Tracking what’s being said about your company on Twitter is one of the most important aspects of social media marketing. Research from Maritz and Evolve24 found 83% of customers who made a complaint about a business on Twitter liked when a company responded. Unfortunately, that same study showed only 29% of companies actually replied to customer complaints on Twitter.
One of the best ways to make sure you’re not missing out on any customer complaints or even positive comments on Twitter is to track your mentions. Not only will monitoring your mentions help improve your customer service, but it’s also helpful for tracking who’s sharing your content on Twitter.
We’re going to do a deep dive into Twitter mentions to show you
- How to find and track mentions
- How to get more Twitter mentions
- Costly mistakes you need to avoid
@Username, Brand Mentions & Hashtags
First, let’s break down some basic terms. There are three general ways that users will mention your brand name on Twitter:
@Username: When people use the term “Twitter mention,” this is what they’re referring to. A mention is when someone uses the @ sign immediately followed by your Twitter username. Depending on your settings, you’ll receive a notification from Twitter that someone has mentioned you.
— Rebekah Radice (@RebekahRadice) January 4, 2016
Brand mention: This is when someone mentions your company or brand name in a Tweet without the @username. It’s common when people Tweet a link to a blog post from your site or if customers are commenting about your company. With a brand mention, you won’t receive a notification because Twitter views it as just text.
Using Instagram's Suite of Apps for Business | Sprout Social https://t.co/kzUh5F3XsL
— Terry League (@TerryLeague) January 4, 2016
Hashtag: Another common way that people will mention brands on Twitter is with a hashtag, especially if your brand is well known. Again, you won’t get a Twitter notification if someone mentions your brand name in a hashtag. Sometimes people will use different hashtags that contain your company’s name, which can make tracking mentions of your brand a little trickier.
— Chandrima Chatterjee (@chandrimatweets) January 4, 2016
In order to get a full view of what’s being said about your company on Twitter, you need to track all three of these types of mentions.
Replies vs. Mentions
Replies and mentions on Twitter often get confused. Although they may look similar, they aren’t the same thing.
A reply is a response to someone else’s Tweet and starts with @username. Whenever you start a Tweet with @username, Twitter views it as a conversation. Replies are threaded together so it’s easier to follow. You’ll see a “view conversation” link on these Tweets. When you click on the link, it expands and shows you the full conversation.
The only people who will see these Tweets are the sender, recipient and people who follow both parties. The exception is if you place a period before the @username. Then, Twitter views the Tweet as a mention and the Tweet will show up in all of your followers’ streams.
Mentions are less complicated. They are any Tweets that contain a @username anywhere within the Tweet. If you send a Tweet with a mention in it, it’s visible to you, the people you mention and your followers.
— jennifer beese (@jenniferbeese) January 2, 2016
Setting Up Notifications in Twitter
The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure your Twitter account is setup to receive notifications when someone mentions your account. It’s very simple. You can setup both Web and email notifications. Go into settings and select either email notifications or Web notifications.
Once that box is checked, you’ll get a message under Notifications whenever someone mentions you. Keep in mind that this is only when someone does an @mention, not when someone simply mentions your company name.
For instance, if someone were to Tweet “I love Sprout Social!” that wouldn’t show up as a notification in Twitter. But if they Tweeted “I love @SproutSocial!” then a notification would be sent.
Don’t worry, you can still find and track mentions of your company, even if users don’t include your Twitter Handle. Here’s how.
Tracking Mentions on Twitter
The first technique involves good old fashioned searching. You can just perform a search for “Company Name” from within Twitter. You’ll see all of the Tweets that contain your company name. Click on the Live tab if you want to see the most recent Tweets.
Using Twitter search will give you a basic overview of who’s Tweeting about your company. You’ll get a mix of Twitter mentions as well as Tweets that just contain your company name.
For more accurate results, you can use Twitter’s Advanced Search, along with performing different searches like “#SproutSocial” and “@SproutSocial” to only show Tweets with hashtags with your company name and @mentions.
As you can see, tracking Twitter mentions within Twitter is possible, but a little messy. Luckily there’s a much better way to track your Twitter mentions.
Tracking Twitter Mentions With Sprout Social
The best way to find and track Twitter mentions is with Sprout Social’s Twitter management tools. Not only can you see real time mentions, but you can also save specific searches and easily follow your conversations with users that mention you.
You can save different brand keyword searches and see the latest Tweets in your dashboard. For instance, you could set your brand keywords as:
- Sprout Social
Then, your dashboard will show you all of the latest Tweets containing those specific searches, instead of running three separate searches. This ensures you don’t miss any mentions of your brand name on Twitter. Sprout also makes it easier to respond.
How To Get More Twitter Mentions
Ideally, you want people to @mention you whenever they share your content or mention your company on Twitter. Getting an @mention in Tweets makes your account more visible, which can help you earn new followers.
However, as we’ve mentioned, some users will just type your brand name without including your Twitter Handle in the Tweet. Here are some tips to make sure people include your Twitter Handle when they mention your company.
1. Setup Your Site for Social Sharing
Have you ever seen the little social sharing icons on blogs? We have them at the top of all of our posts.
When you click on the Twitter icon, it populates a Tweet for you and adds “via @SproutSocial” at the end. This increases the likelihood of readers giving the Sprout Social Twitter account a mention when they share our blog posts. If your blog is powered by WordPress, there are several popular plugins that make it easy to add social sharing buttons.
2. Start Conversations
When is the last time you took the initiative to start up a conversation with someone on Twitter? This is one of the easiest ways to start getting Twitter mentions.
Once you send a Tweet mentioning another user, they’re likely going to reply and @mention you. The conversations will show up in the other person’s stream under Tweets and Replies, which could get noticed by people browsing their account. Engage with authorities in your industry and this technique can earn you a lot of recognition.
3. Make Your Twitter Handle Known
Hopefully you’re able to snag your company name as a Twitter Handle. If not, you run the risk of people @mentioning the wrong Twitter Handle or just not mentioning your brand at all.
If the Twitter Handle for your company name isn’t available, don’t panic. Just choose something as close as possible, avoid underscores and keep it short and simple. For instance, Search Engine Journal’s name is too long to be made into a Twitter Handle. So instead, the company abbreviated the handle to @SEJournal.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Tracking your mentions might seem simple enough, but it’s usually the easiest tasks that are the likeliest to mess up. Here are some of the most common mistakes you should avoid when tracking Twitter mentions.
- Not tracking misspellings: Spell check doesn’t work for Twitter Handles. If someone tries to @mention your Twitter Handle, but misspells it, Twitter doesn’t correct it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to track mentions of common misspellings of your company name on Twitter as well. If your business name contains any of these words, you should do a quick search on Twitter to see if people have been trying to @mention you with a typo.
- Only tracking @mentions: As we mentioned earlier, not everyone is going to use your Twitter Handle when they mention your company. Track Tweets containing your brand name and hashtags too.
- Tracking Twitter mentions sporadically: Twitter moves in real time. When customers mention your brand name on Twitter, you might not be able to afford to wait a couple of days to reply. Check your mentions on a daily basis so that your followers and customers don’t feel ignored.
Take control of the conversation and stop missing out on opportunities to interact with your audience with Sprout’s Twitter management tools. Do you have any tips for managing Twitter mentions? Leave a comment and let us know!