So you have a Twitter account. Now what?

You’ve heard that social media is crucial to your business and that it is essential to have a Twitter account. You’ve visited Twitter and set up an account in just 30 seconds.

You think: Wow, that was easy!

Looking at the screen, you are now wondering: OK, so now what?

Don’t worry, every Twitter user thought the same thing the first time they signed in. The Twitter web interface is really quite basic and not very intuitive. You have no followers. You don’t know what an @reply is. You know what a DM is, but don’t have any. Most importantly, you have no followers. How do you find followers?

The first thing everyone should know about using Twitter, that nobody tells them is that they should be using an outside Twitter tool to help make sense of all the information you are about to receive.

Twitter is an incredibly powerful community building tool, but just like many tools, the operator needs some add ons to actually make it useful. Think of that home table saw you bought when you finished the basement. You brought it home, plugged in it and started cutting 2×4’s only to discover that the saw started struggling after just a few cuts. That is because the blade that came with the saw was crap. You need to spend an additional 80 bucks to buy a good blade that will actually last and give you some accuracy. Twitter is just like that except that most of the add on goodies are free. Free is good.

There are many Twitter clients available, but the two most common are Hootsuite and Tweetdeck. These tools allow users to search for and add followers, arrange followers into related columns using groups or twitter lists and track replies and DM’s. The main difference between them is that Hootsuite is web based and Tweetdeck lives on your hard drive.

Like many, I started off using Tweetdeck, but as your community of followers grows, it can use up a rather large chunk of your computer’s resources which slows things down. Also, with tweetdeck you are tied to your PC. Leave the office and you can’t use your lists. Obviously you can still access your info from Twitter, but it just isn’t the same.

Being web based, Hootsuite uses next to none of your computer’s memory, meaning that it doesn’t sloow your machine down. Also, I travel a bit for new car model launches and work from my laptop while I’m on the go. With Hootsuite I can access my stuff anywhere. That is a big deal for me.

Go ahead and play around with these two tools and see which one you like the feel of better. When you get back, I’ll explain how to use Twitter’s search function to find people in your niche that you should be following.

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