There are over 280 million active users having conversations on Twitter, and chances are some of these conversations include your customers and prospects. If you’re not sure where or when to look, you’re likely to miss out on a huge opportunity to connect with your audience in a way that builds trust and loyalty. Having an organized plan of attack on Twitter can make the difference between mindless sharing and genuine connections that lead to a real relationship.
Lists are a great way for brands to segment conversations and participate in a way that isn’t overwhelming. Ten minutes of just scrolling through your main feed for something to respond to can be a waste of time when you’re following hundreds or thousands of people.
Start thinking about the different topics that are relevant to your industry. Define your keywords and industry influencers and start scouring tweets for valuable conversations.
Create Twitter Lists
You can segment your followers into lists through Twitter, but its features are somewhat limited. A best practice for using lists on Twitter is to segment those that are most influential about certain topics. For example, we have a Twitter list to view tweets from social media experts. It’s also great to have lists for employees and clients. If you need help getting started, Twitter has a great how-to guide.
Check-in On Your Lists
If you’d like to go beyond monitoring users you follow, there are several free tools available. TweetDeck and HootSuite allow you to monitor streams for lists you’ve created in Twitter, but these platforms can help you keep an eye on more than just lists.
You can create streams for tweets containing keywords or phrases that are relevant to your brand. For example, I like to monitor mentions of DigitalRelevance so I don’t miss people that tweet our brand name but don’t mention our handle, @drelevance. You can also track hashtags for events or discussions. Just be sure to devote a certain amount of time each day to check in on your stream.
Not only do you want to follow conversations your customers or influencers are having, you also want to catch those conversations about your industry right when they happen. A great way to do this is to set up alerts for when people use certain keywords. This is a great way to track mentions of relevant keywords that you need to respond to right away.
Maybe you own a local restaurant in the Indianapolis area. A tourist in town for a conference may tweet, “Where should I eat lunch in Indy?” If you have alerts set up for these phrases, you can be notified immediately and introduce your restaurant to this visitor. Not only can you gain a new customer, you can impress them with how well you listen.
You can use alert programs like Google Alerts and Twilert, which send you email notifications whenever a tweet matches your search. For more urgent phrases, like the example above (you wouldn’t want to recommend a lunch spot when they’ve already returned home from their trip) you can have these programs notify you immediately. For other terms that aren’t as urgent, notifications can be emailed during designated times of the day.
The key to social media success has always been listening to your audience. With effective listening you could turn a random bystander into a loyal follower.
For more tips on how to effectively use each major social media channel, check out our guide Increasing Conversions with Social Media.
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