As I have mentioned several times in previous posts, there are few things in business more challenging, more stressful, and more frustrating than being asked to market your company’s products and services on a shoestring budget. Those of us who have carved a career out of small company (and small budget) marketing know the secret to success lies not in the methods we choose, but rather in the effective and creative use of our time. For the small company marketer, the phrase “work smarter, not faster” is not just a cheesy motivational poster—it’s also a pen, a coffee mug, a desk calendar, and a horribly ill-fitting trade show shirt.
With the above in mind, the emergence of social marketing sites like Twitter has opened up an entire realm of new and low-cost marketing channels—channels that (in most cases) cost the small company marketer nothing but their time. Although Twitter is perfectly capable of burning hours of otherwise productive marketing effort, a handful of creative developers have put together some great tools to minimize the time we as marketers spend in our chairs each day. And I am happy to say I could not survive without any of them.
Twitter Tool #1: The “Follow Everyone in a Twitter List” Button (by TweepML)
After performing this function by hand for months when Twitter first released its “Lists” feature, our good friends at TweepML finally gave marketers the opportunity to follow every person in a Twitter List with a single click. Sound easy? It is. The process is frighteningly simple: you paste the name of a Twitter list you wish to follow into a form field (TSCB/smallbiz-tweeters, for example) hit the “Follow” button (wait a few minutes for the list to appear), login with your Twitter account, tell TweepML to follow them for you, then grab some lunch. When you come back, each individual in the targeted Twitter List (up to 500 people) will be in your “Following” group—and hopefully many will have chosen to follow you back as well.
Tool #2: The Friend Flusher (by Buzzom)
For those who have been struggling with Twitter Karma’s painfully slow and often unreliable “Whack Your Followers” feature, there is a new tool in town: the Buzzom Friend Flusher. In fact, unfollowing people on Twitter who refuse to follow you back has never been easier: simply visit the Buzzom home page, click the “Login with Twitter” badge (center-right, near the top) then hit the “Flush” button in the top left-hand corner after logging in. Within seconds, Buzzom will return a list of people you follow who haven’t returned the favor, and you get to choose whether to keep or “flush” each one individually.
Tool #3: The 6-Day Free Trial (by SocialOomph)
Those of you who haven’t tried SocialOomph have surely heard about it for good reason: it’s one of the most feature-rich social marketing tools there is. But did you know SocialOomph offers small company marketers free use of their Professional Edition for almost a week? In addition to a highly configurable Friend Finder and bulk Tweet uploads, SocialOomph specifically caters to overworked marketers with features like drip feeds, URL shortening, parameter tracking, full blog integration, and clickthru analytics. Registering for the Free Trial requires no credit card—and if you set up your Friend Finder right away, your six days of free use will also include 300 new, highly qualified Friends.
Tool #4: The Automatic #FollowFriday Generator (by The Twitter Tag Project)
If I had to rank automated Twitter tools based on how much time they save me each week, Twitter Tag’s automated #FollowFriday generator would be right at the top. By definition, a big part of any social marketing program includes showing appreciation to people who support you. And there is no better way to say “Thanks” on Twitter than by offering a #FollowFriday recommendation. The system takes seconds to use: you simply enter your Twitter user name into a field, and the system returns about 20 properly formatted #FollowFriday shout-outs to your 200 most active followers—minus duplicates, of course. Once the Tweets are generated you can either click a button on the Twitter Tag website to send them immediately, or copy and paste them into a scheduled Tweet-sending system like SocialOomph. Did I mention I LOVE this tool?
Twitter Tool #5: The Time-Waster, Spammer and Bot Finder (by TwitCleaner)
For those of you who truly believe your company only follows the best, brightest, and most valuable Tweeters in the industry, I have a challenge for you: run TwitCleaner on your account. I dare you. TwitCleaner is specifically designed to find and unfollow various Twitter undesirables, and I can say first-hand it does a remarkable job finding all of the bots, spammers, quote-of-the-dayers, serial Retweeters and dead accounts hiding among your follower base. If your company Twitter account follows less than 1,000 people (as most do) TwitCleaner even throws in the cleaning itself for free. But regardless of account size, the comprehensive TwitCleaner Report—automatically sent to you via Twitter Direct Message—is always run at no charge.
Do you use a free automated Twitter tool or applet you would like to promote? Please feel free to comment on this post. Otherwise a Retweet, Facebook Share, LinkedIn Share or other type of social share (handy buttons provided) would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!