Do Your Customers Use Twitter? (How to Find Out)

With all the buzz about Twitter as a customer service tool and many well known companies diving in, you might be asking yourself, should your company use Twitter to connect with your customers. There are a number of things to consider as you answer this question but the most important (by far) is “are your customers using Twitter?”

If they are not, that will affect how you use Twitter. Because you can’t connect to people who are not there.

But a lot of people are using Twitter. Mashable estimates about 12% of the US population will be using Twitter by the end of 2009. And while that doesn’t sound like much, consider what business you’re in and how “online” your customers tend to be.

Also, consider where you do business. Some states have a many more people using Twitter. For example, here is a ranking of the top 10 states in the USA based on their Twitter users as counted by a large directory of active Twitter users.

1. California
2. Texas
3. Florida
4. Illinois
5. Georgia
6. New York
7. Washington
8. Pennsylvania
9. Massachusetts
10. Ohio

Another way to look at which places are most Twitterfied is to look at how they rank by number of users per capita. Ranking the USA states this way gives us this top 10:

1. Washington
2. Massachusetts
3. Oregon
4. Nevada
5. Colorado
6. Illinois
7. Georgia
8. California
9. Arizona
10. Tennessee

(See the complete ranking of all 50 states here.)

So, how do you know if YOUR customers are using Twitter?

There are several things you can do. First, ask them. Use your normal communications channels. Work it into the conversation. During the usual touch points, ask your customers if they use Twitter. You can also use surveys if you want but keep them simple. Remember the rule about using surveys: keep them easy, convenient and quick.

You should be talking with your customers on a frequent and regular basis anyway so working Twitter into the conversation shouldn’t be hard.

You can also check their websites for links to Twitter. Many people post their social media links on their websites.

If you want to be more secretive about it, you can do Google searches for your customers. Just search on their personal names, company names, product names or brand names and include the word “Twitter” in the search. For example, typing:

+twitter +”kevin stirtz”

in Google produces these results that start with my Twitter page.

Another way to find out if your customers use Twitter is to search Twitter. Look for them by looking for YOUR company or brand names. Think about whatever names people use to refer to your company and search for them in Twitter. This will show you who mentioned your company, when and in what context.

Twitter Search will show you all past mentions of your company or brand name. But to be completely in the know you need to constantly monitor Twitter for conversations about your company.

To do this, you can use various Twitter tools. The two that seem most popular (and easy to setup) are Twilert and TweetBeep. They will email you alerts when someone has Tweeted about your company, product, brand or whatever keywords you want to monitor.

So, take some time and do some Twitter research. Find out if people are Tweeting about your company. If they are, you need to know about it.

The article was written by Kevin Stirtz