Thursday, February 18, 2010

What does Twitter have to do with Margaritas? Find out for yourself.

You’ve heard us proselytize the importance of Twitter since the inception of Black Sheep. Heck, Leader of the Flock Aimee Woodall has already been named 2nd most influential Houston Tweeter and ranked #5 in the advertising Shorty Awards, a Twitter-based contest held nationwide. No big. We’re kind of big nerds about the whole concept because we’ve seen how it can truly affect business and networking.

As it turns out, we are not the biggest nerds out there. At least as far as Twitter goes.

A Harvard Business Review blog discussing a new wave in Twitter, an ability to study Twitter data, has emerged, and its frickin’ cool. If we didn’t have so much work to do, we could probably play on these awesome programs all night, both for pleasure and for actual insight into trends, opinions and effective word choice.

For example, Twitter Venn takes three different search terms. We used salsa, Houston and restaurant (because we’re hungry), and surprisingly, while many people are using those terms individually, there is very little overlap. Why aren’t restaurants in Houston with great salsa talking about it? This is an important question! We then tried “margarita,” “salsa” and “chips” and got very similar results. In fact, only 3.1 tweets/day contained all three search terms. What? Someone needs to start discussing these topics. Now.

Then there’s Twitter Spectrum. This nifty little program takes two words and lists all the words commonly associated with those terms and also those words commonly associated with both. We chose “cocktail” and “wine,” and, as though it were a message sent from above, the middle terms (showing the most commonality) were “need” and “food.” EXACTLY.

Twitter Stream takes two terms and shows the frequency of two terms and their associated words over time. Again, for whatever reason, we chose “food” and “hungry.” The results showed a remarkable amount of “need” and “LOL” with peaks at about 5:30 pm. At this point, we are still hungry, not laughing about it, but still pretty amazed by these sites.

So beyond the dork factor, what’s in it for you? Well, if you have a business, it’s an interesting way to monitor public opinion. Type your business’ name and find out what pops up along with it – if it’s positive, great… if you have peaks and trends with the word “suck” and “loser,” well, you need to work on improving whatever it is you do. It’s also a nice way to gauge your Twitter presence. Keep in mind this is an international perspective, so you don’t need millions of dots on your Venn diagram. But, you can compare your rates to your competition’s or your Twitter idol’s and see how you match up. Furthermore, you can learn something new about your market. If you sell bananas to monkeys in Hawaii, plug those terms into these programs and notice the other terms that appear. If words like coconuts and chocolate pop up, and you’re NOT selling chocolate and coconut-covered bananas, you may be missing out. *

Explore these Twitter data sites and let us know what you think! Are they helpful to you? What did you learn? Share with us in the comments below!

*We don’t know for certain whether monkeys can eat chocolate, so please take caution! 


オテモヤン said...
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Mike @DreamWorthy said...

Now THAT is a helpful, interesting post. Twitter Search is a weak tool at best. So as a small business using Twitter as part of our overall marketing strategy, these search tool recommendations will be very helpful. Twitter Analytics, FTW.

I wondered how long it would take for Twitter to break into HBR. Funny. Funnier to see HBR and frickin' in the same paragraph, but that's another story. Makes me glad that we voted for Aimee in the Shorty's. ;-)

Stay the course,

Mike Kunkle