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Use Twitter Search to Listen

This month I would like to discuss the social media tool that most people have a hard time associating with business opportunity, Twitter. Most people view Twitter as a place for people to broadcast mostly meaningless posts about the nuances of their daily life. That being the case, some wonder why a business would be interested in involvement with this platform. While I may agree that much of what you see on Twitter may be small details of people’s lives, I still feel there is an opportunity for businesses to use this platform to engage their community. The secret lies in a little known feature called Twitter Search and listening. You can find the launch page here:

http://twitter.com/#!/search-home

This feature allows you to search key terms and see all the Twitter posts that include those terms. Some large companies use this feature to search listen for their brand names or products and see what people are saying about them. Because people tend to be much less guarded with what they are posting, the information they find as it relates to their brand or products is better than any focus group data they could buy.

The SMART companies that are engaging in the above go one step further and engage their customer base in one to one interaction. For example, if someone posts something like “Trying the Snapple Diet Plum-a-Granate tea and it tastes terrible”. Someone at Snapple would see that utilizing Twitter Search and might send that person a reply like “Sorry you did not care for our Plum-a-Granite tea, we would like to send you a voucher good for you to try any of our other flavors free of charge”.

Do you see how that situation changed? How do you think that customer might view Snapple going forward? Do you think they might tell a few people about that experience? Maybe Tweet about the experience? Tell their Facebook friends about the experience? Do you think that might change those people’s perceptions of Snapple? The answer to most of these is likely yes. Is the customer goodwill and word of mouth that action created worth that free bottle of Snapple they gave away? I think most of us would say that is a no-brainer.

Likely, many of you are thinking “That’s great, but how does that relate to me engaging my customers on a local level?”.  Well, Twitter Search also allows for you to narrow your search terms down to a geographic area. All that you have to do is use the advance search feature or search your term with the following format:

Search term near:zip code          

For example:           Bought new car near:92835

This search feature allows you to only see the Twitter posts that mention buying a new car in and around the zip code you have specified.

Using the above example, an automotive window film shop might search for things like “bought new car” “Car is too hot” or even direct things like “window tint”. The key is to use search terms that relate to needs that your potential clients might have. With the search “Bought new car”, you might send out a reply to them like “Congratulations on your new car purchase. If you are considering having the windows tinted, I’d love to discuss our products and services with you.” Likewise a commercial/residential shop might search for terms like “faded furniture/floor” “Glare” “high electric bill” etc. Then, they can engage those that have posted things that would be relevant can be engaged one on one.

In the video, I discuss the recent example of Morton’s Steak House and Peter Shankman. For the complete story, visit the following link:

http://shankman.com/the-best-customer-service-story-ever-told-starring-mortons-steakhouse/

This shows how a one to one customer interaction can become word of mouth on steroids. You think Morton’s got a steak’s worth of promotion out of this?

I hope that this blog shows you that Twitter can be used effectively to first listen to your potential clients and then engage them one on one. This type of personal engagement because you are listening will separate you from the competition and have people talking about you in the community.

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