Four free programs to help build your Twitter community

Setting up your Twitter account is usually the easy part. It’s what you do afterwards to grow your community, share compelling content, and manage interactions that usually stump people.

Here are four free programs to help you handle these challenges:

Account Management: Hootsuite—This is a great management tool, allowing you to schedule tweets, track interactions (it will show you when people have retweeted your work, for instance), and you can set up monitoring for certain accounts or for keywords. You can also use their Hootlet extension on Chrome to easily share/schedule content you run across.

Automated content creation: With, you can set up a daily “newspaper” featuring people talking about your issues. Since each issue “features” a few people using their Twitter handle, you get retweets and interaction (which bump up your klout score and increase your community). I’d suggest you not call it "The Your Organization Daily"—this implies that people are endorsing you, and/or that the issues are about the organization. Rather, use something like “Small Business Daily” that people will want to be seen as being a part of—they’ll be much more likely to retweet it.

Finding followers: Tweepi—This tool is great for managing your account and finding new people to follow. If you set the “columns” to show bios, last tweet, followers, and friends, you can get a decent idea of their influence and activity levels. I particularly like the “Follow followers” tool—you enter the Twitter handle of a leader in your area, and then can see the people who are following him/her. While you’ll still need to scan the bios to exclude spammers, these people have already expressed an interest in your issues. You can also see who hasn’t followed you back, and “flush” them.

Compiling content: Lastly, Feedly is a fantastic tool that lets you compile articles, blog posts, etc from specific people or keywords into one easy-to-scan window.

What other programs do you use to rock Twitter?