Twitter Tip Tuesday is a weekly blog series from Sprout Social Insights.

Every Tuesday we’ll focus on just one (1) Twitter Tip and show you how to integrate it into your social media strategy.

Today’s Twitter Tip Tuesday: Listen

In this day and age, there is a lot of pressure to add your voice to the growing conversation of social media.

But in your rush to be heard, don’t forget that the better part of conversation comes from listening. Here are some things you can listen for in Twitter to add even more value to your social media conversations:

Listen with Lists

You may have a lot of Twitter followers – and that’s great. Let’s assume you’re doing a good job and that people are listening to what you have to say. But are you listening to them?

One of the best ways to focus in and listen to the best and most important conversations on Twitter is with Lists.

Twitter allows you to create your own unique lists of people you’d like to listen to. That way instead of always reading the tweet stream of everyone you follow, you can listen in on Twitter conversations of specific people who tweet on a certain topic, or people who influence your customers, for example.

And the best part of Twitter Lists is that you don’t even need to follow someone to add them to your list, so you can even listen in on your competitors’ conversations like a ‘fly on the wall’ without having to let anyone know you’re even there!

Take a look at Sprout_Insights Twitter List page for some ideas on the type of Twitter conversations you might like to listen in on.

Listen with #Hashtags

Hashtags, or words preceded with the ‘#’ sign on Twitter have evolved into searchable topics that savvy tweeters incorporate into their tweets whenever they tweet about a certain topic.

If you search on a specific hashtag in Twitter, you can listen in to all the Twitter conversations where someone has included that hashtag in their tweet. For example, here’s the Twitter search results page for the #sproutsocial hashtag.

By searching on any hashtag, you’ll get real time results about what people are saying about that topic. Again, you can listen in and gain valuable insight from these conversations without ever having to say a word!

Listen with Tools

Just like there are listening devices in the real world to help you focus in on conversations, there are tools in the social media world that enable you to selective listen in to Twitter conversations too.

Using Google Alerts, for example, you can listen in on web conversations that mention a specific keyword you’re listening for. You can refine your search to include only mentions on your keyword on Twitter in the advanced preferences.

And of course, you can use a comprehensive social media monitoring tool like Sprout Social to listen to conversations based on keywords, profiles, competitors and a host of other strategic listening parameters. The screenshot below is an example of Sprout Social’s ‘Discovery’ function:

Sprout Social Discovery Function

Speaking is Silver, Listening is Gold

The ancient proverb, “Speaking is Silver, Listening is Gold” is as pertinent today as when it was written over 1000 years ago. Remember that more insight, intelligence and business knowledge can sometimes be gained by simply listening to what’s already being said.

We’re Listening…

We’d love to hear what you have to say. Leave a comment on this or any post on Sprout Social: Insights and you could be featured on Fan Friday!