Larry BraunerMy top social media sites aren’t particularly the social sites that receive the greatest number of visitors. They’re social media sites I find the most pleasurable to use and that fit in some way into my search and social strategy.

My top 10 social media sites nicely complement all of my blogging and search engine optimization efforts. Your list of top social media sites will likely differ from mine, since it’s highly improbable that you and I will share identical search and social strategies.

For the record, here are the Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Websites, the Top 15 Most Popular Web 2.0 Websites, and the Top 15 Most Popular Social Bookmarking Websites according to eBizMBA, from which you can pick and choose.

My Top Social Media Sites

Social Media SitesThe following are my top 10 social media sites at present, and while Facebook is my favorite social media site by far, the rest of the social media sites are listed only very approximately in order of my personal preference.

  1. Facebook - I spend more time on Facebook than on all other social media sites combined. I use my Facebook profile for networking and my Facebook page, as well as those of my place of business and my clients, for marketing and for community building. I also participate in quite a few of the new Facebook groups.
  2. Ning - I use Ning for marketing and for community building. My favorite Ning social networking websites are the Small Business Network and My Linking Power Forum. I plan to launch more Ning sites in the future.
  3. LinkedIn - I use LinkedIn strictly for business networking and have more than 4,000 direct connections. You may add me to your network using the email address in my LinkedIn profile.
  4. Twitter - I manage a number of Twitter business accounts using my Tweet Adder software. My main account is @larrybrauner. I share lots of links on Twitter and monitor each account for mentions and replies.
  5. StumbleUpon - Of all the social media sites listed, StumbleUpon is the one that generates the most web traffic. I’ve already shared more than 700 web pages through my StumbleUpon account. Share as many good web pages as you can and categorize them well.
  6. Business Exchange - I use my account at Business Exchange to share business content and to rub elbows with the information elite. Occasionally, I receive large bursts of traffic from this bookmarking site.
  7. Amplify - I share content as often as I can on Amplify, partly for the Amplify community and partly for the dofollow links this micro-blogging site provides.
  8. Posterous - Ditto for my micro-blog on Posterous.
  9. Delicious - Content on Delicious is often picked up and linked-to by other sites. Use tags correctly, with hyphens or underscores between the words in your keyword phrases for best results. I believe that it also helps content to get indexed quickly by the search engines.
  10. Digg - I use Digg for pretty much the same benefits as Delicious.

Now it’s your turn. Which social media sites do you like and why? :-)

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Larry BraunerTwitter and LinkedIn partnered last fall enabling you to automatically tweet your LinkedIn status and to post your Twitter tweets on LinkedIn.

However, I envisioned a much more significant integration of the two social media sites than merely enabling users to cross-post with ease.

I predicted in Top 10 Reasons Why the Twitter LinkedIn Partnership is Big News that the integration of Twitter and LinkedIn would reduce an enormous amount of content by functioning more or less like a Twitter list containing members of your LinkedIn network.

LinkedIn Signal Beta

With the recent release of LinkedIn Signal Beta, unveiled at TechCrunch Disrupt, a fuller integration of Twitter and LinkedIn is already at hand.

LinkedIn users will be able to search Twitter using keywords and filter the results by degree of connection, industry, company, time posted, region, school and hashtags.

To increase its integration with Twitter, LinkedIn needed the Twitter handles of its users, in order to identify relevant tweets within Twitter’s database. LinkedIn obtained the needed Twitter handles by encouraging users to avail themselves of the initial integration and by letting them display a Twitter link on their LinkedIn profiles.

LinkedIn Signal New Twitter Search Engine for Business


Uses for LinkedIn Signal

LinkedIn Signal will make LinkedIn the Twitter search engine of choice for business users. At the same time, LinkedIn Signal becomes a powerful online networking tool. You’ll easily see what your connections are tweeting, and you’ll more readily find new people with whom to connect.

LinkedIn is already the business networking site of business networking sites. Now, as a powerful Twitter search engine for business too, LinkedIn is the go-to social website for all hoping to transact business on the web. You’re welcome to connect with me there: www.LinkedIn.com/in/brauner

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Since Twitter Lists Beta Observations and Tips one month ago, Twitter completed the roll out of Twitter Lists to all its users.

