweets related that group’s conversation. An example might be #techtalk – a hash tag for a group of people who discuss technical stuff.

A note on @reply with Twitter

When a person puts a tweet up, you can simply click the reply button to reply to their message. But take note, any replies that start with @username are only seen by that user and followers that are following BOTH you and that user. Yes, it’s true, unless other followers are following both of you, they won’t see an @reply. The solution to this is to reply, but put some text in front of the person’s name. For example:

Don’t do: “@username really liked what you said!”

Instead do: “I really liked what you said, @username ! Thanks!”

By doing this, all your followers will see the tweet, not just the ones that are following the @username too. This tells other people that you are a conversationalist on Twitter, and they are more apt to start conversations with you.

Want to start a conversation on Twitter?

Please put your Twitter username in the comments, and we’d love to start a conversation with you on Twitter! We do track our mentions, so if you send us a message, we will definitely see it. You can follow our company at @LandauDesign, or follow me at @BonnieLandau. We will tweet back!

Cute Characters to Make Twitter Fun!

Ever since we published 30 Ways to Say Thank You for a Re-Tweet, clients have been asking us how we got those cute dingbats into our tweets. Many clients have also wondered how to effectively get a full thought across on Twitter in less than 140 characters, and we think these fun characters help to do that.

How to Save Space With Symbols

Most of the time, we can live with the character limit and find ways to shorten words or URL’s in order to make them more “Twitter-friendly”. But sometimes it helps to have a few tricks up your sleeve in order to get your full point across, and utilize those 140 characters effectively! Using the symbols available is a handy way to quickly convey a phrase, word or term. They take up one character!

  • Using a heart symbol ♥ when you want to write “love” saves you 3 characters
  • Using a symbol for “recycling” ♺ saves you 8!Using a ✔ for “check” will save you 4 characters.
  • Using a smiley face ☺ symbol conveys feelings that could save you several words of space.

Using Pictures to Expand The Meaning

And besides saving your some space in your Tweets, symbols are just a fun and sometimes cute way to convey your point (if cute is what you’re going for).

  • Adding stars to your post can bring an extra sparkle: ★ ☆ ★ You’re a star to me! ★ ☆ ★
  • Musical notes show you’re happy and singing: ♫ ♪ ♩ I thank you! I thank you! I thank you! ?♫ ♪ ♩ You rock with that RT!
  • Icons convey a thought in less characters: The weather today is ☂ not ☼ – ☹ bummer ☹!

How Do I Get These Symbols Into My Tweets?

The obvious way to get these symbols is to find other tweets that use them, and copy and past. But an easier way is to get the Twitterkeys tool for your browser. It’s a tool that provides you with a floating box that contains all of the fun symbols you can use on Twitter. You can get this tool at The Next Web Blog.

If you don’t want to add a tool to your web browser, we’ve created this handy chart of the most popular symbols which you can use to copy and paste symbols into your tweets:

©

®

$

What’s Your Favorite Image Combination?

We’d love to see how creative our readers our. Share with us some of your favorite use of these fun characters! Together we can generate more ideas to make Twitter fun!