Tool For Identifying Fake Twitter Followers?

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Okay, in fairness it says it’s the Beta application. This tool could help trim down on the number of fake Twitter followers you have.

Have you ever wondered how many of your Twitter followers were fake accounts? Me too. In fact I’m pretty careful about not accepting accounts that even look suspicious. Color me careful, but I don’t want spammer accounts or faked accounts connected to me. Of course it is Twitter and it is public so pretty much anyone can see pretty much everything; a fact I constantly keep in mind.fake twitter follower screen capture

The reason I would prefer to not have spammers or faked accounts following me on Twitter, as in I block them, is because they are like weeds. If you let one grow then others will grow around them. Have you ever had ten or twenty followers all in the same day with oddly similar profiles? That’s what I mean.

So there’s this tool available from Social Bakers which *could* be a good tool. I tried it out, and while I was not terribly impressed, I have hope. One hope is that someone from Social Bakers will chime in and talk to us about their tool. The other hope is that they continue to develop this, and that Twitter actually lets tools like this work to do things like mass unfollow. Yes, I like that.

So here’s the tool. It’s very simple. You type your Twitter handle into the text field and click “Check”. That’s it. The results speak for themselves. Scroll down a little because they did give me one name of one account I could block, or visit their profile. So, keep working on it guys – this is my kind of useful tool! What we really want to see is the full list of the people your tool finds suspicious. Okay? Thanks.

My Most Influential Twitter List

This list changes from time to time. You can follow it on Twitter here. This list is called Gens Prosperum for obvious reasons. There are other people I find  influential on other lists. Tweets from these people are also featured in Gens Prosperum (Weekly) on Paperli. You may read it here.

These members are listed in no particular order. It is a widely varied list as you will see! These are some of the people I most like to read and who, generally, have a high amount of real world influence. I do not endorse anything they say or their views overall, I simply find much of their content stimulating.

List members

  1. Executive Chairman & former CEO

  2. Yahoo homepage editor; Techie from the TI 994A to the Galaxy Note 2. And, yes, of course I have a working Mac 128k and Computer Space.

  3. CEO@YieldMo, Was CEO of Quigo for 5+ yrs. and sold to AOL in 2007. Venture Partner w/FFVentures, Angel investor in Klout, Meetup, Flurry and 100+companies

  4. General Manager, DailyCandy *opinions are mine*

  5. ALL the news from #TED: TEDTalks, TED Conferences, the TED Prize and more. Continue reading

5 Things Businesses Should Never Do On Twitter

This is the small business version of a short list intended to inspire thought and ignite action. While items on this list may convert to personal, social use of Twitter they may be even more critical to protect brand reputation. Small business owners have so many thin lines between personal and business the blurriness occasionally results in missed communications which damage brand trust. When engaging on Twitter as a brand it is crucial to keep these five things, among others not mentioned herein, at the front of the mind to avoid embarrassing and harmful actions.

5 Things Small Business Should Never Do On Twitter - Book CoverTweeting is simple, too simple perhaps, and therein lies the rapidity at which reputation and trust can decline through use of that channel for business. Every small business representative who uses Twitter to share information or engage with their customer base must remember at all times the number of users following the brand account is only a small representation of those who can view the Tweets. Since Twitter is truly public, except for private accounts which are useless for social media marketing, every syllable has the opportunity to build or destroy trust. With that in mind here are “5 Things Small Businesses Should Never Do On Twitter”:

ONE – Never attack the competition. This activity could result in the loss of more than only trust or confidence from existing and prospective customers. Depending on the words chosen it could also bring the chance for the poster to face charges of libel for damaging the reputation of the competitor. When a prospect sees a provider attacking a competitor, or another customer, it brings into question how the provider may respond to the new customer in public.

DO – defend the industry and encourage readers to research their needs and choose the company best suited to provide services to them. In the end it makes the defender look more confident and in control and not fearful of losing an opportunity to serve which may be taken up by the competitor.

TWO – Never ignore negative comments directed to the business. As use of Twitter grows and brands begin to fully grasp the power of using the channel for dissemination of information it is also crucial to recognize Twitter, by design, is a two-way communication channel entirely in the global, public space. Prospective clients who find a Twitter account which seems only to push information out and never respond may be discouraged from engaging that company for business.