Twitter members have been occupied with building and following lists, while the pundits have been occupied with observing and dissecting them (the lists of course, not the members). :-P

Twitter ListsThe reaction in the blogosphere has been somewhat mixed. 9 Reasons Why You Should Be In Love with Twitter Lists (RotorBlog) was very upbeat. Twitter Lists Are Not About Discovery (Regular Geek) was more skeptical.

A new social media site, Listorious, has surfaced to helps us discover Twitter lists for categories which are important to us. How splendid this is! I’ll explain why.

Realizing the Potential of Web 2.0

Twitter comes along and lets anybody who’s connected to the Net (even a bot) create a user account and add text messages (tweets) to the Twitter message stream. Simultaneously, Twitter lets users subscribe to messages in the Twitter stream.

Twitter is a good example of Web 2.0, i.e. people creating and sharing web content.

Twitter becomes popular. Millions of messages from millions of people start flowing downstream. The social media community asks, “How will all these messages be organized?”

Twitter responds, permitting users to create and share lists of Twitter users. These Twitter lists are another form of Web 2.0 content. The community wonders, “How will all these lists be organized?”

Listorious appears, and using the Twitter API,  provides a platform for users to create and share Twitter meta lists (lists of Twitter lists). These meta lists are yet more Web 2.0 content.

Suddenly, we’re realizing the potential of Web 2.0, the social web, on a large scale. We’re creating, sharing and organizing our own web of information.

How I Use Twitter Lists

I use Twitter Lists both to organize people I find on Twitter and to discover new people.

I have 20 Twitter lists of my own, some private, to which I assign people, and I explore Twitter and Listorious to find new lists of Twitter people.

For example, I like lists of public relations people and companies, because in many ways, my skills are a strong match for PR firms. I let Twitter lists help me locate and connect with organizations and people working in the PR and communications industry.

When I find a list I like, I follow it. I certainly don’t want to lose track of it. I assign many people in the list to my own lists too.

I also follow most of the people. I hope that they’ll check out my blog and decide to follow me back. Perhaps they’ll even subscribe while they’re here.

In Conclusion

The way Twitter Lists have greatly extended the functionality of Twitter is cool. So is the way that Twitter Lists fit nicely into Web 2.0 social media paradigm. Critics can say what they wish about Twitter lists but cannot diminish their usefulness to me (and to my readers).

Okay. We’ve reached the point in the post where you usually comment. ;-)

What do you like or dislike about Twitter Lists? How would you improve them if you were Twitter?  What are some of your favorite Twitter lists?

Follow @larrybrauner on Twitter. :-)

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Last week, Twitter released a beta version of Twitter Lists, “a great way to organize the people you follow and discover new and interesting accounts.”

“Beta” implies that there are still some rough edges, and tweaks are to be expected. It also implies that you might not yet have access to Twitter Lists.

Undoubtedly this article still has some rough edges as well and revisions are to be expected. ;-)

So what are Twitter Lists all about?

Twitter ListsFacebook has lists that let you organize your friends. Twitter Lists enable you to do much more than that. This brand new Twitter tool adds an entirely new and exciting dimension to Twitter.

Twitter Lists presents new targeting opportunities, and may also create new online social networking possibilities. We’ll know more once the feature is fully tested and rolled out.

Twitter Lists Observations

Here are five ways in which Twitter Lists and Facebook lists are similar:

  1. You categorize people and assign them to one or more lists. A person may belong to many lists or to none. The choice is totally yours.
  2. You create and name your lists, and you can edit its name even after the list has been established.
  3. You manage your lists and can add and remove people whenever you wish.
  4. Facebook lists and any Twitter list which you make private are known only to you, the list creator.
  5. You can view status updates and posts that are limited to the people you assigned to a particular list, making it easier to follow categories of people such as family or business contacts.

Here are five ways in which Twitter Lists and Facebook lists differ:

  1. All Facebook lists are private. However, on Twitter you can also create public lists to share with other members.
  2. People can easily tell to which public Twitter lists they’ve been assigned and who assigned them by clicking on the “listed” link on any of their account pages. Here’s my listed link (assuming that you can access it).
  3. On Facebook you can add only friends (or invited friends) to your lists. On Twitter you can add anybody as long as that person hasn’t protected his or her updates. Consider Twitter Lists to be a new method for following people.
  4. You can use Facebook lists to limit access to parts of your profile. This doesn’t apply to Twitter lists. Your brief Twitter profile is public and is visible to everybody, even to people who do not belong to Twitter.
  5. Not only can you view updates limited to the people you assigned to a particular Twitter list, you can do the same with anybody else’s Twitter list which you follow. Once you follow somebody’s list, you can access the updates for that list (as well as any of your own lists) using the lists menu on your Twitter sidebar. By the way, it’s okay to be nosy, so don’t feel guilty about it!

