Fast Company

Twitter “Intelligence”? – The New BI Tool?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on how Twitter was my new business secret weapon. After discussion that post with several other people and reading some other commentary from fellow blogger's (see Between The Lines- ZDNet 6.24.08) I decided it was time to write a follow-up on additional Twiiter business uses.

There are a number of easy to use tools that allow you to cleverly and effectively tap into the power of Twitter and leverage the information Tweeting through Twitter. You can track a keyword and have every message containing that keyword sent to you. You can search through the masses of Twitter messages and find all Tweets with a certain keyword. Try using Tweet Scan to search Twiiter posts for keywords or phrases.

The ability to track a keyword across the entirety of the Twitter universe is an awe inspiring and powerful business intelligence tool. Messages are flowing through Twitter that are representative of different groups, locales, professions, economic strata's and tastes, covering just about any imaginable topic.

How are some companies using this information? Comcast has used it for a way to search Twitters about Comcast. They look for comments and complaints about their company. Zappos.com uses it as a way to connect with their audience. Whether it be a chance to meet their staff and attend special events or even to message the Zappos.com CEO with a issue or problem. Once again, Twitter allows a more direct connection.

So a besides finding out what people are saying about you and your products or your competitors and their products, what else can give you a business or personal edge?

A few weeks ago I found myself at a dinner thrown by Freshbooks.com and I was chatting with their CEO Mike McDerment and their Head Of Magic Saul Colt about how they handle increased demand for support. They told me that a portion of the after hours support was handled via Twitter. That Twitter allowed the staff pool to see simple posted questions and answer back during non support hours. Great idea.

How does it work?

Create a Twitter account. For example purposes name it XYZCo. Have your employees add it to their twitter mobile updates. Perhaps offer your associates $1.00 for each Twitter question fully answered. A user Twitters a question and one of many associates see it and can respond. Happy customer, happy associate who made an extra $25.00 over the weekend while sitting at the pool

How else?

Political candidates (Obama, Clinton and Edwards) all use Twitter to send out updates on where they are speaking or where you can see or hear their latest speeches and interviews.

Celebrities and Columnists use it as a form of not only self promotion and self expression but a way to truly connect in a more one on one atmosphere.

Some of my favorites are Diablo Cody (the screenwriter for Juno who’s posts are funny and at times very NSFW), Lisa Loeb (who loves to chat about her favorite foods and where she’s playing next) MC Hammer (who is making a comeback and working with other groups), Leo Laporte (who is I now know is quite the homebody at times), Will Wheaton (of ST-TNG fame who has a very funny, bliunt sense of humor), Henry Rollins (Of Black Flag and Poetry Slam Fame), Roger McGuinn (of the Byrds), Soupy Sales, and Robert Scoble .

Twitter can be a focal point for insightful, real-time feedback.

How are you using Twitter Intelligence to your advantage? What tools and services do you use to maximize how Twitter helps you?

Curious to see more. Get a Twitter account. If you like, find me and Twitter me. I look forward to seeing what your Twittering about.

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