Social Listening, Social Strategies, and the Power of Twitter


Out of all the social media channels out there, Twitter is the most important. I know that’s a relatively strong statement to start off a blog post with – but I hope it grabbed your attention!

This statement demonstrates the importance of utilizing a small amount of space to make a big impact. Hands-down, Twitter is the most influential social platform out there for business.

Chances are you’re aware of Twitter’s 140-character limit – that’s all you get to make your point. It may be extreme, but it also forces marketers to really consider what the “crux” of their message is, and how it can be communicated in a single sentence (or less).

If you follow the BBC or NBC, you’ll notice they often break news stories on Twitter first, before they’re ever published on their websites. The website page is there to provide additional details on any given news story – but it’s the tweet that sparks debate and actually impacts public opinion.

Business Insider summed up the significance of Twitter best, remarking: “Twitter is the fastest way to spread thoughts. Not the kind of thoughts about what you’ll eat for lunch – but the kind of thoughts that have global impact.”

It’s often said that social media never sleeps. Brands publish on social around the clock, and tools such as Hubspot or Hootsuite enable you to schedule posts in advance, maximizing reach and engagement at all hours. Twitter is the best example of why marketers always need to keep their fingers on the pulse.

Social Listening Fosters Social Business

This is precisely why social listening is so important. Social listening, also known as social monitoring, is simply the process of identifying what’s being said about a company or brand on social media. Also, listening to followers, competitors, partners, and customers is the easiest way to understand how the public views your brand. Collecting and analyzing this insight enables you to optimize your social media marketing strategy, and ensure you’re constantly engaging your target audience.

On networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn, posting more than once or twice a day is seen as “overkill” for brands. However, on Twitter, companies – particularly in the B2B sector, can tweet 10 times a day without clogging followers’ feed. As a result, social listening on Twitter happens extremely fast, and you need to keep up with brand mentions, industry keywords, competitors, potential prospects, and more.

Monitoring interactions on Twitter helps measure the impact your marketing efforts have on your target audience. Moreover, it gives you a much better understanding of the type of content your audience finds most attractive, and is actually interested in reading.

What Are the Tools of the Social Listening Trade?

Twitter is a mini-market research report for your company, and monitoring it constantly can help maximize the benefits for your marketing team.

Below are a few free tools you can use to effectively monitor Twitter:

  • Twitonomy: Measure mentions, reach and click-throughs of your tweeted links.
  • TweetDeck: Customize your Twitter feed, and track mentions, notifications, and keywords.
  • TweetReach: Discover how “far” your tweets have travelled, and search via Twitter name, URL, hashtag or keyword phrase.

Streams, Lists, and Searches – Oh My!

Each of these monitoring tools lets you set up “streams” to track and segment data that’s important for your company to follow. Each stream is essentially a channel that lets you track specific handles or key terms you’ve selected. You can include multiple keywords in one stream, and create numerous streams to follow, depending on the social monitoring tool you’re using.

Here are several ideas for streams you may want to create:

  • Keywords: For example, if you’re a marketing agency, you may want to monitor streams that include words such as “inbound marketing,” “content marketing,” digital marketing,” “marketing trends,” etc. Tip: use the word “OR” to follow multiple keywords in one stream.
  • Influencers: Which people in your industry are constantly on top of new developments and research reports? Give them a little extra attention, and put them all into a Twitter list!
  • Competitors: Track all of your competitors in one stream, and identify the hashtags they use.
  • Existing Customers: Pay attention to your customers while you’re at it! You want to know what they think of your product, and which pain points they’re still looking to solve.

In addition to creating streams, you can also build Twitter Lists. Lists differentiate from streams since they enable you to filter information based on certain Twitter handles. One neat fact is that you don’t actually need to “follow” these handles to include them in a List.

If you’d like to share a List with others, you can copy and paste the URL that shows up in your browser’s address bar. This can be great for marketing teams that want to show sales teams what target audience they’re considering going after. Additionally, creating a List can enable marketing executives to better research and understand this target audience.

Remember there are multiple ways to find information on a certain trend or keyword in Twitter. For instance, if you want monitor what’s being said about the fitness industry, you can look for:

  • @GymMotivation: If you want to search solely for this Twitter handle and their tweets
  • #fitness: If you want to find every tweet that mentions the hashtag “fitness”
  • “personal training”: If you want to find every tweet that mentions the phrase “personal training”

Any one of these terms can provide you with information regarding the fitness industry; it all depends on how particular you want to get with your search.

If you learn to harness everything that monitoring Twitter has to offer, you’ll find that your company will more target your audience effectively, generate the type of content that they’re looking for, and provide a better product or service that fits their needs.

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One thought on “Social Listening, Social Strategies, and the Power of Twitter

  1. Hi Valerie,

    Thanks for including TweetReach in your list of social listening tools. It’s much appreciated!

    – Sarah A. Parker
    Social Media Manager | Union Metrics
    Fine Makers of TweetReach, The Union Metrics Social Suite, and more

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