When you take the time to listen to what's important to your prospective customers, they're more likely to spend time with you. This article shows how to use Twitter's listening tools to improve your business blogging and make better connections.
Between its limited space to write (each tweet can only be 140 characters or less) and its ever-expanding set of exclusive symbols and lingo, many businesses wonder if or how Twitter will help them.
Why Twitter is worth your time
One of the biggest benefits of using Twitter for business is how effective it is as a listening tool. By watching the tweets of people who would be ideal customers for your business, you can tune in to the language they use, and the problems, comments and questions they post.
When you incorporate that language and those topics into your blog posts, emails and conversations, you’ll make a deeper connection and your readers will feel understood.
Because you’ve taken the time to look at what’s important to these prospective customers, they’re more likely to spend time reading your content, visiting your website, and taking steps to get to know you better and find out how you can help them.
Tip: The people you follow on Twitter don’t need to be following you, but the list of people you follow is open to the public. If you want to keep track of someone’s posts without following them, put them on a private Twitter list (Julie Tappendorf explains how in this article on Social Media Today). You can have up to 1,000 lists with up to 5,000 users per list.
Twitter as an idea generator
You can quickly find other tweets about the topics your ideal customers care about. Simply type something into the search bar at the top right-hand side of the screen. You can also add a number sign (# - called a hashtag) before a word (#blogging) or phrase (don’t use spaces between the words, e.g., #smallbiz).
You will get search results both for people (who tweet the most about that topic) and tweets (that contain your phrase). Click on someone’s name to read more of their content and decide if you want to follow them and/or add them to a list.
Tip: Create one Twitter list for each of the categories on your blog, or for each topic and sub-topic you plan to blog about. You can also find ready-made lists on other people’s profile pages.
Click the word “Lists” to see all the lists someone has created and followed. When you see a relevant title, click it to browse the tweets in that list. If you like what you see, click “Subscribe” and it will be added to your own list of lists.
Twitter as a connector
Another way to gather ideas on Twitter is from known experts in your industry, such as people you’ve met or heard about from courses, books, associations, conferences or the media. Use the Twitter search box to see if they’re on Twitter.
Once you find their profiles, check their Lists page to see if they’ve created or followed any lists about your key topics. You can follow those lists and/or the individual list members.
Be sure to also check which lists these experts have been added to. From the person’s profile page, click Lists, then Member of. As you look through these lists you’re likely to find other experts to listen to, learn from and connect with (when you’re ready).
All of this focused listening is bound to spark ideas and inspiration for your blog posts. Even better, once you’ve spent time reading tweets from customers, companies, colleagues and industry insiders, you’ll collect plenty of real-life Twitter models to draw from.
Best of all, because you started by honing in on your own ideal customers, you’ll be speaking their language when you do start tweeting.