When new users log on to Twitter for the first time, they’re often baffled by the simplicity of the platform. “This is it?” one of my students once lamented.
“No,” I replied. “There’s so much more.”
For all the hype, new Twitter users do expect more. Despite its recent financial hurdles, Twitter still stands as a must-have, must-use tool for those hoping to create a robust social media presence.
When introducing the first Twitter assignment in my social media courses, I often say, “Now stop working and start playing.”
That really is the trick to hook new users. If you think of Twitter as work, you won’t use it. But if you spend time playing, trying all of the features (hint: There’s more to Twitter than tweets), following new and interesting people and businesses, and building your network, it starts to feel less like an annoying task and more like, well, fun.
There are many services to help us explore Twitter. Here are some apps my students use when expanding their Twitterverse:
Crowdfire. Although they label their product as a “holistic friend management platform,” Crowdfire is much more than an organizing tool. When I read the word “manage” in relation to Twitter, I often think about “churning,” or the massive following and unfollowing of users as a way to build followers.
Click here to visit Crowdfire.
Churning is a big no-no. Crowdfire looks down on churning, and Twitter will suspend accounts of habitual churners.
But Crowdfire is about much more than building a following. Sure, you can find inactive users and unfollowers, and Crowdfire gives you the option to unfollow them.
You can also find relevant users to follow (using the “Copy Followers” tool), examine how your tweets impact follower statistics (and you losing followers due to inactivity), and check relationships between any two Twitter accounts.
I manage multiple Twitter accounts, and I use Crowdfire to help manage all of them. Crowdfire also is useful for managing your Instagram accounts.
Twiends. I was introduced to Twiends during a conversation with a former student (thanks Jordan Uhl), and my Twitter life was forever changed.
Click here to visit Twiends.
Twiends plants “seeds,” a metaphor for growing relationships on Twitter using their introduction service. They plant the seeds and your new connections grow. In a matter of a few months, my followers grew by 50 percent. That might not sound like a lot, but I was stuck at around 1,200 followers for years.
They also provide an “interest-based directory,” so when you add yourself to Twiends, you’re also added to subdirectories based on interests. You find people like you, and they can find you.
It’s important to note that Twiends does not sell Twitter followers, and they won’t automatically add followers to your account. If you’re an active Twitter user, you probably get ads promising to sell Twitter followers.
As Twiends notes, “Not only is it a bad idea, but it is strictly prohibited.”
Like Crowdfire, Twiends is also useful for building Instagram followers.
Both Twiends and Crowdfire are “freemium” services, which means they are free to use, but you can pay for upgrades for additional features.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is associate professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about social media and technology, sports and fans.