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Before You Tweet, Listen

Posted by Devin Cole  May 10, 2012 11:53 AM

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Twitter can help to forge powerful relationships if you put yourself in your audience’s shoes by listening before you tweet. So, get close to your target market before broadcasting any sales messages. Start socializing and networking and then, after you build strong relationships based on trust and understanding, deliver targeted communications that will help your audience meet their informational needs.


So then I said TWEET!

Follow Your Market

Listening before commenting is a great approach to attracting the ‘right’ visitors to your website. Begin by clicking the Follow button next to people who are writing about topics that are relevant to your business. For better or worse, they are currently influencing your target market. You can also consider clicking the Follow button when Twitter suggests a user for you to follow in the Who to follow suggestions. In either case, make sure you start following people who you think will have a reason to pay attention to you once you start tweeting.

Find Relevant People

Next, use Twitter’s search engine to approach prospective customers. Below, you’ll find a simple 5-step process to help you listen to what your community values:

  1. Go to Twitter Search
  2. Enter a relevant query in the search field. For example, if you are a pizza restaurant in Boston you might search for “pizza in Boston” to discover what people are commenting about.
  3. Determine if the results are useful.
  4. Save the search.
  5. Repeat the process with variations or new terms.

Then, use Twitter’s advanced search to narrow down your searches to include better words, phrases and hashtags. You can search for individual or company Twitter accounts, tweets occurring near specific places, chats and even tweets with positive or negative sentiment. For example, I searched for tweets with positive sentiment within 15 miles of Boston and it was nice to find nearly 10 people per minute saying positive things.

Get Retweeted

What’s more impressive than being listened to? Listened to, remembered and retweeted. With that in mind, hopefully you’ll be tempted to give your customers exactly what they want – when appropriate. In fact, you should start tweeting informational content that you think will increase the # of retweets you’ll get. If your target market is spreading your messages for you by retweeting them, that shows you’ve delivered highly relevant information.

It may seem counter-intuitive but don’t tweet increasingly about what may interest you. It’s a natural mistake because you know your industry and it can be tempting to share almost every good article you find. Instead, be more selective. Your audience could have trouble processing or understanding information if it’s too sophisticated for them. It’s easy to forget you’re not the target market.

Before you act, listen. Before you react, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try.

-Ernest Hemingway

Most good business relationships involve listening from both sides of the conversation. Listening before you tweet simply demonstrates respect and patience in the context of social networking. Set up your Twitter account today with an expectation of greater success from listening.

David Chevalier is Co-Founder of SalesBlend, an internet marketing firm. He works with small businesses in Greater Boston to maximize sales performance through an integrated marketing approach.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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