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I’m huge in Canada!
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After fantastic interviews with Saul Colt and Sarah Prevette (Toronto) and Mitch Joel (Montreal), I’m shifting to the West Coast to speak with Ryan Holmes, the CEO of Vancouver-based Invoke Media. Up next… Manitoba and Saskatchewan!

Download the podcast from iTunes, or play it below:

 

bio_ryanholmes

Ryan’s company is the creator of a Twitter client called Hootsuite.

What exactly is a Twitter client (also known as a dashboard)? It’s a way for individuals and companies to better manage their Twitter experience.

The adoption of Twitter definitely moves through various stages, from the initial hatred (why do I want to know what you’re having for lunch!!!) through a tiny toe in the ocean of status updates, and finally through the a-ha moment when it starts to add real value.

Some people will move through these stages faster than others, and it’s easy for power users to forget that millions of new people are signing up every day, and they’ve never used a URL shortener and don’t know what a ReTweet is.

I’m here to cut people some slack and help educate them. So if you fall into that category, now that you’ve got your graphical background and your bio written, you’ve got a few dozen (or hundred) followers, and you’re truly starting to grasp it, what’s next?

Start using a Twitter client such as Hootsuite. Why?  Here are…

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5 Reasons You Should Be Using a Twitter Client

1. URL shortener

A URL shortener is a way to take a very long web site address, or url, and compress it into a much smaller set of characters. This is especially necessary when using Twitter, since every character counts in your 140 character maximum for each message. For example, the URL below:

http://thehopkinsonreport.com/2009/07/09/episode-64-career-profile-from-big-city-marketing-to-small-town-coffee-shop/

can be shortened to:

http://ow.ly/sE3F

With Hootsuite, the URL shortener is built into the application.

2. Manage Multiple accounts

Why would someone need more than one Twitter account?  You might want a personal account for yourself and one for your business. You might want to keep an ‘anonymous’ account for things you’d like to say without jeopardizing your career. Or, you might work for a company with multiple divisions or brands.

Either way, Hootsuite makes it easy and virtually foolproof to toggle between multiple accounts. What I really like, is how it makes you specifically click on the icon of the account you want to tweet from every time. This might seem like an annoyance, but I like the fact that I have to consciously click the box to send from ‘Hopkinson Report’ vs. ‘JimHopkinson.’ But what’s cool is that if you want, you can choose to send out the same messages from multiple accounts at the same time.

3. Track statistics

The statistics within Hootsuite serve to answer the basic question, how many users clicked on my link? You can check total statistics by date range, or the last 24 hours, 7 Days, or 30 days. You can drill down to individual tweets to see which ones got the most clicks. While this is a great start, I want more more more.

In my interview, Ryan indicated that they were going to add additional stats, such as which users retweet your content the most. I’d like to see more data on retweets, time of day, most popular keywords, tweets over time, and other stuff I can’t even think of yet. The more data, the better.

4. Tweet later
Hootsuite allows you to write a tweet and then ‘Send Later.’ Why use scheduled tweets? Here are some examples:

- Content flow. You don’t want to overload your readers with too much content at the same time. Using this method, you can find 3-4 different stories in the morning, and schedule them to be sent every few hours or so.

- Time zone differences. Have something very important to say first thing Monday morning? Well, you might want to hold off and schedule it for 12:30 eastern time, when the New Yorkers and Bostonians are checking personal email and tweets during their lunch hour, and the west coasters from Seattle to San Diego are checking their accounts over morning coffee at 9:30.

- Optimizing traffic. When is best time to tweet? Perhaps you’ll find your business updates are read first thing in the morning, while posts about travel plans work well late on Thursdays and Fridays.

- Product launches. Let’s say that you’re launching your new product on May 1 at noon eastern and you want to announce it via Twitter… except that on May 1 at noon eastern you’re going to be on a stage at a conference announcing your new product.  You can queue it up while you’re still in the green room.

5. Organize your followers into groups

Having hundreds, thousands, and up to millions of fans following you on Twitter sounded like a good idea as you were ramping up, but eventually you’ll find yourself trying to filter your legions of fans into manageable groups. With Hootsuite, you can create multiple tabs to track different followers, as well as mentions. For example, mine are broken up into “people I know,” “sites I track,” “mentions,” and “direct messages,” among others.

These are just a few of the things you can do with a Twitter client. Listen to the entire interview with Ryan to gain even more insight into the trends, tools, and future of Twitter.  Oh, and did I mention it’s free to use?

Download the Hootsuite client at Hootsuite.com

Follow on Twitter: @HopkinsonReport | @Invoker

Click here to view the full interview transcript.

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