Twitter is a highly adaptable tool that can be utilized for a multitude of purposes. People tweet for fun, business, information, news, and in emergencies. You would think that 140 characters limits you, but people are still able to share articles, pictures, and videos.
Twitter not only helps you connect with millions of people it is a phenomenal research tool. Businesses and organizations collectively pay millions of dollars for case studies, reports, white papers, think tanks, and focus groups in the hopes of obtain business building information on their industry and target market. Small businesses that cannot afford to use up their marketing budget on expensive reports have some alternatives, and Twitter is one of them.
Twitter is a free resource that can be utilized to supplement your existing research efforts. Where market research and case studies can take months and years to come to fruition Twitter is a real time source for data. Where think tanks and focus groups are limited by size, location, and time constraints Twitter is global and always on.
On top of using Twitter as a communication and information sharing utility it is a very useful and highly effective research apparatus that can be applied to diverse areas of study with minimal cost.
So let’s look at a few of the tools that will help you target, gather, and organize the information you need.
4 Twitter Tools for Business Research
Twellow is the yellow pages of Twitter, only better than the traditional yellow pages. It has some very useful features and is adding new ones to keep up with the changing needs of its subscribers. The Yellow Pages never did that. As a research tool you can use the Directory to search by category or location, you can use Twellowhood to geographically target and research statistical information (United States and Canada only at this time), and you can use Twellow Pulse to monitor conversations in up to 20 categories.
(Brand monitoring, industry research) @tweetbeep
Tweetbeep is equivalent to Google Alerts, it gives you the ability to monitor your brand, your company, your name, and your industry. It saves you time because it sends all of this information to your email inbox (or folder) to be cataloged and analyzed on your time schedule.
(real time, local market research) @briancray
NearbyTweets is a new site, went live in January 2009, that looks to be something that will only grow in popularity when the buzz begins to build. NearbyTweets is a great real time search utility. You can watch tweets from people based on location and keyword. It displays people that are nearby and what they are talking about at this moment.
While the other applications allow you to search based on YOUR interests, you pick the key words, categories, and locations Nearby Tweets takes it a step further by allowing you to see what interests OTHERS. This is especially useful if you are interested in geographical and local market research. It’s like sitting in a 100 Starbucks, you hear all the conversations going on around you, but when you jump into their conversation no one thinks you are weirdo because that is what you do on Twitter.
Great marketing is about tapping into the interests of your target market. With this application you do not have to be friends with these people on Twitter to see what they are saying, you do not need to know what categories or keywords they fall into, and you do not have to wait for it to come into your email inbox. It’s as real time as you can get.
(Organization, Optimization) @tweetdeck
Tweetdeck gives you the ability to organize the Twitter madness, it is a real time saver (if you don’t stay on it all day), after you have used all of the tools listed above you can organize, categorize, and monitor your finds. The wonderful thing about this application is that it is a one stop shop, you can organize, monitor, search, and respond all without opening your web browser. You can also use this application for research by grouping your Twitter contacts, watching key words, and engaging your network in relevant conversation.
If you have have further suggestions for Twitters Tools for Business Research we would love to hear about it…..