Since joining several years ago, I have used Twitter not only as my lazy man’s Google but also to become the ‘virtual fly on the wall’ and listen in on Twitter conversations. How you ask? Well, there are sophisticated and expensive social listening platforms such as Salesforce Radian6 that are affordable to fortune 500 companies and large organizations with enough cash in the coffers. Or there is a free social listening alternative specifically made for Twitter – aptly named Twitter Search.
Given the zero cost, searching Twitter to “eavesdrop” on public tweets should be a must for small businesses, entrepreneurs, travel organizations, public figures, private individuals, and the like. You will be able to learn the good, the bad, and the indifferent regarding your business, brand, reputation, competitors, product, etc. by searching public tweets for almost any topic your heart desires.
Over time you’ll discover industry trends, product ideas or innovation, keywords or language used by your ideal customer, and insights to help you better engage your intended audience. You might even learn of a completely new target market you hadn’t previously considered.
Using Twitter, along with other social networks, for social listening is one of my top uses of the real-time social media platform. Here are five other reasons to use Twitter.
- Stay up-to-date with news
- Drive awareness
- Post job openings
- Generate business leads
- Provide customer service
If you’re already a whiz at Twitter Search, you can expand your arsenal for finding meaningful conversations on Twitter with one or more of these additional tools.
- Followerwonk – scan Twitter bios for relevant keywords and helps you explore and grow your social graph
- Hashtagify.me – use the free Hashtags Encyclopedia to search over 43 million Twitter hashtags includes info on their popularity, relationships, languages, influencers and other metrics.
- HootSuite – find custom, targeted conversations relevant to you across the globe or within your neighborhood
- Social Mention – easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time
- TweetReach – this freemium product offers snapshot reports perfect for quick insight into recently posted tweets or the full Twitter archive, going back to 2006
- Topsy – use the free analytics tool to discover content that may help you strike up a conversation
Do you know of other good uses for Twitter? What social listening tools do you use? Share your tips in the comments.