Could Twitter Search Be The Most Powerful Business Tool?

I’m stepping away from WordPress in this post, I hope you don’t  mind, I want to talk about twitter for a moment.

Your WordPress site is probably acting as a hub with spokes connecting your social media profiles at twitter, Facebook et al so the link is not that tenuous.

I want to explore why I think twitter search or search.twittter.com could be one of the most important tools for businesses to find new leads and monitor customer satisfaction.


Search.twitter.com allows you to perform a search on the live twitter stream.

What’s the big deal about that, and why should it matter to businesses?  I’ll tell you why, it gives you real time access to the problems and frustrations that people are having right now!   I’ll let that sink in for a moment, you have access to something so frustrating to the person involved that they have gone online and expressed their annoyance with a tweet.

If you can step in with a solution to that problem you are going to be seen as a pretty cool dude.

It’s About Making A Connection Not Spamming

Let’s make it plain and clear here, making connections with strangers through twitter search should be done gently.  It’s about making a connection, it’s about starting a conversation, it’s not about giving someone a hard sell just because you have foundd their tweet.

Let make a real life analogy.  You are sitting in a bar and you can overhear the conversation of the people on the next table.  They don’t know you.   The conversation turns to automobiles, you overhear that the people on the other table need a new car.  It just so happens you are an auto-dealer, you jump up, push your business card at the target and start your hard sell.  They were talking to a friend not you.  Now imagine twitter being the same you need to be subtle.

Tools To Monitor Search

You can go to search.twitter.com and do manual searches, but if you want to continually monitor the twitter steam for particular queries you will need a different tool.

I use tweet deck, a free tool which allows me to setup a series of searches which I can monitor throughout the day, and if I can be of help, I respond to that tweet.

Another tool I have been trialing is Sprout Social, an  online tool which also allows you to setup searches for phrases.

Give An Answer To A Question

I often see queries about WordPress that I am in a position to answer.  People may ask what is the best plugin for this or can I recommend a solution for that, I am more than happy to jump in with an answer. A quick reply or a link to the appropriate plugin is usually very well received, and it is a great way to open an online conversation.

Send A Link To A Post

Again this is another full post, but twiter is an excellent way to market your blog one qualified reader at a time.

If someone is asking a question that you have the answer to, then send them a link to a blog post, which answers that problem.  This may then make them dig deeper into your blog archives and perhaps become an email or RSS subscriber

Don’t Spam But If Your Product Or Service Fits

Don’t make your first contact with someone be a pitch, that’s not social, that’s just slimy but I add this caveat, if someone explicit asks for your products or services you can get away with your first contact being a pitch, but be pleasant about it.  Here is an  example

Potential lead: Do you know anyone in the north east of england supplying WordPress technical support

In reply: Hi, I’m based in Newcastle, and WordPress is all we do, check out our site ibraininc.com/wordpress-technical-support

The person is asking explicitly for what we do, so I point them to our sales page, no pressure selling.

Monitor Your Brand

If you monitor twitter search for your brand of product, you have an excellent opportunity to put right any negative feedback before it build any momentum.

For example if someone went onto twitter and said “those idiots at wpdude wrecked my site” (not that this has ever happened) I would be able to quickly engage with that person, find out what the problem was and put out that fire by fixing the problem before my reputation is brought down by one tweet.

That imaginary tweeter goes from frustrated to listened to and helped in a short space of time.

I’ve done this a couple of times and when a representative gets back to me I’m usually overwhelmed and my attitude is given a 180 degree spin from unhappy to satisfied customer.  @zendesk, @socialsprout and @gotomeeting are three fairly big companies who do this, I have tweeted about problems with their systems and have received support, I’ve gone so far as to mention them in a blog post, their customer service standards are in my mind even now.

It goes the other way if someone says something good about you, monitoring for your brand or products/.services means you can favourite the tweet and build up a series of tweet testimonials which you can send people to, but more about that in another post.

My Examples

This is how I use twitter search for my wordpress technical support services.  I have a number of searches setup which match what I do.  So if someone types in “wordpress help” or “wordpress problem”.  I am monitoring for it, and if I can help I send them a link to a solution, answer their query if it will fit into 140 chars or invite them to email me via my contact form for a longer answer if it takes more than 140 characters.

Please note I don’t jump in and say Yep I can fix it, go to my services page and I will prepare a quote, I give away freely without expectation.  I am looking to build up my credibility as a WordPress thought leader.  Once that link is established in peoples mind, they may come back to my site and explore the fact that I provided support services.

To be really successful on twitter you need to give before you receive, it’s not about pushing your message 100% it’s about making connections.  Being social, these relationships may then develop into projects, they may also blossom into an online referral engine where people send others your way for services or products.

A great quote from the book Un-Marketing (amazon aff link) is this:

You wouldn’t open a business bank account and ask to withdraw $5000 before depositing anything.  The banker would think you are loony.  Yet people go onto social media, open their account, send out a few pitches for their mediocre e-book, and then complain to me that “this social media stuff does not work”.

Twitter search Would Be A Huge Timesuck

Yes it could be if all you do is answer question after question all day long and never do you day job (unless fielding twitter tech support questions is your thing, and many businesses are recruiting for just such roles)

I treat it as a 10-20 minute networking session one time during the day, I will go through my twitter searches responding and helping if I can.  It is an excellent way to start a conversation, and to reinforce the point that I’m an expert in my chosen field.

Wrap Up

Are you using WordPress as the hub of your social media?  I recommend you do, check out this posts, it’s on the front page of Google and has become quiet popular.

Let me know in the comments if you would like me to write more about social media and integrating WordPress with it.  It’s a subject I’m pretty keen on and I will happily write about it if you want me to.

If you need help building your social hub with WordPress at the centre give me a shout.

Image by nathanmac87

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