TweetTwain-Swiss Army Knife To Automate Twitter Participation

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Automate participation on Twitter? Sacrilege, but readers who follow me and read my articles will know that I’m convinced that the time and effort to interact with friends and followers on social media cannot be justified by most businesses. The reason is that human interaction doesn’t scale. True interaction with 100 people on Twitter involves 100x the time it takes to interact with one person.

Most of the pundits try to beat business owners and operators over the head by telling them that they MUST interact, rather than broadcast into the social media space, but the hundreds of thousands of silent failures using Twitter suggest that it simply doesn’t work well.

So, that leaves automation. Automation refers to using the computer to take on social media/twitter tasks that would normally require a human to do. For example, you can automate following people who follow you, or you can automatically stop following those that stop following you. You can schedule tweets so they are sent automatically according to a schedule.

Automation trades off personal contact and interaction (not completely) for volume, and the ability to broadcast into twitter streams. Clearly you woudn’t do this for a personal account, but if you want to have regular information broadcast, it’s worth exploring as a business strategy. Given that over 92% of Tweets generate no discernable response from readers, it makes sense that volume can play a role in your use of Twitter.

Automation Options

There have been a number of options to automate some of the functions associated with using Twitter for business. I’ve used a number of them over the last few years. For example, you can use several online systems to auto-tweet new items in feeds. There are other platforms that will handle auto-following or auto-unfollowing and help you find people you follow who have gone inactive. However, none of the services provide automation of all the functions one might want to use in pursuit of effective marketing.

Enter TweetTwain. TweetTwain provides a number of automating options that will probably fill most business’ needs. In fact there are so many, I haven’t yet explored them in the free version, which is the one I’m talking about here. Before you read on, here’s the capsule comment.

This is the most sophisticated Twitter management tool available for businesses marketing on Twitter. It has some amazing capabilities and offers analytics and even a few features I would not ever have thought I might need. There’s a lot of innovation here. BUT, there’s a caveat, so read through to the bottom.

Here’s a few of the things you can do with TweetTwain Pro (the paid version):

  • You can monitor and analyse clicks on links you include in your tweets. That will allow you to discover what works and doesn’t work, and that’s a critical function for businesses.
  • You can find people to follow based on keywords and you can automate this process, while deciding things like how many people you would like to follow, how often, etc.
  • You can monitor your brand.
  • You can schedule your tweets.
  • You can have auto-replies sent that are keyword triggered, so the responses are tailored to the original messages. That’s pretty amazing.
  • Set up multiple rss feeds so new items are sent to your Twitter accounts.
  • You can import and export tweets, which means you can create a tweet file, for example, save it in csv format and import it so they tweets can be sent on the schedule you want. It makes it very convenient since you don’t have to be online to set things up. You can write you tweets on your ipod for example, and then transfer.
  • Supports multiple Twitter accounts.
  • Finally not only will TweetTwain help you with Twitter, but it also can be used with Facebook.

I can’t do justice to the program and its features, so I’ll direct you to the TweetTwain site, at which you can look at the features in depth, or better yet, download the free version to test it out. The url is: http://www.tweettwain.com/ .

There is a high quality, professional looking pdf manual you can download, even if you haven’t yet purchased TweetTwain Pro, and there’s also an online tutorial and screencasts to get up to speed. Unlike hosted solutions or more fly by night companies that peddle Twitter related software, it looks like this company has already committed itself to making the software easy to use and documented its features properly. A support ticket system exists if you need extra help.

Cost? According to their web page they have a promotional deal on for just $67. Money back guarantee. That seems to be a reasonable free for the available features.

There “Might” Be A Catch

The possible catch has to do with Twitter policies. Generally speaking their terms of service do NOT allow automation of most functions, and in the past they have taken action against software makers or platforms that make automation too easy. In the past Twitter has made it a condition of access to its system that companies remove elements of their services that allow too much automation, such as auto-following or auto-unfollowing, and scheduling tweets in a way that allows scheduling the same tweet more than once.

Enforcement has been inconsistent and spotty which is why you will find services and software offering all kinds of features that Twitter has frowned upon from other vendors and as indicated in their policies. The “punishment” usually involves denying a company access to the Twitter API (the way a program accesses Twitter). To be clear it’s the company that offers the service or the software that is punished, and NOT THE USER (the user would be you).

That could be a problem, since it is possible that Twitter will decide to block the use of software such as TweetTwain Pro, in whole or in part, presuming that blocking is technically possible. It’s no different than if you use other services to auto-tweet rss feeds, or schedule tweets or for following and bulk unfollowing. Technically all of these things could be deemed unacceptable and stopped.

Blame Twitter for this. It`s fair that they set up and enforce their rules as is their right, but it’s not reasonable to have inconsistent enforcement. In fact, often it seems that Twitter doesn’t much care. Once in a while it takes a stand against one or two service providers, while letting others continueto do identical or similar things.

So, there might be the risk that you could buy the software and a month or two down the road, have it blocked by Twitter. Hard to say how high the risk is. Personally, I don’t find that a scary problem. The cost of TweetTwain Pro is low enough that there’s not much risk here. The worst you can do is end up with slightly less useful software than you were hoping for.

Now, one more thing. Automation can get YOU into trouble, if you become greedy or unreasonable. If you think you will benefit from sending huge volumes of tweets in short times, you won’t. You’ll annoy people and you’ll get banned from Twitter (hopefully). If you want to automate getting followers by churning (following people, getting them to follow you, then unfollowing), you’ll probably have your accounts suspended or worse, permanently closed.

No program, no software can replace good judgment that respects the rights of others. Use this software and respect others and the principles Twitter is suggesting you apply, and it’s a good deal.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Robert Bacal
Robert began his career as an educator and trainer at the age of twenty (which is over 30 years ago!), as a teaching assistant at Concordia University. Since then he as trained teachers for the college and high school level, taught at several universities and trained thousands of employees and managers in customer service, conflict management and performance appraisal and performance management skills.

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