Here are my top five Twitter tools and sites for getting the most out of your twitter account and automating as much as you can to make your twitter experience, quicker & easier…

1st up, the most essential tool for any serious “twitteree“, or “twitterette“, imho, is a desktop app to make the whole experience easier.

I started off with Thwirl and liked it’s simplicity, but then came across TweetDeck

The first time I looked at TweetDeck I have to admit, I didn’t like it, mostly because of the black color, but now I wouldn’t go back to Thwirl.

TweetDeck just presents tweets, @’s and DM’s in such a clear way it’s easy to keep track of what’s going on, which can be very important when you end up in a 4, 5, or 6 (or more) different conversations at the same time, with a mix of @’s and DM’s coming at you left right and center!

With TweetDeck you know exactly where everything is…

2nd is a “must have” twitter tool that is about keeping yourself informed –

It’s a twitter version of Google Alerts and the first thing you should do is register your name and twitter nickname for alerts.

Although I’d recommed you also set up “beeps” for your company name, blog or website name and product name, so you can get sent email notifications whenever any of them appear in a tweet…

It makes it a real simple way to keep up with when you’re getting talked about or mentioned!

It’s also kind of fun to set up a “beep” for your own town name, it can be very interesting.

I’m actually going to a local pub tonight to see a Live Jazz act that I wouldn’t have known about without Twitter and TweetBeep, I spotted a tweet from “funkeegirl” this morning and hey presto, new plans for the evening!

3rd is TweetLater which give you a whole bunch of automation options.

The most important are the ability to “Auto UnFollow” any one who unfollows you, as well as auto follow any new followers.

but you also get the option to set up an automated “DM” (Direct Message) to send out to new followers when they sign up to say “Hi!”

there is even an option to upgrade your account from the free version which will allow you to do even more automation and follow up “DM’s”, making it the equivalent of an “AutoResponder” for Twitter!

If you’re a marketer, think about that for a few moments, I’m sure once it sinks in you’ll wonder why I didn’t put this at the top of the list… ūüėČ

4th is¬†Twitter Karma¬†which offers a simple way for you to bulk unfollow people that you’ve followed who haven’t followed you back, allowing you to free up space to do more new follows if you’re reacing the 100% limit.

If you’re not aware of it, once you get to 2,000 people that you are following, you can only do 10% of your total followers as new follows, so if you had 3000 followers, you could be following up to 3300 people, but no more.

Note:¬†Twitter Karma¬†seems to get used a lot and can be a tad unrelaible at times because of that, so here’s an alternative way of finding who you’re following that aren’t following you back –

5th is Twollo, which allows you to automatically follow people based on keyword used in tweets, so if you’re specifically interested in “ant farming” you can set it up to automatically follow any one who tweets about “ant farming”.

Combine Twollo with TweetLater and you have enough automationg to make expanding your twitter followers highly automated, just be careful not to let it run wild, Twitter do have a policy against “Agressive Following”!

It looks like¬†Twollow allows you to do the same thing, but only on a limited number of keywords for free, then you have to pay…

so there you have my top 5 Twitter Tools & Sites, so far, there are more to come, but these are ones that you should be using right now, especially as none of them cost anything!

and just to round things of here’s a few Twitter Directories to submit your profile to: –

and there’s a couple of “honorable” mentions: –

TwitterAnalyzer¬†– which gives a whole bunch of interesting stats for your twitter account, go have a play, you’ll find it interesting!

TwitterCounter¬†– if you’ve got a blog, get the twitter counter to show off your followers count as “social proof”! You can of course see an example of it in action at the top of the sidebar on the right of this blog post… ūüôā

here’s a fun app from Alex Poole that simply allows to see the percentage of your followers that also foolow someone else –

oh, and some great posts about twitter from some top marketers and bloggers that I believe you’ll find interesting: –

This Post: Top 5 Twitter Tools