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For many small business owners, Twitter is an invaluable online marketing tool - especially if you know how to make your tweets go viral. It can drive traffic to your online store and allow you to engage both prospective and existing customers.

But many people still struggle with finding the time to tweet regularly - especially busy entrepreneurs. It can also take time to grow an engaged audience of followers willing to amplify your brand and share your content. 

So what’s an online store owner to do? Simple, we recommend taking advantage of some of the most cutting-edge Twitter tools out there to make your time spent on the social platform as seamless and automated as possible while still maintaining a human touch.

Here's 10 great Twitter tools for small business owners.

#1. Buffer

With over 1 million users worldwide and counting, Buffer has definitely made a mark for itself. If you’ve ever wanted to devote only a set amount of time each day for Twitter and just “set and forget it”, then this tool is for you. It literally allows you to figure out your daily content once and “buffer” your tweets (schedule them) throughout the day. Buffer then shares them for you to prevent your followers from ever feeling a hint of spam from your direction.

The platform also allows sharing to other popular social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ for a little extra kick. 

#2. IFTTT 

Want to be even more hands off while still driving engagement from Twitter? Then IFTTT (if this then that) is an incredible service that can automate a great deal of content curation for you. Essentially, the service enables you to do a wide array of popular actions with a few clicks by connecting “channels” like your favorite social, storage, and note-taking services. You simply select a “trigger” (the “if) and and “action” (the "that") and it does all the heavy lifting for you to create what it calls a “recipe”.

You can create your own custom recipes from scratch or you can browse ready-made ones by other users. My personal favorite allows me to input an RSS feed to my favourite blogs and sends the links to new posts directly to Buffer to schedule and share. 

#3. Tweriod

Now that you know how to make your life easier by automating content curation and scheduling, you should determine when the best time to share is. Luckily, there’s a tool for that.

Tweriod is an analytics tool that goes through all of your follower’s activity to then determine what times throughout the day they're most active. With this activity level remaining fairly consistent, the only time you’ll ever have to recheck is when your follower base grows marginally. 

#4. Tweeterspy

This handy tool works magic in helping you identify who’s helping drive traffic to your site so that you can better engage them and hone in on your influencer marketing strategy. Tweeterspy works through you first embedding a short piece of code on your site and then being able to get data on how many clicks any single tweet or person is bringing to your site. Not only will you have a better idea of who your advocates are but this is a great way to capture leads and nurture prospective customers. 

#5. WeFollow

Want to demonstrate just how knowledgeable you are about a core interest relevant to your business? Or maybe you just want to connect with other experts or individuals wanting to learn more about your industry. Then WeFollow is for you.

With over 1.3 million users, the platform lets your search for people by their interest, which could be anything from knitting, design, to beauty products, and tune into something they call the “Prominence Score”, a ranking system that enables a quick and easy means to follow and engage with some of the brightest and most influential minds in their respective fields. How do you increase your “Prominence Score”? Just engage and build an audience of listeners who are also interested in the same thing as you and by doing so you open the floodgates for even more followers.  

#6. TwtQpon

This tool really takes the term ‘social couponing’ to a whole new level. With Twtqpon, not only can you create what it calls 'Twitter Coupons' to reward your customers and followers, but in order for them to claim the coupon, they must tweet about it, giving it just the right boost to let your deals go viral. You pick how many coupons will be available and what the delivery method will be. For online stores, users are redirected to the the website for purchase. 

#7. Twilert

There’s a lot of conversations happening on Twitter and you probably want to know every time someone says something about you or your brand on the platform. Tools like Twilert enable you to track any keyword you want, from your brand name to your CEO’s name, with the additional ability to add filters like location, language, and sentiment analysis, all of which gets delivered to you via email. Staying on top of these conversations can be vital for any online business from a research, feedback, and reputation management standpoint. 

#8. Nurph

By now you’ve most likely heard of people doing live tweetchats or taken part in one using a #hashtag of some sort and probably have wanted to conduct your own. Or maybe you just want to track a hashtag and see what others are saying about you, your brand, or perhaps a specific product of yours. Well, look no further than Nurph, a real-time conversation platform for Twitter. Get insightful analytics on who your most engaged followers are and automate responses to common questions. You can also discover what your Twitter community's primary interests are so you can learn how to be more engaging on the platform.

#9. Followerwonk

Followerwonk is a Twitter analytics and research tool that allows you to gain deeper insights into who your followers are, where they're located and when they tweet.

But perhaps the most powerful feature is the ability to search Twitter bios based on keywords. This is great if you're doing a PR push and you need to find journalists to pitch, or if you have a new blog post and want to find influencers to share it with. 

#10. Twitter Ads

Self serve Twitter ads have been available to U.S. based businesses for some time now and today Twitter announced that they have opened up the service to businesses in Canada, the UK and Ireland as well.

Twitter ads can be a great way for you to promote both your tweets and your account to users based on keywords, interests and locations that you specify.

These Twitter tools will not only making building an audience on the social platform easier, but they'll help you get more out of the time you spend engaging your audience while promising greater conversions. If there's are additional Twitter tools you use to boost engagement for your online store, let us know in the comments below.