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Twitter Utilization As A Listening Tool

The following is a post about utilizing Twitter as a listening tool by Brabble CEO and Founder Patrick Mackaronis.

The simplicity of communicating with a mere 140 characters has lead more than 18 million users to utilize Twitter each month, according to Nielsen, spending more than 15 minutes per visit with the application.

Twitter is used for a variety of purposes, everything from keeping up with friends and family and meeting new people, to cross-company communications and productivity, as well as a way to promote brands and blogs. The ease of all of this push marketing to legions of followers is quite a draw for any Marketer 2.0, thus many marketers overlook the most important asset to having Twitter in their marketing arsenal: listening.

Twitter is an invaluable listening tool. No where else, and through no other media, can marketers directly connect with the thoughts, likes and dislikes, personality and moods of customers, prospects, influencers and competitors. By listening through social media, marketers become proactive and educated in all areas of how they market a brand, develop products and provide customer service.

Listening with Twitter: Customers and Prospects

Twitter is a perpetual, insider’s view into how the most important audience interprets and connects with a brand. Using the microblogging application for listening, marketers can track news and trends that are happening online and offline. Marketers are kept abreast, in real time, of product reviews, brand attitudes and interpretations, customer service experiences, and desires for new, improved or expanded product or service offerings.

There are dozens of applications available to aid marketers in managing discussions about their brands. Listening on Twitter through applications like TweetTronics provides a way to discover, track and engage with conversations that are happening about products and brands. The application tracks about 4.5 million users. Other applications like TwitterAnalyzer provide analytics tools about follower activity on Twitter similar to analytics programs used to track visits on websites.

Twitter Listening: Competitors

If a company or brand is using social media, so is their competition, or they will be very shortly. Companies can take the advantage over the competition by honing their listening skills on Twitter. In addition to listening to customers’ attitudes about the brand, marketers can listen to conversations customers are having about the competition.

Listening on the tweeting social network¬†also offers competitive intelligence directly from the horse’s mouth. By following the competition’s messages, companies can about learn everything from new product innovations, new hires and financial news, to what sales or promotions the competition will offer this weekend.

Listening with Twitter: Influencers

Marketers are charged with shaping a company’s brand and promoting it to various audiences. One avenue to promote a brand is through the media, and with this social network, this process can become much more fluid. Gone are the days of mass news dumping and blind pitching.

Marketers can begin their media relation’s activities by listening through Twitter and other social to gain perspective about what individual journalists and bloggers are interested in, how they like to be communicated with or pitched, and whether news about a brand would be a good fit.

Through Twitter, with a focus on listening, brand marketers will find that traditional journalists as well as members of the blogosphere and other “citizen journalists” are now highly accessible and that genuine relationships can be formed with them if and only if marketers employ constant listening. To begin the process of listening to the media, marketers can access a comprehensive directory of journalists like MediaOnTwitter.

Listening to customers, prospects, competitors and influencers is as important as ever to marketers, but utilizing Twitter for listening removes much of the guesswork and tediousness from the process. With the power of the application’s simple communication style, marketers now have the means to access and assess brand awareness and reactions from all relevant marketing audiences.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

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