DO – respond in a timely manner even if it is to invite the poster to move the discussion offline. The definition of “timely manner” may vary and the business operator should have an understanding of whether that means one minute, one hour or one day. Suffice it to say more than 24 hours may lead to a souring of the topic. Continue reading

When Is The Best Time To Tweet?

My results from using TweetWhen just before writing this post.

Ah – great question! How about right now? Okay, I know what you mean. Your question really is when is the best time to tweet to get the most eyes, the most retweets and (hopefully) the most conversions. You’re in luck because I don’t know either. Now we’re even. I do, however, know where some tools are to help you find “an” answer.

First is TweetWhen. It’s a property of HubSpot which just gets bigger, and bigger and bigger. The image here in this post is from my TweetWhen examination just a few minutes ago. Be aware this does change from time to time but having been on Twitter for about 4 years mine seems to be somewhat stabilized.

There was a blog over on Bit.ly back in May of this year (2012) which gave us some good graphic representation of the answer to this question. In addition to informing us “a tweet has a half-life of 2.8 hours”, which I found highly valuable, they went on to demonstrate in this post what it looks like when you track your tweets through to clicks but not all the way to conversion.

Taking the question, and data, one step farther was the digital agency Raka who converted it into a beautiful infographic. Keep in mind these are average times, overall. Tracking from tweet to click to sale/conversion is a different story. A part of the story I really can’t give away but will be happy to help you … for a small fee. Or a hamburger on Tuesday.

 

Engaging With Small Business on Twitter Through #SmallBiz

small business infographic for twitter use

I make a lot of connections through the hashtag #smallbiz on Twitter. It’s one of those things you either “get”, “don’t get” or “want to get but don’t”. If you’re in class 3 maybe these numbers will help you see the amount of engagement potential just from following this one hashtag.
Granted it has its share of spam as is the nature of the topic and the medium. Hopefully you won’t add to that and I won’t report you and block you. Just throwing that out there.

With an average use of around 1,500 times a day I think that will keep your automated keyword machine humming. Granted an easy 50% of those are spam even if just 10% are realistic opportunities for engagement you’ve still got a full plate.

This infographic was created automatically using visual.ly so it has a very robotic look at a thin line of data – still it’s enough to whet your appetite about this powerful tool: Twitter keyword monitoring and engagement.

Whether you follow up manually or use some sort of automated tool (gag) to initiate contact is obviously up to you but Twitter hashtags are not to be ignored by the serious social media marketer.

And go ahead and give visual.ly a try, too, and share with us what you create. Happy hunting!

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Small Business Means Big Hope

Small Business is still the hope of America and Entrepreneurs, perhaps just like you, are ready to fearlessly approach and conquer the challenges it takes to keep progress in the plan. Regardless of how many regulations, how many taxes and how many obstacles there are to operating a small business the Entrepreneurs of America, and indeed the world, are agile and fearless and will adapt and change until their drive is satisfied.

There are millions of small businesses in operation right now and the biggest employer in America is not corporate America. In fact it’s not even the government. No – it’s small business! The champions of advancement and recovery are now and always have been Entrepreneurs like you who don’t easily scare and refuse to back down from a challenge!

How To Stop Applications From Posting To Twitter As You

Have you ever logged in to Twitter to see that you have been posting, mentioning people or maybe even sending instant messages to people but you haven’t been near your account for hours? It happens. When it does, provided you haven’t given some rogue programmer or site master your login information, you can control access to your account. There are several legitimate applications who ask for permission to access your account for varying reasons. Seesmic, for example, needs to be able to login as you, post as you and send instant messages as you. Paper.li needs to be able to read as you to work and wants to post as you so it can spam all of the people it copied when it posted.

You can turn off access to your Twitter account to any application using the Twitter API by following some very, VERY simple steps. Watch this short video on YouTube for a quick walk-through showing exactly how to do this.

My Twitter Follow Policy? Simple Really

Twitter is still very powerful and doesn’t seem to be changing course except to pick up speed. With the announcement that Twitter dot com is planning on rolling out some deeper analytics tools with an upcoming upgrade I’m really kind of stoked about it. For me Twitter is still the better engagement tool for live online conversation. Certainly it is not the only but it is very powerful and has led to some great relationships over the years. Many of you reading (or listening) now I first met on Twitter.

