How to Execute Competitive Research on Twitter

twitter searchTwitter can be a great place to listen in on what your community is talking about … that is, if they’re talking. I write about search engine optimization (SEO) for another blog professionally, so in order to find out what the community in that niche is interested in or needs, I often tap into Twitter in effort to hear what’s being said.

The goal is to overhear what types of questions people are talking about and what topics come up regularly.

Overhearing these things can help you create the content your community is already interested in. However, when I jumped in on some common topics within the SEO niche, all I heard was a loud roar of promotional noise. It seemed no matter how I searched or filtered the most recent tweets, I couldn’t cut through the static. Every tweet was either spam or promoting some kind of content.

It made me wonder.

We could probably execute a few searches related to a single niche on Twitter and gain a pretty good understanding of just how competitive that niche is depending on how promotional the stream is. As I experienced, search engine optimization is beyond saturated … I still can’t find a single tweet that doesn’t end with some sort of link.

If you tap into a niche with little promotion, it’s probably a good indication that niche isn’t very competitive. Conversely, if you can’t even see the conversational tweets you might need to tweak your search or find a new niche. This exercise can help you connect with others in your niche, what content to create for your blog if you’ve already started, and how competitive the niche might be.

How to Use Twitter search

To get started, launch and type in the phrase you want to target — this phrase will be isolated by Twitter and presented in a filtered search, enabling you to see everything being said about that phrase in real-time.

twitter search

As you can see above, I’ve filtered the results to “search engine optimization” in effort to view everything being said within that niche on Twitter. Unfortunately, this particular topic is over-saturated due to the money invested in SEO, and thus the level of competitiveness for eyes interested in SEO.

Take a look below for what the results look like for this particular niche …

twitter search

As you can see, the tweets are all promotional (ending with a link), providing the viewer with some sort of value related to SEO but not really engaging the community as a whole in an non-promotional way.

Looking at this from the perspective of someone interested in the competitiveness of a niche is pretty informative, as it suggests the niche is saturated. While this is merely a glimpse of a few tweets, using TweetDeck or other app will provide you with a much more extensive look at the niche, though in this case, the promotional tweets never seem to end.

What’s your niche look like?

Do you use Twitter search regularly, or have you done so in the past — what does your niche look like? I’d love to hear what you’ve found with this type of quick research and furthermore if you were able to use it in some way.

cc image credit Brajeshwar


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