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Printer Tweet 7: URL Shortening

One of the greatest things about Twitter is the ability to scan it quickly for resourceful links. When Twitter first burst onto the scene, people needed a way to shorten their links so they wouldn’t take up the whole Tweet. The result of this need spawned a whole slur of URL shortening websites.

Example:

http://www.magicomm.biz/blog/url-shortening-on-twitter becomes http://tinyurl.com/6ae575

Why should I use a URL shortener?

The obvious reason is so you will have more space to tweet. The not so obvious reasons could be:

  • Hiding affiliate links
  • Masking URLs you don’t want search engines picking up on
  • Tracking the URLs usage and clicks
  • Preventing URLs from breaking because of bad characters

Although I don’t recommend plastering affiliate links all over the web as TinyURLs (people won’t like you for that)

Tracking

One of the great things services like TweetBurner and Bit.ly have been providing is statistics. TweetBurner allows me to create Shortened URLS in the form of Twurls that I can track after I post it. Tweetburner is one of m favorite shorteners because of all the features and statistics it provides. Bit.ly is another great service I’ve just started using that seems equally as promising.

What if I want to shorten my URLs without loosing any search engine juice?

Something I’ve started to seeing done sporadically around the web is custom URL shoteners. I’m not talking about shorteners that allow you to customize the URL (Example: http://bit.ly/jonbishop). I’m talking about a wordpress plugin that allows you to create your own short URLs on your own domain. I had heard about GoCodes a little while ago and have recently been taking a second look at it. It’s worth a look.

So go explore the world of URL shoteners and begin checking out all the features the different services provide whether it be the classic TinyURL or a more revolutionary approach.

This post is part of the Magicomm series β€œPrinter Tweet Tipsβ€œ. To keep up to date on other posts in this series, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog feed.

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Printer Tweet 6: Direct Messaging

You’ve now mastered Tweeting and Replying to your fellow twitterers but maybe you want to message a user without the rest of the world seeing it. No problem. Just type “d”, then a space, then the username of the person you would like to send your message to. So if my boss wanted to send me a message from our company account it would look like this:

What’s so great about Direct Messages?

Well, there are a couple great things about direct messages:

  • Mobile alerts. If the user you’re sending your message to has mobile alerts set up they will receive your tweet via txt message.
  • Email alerts. If the user you’re sending your message to has email alerts set up under notifications they will receive your tweet via email.
  • Privacy. Direct messages are only viewable by the person who receives the message.
  • Greeting new followers. Direct messages are a great way to personally greet new followers without cluttering your twitter stream with redundant introductions. You can even automate this with tools like SocialToo.
So now you should be replying and direct messaging with the best of them. Send us a message if you liked this post.

This post is part of the Magicomm series β€œPrinter Tweet Tipsβ€œ. To keep up to date on other posts in this series, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog feed.

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Printer Tweet 5: Reply to This Tweet

Replying to other people’s posts is a great way to make connections and gain new followers.

What is a Reply and how do I start doing it?

Replies are Tweets directed at other Twitter users. This could be as a response to a question or even just trying to get their attention.

To send a reply, start your Tweet with the @ sign followed by the username you wish to reply to and then write out the rest of your Tweet.

Example: @spazcer awesome post on the Magicomm blog. Looking forward to the rest of the Printer Tweet series.

The general rule of thumb is to include an @ sign before every refrence of a Twitter user.

Example: Just got back from @Magicomm hanging out with @RickLittrell and @gd85us

Twitter in turn takes your @ replies and hyperlinks the username to the appropriate profile so other users can jump into the conversation. Twitter also keeps a list of all @replies directed at you.

Conversation is key

When viewing your Twitter stream, if you hover over any Tweet you will notice a little star and a curved arrow to the right of the tweet. The arrow is a quick link to prepopulate the text box at the top of the page. Some applications even go as far as linking directly to the tweet you are responding to. This comes in really handy when looking back and managing conversations.

Replies take up roughly 1/4 of all tweets on Twitter. In the last post, I said that variety is key to a successful Twitter account.

What should I reply with?

You could reply to anything your heart desires. Here are a few just to get my point across.

  • Event updates. A lot of people will Tweet themes and good discussions at events and replying to their tweets is a great way to participate without being in attendance.
  • Interact with a webinar. Twitter has become a great channel for discussions during webinars. It’s a great way to get the attention of the hosts as well as give your professional two cents.
  • Answers to questions. Become a resource and people will use you as a resource. This is one great way to establish yourself as an expert in your industry.
  • Compliments. Flattery goes a long way. If you found someone’s Twitter account through their blog and you enjoyed their posts, let them know with a friendly tweet.
  • Promote people you like. Help each other out. If a friend of yours just joined Twitter, let your followers know.
  • Everything else. I basically reply to anything I find interesting from anyone who seems interesting.

So to practice what we’ve learned today, click here to send an @reply to magicomm thanking them for this great post about @ replies.

This post is part of the Magicomm series β€œPrinter Tweet Tipsβ€œ. To keep up to date on other posts in this series, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog feed.

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Printer Tweet 4: What Should I Be Tweeting?

What Are You Doing?

That’s what Twitter wants to know and that’s what you are going to tell them. The trick is filtering out the stuff that other people don’t want to know. There is nothing wrong with tweeting about your personal life and in fact it is encouraged. If you post things that are funny, scary, sad, exciting etc, you’re more likely to get responses from other Twitter users.

Mix It Up

Here are a couple of things you can Tweet about:

  • Links to interesting news stories. You can usually find some interesting articles on social bookmarking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon.
  • Links to industry news. One of the things I will be talking about in a future post is how to choose who you are going to follow. One great thing about Twitter is the ability to connect with other individuals within your industry. Tweeting industry news both attracts more like minded individuals to your profile as well as gives your followers something to ReTweet (I’ll talk more about ReTweeting later as well)
  • Company news. Whether it’s your blog, news or press releases. Let the world know what your company is up to.
  • Ask questions. Twitter is a great resource for finding answers fast. It’s also a great way to get quick poll results.
  • ReTweet, reply and DM. This will make more sense within the next couple of posts. Twitter basically gives you the tools to reply to other people’s posts, re post other peoples posts or message them privately. This is the heart and sole of Twitter and each function will get special attention as needed.
  • Links to videos and images. This could be stuff from assorted sites liked Flickr or YouTube or even your own media from sites like 12seconds.tv and TwitPic.
  • Your thoughts. People love responding to other people’s opinions and it’s always interesting to hear other people’s points of view on topics.
  • Promotional material. Offer discounts to your Twitter followers.

The key is finding a good mix of resourceful and personal posts. Think of Twitter like an ongoing networking event. Learn from each other, help each other and make new connections.

This post is part of the Magicomm series β€œPrinter Tweet Tipsβ€œ. To keep up to date on other posts in this series, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog feed.

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