A recent study showed that one of the top reported reasons (63%) that people follow SMEs on Twitter is to show support for their business. Similarly, Twitter is often the first channel consumers turn to in order to vent frustration about a service or product. Unfortunately, due to the pace Twitter moves at, it can be impossible to keep up with every single update or mention which could leave your brand open to missing important praise, or complaints, from your followers.

 Below are five tips that will help your organisation to build a top social media listening plan for Twitter, ensuring that you never miss a mention again.

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 1. Define your Twitter objectives

This may seem old hat, but the first step of any social media or Twitter plan is to work out what you aim to gain from using the network. Choose objectives that resonate with the overall needs of your business and it will quickly become apparent how often and when you should be listening. Some examples of objectives that you may want to focus on are

–  To increase brand awareness and become known as a market leader for X/Y/Z

–  To find customer ‘pain spots’ that will inspire your marketing strategy

–  To provide a personal level of customer service

–  To connect with users who may not be aware of your products

–  To network with influencers in your industry

2. Clarify monitoring responsibility

Many companies have a strong Twitter presence until a key staff member goes on holiday. Sound familiar? If so, you need to reaffirm responsibility for your Twitter plan and select tools that will help you to monitor the channel at all times. It is relatively easy to pick up on those users who are mentioning your brand directly but what about those who are misspelling your handle?

Our web app Twilert monitors keywords or brand names in Twitter and sends you daily, weekly or hourly emails, showing you every mention or comment relating to the selected keywords. This type of tool allows you to respond to users in real time and prompts you to reply to every mention.

3. Listen intuitively

As well as being an active Twitter participant, it is just as important to spend time listening to the needs of your target audience. By tuning in to conversations through hashtags and search operators, you can build strong personas for your audience, helping you to fine-tune the content you post. This is also a great way to find customer ‘pain spots’ which you may be able to help fix. This will show how intune you are with your audience and how great your customer service skills are!

Example: Flow, the ‘missing Instagram app for iPad’, uses Twilert to identify users who are searching “no instagram ipad app” to find an Instagram app for iPad. Once the search returns a result, Flow connects directly with the user to offer their app as a solution. The user finds what they are looking for and Flow gains a new customer, a win-win situation!

 4. Seek out influencers

Monitoring the feeds of key influencers from your industry should make up part of your social media listening plan for Twitter. These are the people who can extend your message to other potential customers and followers. To identify the influencers you should be monitoring, look at key industry figures who may have websites or blogs that you follow. One easy way to distinguish their tweets from the rest of your timeline is to collate Lists, a feature offered by Twitter, that segments users by category or interest. By keeping track of the posts influencers publish and the audiences they connect with, you can gain great insight into the content that sticks with your target audience.

5. Monitor the competition

As well as focusing on your own social media strategy it is also important to keep an ear on your competitors to see exactly what you are up against. This doesn’t mean fretting every time their follower count overtakes yours, but be aware of the techniques and channels they are using to reach your audience and work out how you can stand out to keep your market share of followers.

Did we miss any of your top tips for building a social media listening plan for Twitter? We love hearing from you, so leave us a comment below.

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