Twitter Social Listening 101: Your Complete Guide

Twitter was founded in 2006 and since then, it has grown up to over 300 million monthly active users employing 4900 people. But this isn’t what makes Twitter special. Twitter’s conversational style is what makes it special. Unlike all other social networks, success on this platform depends on your ability to hold a conversation. This also makes it the best platform for a quick pulse check on sentiments on any given subject.

Social listening is the active tracking of online conversations through keyword and phrases, giving you a 360 view in real-time.

Why is Twitter Monitoring Important?

Social listening on Twitter is the most cost effective way to track and analyze sentiments across a wide array of subjects and audiences. There is simply nothing that comes even close to the type of insights social listening can offer us.

According to research, customers reach out to brands online to:

  1. Ask questions
  2. Raise issues with your products and/or services
  3. Praise your products and/or services
  4. Tell all about online experience
  5. Tell all about offline experience

In a somewhat dated but relevant survey from 2017, 25% of businesses were using social listening to improve their products, 24% to attract customers, and 21% to improve customer service.

When it comes to Twitter monitoring, we want to think beyond branded searchwords and consider trends, geographically segmented micro-influencers, and other ways to glean insights from the marketing treasure trove that is Twitter.

How to Do Social Listening on Twitter?

You can do a lot of basic social media monitoring using Twitter’s own tools, without needing to resort to specialized social listening software.

The same tool is also available on Tweetdeck, which offers more flexibility for Twitter power users.

Twitter’s advanced search allows you to search for keywords/phrases and also filter by:

  • Date range
  • Language
  • Authors
  • Location
  • Engagement: number of reweets, likes, and replies

Tweetdeck’s social listening options are so good that you may find it perfect for your purposes. Of course, if you’re looking for something with a little more oomph! and reporting, then you can always opt for a specialized social listening tool like SOCIALHOSE.

There are many social listening platforms that complicate the process of query building. That is, the search phrase and filters we use to pull data from Twitter.

If you prefer clicking through countless boxes to label things AND/OR and drag and drop every phrase into a bucket or something, then this is not the right tool for you. If you want to just type out your query, without complication then you’re in the right place.

We begin by using the + operator. We use + to say “must include” and — to say “must exclude”. In the above example, the + operator is redundant but it is for you to understand it.

We use parenthesis to group things together. Every space is interpreted as an OR operator. The AND operator must be explicitly used. So, the above reads as “must include journorequest OR prrequest OR lazyweb”. Great.

At first, it may be difficult to determine what we should be listening for, because we are spoiled for choice. The sheer volume of online conversations happening every second in real-time.

In order to put things in perspective, approximately 9,500 tweets are sent every second. This is an incredible amount of information waiting to be looked at and analyzed.

Develop an Actionable Twitter social listening Strategy

So you have your feeds working for you, collecting valuable social data, it’s time to take action and utilize all the insights that we have learned from our active listening.

Product improvement

Rhianna’s Savage x Fenty recently released leggings with a butt cleavage. You read that right. Sometimes, a product is so outrageously ridiculous that it elicits strong reactions from consumers.. and sometimes, nothing happens. In this case, people were not shy about letting their opinions be known.

And divided indeed! If we were to take a quick look at sentiments without digging too deep into the search, we will see an unusually high volume of negative tweets. That should either inform us to change plans or double down.

We don’t know what Savage x Fenty will do with the way the butt cleavage leggings have been received, but it is an opportunity to continue to gauge sentiments through time.

Industry monitoring

You probably have figured out by now that social listening is not a “set it and forget it” type of affair. You must actively be listening and adapting, because conversations are happening at breakneck speeds. 9500 tweets per second, remember?

When monitoring industry trends, you can start by tracking some of the key players’ twitter accounts at first. As you continue to monitor their activities, new topics will emerge.

This is where the Word Cloud (themes) become very useful and informative.

Inform content strategy & campaigns

A content engine is the people, processes and tools that produce the fuel that feeds our content creation. A content engine is what we use to draw inspiration and insights. Who are the 5 best accounts to follow on Twitter who tweet about our topic/area of interest? Experts, contrarians and other influencers are all candidates for your content engine.

Identify new partnerships

There is no guarantee that you will find new partnerships on Twitter, just like there aren’t any guarantees to find love at your local bar. One thing is for certain, making your business and brand available and approachable will increase the chances of that happening.

You may find a new distributor. An influencer who will be your brand advocate. Like most things in life, you get what you put in.

Find New Leads Through Social Listening

Finding and qualifying leads happens on Twitter all the time, because of its top of the funnel nature. Similar to SEO, we search for high intent phrases to find prospects and leads.

Using social listening to find leads on Twitter is a very cost effective way to find prospects in real-time.

How Much Does Social Listening Cost for Twitter?

Social listening can be cost effective or expensive, depending on how you approach it and the tools you choose to use. At SOCIALHOSE, you can start social listening on Twitter starting at $2 per feed. Adding analytics will add $15 to your feed. It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

Originally published at




2x founder. Lived in 7 countries, none of which is my own. I write about startups, marketing and technology. Subscribe:

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Mo Elzubeir

Mo Elzubeir

2x founder. Lived in 7 countries, none of which is my own. I write about startups, marketing and technology. Subscribe:

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