Twitter Lists Tips

Here are nine Twitter tips for maximizing your use of Twitter Lists:

  1. Look around to see how people are using Twitter Lists and in which lists they’ve been listed. You’ll get a good sense of how Twitter Lists work and a bunch of ideas for lists you can create yourself.
  2. Experiment. While you run the risk of driving other people crazy, you are free to make as many changes to your Twitter lists as you wish.
  3. You can add yourself to your own lists which useful for when people follow your lists.
  4. Instead of following somebody else’s Twitter list, often it will make more sense to select people from that list and assign them to your own list. That gives you some control and flexibility. However, keep in mind that when people are added to that person’s list in the future, your list will not update automatically.
  5. Be careful when assigning people to public Twitter lists. Don’t offend them (unless of course you’re an antisocial type of person). They might retaliate by assigning you to a list of jerks or dorks or even worse. At present, Twitter lists can’t be altered by the people listed. Twitter will have to take action if (when?) behavior problems surface.
  6. On the other hand, use your Twitter lists to communicate thoughts about people in a constructive way. Assign them to a public Twitter list of cool peeps or to a list of experts in a niche. Do this even (or especially) to people who don’t follow you!
  7. Do anything you want with private Twitter lists just as you would with Facebook lists. If you want a Twitter list of nerds or spammers, keep it private or face likely retaliation. You probably don’t want to make your “little black book” public either.
  8. You can start off by making a Twitter list private and later switch it to public and vice versa.
  9. Have fun, but set limits, as Twitter Lists can be addictive. Don’t let Twitter Lists become an obsession (unless you happen to be looking for a new obsession).

I’m @larrybrauner on Twitter. Assign me to any funky Twitter lists, and you’ll live to regret it. :-P

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Larry BraunerConnecting with your target audience on Twitter is difficult, and with all the bots and spammers joining the site, it’s getting to be more and more difficult to find real people each day.

Let me share a targeting example with you.

Suppose that you want to locate wine enthusiasts. You happen to find my Twitter profile through Twitter Grader or a similar program, because I have identified myself as a wine lover in my bio.

You decide to follow all the people who follow me reasoning correctly that many of them are also wine lovers. If you’re lucky, a few hundred of them are real wine enthusiasts, and they will follow you back as soon as you follow them.

All this sounds good, but there’s one tiny little problem.

If you follow all the 30,000 people who follow me, you’ll have to follow –  and subsequently unfollow — the more that 29,000 people who follow me but know as little about fine wine as a politician tends to know about ethical conduct.

There has to be a more efficient approach. Don’t you think?

Searching Twitter Profiles

There are quite a few Twitter tools that search through profiles and tweets. I like TweepSearch, since it searches profile bios but at the same does its best to sort the results by the time since the most recent tweet, making it easier to locate active Twitter users.

When you log in through Twitter, TweepSearch shows you whom you’re already following and enables you to follow, unfollow or block people within the search results.

You can limit your search to followers of a particular Twitter member or search through everybody. In other words, you could search the profiles of my followers to find the wine lovers among them, or you could search the whole Twitter database for wine lovers.

You’ll have to play with TweepSearch and other Twitter resources and search tools until you find the ones that best suit your needs.

Automated Twitter Tools

There are a variety of Twitter tools that help you identify your target market and do all the following and unfollowing for you. Since I am following and unfollowing many people and managing several Twitter accounts for clients, I decided to experiment with one of these tools, a cute program called TweetAdder.

TweetAdder searches through profiles or tweets for keywords and can search by U.S. postal code too. It creates, saves and manages a list of target users for you to follow at a reasonable pace which you specify. The program isn’t free, but they do provide a limited version for free, so that you can see how it works before you buy it.

I like that TweetAdder works in the background while I perform other tasks, and that the vendor doesn’t make all sorts of hypey claims. They encourage proper use of the TweetAdder tool.

Twitter Style Networking

I must at least mention the natural approach to adding followers and making connections — slowly and methodically through careful examination of bios and retweeted updates. This is how I was taught, by purists no doubt, when I first started using Twitter.

I consider this approach much too slow to use for social marketing, and you don’t really want to spend all your time on Twitter.

Or do you? ;-)

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As a top Twitter business user, I was sent an advance copy of the Twitter Power System for my review. Here are my observations.

The Twitter Power System is a very comprehensive set of videos, e-books, resources and tools.

New users learn how to set up an account and all the basics they need to get going. Experienced users learn how to craft powerful tweets, how to create viral tweets — and everything in-between.

Twitter Power System Content

Thirteen videos in the Twitter Power System learning center provide a total of three hours and 32 minutes of instruction:

  1. Account Setup - for new and even experienced Twitter users
  2. Twitter Basics - a how-to guide with the essentials for newbies
  3. Account Automation - using SocialToo and Tweet Later, two automation tools I love, and some important caveats
  4. Targeting Your Followers - how to target and use techniques such as sampling and testing
  5. Managing Your Followers - using FriendOrFollow, My Tweeple and Twitter Karma to manage followers.
  6. Tracking Your Twitter Links - how to use Cligs to shorten and track your Twitter links
  7. “Crafting” Your Tweets - the four elements of a tweet and how they all work together
  8. Finding Information to Share - using Google Alerts and other tools to discover useful information you can share
  9. Post on Autopilot - create your own content automation tool using Google Alerts, Cligs and Twitter Feed
  10. How to Use Twhirl - a desktop client such as Twhirl can offer greater convenience and capabilities than accessing Twitter directly from the Twitter.com domain.
  11. How to Use TweetDeck - ditto for TweetDeck.
  12. The Bigger Picture - a Twitter review that ties everything together
  13. Retweet System - creating viral tweets that can be retweeted easily with only two mouse clicks

E-workbooks such as the Getting Started Quickly Guide, Harness The Power of Twitter and the Twitter Power Tools Guide contain a total of 205 pages that serve to complement and reinforce the video presentations.

They discuss many useful strategies and the third-party tools that facilitate the implementation of those strategies.

There’s also a 54-minute podcast, Twitter Unwrapped, to download and enjoy on your computer or iPod. This interview with James Rivers, the founder of the Twitter Power System provides an excellent audio overview of the system.

Twitter Power System Thumbs-Up

I myself have written Twitter articles and spent much time studying and compiling Twitter resources for my article, Tons of Great Twitter Resources. Knowing much about the Twitter content available online, I can enthusiastically recommend the Twitter Power System to you.

I’d like to see greater detail in the varying approaches to meeting different business needs. I’d also like to see case studies. Nevertheless, the Twitter Power System is the best training venue I’ve seen so far.

I’m very impressed by the content and the quality of the videos, and I’ve already picked up ideas from them that are helping me to refine and improve my Twitter methodology.

You can follow me @larrybrauner.

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Nearly a year ago I presented the Top Reasons Why I Blog. I’m a big fan of blogging, and I enjoy writing for you.

Now it’s time to list my top reasons for using Twitter. If you use Twitter, please feel free to comment and share your experiences. If not, this list may encourage you to begin.

These are the top 12 reasons why I use Twitter:

  1. Simplicity - Twitter is easier for people to understand than many other social media sites. There are only a few Twitter concepts to learn: how to create a profile, follow, update, reply, search, retweet, send direct messages and use hashtags. See Brand Yourself and Market on Twitter.
  2. Networking - With hundreds of thousand of people using Twitter, you’re bound to find, as I have, people with common interests to connect with. Advice I gave in Get More Personal applies here to networking on Twitter. Speak on the phone or meet in person, but don’t hide behind your computer.
  3. Traffic - Twitter is a blogger’s dream. Last week hundreds of people from Twitter visited my blog. A high percentage of Twitter visitors subscribe to my my RSS feed or blogcast.
  4. List Building - Twitter is a great tool to cultivate a following and build an audience in your niche. I presently have thousands of followers on Twitter. What will I do with these followers?
  5. Branding - I use Twitter to brand and market myself to my followers. Through Twitter many people are getting to know me who would otherwise not have had this opportunity. Even people who choose not to follow me can still learn about me. Keep this in mind: It’s not what you know or whom you know, but who knows, likes, trusts and respects you.
  6. Communicating - I can send direct messages or use hashtags to communicate with my friends.
  7. Twitter Tools - There are numerous Twitter Tools such as TweetAdder to make Twitter powerful and easy to use. Read Tons of Twitter Tools, Tips and Resources.
  8. Research - Twitter is an excellent tool for research and keeping up with world developments. You don’t necessarily need to follow people or for them to follow you to read their tweets and click on their links.
  9. Discovery - We can learn new things on Twitter, even when we’re not looking per se.
  10. Mobility - Wherever you are or wherever I am, we’re only a tweet away. As more and more people use cell phones and text messaging, the compact 140 character format makes Twitter easy to access.
  11. Brevity - To be honest, there are times when I simply don’t feel like writing a complete article. Fortunately, even at those times I can usually cope with a modest 140-character tweet.
  12. Fun - Twitter is a blast! It’s a giant party, and the black tie is definitely optional.

