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How to Monitor Twitter: For Businesses of All Sizes

You don’t have to have a huge social media budget or a dozen employees to keep track of the conversation on Twitter. All it takes is a little strategy and some research, and you’ve got a powerful way to see what people are saying about you, your competitors, your industry and your brand.

Benefits of Monitoring Twitter

On the social web, it’s important to keep your ear to the ground. For businesses large and small, social networks are are prime location for getting to know what people think. You can tap into conversations about your brand and look for glowing reviews, or you can see what they’re saying about your competitors so you know what you’re up against.

So why Twitter? There are many social networks out there that you could tap into, but Twitter offers some unique benefits if you want to get in on the pulse of what people are saying about your business:

  • Twitter is happening in real-time. The conversations on Twitter are happening right now. You just need to learn how to access them, and you’ve got reams of current, real-time data to monitor.
  • Twitter is short. The 140-character limit means you get to the heart of what someone thinks without having to sift through pages of bio information, pictures and other information irrelevant to your brand.
  • Twitter is public. What’s great about the Twitter ecosystem is that you can search for and find relevant Tweets without having to go through the hoops of waiting for hundreds of friend requests to go through. With Twitter, you have instant access to all publicly-available Tweets.

How to Monitor Twitter

So now that you know why Twitter is such a valuable resource for monitoring different aspects of your business, it’s time to learn just how to do it.

Step One: Define your keywords

In order to develop a cohesive and concise monitoring strategy, you’ve got to know what you’re looking for. You can search Twitter for any keyword imaginable, and it will pull up the latest Tweets that include it.

For instance, searching for your Joe’s Business will display a reverse-chronological list of who’s saying what about “Joe’s Business”. You can also use hashtags to follow a specific conversation, or target certain users.

Step Two: Make a schedule

You should have a regular monitoring routine if you want to see success. Rather than checking in whenever you have a spare moment, you should plan to tap into the Twitter-verse once a day, week or month – keep a regular schedule, and your information will be more accurate to a wider user base.

Step Three: Find the tools that are right for you

You can monitor real-time conversations from within Twitter.com, but there are dozens of Twitter monitoring tools out there that will do the work for you. Some provide search results from outside of Twitter, others allow you to search by location, and still others will display the data in aggregate form. Do some research and find the one that is right for you.

Step Four: Follow the re-tweets

You can use a URL shortening service that allows you to track who is sharing links that you post, and when. This will give you insight into who is paying attention to your brand on Twitter, and what type of information is shared most.

Step Five: Wash, rinse, repeat

Keep these tactics up, and you’ll have the basics of Twitter monitoring down. You can refine your approach to include getting email alerts when certain keywords pop up, following a list of influential Twitter users in your industry and building relationships with the people you’re listening too.

Just remember, Twitter is ultimately a social tool, so while you listen, don’t be afraid to get in on the conversation, too!

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