Posts Tagged ‘tweetdeck’

For my Next Trick I Will Win a Truck Using Only the Power of Social Media

August 5, 2011 2 comments

Screen Shot of the 100 Cars for Good Voting Results Late in the Day

[Warning: the title of this blog post is entirely facetious.]

Kids Food Basket

One of my favorite charities in West Michigan, Kids Food Basket, may just have won a much-needed delivery truck to replace the one from their meager delivery fleet that died (the results aren’t in yet, but they were leading the vote count all day).  Many thanks go to Toyota which created the “100 Cars for Good” contest to not only give a bunch of highly-deserving nonprofits a chance to win a vehicle, but also raise their profile both locally and nationally.

Kudos to Toyota for putting together a first-rate publicity package for the entrants.  As most in the public relations world are aware, nonprofits are often at a significant disadvantage when it comes to promoting themselves because they’re not only challenged with resources, but staff time as well.

Toyota 100 Cars for GoodIt’s tempting to chalk up the success to the ethereal “power of social media” but in reality, it played a far smaller role than it appears on the surface.  Here’s what really was at play:

  1. A Great Product: it’s no accident that Kids Food Basket has exploded in popularity in West Michigan in the past few years – it’s a great organization with a great staff and noble aims.  The great outreach the organization has done to grow itself to the point where it now serves 5,000 students per day when school is in session is the single most important factor that made the promotional campaign for the “100 cars for good” campaign successful.
  2. A Great Community: I’m certainly not the first person to remark on the generosity that exists in West Michigan from the Kalamazoo Promise up to the gleaming buildings on Health Hill in downtown Grand Rapids.  Social media serves only as a convenient conduit to people who would drop what they’re doing to help virtually any good cause if asked even if it wasn’t via a Tweet.
  3. Great People: Like so many nonprofits, the staff of Kids Food Basket is packed with exemplary human beings who commit themselves totally to the cause.  They work long hours for meager pay because they love what they do and who they serve.  People like that are the best any institution can hope for, because they’re the kind of people who have deep and durable networks in the community which are exactly what you need to leverage for communications efforts like this.  Here’s why these people are so critical:
    1. They give enough regularly to be able to ask: You can’t ask for anything via social media unless you’ve given something to the people you’re asking.  In fact, the standard level of distrust means you have to give a whole lot to earn the right to ask.
    2. They’re established (and thusly believable): You can’t post this many requests for anything unless you’re well-established online as someone who is credible.  You’ll quickly be labeled a spammer.  Surprisingly, it’s pretty easy and fast to detect and ignore the fakers – remember, even computer algorithms can detect them.
    3. They’re willing to do the work (which also builds credibility): what this essentially means is that they use as few shortcuts as possible to get things done.  That means making as many individual, personalized messages as humanly-possible.  As we all know, people are far more likely to take action when asked to do so one-on-one.  Social media just lets you engage in that tried-and-true activity more quickly and without geographic barriers.

All of those pieces have to be in place for any social media campaign to work.  Those are the facts.  Anyone who promises you success regardless of your people and your product is lying to you.  No viral video, no search engine optimization, no iPad app, and no amount of bought followers can shine a turd.

Unfortunately there are plenty of Fauxcial Media experts ready and willing to do that – so caveat emptor.

If you want to know the details of precisely what plan we followed – I’ll detail those in a subsequent blog post.  As with any practical exercise in public relations, I gained a lot of valuable insights.

38 Twitter Tools and Resources

February 16, 2011 3 comments

Over a year ago, I created a list of tools for using Twitter more effectively, and it’s high time it was updated and broadened.    Below is an updated and organized list of tools to enhance your microblogging experience.

Twitter Analytics Tools
(for better understanding the use of Twitter – bear in mind that their analysis can be dodgy depending on how much of a user’s history of tweets they’re able to access at the time)

  • Klout ( a tool that provides comprehensive analysis about a user using a variety of metrics.
  • Trendistic ( a tool that organizes and graphs tweets over time (though the time frame is limited).
  • Trendrr ( a service (fee-based after 16 profiles) that tracks and analyzes and graphs a variety of search tools (news sites like Google News, blog sites like IceRocket and Google BlogSearch, and other sites like Flickr, YouTube and Ebay).
  • TweetPsych ( builds a profile of a particular Twitterer based on the content in their Twitter feed.  (Also has a companion tool for websites:
  • TweetStats ( graphs stats about a given Twitter account such as tweets over time, what interface was used to post the tweets, and who a user most commonly replied to.
  • TweetStream ( this service provides very limited analytics (basically a series of counts) – however it also allows you to automatically archive all of your tweets from a variety of Twitter profiles (and it gives you combined stats for your multiple profiles).  It’s also a low-cost annual service.
  • Twends (  A tool that not only tracks mentions of a particular keyword over time, but graphs and analyzes that data a variety of ways (including by using an algorithm to guess at whether or not mentions are positive or negative).
  • Twitaholic ( a tool that counts a user’s tweets and ranks them in comparison to other users.
  • Twitalyzer ( an interesting analytical tool that uses a different set of categories to analyze a Twitterer’s presence.  They include influence (a composite that includes # of followers), signal (how much of your tweets are info vs. anecdote), generosity (how much you retweet), velocity (how frequently you post) and clout (how often people cite your posts).
  • Twitority ( Ranks Twitter users by authority on terms/keywords.
  • Twitter Charts ( an aggregator that uses Yahoo Pipes to create an interesting visual display of a specified Twitterer’s posts over time.
  • Twitter Counter ( a tool that provides comprehensive analytics as well as a few other features that grease the skids for you to promote yourself and find others to follow.
  • Twitter Grader ( applies an algorithm to rate how influential a particular Twitterer is based on factors like their number of tweets, how recently they’ve posted, and how many followers they have (and how powerful those followers are).
  • Xefer ( Maps the days of the week and times of the day that a user tweets, in addition to listing/ranking the other users that person has contact with.

