Twitter, the youngest in the brood of social networking websites, is changing the face of hospitality, 140-characters at a time. Twitter is an RSS feed-style tool that allows users to share and discover information in real-time. As more organizations begin to tap into this phenomenon in a bid to directly connect with customers, operators may or may not be aware that there is a wide array of Twitter tools available at their disposal to aid in their social networking efforts. Hospitality Technology offers this round-up of nine Twitter tools that help with management, analysis, design elements and more.
Analyze this: tools that measure
Often referred to as the "Google Analytics for Twitter users," TwitterAnalyzer offers more than 50 different statistical measurements that enable users to analyze not only their own Twitter presence, but that of their friends as well. TwitterAnalyzer users have the ability to view measurements via both 3D graphics/charts and world view maps. Top features include the ability to track daily reach rates, follower activity, number of retweets (when other users re-post your tweets), tweets by subject, group demographics and more.
Want to get the scoop on your company's (or your competition's) social, hashtag (see sidebar on page 30 for explanation of hashtags), or URL ratio? How about how often they post, the subjects that are top of mind, or who is following them? Tweeps.info is a service that tracks statistical information about Twitter users including the afore-mentioned and more. A quick click on any of your most mentioned subjects will bring up not only data on how often that subject is mentioned on Twitter, but also a list of that subject's most frequent tweeters. Users can also tap into this service to help them to decide who to follow. A keyword search allows users to view a list of the top twitters on any subject. Plus Tweeps.info's statistics are updated several times a day.
Tweettronics offers users a one-stop-shop for integrated searches, automated analysis and enhanced reporting. Searchable by brand, topic or product, users can chart not only number of mentions, but also audience sentiments. Is someone tweeting negatively about your brandââ¬¦positively? Tweettronics also features a number of reports to choose from including interactive graphs of Tweet sentiments and volume, and reports that compare brands. Plus users can calculate the influence of their tweets via estimates tied to the likelihood of your message being read and the likelihood of it being retweeted.
Managing the content mine field
For anyone who has his or her thumb in multiple social networking pies, TweetDeck can help you to organize information and connect with audiences across Twitter, Facebook and MySpace through a personalized browser all at no cost. Among TweetDeck's many functions, users can monitor their friends' conversations, follow topics in real-time, receive up-to-date notifications and avoid Twitter spam. What's more, TweetDeck is also available for the iPhone, allowing users to sync up their devices as a mobile option.
TweetDeck is a popular tool among hospitality operators, and is being used by such operations as Pizza Hut (www.pizzahut.com
) and Kimpton Hotels & Resorts (www.kimptonhotels.com
"We use TweetDeck for the day-to-day tracking of the @PizzaHut Twitter Account, which helps us to engage with our followers and provide timely feedback to their questions and comments," says Baron Concors, CIO for Pizza Hut. "It also allows us to access multiple searches and upload photos and videos from one dashboard."
"Twitter gives Kimpton a whole new platform to connect with customers," says Niki Leondakis, chief operating officer, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. "Tweeting and engaging in online conversations with existing and potential new customers is invaluable but can be a time commitment. TweetDeck provides me with an efficient, streamlined way to search and monitor multiple topics which ultimately leads to insight that helps me to be a more relevant and interactive tweeter."
Interested in uploading multiple tweets for future deployment? Tweet-U-Later is a free application that allows users to create and schedule one or more messages in advance. Users simply need to create an account, log in to write a message, and then set their desired posting time.
This free business and marketing tool, which was recently named a top Twitter business application by both PCWorld Magazine and CIO Magazine, allows users to schedule and set recurring messages, translate tweets into any language, spell-check, shorten URLs and more. Users can register their blog or business RSS feeds with TwAitter. What's more, TwAitter integrates with the management platform Ping.fm (http://ping.fm
), to allow users to post messages to multiple social media sites with the click of a button.
Additional Twitter goodies
Interested in sharing more through your Twitter account than the typical thought or link? TweetCube is designed specifically for users who are interested in sharing files via Twitter. Users can blast images, music, PDFs and more to their followers through this application.
Get all of your employees on the same page, Twitter-style. Hashwork is a social business tool that enables companies to connect with their employees, customers, partners and other audiences and groups on the Internet. This application integrates bi-directionally with Twitter allowing users to attach files, images and wiki-style text if they wish.
Add some panache to an otherwise plain Twitter page with TweetXilla.com. Formally know as TwitterBackground.com, TweetXilla.com enables users to enhance their pages with customized Twitter backgrounds. Users have the option to upload multiple free Twitter backgrounds automatically with the Twitter API, or contract one of TweetXilla's graphic designers to create a custom background for a $95 fee.
Operators need to keep in mind that these are just some of the many Twitter tools and applications available today. Even more analytic, management and specialized applications are available on the Twitter fan wiki (http://twitter.pbworks. com/Apps
). And for those who are interested in creating their own app, Twitter also offers an application programming interface (API) (http://apiwiki.twitter.com