As the fourth-largest social network, and the fastest growing in 2012, Twitter has emerged as a serious platform for business professionals to share breaking news, promote thought-leadership content, and engage with customers, prospects, peers and industry influencers.

Best Twitter Guides of 2012As noted here in a preliminary summary of the best Twitter articles and posts of 2012 last fall, “Twitterers collectively post a billion tweets every three days. 62% of the Fortune 500 companies have at least one Twitter account, and the average Fortune 100 firm maintains 10 separate Twitter handles to support different product lines, divisions, functional areas and geographic regions.”

How can you grow and maintain an active, relevant Twitter following? Spend your time more productively there? Most effectively use Twitter advertising? Get retweeted more often? And among the expanding universe of third-party Twitter tools out there, which are most worth checking out?

Find the answers to those questions and many others here in 20 of the best Twitter guides, tools and reviews of 2012.

Twitter Tips and Guides

9 tips for managing Twitter in just 20 minutes a day by Nashville Business Journal

Writing that “One of the chief complaints I hear from business owners about Twitter is that they don’t have time for it,” Laura Click offers recommendations for more efficient Twitter account management, such as setting up searches to track specific brands or topics, using tools like Twellow and Listorious to find new potential followers, and using automation tools to pre-schedule selected tweets (just be careful not to over-do social media automation).

Twitter Rolls Out Cover Photos: How to Add Yours Today by HubSpot

Corey Eridon walks readers through the process of setting up the “new” Twitter profile page (okay, it’s been a few months now but a lot of Twitterers still haven’t done it) to add a larger header image, then highlights some creative examples from various media outlets, brands and organizations.

50+ Creative Twitter Headers for Your Inspiration by Social @ Blogging Tracker

Writing that “Twitter has officially joined the ‘visual’ club by allowing users to create a personalized Twitter header to boost their brand visibility,” Wong Ching Ya shares more than 50 examples of creative Twitter headers for creating brand awareness, expressing one’s interests and personality, showcasing a portfolio, publicizing an event and other purposes.

15 Reasons Why You’ve Just Been Unfollowed On Twitter [INFOGRAPHIC] by All Twitter

Shea Bennett reveals the most common reasons that Twitterers unfollow others on the social network, including “too much self-promotion (48 percent), posting spam (47 percent), being uninteresting (43 percent) and too much repetition (29 percent),” as well as the top reason for unfollowing.

How the New Twitter Search Will Change the Way Brands Tweet by Ignite Social Media

Win Pratt offers details on how Twitter’s enhanced search functionality works (“Twitter will now also take your search query and give you options for similar search terms. For instance, if I search for ‘Social Media Strategy,’ it might suggest that another good search option is ‘Social Media Agency.’ This can be very handy when trying to discover new content or follow a trending topic”) and how brands are likely to respond to this through targeted use of hashtags and keywords.

Two new features for self-service advertisers by Twitter Advertising Blog

Andrew Chang outlines how new features in Twitter help advertisers track audience growth over time ( a feature which should arguably be available to all Twitter users but is reserved for advertisers currently) and select specific tweets for promotion.

6 Tips to Get Retweeted More Often by Search Engine Journal

Astutely noting that “there is a little of that grinning six-year-old in us all” when we get retweeted, frequent best-of honoree Ann Smarty offers half a dozen tips for making it happen more often, from learning the right times for tweeting to mentioning your more influential Twitter followers.

8 Twitter chats you should check out today! by Creative Ramblings

Want to showcase your expertise and grow your following on Twitter? Cendrine Marrouat advises participating in Twitter chat, and reviews eight popular social media-related chats hosted by Twitter rock stars like @Atomic_Reach, @MackCollier and @prsarahevans. For those (like me) who have trouble making it to scheduled chats and are interested in the “human side of business,” another one to check out is #TChat, an ongoing virtual chat hosted by @TalentCulture.

Twitter Cards: How Savvy Marketers Get More Out Of Twitter by Marketing Land

For those who really want to get their geek on, John Lincoln provides an explanation of what Twitter cards are (they “make it possible for you to attach media experiences to Tweets that link to your content. Simply add a few lines of HTML to your webpages, and users who Tweet links to your content will have a ‘card’ added to the Tweet that’s visible to all of their followers”), how to implement them, and a few “common” examples.