One of the most frequently asked questions I take whether in person, at a session or online regarding Twitter is “how should I follow people”? Truly it is, to a degree, a very personal or corporate-centric answer. While I love data to back up answers and constantly challenge people who “just say stuff that sounds good” I have no data to back up the fact that it is personal. There is, however, a science to following just like there is a science to tweeting. That said here is my policy in a nutshell:

I use auto-follow tools to follow people when they tweet specific key words. I manually cull that list of people I know I will not benefit or will not be likely to engage (people who tweet only in Japanese for example). I do not follow people who do not follow me back – it doesn’t matter who they are, how cool or popular they are or how successful they are. Those people may or may not go into a list. The list they go in may or may not be public. Here’s a short audio bit about it:

What is YOUR Twitter follow policy? We want to know!

How to track Twitter conversations between 2 people

The other day I needed to find an exact tweet in a short exchange between the Atlanta Falcon’s social media manager and I. Since I had failed to favorite the tweet I needed, expecting the other party to have responded earlier, I was left to use searching and scrolling and other messy approaches.

Then I remembered Bettween, a service I had used a few months ago. It is possible I learned about Bettween from Laura Fitton or from OneForty.com and you can always find great Twitter tools there as well.

Bettween is a free service that allows you to enter two Twitter handles and track the conversation between those people. In fact you may even create a custom widget to embed in your blog or website with an ongoing live stream based on your search results. (I did not cover this in the video but the image to the right is the results from the second search I did in the video.)

Using the system is very straight forward. Results may take some time to compile so be patient. In fact the search I did between Megan Berry and DKNY did not complete until about 4 minutes after I had completed the video.

There are definitely other ways to do this but this is just a quick look at one method. Feel free to leave others in the comments section and let others know about what you have found. Perhaps there are better ways or just other ways – either way – we want to know about them!

WordPress like button plugins – Facebook, Google+ and Twitter

WordPress Plugin: Simple Like Buttons

Here’s a WordPress plugin many people can use. The situation is that I had separate Facebook, Twitter and Google+ buttons scattered at the top of my posts. While I wanted them at the top I would prefer for them to all be aligned in a single row. I searched a bit in the WordPress plugins directory for Facebook Like, Twitter tweet and Google Plus 1 but was finding only individual plugins for each social media site.

Just as I was about to give up on the search and code my own I found Simple LikeButtons (Facebook, Google+, Twitter). In the image it appears the buttons are at the top of the post, and they are, but “out of the box” this plugin places the buttons at the bottom of the posts where I happen to have a lot of other things going on. Unfortunately the plugin also does not have a way through their built in options to do anything other than select which buttons are displayed.

Since WordPress works around something called “the loop” and this plugin was very simply coded (some plugins are packed with code but this one relies on much third party coding so it is much smaller and simpler) I knew it would be pretty easy to find the location in the script which handled the location task and modify it. I suppose I could have modified the admin options script but if I did that I would like re-code the entire script and submit it to the repository myself.

The “fix” is so easy that anyone even without any PHP or JavaScript or even HTML to do it. You can watch the short video for a visual instruction. If you need me to do it for you I can and will. Just contact me and I’ll get it done … $25 for this. Enjoy!

How to host a successful Twitter chat event

If you’re average you didn’t read this article. If you’re above average you read the title and got this far thinking, “I thought Twitter was all chat”. Welcome, you’re going to love this if you read this far.

Twitter, in case you do not know, is the wildly popular global, open stream, 140 character text chat system. If you have been around long enough to remember the AOL chat room with 25 guests maximum image that with thousands of guests but limited to 140 characters including spaces called “tweets”. If you do not yet have a Twitter account here’s what I suggest:

  • Spend a minute thinking about your Twitter “handle” aka your nickname on Twitter. Mine is@thekencook because @kencook was take. The @ symbol is automatically pre-pended so you do not have to include it when registering for your handle.
  • It would be advisable, also, to keep SEO in mind and incorporate a keyword but that’s less critical than actually *having* a Twitter account. As you tweet and converse you can use keywords, especially in links, to help boost your SEO. Google does index Twitter tweets.
  • Personally, I would double check to see if there is a domain name to match your Twitter handle available. For example I have thekencook.com to go along with my Twitter handle. You may want yumacondos.com or sencondchancehomes.com if you catch my drift.
  • Keep in mind the shorter your Twitter handle the less characters your name will take up when people ReTweet (forward) your messages. My friend Jeremy Blanton has JB140 so his only takes up 5 characters. Jeff Turner has respres. I do recommend the shorter names if you can get one that works.

