Twitter Tricks for Competitive ResearchMost people view Twitter as a way to converse with others and publish useful information that others are hopefully interested in reading.

Have you ever thought of it as a highly useful competitive research tool?

Learning to use Twitter to its fullest will give you a very valuable tool for growing your business…after all, isn’t that the real bottom line?

7 ways to use Twitter to Gather Competitive Intelligence:

  1. Twitter Search – You have probably noticed there is a search box at the top of the page, but there is also an advanced searchthat is much more helpful. You can filter for keywords, people, places, and sentiment. Here’s what it looks like:
  2. Twitter Lists - As the number of people you are following grows it becomes impossible to read all of the posts to find the best ones. Yes, there is still a lot of worthless and useless information some people feel compelled to share. But you want the really good stuff. That’s where lists come in. Here’s a good tutorial from the gang at Twitter on how to use Twitter lists. You can also check Listorious and see who other people have on their lists. And don’t forget to check the lists your competitors have created…you never know what gems you may uncover.
  3. Social Media Dashboards – Once you have created a number of searches and lists they become very easy to manage if you use a Social Media Dashboard like Hootsuite (my favorite), Seesmic, or Tweetdeck(now owned by Twitter). There are many others, and you can google the term and find a lot of them. You’ll need to spend some time and try a couple until you find one you really like, but it will be well worth your time to do that.
  4. Set Up Search Alerts - You can also set up email alerts for those people and companies you want to know about. A couple of tools to do that are TweetBeep and Twilert. You can set up filters so you can just get the information you want.
  5. Conferences & Trade Shows- Check and see if the organizer has set up a hashtag for their event. Those are the words with the # sign in front of the word/phrase. You can then follow that hashtag and see who’s going to be attending and what they are talking about. It would also be a good idea to search for third-party hashtag terms for each specific event as well.
  6. Older Twitter updates - Sometimes you may want to get older updates that other tools don’t offer. Use TwapperKeeper to dig up those older updates that might be helpful.
  7. Stats for Bit.ly Links - Many times you want to know who else tweeted that same link. While bit.ly isn’t the only one used it is very prevalent, and there is a nifty little trick to quickly find out. Copy the link and put it in your browser search bar, but before you hit enter add “+” (without the quotes) to the end of the url. The results page will show who tweeted that link and how many clicks it received.

Please feel free to add any tools you have found helpful or tricks you use in the comments area below.

PhilLauterjung

About Phil Lauterjung

Phil has over 30 years of marketing and sales experience in both Fortune 500 companies and smaller companies. In 2008, fueled by a passion to help other small businesses, he developed the business plan for Integrated LeadGen Results. "LeadGen" because lead generation is necessary for the growth of any business. "Integrated" because lead generation without being part of an integrated marketing system is terribly inefficient. And. "Results" because...well, isn't that why we are in business? The Duct Tape Marketing System was the perfect addition to that business plan.