If you think all you have to do is set up a profile, add some people who follow your competitors then sit back you certainly have the wrong end of the stick when it comes to Twitter. It is tempting to think that all you need is a presence no matter how basic, but the bottom line is people, particularly your customers, do actually use Twitter as a source of news and discussion. If your brand is worth talking about then people will be talking about it on Twitter.
To keep up with what they have to say and to contribute to the discussion, perhaps sometimes in defense of your brand, it is essential that you monitor your profile. You will be relieved to know this does not mean you have to employ a team of people to sit and read your Twitter feeds 24/7.
A straightforward and easily downloadable desktop app, TweetDeck allows you to monitor live Twitter feeds simultaneously. They appear in separate columns so it is easy to keep up with all the different feeds at one glance. This way you can see who is saying what with all the different hashtags and search phrases associated with your brand. Other such platforms for monitoring include Hootsuite and Tweetizen. Hootsuite is useful because it is a web client and doesn’t require you to download an app, which could be beneficial is certain circumstances (i.e. work). On Tweetizen you are able to create a “group” to track hashtags or keywords which can then be embedded into a site, which allows you to organically build up brand hype on your own site.
Also read: Battle of the Social Media Management Tools – TweetDeck vs HootSuite?
Twitter advanced search, when used properly, can allow you to see brand mentions which you otherwise wouldn’t catch. If you want to see if people are speaking positively or negatively about you, you can search for “brandname :)” or “brandname :(“, which show results mentioning your brand with positive and negative attitudes respectively. If you are looking for local mentions, you can search for “near:CITY within:15mi” to show tweets sent within the city area in a radius of 15 miles. Another useful search operator is “brandname ?”, which finds brand mentions where people are asking questions. This allows you to scope out these questions and directly respond to them them.
SocialMention is a really useful free tool for tracking brand mentions on Twitter (and many other networks). You can search for one keyword at a time, but can set up multiple alerts. It breaks down mentions into sentiment (positive, negative, neutral), top keywords, top users, “passion” (i.e. if a small group of people are regularly tweeting about you, that counts as a highly passionate fan base), and several other metrics.
If you have a company name that is long winded or difficult to spell, shorten it for hashtags to something easily replicated by the most careless tweeter. You can also run searches on TweetDeck for the most common misspellings of your brand/hashtags.
Understanding Your Audience
People from all walks of life are on Twitter. Though your brand will not be aimed at everyone, you will surely have a specified target outside your target audience for expanding your brand. In order to appeal to this audience whilst simultaneously pleasing your existing one, the best thing to do is find out what they want in the quickest way possible. You can check who they are following and what they are saying through TweetDeck or with Twilerts which is basically the Google Alerts for Twitter.