If you use Twitter for marketing (and you should, or you-re missing a huge opportunity to connect with existing customers, prospective customers, and influencers), then you know there are a few drawbacks to it: Twitter can take up a lot of time, and it can be difficult to measure the results of your efforts.
Fortunately, there are many free Twitter apps that can help you streamline the service, enhance marketing, and track your performance. Here are 15 of the most useful Twitter apps for small businesses we-ve found.
1. Localtweeps (free)
You can list yourself and search for other Twitter users on Localtweeps by keyword, city, or ZIP code. It-s a great tool to find local customers and join conversations related to your business. You can also list and hype your small business events and announce promotions on Localtweeps.
2. TwellowHood (free, pictured)
TwellowHood is part of Twellow, something of the Yellow Pages of Twitter. You can add your own listing on Twellow and search for other listings using hundreds of different search options. TwellowHood offers a visual map of Twellow listings, so you can find other Twitter users by location. It-s a great way to find prospective local customers as well as influential people in your local area who are on Twitter.
3. Nearby Tweets (free)
Nearby Tweets allows you to search actual tweets by keyword and location. This helps you find people in your local area who are tweeting about you, your business, your products, your industry, and so on.
4. MuckRack (free)
You can use MuckRack to find journalists in your area who use Twitter and connect with them. You can then offer your expertise as a resource for future stories or contact them when you have a newsworthy story that you want to share.
5. TweetChat (free)
TweetChat makes it easy to find, follow, and join real-time tweet chats happening between Twitter users about specific topics. Simply create a free account and enter the hashtag you want to follow.
6. Twitterfeed (free)
Want your blog posts to publish automatically to your Twitter and Facebook accounts? You can set it up in minutes with Twitterfeed.
7. TwitterCounter (free)
TwitterCounter offers a Twitter widget that you can place on your blog or website. It displays recent Twitter users who visit your website or blog (with their recent tweets) and lets you quickly follow them on Twitter without leaving your website or blog. TwitterCounter also offers premium features for a fee that provide statistics related to your Twitter account performance.
8. Cotweet (free)
If multiple employees publish updates to your small business Twitter profile, then Cotweet can make the process more efficient by allowing multiple people to access and tweet to your Twitter profile through separate Cotweet profiles. You can track their activities using Cotweet, too.
9. Seesmic (free)
Seesmic makes it easy for you to manage multiple Twitter and social networking accounts from the web, mobile devices, or your desktop. It also provides some performance statistics.
10. twtQpon (free)
You can create coupons for your small business and share them on Twitter using twtQpon. You can use them to promote special sales and discounts as well as reward your loyal Twitter followers. The app is free but paid versions offer more features if the free version isn-t enough for you.
11. SocialOomph (free)
The free version of SocialOomph allows you to schedule tweets to publish at a later date (great when you know you won-t be available to tweet for an extended period of time or want to announce, say, a future product release right when it happens). You can also track keywords and create an extended Twitter profile. A paid professional version offers more options for Twitter as well as Facebook and blog tools.
12. Twimailer (free)
When someone follows you on Twitter, you only get basic information about that user in the notification email that Twitter automatically sends to you (if you have your account configured to receive notification emails). With Twimailer, you get a lot more information in that email notification message, so it-s easier to determine whether or not your new follower is someone who you want to interact with and follow in return.
13. Twtvite (free)
Twtvite lets you publish events, invite people to attend, and track RSVPs. For even more features, paid versions of Twtvite are available.
14. Bubbletweet (free)
With Bubbletweet, you can publish short * - messages that display when someone visits your Twitter profile. Your * - can include any message you want - promote a special offer, an upcoming event, or a new product.
15. Twitalyzer (free)
Twitalyzer allows you to track numerous metrics related to your Twitter account performance. Paid versions offer additional tracking features.