How to Use Twitter for Listening

In my social media travels, I've run into a lot of people who've given up on Twitter. Maybe they don't have time to write a lot of tweets, or they don't have many fans, or they just aren't sure the channel works for them.

Twitter is a great tool for listening to conversations
Twitter is great for listening. Photo: s1ng0
This tends to be especially true for some smaller non-profits. Budgets are small, staff is small, and there's just not a lot of time to devote to anything that's not achieving immediate results.

I tell these kinds of organizations that they are missing out on a huge opportunity to listen. Twitter is an excellent tool for listening, and for connecting to and influencing larger dialogue.

I advise these clients to use Twitter to follow others who do what they do, and to follow the discussion about the issues their organizations address.

For instance, the director a non-profit health clinic might use Twitter to follow other clinic directors and to monitor discussion of #Medicare, #ACA (the Affordable Care Act), #antibiotics, or #healthcare. This is a great way to locate current news and thoughts about these issues, and to contribute to a discussion involving people who are passionate and motivated to act.

Twitter's also a great way for busy professionals, like our non-profit health clinic director, to stay connected to others in her industry even though she can't get out to networking events or conferences as often as she'd like. Using Twitter, she can connect to others in her field and reach out for advice, input, and ideas.

Our clinic director can set up a HootSuite account in a few minutes, and follow those keywords that make sense to her. She'll be able to set up streams for her keywords so she can see them right in HootSuite, track discussions, and schedule replies.

How are you using Twitter? Please let me know @practicalmktr.

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