Optimizing Twitter for Lead Generation by Marketo B2B Marketing and Sales Blog

Jason Miller details three specific strategies for generating leads on Twitter, including messaging: “do not use Twitter to only promote your company…if you never contribute to the conversations taking place, if you never offer something personal or fun or funny, you are missing the prime opportunity unique to Twitter…as with anything, a little self promotion is good for business but if your entire tweet history is only about you and your company, you’ve got it wrong.”

Twitter to be ‘hero’ social media channel for media brands in 2013 by The Wall Blog

James Matheson outlines 13 social and online trends for 2013, beginning the list with “Twitter is only going to get bigger…The head of social at the FT (Financial Times) described it as the ‘hero’ social media channel for next year. In a world where media brands are competing for attention, Twitter is the strongest channel for media brands to focus on for people’s discovery of news and information.”

Twitter Tools

6 Awesome Twitter Tools for Brands by DreamGrow Social Media

Jeff Gross reviews half a dozen of the “elite of Twitter tools,” from (which “makes it really easy to see who you are interacting with, who is mentioning your brand and to determine the potential leaders and influencers: the tool suggests you which people you should follow, as well as the inactive members to unfollow”) to Twylah (a service that helps you create awesome looking websites and widgets out of your tweets”).

21 Amazing Twitter Tools for Brand Visibility and Time Management by Social @ Blogging Tracker

Wong Ching Ya (again) provides illustrated reviews of nearly two dozen “wonderful time-saver tools that (help) regularly in making full use of tweets shared and received,” including TwitFlink for managing your Twitter stream, Embedly (link destination previews) and Hashtracking (Twitter chat capture and stats).

10 Tools for Managing Twitter Engagement by Practical eCommerce

Paul Chaney serves up reviews of 10 tools designed to “to keep up with followers, steer clear of spam, or know if your Twitter engagement is paying off in ways that are meaningful to your business,” such as TweetReach, Twellow, SocialBro and Twitalyzer, which “provides a range of metrics including influence rank (shown as a percentage), social relationships with other Twitter users, and topics and communities where the Twitter user is most actively engaged.”

Free Tools to Archive Twitter Search results by DoFollow.Net

A primer on using Google Reader, Google Docs or HootSuite to back up your Twitter archives.

7 Tools For Monitoring The Effectiveness Of Your Tweets by SocialMouths

Noting that “By monitoring what happens to your important tweets you can begin to understand what works and what doesn’t work and make improvements,” Ian Cleary reviews seven tools that “are useful for monitoring the effectiveness of your tweets,” including Tweetreach, Monitter, and Tweeteffect, which “displays your recent tweets and shows if you got new followers or lost followers around the time of the tweet.”

Hashtag Discovery Tools by LunaMetrics

Dan Wilkerson spotlights tools “that can help your brand discover hashtags and conversations that fit your message and values,” including (“This site also allows you to search for terms and see popular links shared on twitter related to your search along with their related hashtags underneath. This can be useful both for searching for tags for your own content and for competitive analysis”) and Tweetreach.

Getting Started With HootSuite by Social Media Sun

Sandy Stachowiak serves up a detailed, illustrated review that explains “the features that made me a HootSuite fan,” with step-by-step guidance on setup; navigation; tweets and posts; and details about features like scheduling, approvals and RSS feeds; as well as acknowledgement of the tool’s limitations and issues.

Social Recruiting – The Ultimate Twitter Strategy Tool by Social-Hire

Tony Restell presents a detailed review of TweetLevel, which he calls “the ultimate Twitter strategy tool” for its ability to report on user influence within a specific context (i.e., celebrities like Oprah don’t just automatically get the highest scores), as well as to offer “insights into the type of Twitter user they are so that you can focus your attentions where they will be most beneficial.”

Your Twitter Archive by Twitter Blog

Mollie Vandor explains in this concise but helpful post how to “download your Twitter archive, so you’ll get all your Tweets (including Retweets) going back to the beginning. Once you have your Twitter archive, you can view your Tweets by month, or search your archive to find Tweets with certain words, phrases, hashtags or @usernames. You can even engage with your old Tweets just as you would with current ones.”

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