With the rapid increase in the popularity of Twitter, it seems everyone and their uncle are creating Twitter tools and Twitter related websites. Some of these tools and websites are very helpful and can be great resources, while others leave much to be desired. So what tools should you use? What sites are good resources?
Buzzable allows you to create public or private groups either centered around a specific topic. The groups gather content from a various feeds, such as Twitter, blogs, Google News, Digg, and others. You can setup specific sources for the group and/or you can set up feeds by keyword. The idea is that members of the groups can then discuss the topics of the various feeds.
I first came across Buzzable through a Church Crunch blog article. They open their article with “I’m not even sure your product needs to do it well for you to have thousands of signups within hours. But grouping in Twitter is in serious want and so people will sign up to do it.” Well, Church Crunch setup a Buzzable group and last time a checked, after 2 weeks they only had 8 signups. Not the thousand of signups they may have hoped for. (see comments below for a clarification from the folks at Church Crunch.)
I’m not trying to put down Church Crunch. It’s a great blog and they have over 500 people following them in Twitter itself. I’m just pointing out that Buzzable, while an interesting idea, may not be something your church (or anyone) would benefit from as a marketing tool. I think it depends what you want to use it for. If you have a group of people within your church that would like to get info about a topic and discuss it online, then you could setup a buzzable group for them, but, at least right now, I think that’s about all it’s good for. I don’t see it being very helpful for church marketing.
Twellow is like a yellow pages for Twitter. They read through all the publich Twitter posts and analyze the content. Then they categorize each of the users responsible for the messages into the various categories. You can then search these categories to find people who Twitter about things you’re interested in. They are also working on ways to incorporate other social media sources other than Twitter.
This is a pretty cool resource. It can be very helpful towards finding sources of information about a specific topic. If you’re wondering how to make sure you are listed in Twellow, you don’t need to worry about that. If you have an active Twitter account and have posted some tweets, you’re already listed. So, hey free marketing without you having to do a thing…other than Twitter of course.
Twitterfall is a way of viewing the latest ‘tweets’ of upcoming trends and custom searches on the micro-blogging site Twitter. Updates fall from the top of the page in near-realtime.
You can choose from a list of popular “trends” and watch the Tweets flow. You can also customize the “trend” you want to watch by entering keywords. Any Tweet related to the keyword(s) you enter will be added to the queue. If you see a Tweet you like, you can reply, send a private message, select to follow the author, or view the Tweet in Twitter. If you are really interested in knowing trends or what people are saying about a subject and really have nothing better to do than stare at a constantly updating list of Tweets, then this is the site for you.
As a marketing tool, it could be useful if you have the time to spend. The idea would be to enter a keyword about something related to your churches ministry. When you see someone tweet about it, you can comment and begin a dialog. This can not only help you reach the person who tweeted, but also the people following them. You can also use geo-filtering for specific locations. Be sure to include your church’s name and a link in some of your responses.
HelloTXT can be a time saver if you use several different social network and microblogging websites, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Basically, you can enter you status update message on the HelloTXT site and then have it posted on all your social networking accounts at once. You can also view your friends status updates from various social networking sites all in one place. If you have a lot of friends across several social networking sites, then this can bring all their updates into one place, but you don’t get everything each social network offers. For example, Facebook’s newsfeed brings in a lot more information than just the status updates of your friends.
I could go on, but this post has gotten longer than I intended and there are several places where you can find lists of Twitter related tools and websites. I’ll list a few at the end of this post.
So what should you use?
That’s really up to you. There are very few, if any tools, that are useful to everyone. There are two main things you may want to consider when you are looking trough the avalanche of new tools and sites:
- Is this tool or site really something that will be useful to me in my specific situation? Just because it’s new or cool doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Personally, I don’t have accounts in a whole lot of social networking or microblogging sites, so I don’t really have a use for HelloTXT.Com. It’s a neat idea, just not for me.
- Are people actually using the service? This is more for services than tools. For example, Buzzable may seem like a cool website, but if no one is going to signup to be in your group, it would just be a waste of time. Twellow, on the other hand, is populated with hundreds of thousands of Twittering people and is one of the more popularly used Twitter related sites. So, it can be very useful.
Here are a few places you can find lists of more tools and websites related to Twitter:
The eBook, The Reason Your Church Must Twitter, also had a list of helpful tools for Twitter:
“Is Your Church Social – Part 15 – Twitter – Why Churches Should Use Twitter“
Are there any Twitter sites or tools that you have found to be particularly useful? Tell us about them.