September 1, 2016
Twitter has changed my life, personally and professionally, in ways I can’t even begin to explain. I also understand that Twitter isn’t like any other social network. The quirks and limitations cause many to give up and many others to not see how someone like me finds so much value on the network.
I’ve written numerous posts on the power of Twitter chats, personal branding, and influencer engagement on Twitter. Over the last couple years, Twitter has made a massive effort to add features to not only simplify the user interface but also give creators additional options for telling their stories.
Listed below are my top 6 Twitter power user features that any user, no matter the number of followers, can take advantage of to find massive value on Twitter and standout from the noise.
- Twitter Lists: Contact and conversation management
Quite possibly one of the most underrated features on the network, Twitter lists allow me to follow over 30k people without worrying about the added noise. I segment people into different lists based on topics, events or types of tweets. Contact and conversation filtering is essential for all users as they scale their Twitter use. The overall functionality and management of lists has been limited since day one – and sadly hasn’t evolved much over time. I’d guess less than 5% of users know about lists and maybe 5% of those users use them regularly. With all that being said, if you can get over the steps required to create them or leverage tools like Audiense, Buzzsumo, IFTTT or SpiderQube to help you create them, Twitter lists can be the mind-blowing feature that hooks you into the true power of Twitter.
- Tweetdeck: Real-time engagement
Twitter for me, when compared to Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, is less of a social network and more of a media site. I like to refer to it as a “Global Unfiltered Firehose of Conversations and Community!” Many people find value on Twitter when at a conference or watching tv or at a major sporting event. The reason is because the conversations are happening around a hashtag, in real-time, and it doesn’t matter who is following who because everyone adds to the conversation. The hashtag becomes the glue that links all the tweets in chronological or popularity order depending on your viewing preference. Tweetdeck is a Mac and Chrome browser application that Twitter bought a couple years back. It allows me to create columns to easily filter conversations around specific users, hashtags, or Twitter lists. Being able to quickly navigate and consume conversations ripe for me to jump in allows me to maintain my reputation of “talking fast and tweeting faster!”
- Twitter Analytics: Easily monitor what matters to you
I’m a massive geek and marketing technology addict. I’m currently working on my latest “personal branding tools” blog post where I highlight 40+ tools I use on social media. To say I love data is an understatement. Approximately a year ago, Twitter granted users access to their profile analysis on analytics.twitter.com. This dashboard provides a fantastic snapshot of profile data including persona of followers, most engaged tweets, trends over the last 28 days and more. For me this provides incredible value as I can see that my Twitter profile is viewed an average 44k times a month – which is far more than my website or any other homepage I have on the web. Because of this data I often update my bio, pinned tweet, and background image to provide the most relevant information to the people visiting my page. Even though I schedule most of my content via Buffer, a 3rd party tool which also has provides great analytics, I still view my Twitter analytics a couple times a month to monitor trends and better understand my Twitter community at a holistic level.
- Pinned Tweet: Attract and direct traffic where you want it to go
As mentioned earlier, Twitter analytics allows me to monitor engagement on my tweets and profile views. With so much traffic to my profile page, it’s essential to make a good first impression with my Twitter bio and images. But let’s face it, people follow you on Twitter for your tweets – for the information you share. The pinned tweet is the first tweet someone sees when they visit your Twitter profile. Often times the engagement on the pinned tweet will be much greater than on a normal tweet because it has a chance of being viewed more frequently. I like to experiment and have even gone as far as using Twitter cards, Twitter video, and Periscope live video posts as my pinned tweet. Expanding beyond a traditional tweet allows me to go provide more than 140 characters of text while still being the first tweet someone sees when they view my page. I often change my pinned tweet on a weekly basis to stay current and to drive new engagement to new content. How often and what you choose to select as your pinned tweet is your strategy. But whatever you do, if you use this feature, update regularly. Don’t leave a tweet pinned from 2013 as that just shows you don’t care about your first impression and will likely deter people from clicking follow.
- Twitter Embed Options: Make it easy for people to find, follow and engage with you
An important step in every digital strategy is that we must bring our content and story to where our audience is already consuming and engaging media. Do not expect them to come to you. This includes Twitter. Telling someone you’re on Twitter or having a small Twitter logo on your website or in your email signature is just giving them an FYI. What’s better than telling? Showing! Twitter recently increased their embed options allowing you to go beyond just putting your Twitter timeline in the sidebar of your website. My favorite new embeds are: Twitter follow button, Twitter DM from anywhere button, Twitter Collection of Tweets Embed, and an embed of a Periscope share tweet that allows the Periscope feed to play inline on your site. These new embed options are a great way to bridge your audience by showing them who you are and drive them to your Twitter profile to find out more.
- Twitter Video: Go beyond 140 characters
I’ve built 50+ strategies and will keynote at more than 45 events this year mostly focused on helping brands, leaders and communities tell their digital stories using live video and social media. It is no surprise that I’m a huge fan of Twitter video but I might up the ante by saying it’s the most valuable, current feature of Twitter. Unfortunately, much like Twitter lists it may also be one of the most underused features. Twitter videos can be created using the Twitter app on your iOS device. One of my favorite use-cases is replying back to those who share my content or thank me for something with a quick video. It’s personalized, they can look in what I call my “digital eyeballs”, and it conveys more in 10 seconds than I can say in a few written words. I’ve also found great success in uploading videos that are professionally edited or ones that I’ve recorded via Periscope into a Twitter video card allowing me to go beyond the 140 seconds and including a call to action, title, description of the video and a custom button to drive viewers of the video to my website for more details or information. This week Twitter announced a shared revenue plan with Twitter creators that will allow us to put ad rolls before our videos and receive a share of that revenue. I applied for this functionality but haven’t used it yet. The countdown is on! I have about 50 different scenarios where this will be integrated into my Twitter strategy.
What is the difference between a Twitter power user and the average user? Time, strategy, and an understanding of all Twitter options.
Time, like in everything we do, is required to find value and opportunity on Twitter. I don’t have a magic trick or tweet shortcut to get more than 24 hours in your day or to pause the clock while you’re engaging in your favorite Twitter chat. Strategies for leveraging Twitter are included in my consulting offerings and will be included in my upcoming #ThinkLikeAFan workshops. There is no easy button but I will say that when you start by defining what success looks like for you and your time spent on Twitter – you’re ahead of most. Hopefully this post gives you insights into key Twitter features that you might not have known were available as well as how I use each to find incredible value on Twitter.
New Twitter Apps!
There are two new Twitter iOS apps that you might want to checkout – Dashboard and Engage. Both add to and simplify the Twitter experience by linking analytics, user view and ad spend from a mobile device that is much cleaner than the normal iOS app.
My Twitter Feature Wishlist
This wouldn’t be my post about Twitter features if I didn’t include a personal wish list for future features just in case Twitter is reading this. So here you go:
- Video & Periscope Live Streaming:
- Commenting on Periscope from browser
- Open Stream API for Periscope allowing 3rd party tools and cameras
- Ability to create user streams into the #GoLive Dashboard for video and hashtag integration
- Commenting on Periscope from browser
- Twitter DM filtering giving users dynamic filtering on automated DM’s vs DM conversations
- Twitter Analytics
- More than 30 days worth of persona data
- Ability to see clicks & profile traffic both inbound and outbound
- Ability to run analytics against a specific twitter list for more focused dynamic analytics of a subset of users
- More than 30 days worth of persona data
- Tweetdeck column view on the twitter mobile iOS when the phone is turned horizontal we would be able to see and engage in multiple columns and feeds like we do on desktop tweetdeck today.
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