You’ll find more reasons for using Twitter in the comments below. I encourage you to add your own.

I’m @larrybrauner on Twitter. I look forward to reading your tweets.

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In past posts we’ve discussed what Twitter is and looked at some ways you can use Twitter.

In the current post I provide a Twitter resource meta list to help you explore a wide range of business and social topics in substantial depth.

I expect to add to this meta list periodically, so do watch for my tweets @larrybrauner or check back here from time to time.

Mainstreaming of Twitter

This, our appetizer, addresses two important questions:

  1. Is Twitter a serious social media venue for mainstream users?
  2. Is Twitter useful for businesses, or is it just for fun?

I hope the following presentations will persuade you that Twitter is a viable business and social tool.

Twitter Ideas and Tips

This, the main course, looks at how to use Twitter effectively.

Twitter Tools and Resources

Our meal wouldn’t be complete without delicious side dishes prepared to perfection by expert chefs.

My Interview on Blog Talk Radio

I was interviewed on the Blog Talk Radio Profiles of Success by @staceychadwell. To listen, click here.

I’m @larrybrauner on Twitter looking forward to your tweets.

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Importance of List Building

Reach and frequency are basic advertising metrics. Reach refers to the quantity of people your message reaches, while frequency refers to the number of times on average each person is reached.

It is frequency that builds trust and drives your message home. Advertising without frequency is hardly ever effective. Marketers are relying more and more on list building to repeatedly reach people in their target market and achieve desired frequency levels in their marketing campaigns.

List building possibilities are endless. Last week we discussed list building using Ning social networks. Today we turn our attention to Twitter, possibly the fastest and simplest way to build a list.

Building Your Following on Twitter

As I stated in Brand Yourself and Market on Twitter:

Twitter may very well be the hottest online social media venue today. It’s a social network, micro-blog, instant messenger, mobile communications tool and giant party — all rolled into one site.

Creating a following on Twitter is easy, even for someone new to online social networking and social media sites. Here are three remarkably simple steps to get you started:

  1. Twitter Training - I used to recommend Bill Hibbler’s Affiliate University. Bill’s Affiliate University was dissolved, so I refer you to the Twitter articles and resources in Tons of Twitter Tools, Tips and Resources. If you’re looking for a complete step-by-step Twitter course, the Twitter Power System is your best choice. You can read about it in Twitter Power System Review.
  2. Build Your Reach Instantly - Here is a cool trick you can use to quickly get some very influential followers. Start with the top 50 Twitter users based on reach listed at twinfluence.com, one of my favorite Twitter tools. You will notice that the majority of those listed have as many “friends” as they have “followers”. They are the ones you should follow. They will almost certainly follow you back and increase your reach.
  3. Manage Your Connections - Once you have completed Step 2, many people you don’t know will start following you, and for the most part you’ll want to follow them all back. You can manage your Twitter connections using Twitter Karma, another of my favorite Twitter tools. After some time has passed, you’ll notice that many of the people you’ve been following become inactive — they haven’t “tweeted” in months. Stop following them in order to improve your ratio of followers to friends, a measure of your Twitter influence.

I applied this method myself about a month ago, and now about a hundred Twitter users begin following me each week.

When I “tweet” a link, roughly one to two percent of my followers click to see what the link is about. Isn’t that how any list is supposed to work?

This approach is easy, and it’s free.

Respect your followers and they’ll keep following you. Spam them, and they’ll stop following you in an instant.

That’s all there is to it. Please leave a comment. ;-)

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