Twitter as a Listening Tool

Listening Tool 60 kb

One day, while chatting on Twitter, I got this tweet from @Tsledzik, above, and got to thinking about how to use Twitter as a listening tool. Yes, everyeone says Twitter can be used that way, but how does that work? What does that look like on a day-to-day basis? Large companies or brands can search on their own names or special hashtags. But how can a Startup just starting out or smaller company use Twitter as a listening platform? Here are a few simple ideas.

Use Twitter to Listen

Use Twitter to Listen

Click on @ mentions

From the Twitter client, click on the @ or connect sign right at the top of the screen. Your interactions will appear in the column and you can easily thank or respond to people. Yes, this is basic, but some people only seem to use Twitter to broadcast, and listening doesn’t even occur to them.

Use Hashtags to Search

Use Hashtags to Search

Not only can you use hashtags to allow people to search for your tweets, you can use them to search for any topic you can think of that might allow you to start conversations. For example, type in #Startup in the search bar to find others tweeting about startups. In the example above, I searched on #Startup problems, with only the word “startup” hashtagged (it’s unlikely that #StartupProblems would give many results). Now you have a whole string of possible people to talk to. Note: the top result is promoted, and like the top search results on Google, you may want to overlook it.

Create a List

You may want to listen to local news through Twitter, or what people in a certain geographic area are saying. You can create a list called “Locals” or “San Francisco” and add people to that list. This is a great way to cut down on the “noise” of Twitter. And you can make your list private or public, depending upon whether you want to be in stealth mode.

Trending Topics

Trending Topics

Another easy way to listen on Twitter is to monitor trending topics. They are in the left-hand column. When I wrote this post, #ParentsFavoriteLine was trending, which seemed to be mostly kids making fun of things their parents said. That might be a good one for a teacher to monitor. Trending topics change quite often during the day, and are a good way to keep up on popular news. Here’s a fascinating article on MIT’s algorithm on predicting trending topics.

How Do You Listen?

I would love to hear what you have to say! Leave me a comment below! Thank you!



  1. You’re right. Gary Vaynerchuk talks about how when he first started on Twitter, he’d just answer questions about what wine was good with whatever meal questions people tweeted (his company is winelibrary(dot)com I believe. Just being helpful to people is a win in my book.

    • Hi Bridget,
      I forgot that about Gary Vaynerchuk! He did answer questions about wine. What a great way to listen to what people really wanted! Thanks for the reminder, and for commenting.

  2. Hello Michael,
    Brands always want to consider ways to listen more to their target markets, and Twitter is such a fantastic way to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening right now. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  3. Hello, I wish for to subscribe for this weblog to obtain hottest updates, therefore where can i do
    it please help.

  4. Thanks for the comment, Bridget! I so appreciate your taking the time.


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