There is more to it that just these but for starters you should be good to go with those. (You actually can change your Twitter handle later if for some reason it is necessary like when I was employed by AmericaHomeKey and ran their account and they terminated my division – I just kept it and changed the name to RefLeads http://twitter.com/refleads for example.)

 

Twitter Chat

Now that everyone has a Twitter account, ahem, let’s look very briefly at how a “Twitter chat” is different from “chatting on Twitter” and a basic look at how to do one right.

When you chat to an individual on Twitter in the open stream, not in Direct (private) Message, you prefix their handle with the @ symbol like @thekencook would come to me. You will also see words that are prefixed with the # symbol like #smedge. Those are called hashtags and are used to set tweets apart to be followed by the #hashtag. #smedge is the hashtag for Social Media Edge.

To host a chat, let’s say for example a chat about new homes you may want to create the hashtag #nhs (keeping it short so it does not consume much of your 140 character). Prior to just creating a hashtag, though, it is important to make sure it does not already exist or is not being actively used for another purpose. One way of doing so is simply to use the Twitter search function and searching for your hasthag like so: #nhs

That hashtag, #nhs, for example, is highly active because it has something to do with Nationalized Health Care in England evidently.

Another way to check, which does essentially the same thing but includes a nice little activity chart, is by visiting hashtags.org and doing the search from there. For example doing the search there for #blogchatshows a fairly active hashtag. Pick a hashtag that has not been used for several days to help ensure you aren’t stepping on anyone’s toes.

Once you have your Twitter account and have found a hashtag that will work you need to start building community around it. Firstly let all of your friends know. Do a Plancast announcement as well if you have followers there. You should also create a Facebook page with the name of the Twitter chat and invite your friends from Facebook who would be interested.

Some Twitter chats are outrageously active and it’s very difficult, at best, to follow the entire conversation stream. There are tools to help but even then it can be difficult. One of my favorite tools for very busy chats is  TweetGrid which allows you to monitor multiple Twitter events simultaneously. I create a 1×3 grid, 1 row of 3 columns, and I follow the hashtag, the organizer and my own handle. There is nothing to download and it’s not a tremendous drain on system resources like some of the thrid party solutions you have to download. You can also save your configuration so every time you join a chat you already have your columns set!

Mike Mueller is a big believe in Seesmic. Honestly I have never used it. I have tried TweetDeck and I can’t stand it. Maybe it’s because it is so resource hungry because of the number of connections I have on Twitter. Be that as it may I love TweetGrid.

If you are joining a smaller chat say with 20 participants or less, there is also TweetChat which simply monitors the hashtag and lets you interact from there. With both of my preferred solutions you do not need to type the #hashtag every time because it is included in your Tweets. On TweetGrid you will add it in the bar near the top. On TweetChat it is there by default on any hashtag you are monitoring.

Have your Twitter Chat at a regularly scheduled time. If it’s every third Thursday at 9PM CST then make it know. This way people who enjoy it will make arrangements to join again. I have a few favorites I try and join regularly, too.

Have your questions prepared ahead of time. Have a guest to join you if you can. Heck, ask me or one of my co-hosts, we’re usually interested. Six to eight questions is usually plenty for a one hour chat. Three or four can easily fill a 30 minute chat. Don’t start with questions the very minute the chat starts allow people the opportunity to introduce themselves and say “hi”.

Once you have a few people who have indicated their participation, say 4 to 5 minutes past the starting time let them know you’re about to ask the first question then ask right after. It is recommended to number your questions and remember you need to leave room for your #hashtag, too. So let’s use #hashtag as our tag and here is a sample question:

Q1 when calling expired listings how do you start the conversation with the property owner? #hashtag

When people answer they should answer with A1 I always blah de blah …

Here are a few important points to help make your chats successful:

  • Be consistent with the time you have the chat
  • Make sure your chat is not a secret and empower people to help like having a chat co-host
  • Keep your chat highly relevant to your audience and in a topic with which you are intimately familiar
  • Have guests who will bring visitors with them

The goal of Twitter chats may vary buy host. For me it is to expand my network and to meet an ever increasing number of people. So far, so good!

Happy chatting! When you’re ready to have some professional assistance with handling your online influence you know where to reach me! If you don’t, try this link for amazing web solutions!