Vanity metrics is the phrase used to describe numbers that are impressive but vastly overrated. Take Twitter for example. People and programs, blogs and articles focus on how to gain more followers but few touch on the real value of twitter; listening.
Out of the 1 billion Tweets every week, how valuable would it be to know when someone mentioned your brand, service, product or competitor? Being able to see and respond to these social media blasts puts you in the more powerful position of responding to activity rather than creating content and trying to gain followers as mentioned in the article linked to above.
One well timed tweet in response to a question or mention could be worth a lot more than a month’s worth of aimless tweets just to seem active. And what about geo-targeted listening? Noticing someone tweet about photo booth in general is not half so interesting as hearing someone tweet about renting a photo booth in Denver.
Geo-targeting your listening by choosing keywords within your area of service or largest target market cities can turn you into a ninja twitter! Just imagine tweeting to a friend that you needed a good dentist in New York and getting a tweet within 24 hours from a local dentist near you offering a 20% off coupon if you come in and mention that tweet. Talk about target marketing!
If you are an avid TweetDeck user already, try out this listening strategy from Slideshare. This brief slideshow shows you just how to put twitter, your brand name and your keywords to work for you. Chris Brogan had a neat little how to painted out for you more savvy readers on his blog for listening on Twitter too. Seems simple enough. If you know how to use an RSS reader than you can do this. If not, well, a tool below might serve you better.
Here are some great links to twitter listening services that email you results daily. If you get hooked, most of these services have an upgrade for around $20 per month to get more listens and alerts for more keywords: