02/01/2012 05:24 pm ET | Updated Feb 01, 2012

Twitter: 6 Ways To Get More Out Of It

Susan Mayes Ostrander | The Daily Muse

Congrats: you graduated Twitter 101 cum laude. You now know the ins and outs of the @ symbol and RT like a rockstar. You're the head of hashtags, a doyenne of DMs, and you follow with finesse.

And now you're ready to kick your Twitter experience up a notch!

Whether you're using the popular micro-blogging site to promote your business, or you're simply seeking to take your wisdom to the next level, the Twitterverse is full of tools and tricks to boost your efficiency and get you tweeting like a pro. Take a look at a few of our favorites:

1. Check out Your Followers (and Non-Followers)

If you've been a tad too generous with your "follows" and want to gauge how well others are reciprocating, check out Friend or Follow (FoF), a brilliant (and free!) app that allows you to easily view those who aren't following you back. The list can be sorted by name, location, account age - even followers/following ratio, which can help you determine how likely it is that @ladygaga will follow you back in the near future. (18 million followers vs. 140,000 follows? Keep on dreaming, little monster!)

Alternately, you can use FoF to locate people who are following you who you aren't following back - handy for rediscovering friends who might have accidentally (or intentionally) escaped your notice.

2. Find New Fans

Juggling multiple Twitter accounts? If you'd like to see how well those accounts stack up against each other and against your competitors, try FollowerWonk. With a helpful "compare users" feature and a clever Venn diagram, you can look at organic growth and determine overall audience reach for up to three accounts at once. You can also identify the unique and shared relationships among multiple users, which is useful for exploring new people in your field.

Bonus: FollowerWonk also lets you search Twitter bios for specific keywords, another great way to discover other people interested in a given topic or authorities in your industry.

3. Manage Your Account(s)

Whether you maintain one account or several, balancing all of that tweeting with keeping your followers engaged can be a job in and of itself. If your Twitter feed is becoming a bit unwieldy, download TweetDeck or HootSuite, which permit you to neatly organize incoming tweets into separate streams. You can designate columns for colleagues, clients, industry leaders - even "annoying folks" (be sure to keep that list private!), as well as set up keyword streams to keep tabs on hashtags you're interested in (#career, #jobsearch, #academyawards).

HootSuite will even provide analytics that measure the performance of your account in varying degrees of detail (depending on how much you’re willing to pay).

4. Schedule Your Tweets

Envying those power users who appear to be glued to their laptops and tweeting round the clock? Pssst: they're really not. Instead, they're relying on apps like Buffer and CoTweet (soon to be SocialEngage) to automatically schedule status updates for them throughout the day. This is really beneficial for spacing out the articles or content you share, so your poor followers aren't bombarded with 20 updates within an hour.

Bonus: CoTweet permits you to "assign" tweets to other tweeters - perfect for delegating questions or feedback to other members of your team.

5. Make Searching Not Suck

If you've ever hunted for a specific item on Twitter, you know it's not fun - Twitter's default search engine often returns too many results at once, and they only go back so far in time. But the advanced search tool will transport you to a whole new world of sleuthing possibilities! You'll have the option to perform either a word-based search to find tweets with an exact keyword match or hashtag ("job search" vs. "#jobsearch") or a people-based search to locate tweets from a given account or addressed to a given account ("twitter from:@dailymu_se" vs. "twitter to:@dailymu_se"). You can also run a link-based search or a location-specific search to filter tweets to a certain area ("twitter near:San Francisco").

A personal favorite: the emoticon-friendly sentiment-based search, which uncovers tweets with a positive attitude ("book : ) ") versus those with a negative spin ("book : ( ").

6. Go Back to the Past

About to go off the deep end because you can't track down that amazing quote your friend posted a month back? Twitter has a hapless reputation for deleting tweets that are merely days old, but through other tools, help is here!

SnapBird allows you to view tweets, mentions, and direct messages dating back to your first day on Twitter, as well as your friends' tweets and user favorites, and TwimeMachine aggregates all of your older tweets into a single web page, displayed in reverse chronological order (though it has a 3,200 tweet limit).

If just knowing that you're able to find your old tweets isn't enough of a reassurance that they're here to stay, why not back them up? Services such as Backupify and Tweetake archive your tweets for safe storage.

You can also save your favorite tweets directly through Twitter. Simply click the star-shaped button that appears whenever you scroll over any status update, and that tweet will be bookmarked like a web page, allowing you to return to it whenever you wish.

Now that you're armed with your newfound arsenal of Twitter knowledge, get back out there and tell us! What are your favorite Twitter tools, tips, and tricks?

As The Daily Muse's Head of Social Media, Susan gains great joy from concocting clever Tweets and Facebook posts and brainstorming catchy headlines. A native Philadelphian and Penn State alum, she has a resourceful background in communications and graphic design. Susan was married in Vegas by Elvis, proudly sporting a $49.99 white cocktail dress from Tar-zhay. She also has yet to meet a plate of nachos she hasn’t liked. Follow her on Twitter @shmayes

This post originally appeared on The Daily Muse.

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