Twitter Follower Management
(for visualizing/managing relationships)

  • FollowCost ( a great tool that shows you a comparison how how much it “costs” you to follow a particular person (ie what their proportion of tweets is to yours).  Warning – doesn’t always work.
  • Friend or Follow ( a way to find out who you follow that doesn’t follow you back (I hesitate to post this – the whole idea that one should follow a follower as a courtesy gesture is idiotic).
  • Qwitter ( primarily used for monitoring who unfollows you on Twitter, but also provides analytics data and alerts you to spambots/users.
  • UnTweeps ( allows you to organize all of the people you follow by their last tweet so you can unfollow the dead accounts or people who don’t regularly use Twitter (which, ostensibly, would improve your ‘influence’ ranking).

Twitter Clients
(software/apps for More Effectively Using Twitter – you don’t have to take my word for it though; Mashable did a great comparison of 19 of these tools here)

  • CoTweet ( CoTweet actually offers a variety of services, but for Twitter they provide the ability to have multiple users manage a single Twitter account (including a workflow process for people to respond to messages that have been assigned to them).
  • Destroy Twitter ( A simple, stripped-down Twitter client for your desktop.  It gets the job done in a clean interface, but it has some limitations (the navigation is a bit clunky, and you can’t be logged into multiple accounts simultaneously and toggle between them).
  • Digby ( Like TweetDeck and Hootsuite, Digby lets you manage not only Twitter, but many other social media presences as well.  There have been security concerns raised about it in the past, but it doesn’t appear to be impeding its use/adoption. This service also allows you to syndicate a single message to a variety of social media platforms with one click.
  • Echofon ( formerly Twitterfon and Twitterfox, this is a superb client that is available as an app for smartphones, or as an add-on for Firefox.  I use it every day.  Literally.
  • GroupTweet (  clever utility that allows a group of people to communicate in private by syndicating Direct Messages that are only visible to specified users.
  • Hootsuite ( A web-based application that allows you to manage multiple social media presences (including Twitter).  It allows for things like scheduling, tracking, etc.  I have had trouble with Hootsuite screwing up scheduled posts before – so fair warning.  This service also allows you to syndicate a single message to a variety of social media platforms with one click.
  • TweetDeck ( the grand-daddy of all Twitter clients, Tweetdeck has a rich feature set and allows you to manage multiple social media platforms in one interface.  It can also be a bit overwhelming – especially if you’re doing something simple.  It allows for scheduling, tracking, etc.  This service also allows you to syndicate a single message to a variety of social media platforms with one click.
  • TweetGrid ( a browser-based client that allows you to display a variety of Twitter streams on a single page (in grid form).
  • TwitToaster ( a service that aggregates tweets that are all part of a single conversation (nesting them visually like a discussion board) as well as providing statistical analysis.
  • UberTwitter ( by far the best Twitter client for Blackberry phones.  Rich feature set, easy navigation, lots of customization, and it’s very inexpensive – only $5/year.

Twitter Search Tools
(for mining information):

  • Monitter ( a Twitter search tool that provides an interface for managing multiple searches.
  • TweetAlarm ( search tool that alerts you when keywords are tweeted – allows real-time updates (however I’ve had problems with it missing a lot of tweets and not consistently notifying me).
  • TweetBeep ( a search tool that will alert you when keywords are tweeted (limited in that it doesn’t allow real-time notifications – only once per day).
  • TweetMeme( tracks, sorts and organizes mentions of a particular keyword (limited to the past week).
  • ViralHeat ( a fee-based service that searches for, tracks and graphs keyword mentions about a particular keyword or username.

Twitter Directories / Indexes:
(for finding like-minded people and promoting yourself)

  • Just Tweet It ( a directory of Tweeters sorted by category.
  • Twellow ( a yellow pages directory of Twitterers.
  • TwitterCounter (  provides a count of your followers, and also serves as a directory for listing oneself by keywords/categories.
  • Twitter Chat Schedule: a fantastic use of the cloud; it’s a Google Docs spreadsheet with detailed information about over 300 different Twitter chats going on (for the uninitiated, you participate in a Twitter chat by following a particular moderator  and responding/watching a hashtag which allows you to see and be seen by everyone else following the chat).  There’s also a profile on Twitter that tracks and tweets about upcoming chats @ChatSchedule – but their list isn’t nearly as comprehensive as the Twitter Chat Schedule.
  • WeFollow ( a directory of Twitterers; probably one of the most popular.  It also provides some level of analytics in that it compares you to people in other categories by two metrics – sheer number of followers and influence.

If you’re interested, it’s a bit outdated, but here’s a great mapping of the Twitter infrastructure is provided here by Brian Solis.