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How to Find and Track Mentions on Twitter

Rachel May Quin
Dec 4, 2014 2:22:54 PM

Looking for an easy way to track Twitter mentions and keep an eye on what users are saying about you? It’s only human. Twitter mentions is just one of the ways customers interact with brands, sharing positive feedback and any disappointing experiences they may have had. It’s important that you track your mentions, as it can give you valuable insights into how your followers feel about your business.

Understanding your brand’s perception on Twitter will help you understand what your audience expects from you and if your customers are using mentions to make complaints. Finding your Twitter mentions is easy peasy with the right tools behind you. Let’s get started!What are Twitter mentions?

What are Twitter mentions?A mention is a tweet that contains an @ symbol followed by your username within the body of the tweet; it’s a great way to get someone’s attention as it starts a direct conversation. Mentions can be included anywhere within the tweet, whether it’s at the beginning or the end. You can also mention as many users as you like, as long as it stays within the 280 character limit.

There are three main types of Twitter mentions:

  1. Hashtags - If your brand is relatively well known, hashtags are one way your business can get mentioned; however, this type of mention can be more difficult to track, especially if people are using different variations of your brand name.
  2. Brand mentions - When Twitter users mention your business in a Tweet without using your @username, this is known as a brand mention. You won’t get a notification when someone mentions your brand in this way because it is only considered as text and isn’t surfaced by the Twitter algorithm. Customers generally use brand mentions when they are talking about your business or when they link to an article on your blog or a news article about your brand.
  3. Username mentions - Also referred to as a “Twitter mention”, username mentions is when the @ sign is used followed by your Twitter username. When a user mentions your brand directly, you should get a notification. Usually, if a user mentions your brand with an ‘@’ it’s because they want your attention or require a response, so it’s particularly important to keep track of these.

If you’re not sure how to view your mentions on Twitter, you can go to the ‘Mentions’ tab in ‘Notifications’ where you can see all your Twitter mentions in one place.

What’s the difference between a mention and a reply?

A reply is a direct response to another tweet, whereas, mentions are not generally considered as a response to another user. Replies are one of the easiest ways to start and join a conversation; you would typically reply if you are responding to a question or are reacting to an idea or story. When replying to a tweet, the username isn’t needed like it is in a mention, i.e. you don’t need to ‘@’ the person or brand you are replying to.

Replies will only appear in your timeline if you follow both the relevant parties, i.e. the replier and the original author of the tweet. By protecting your tweets, the reply in response to the mention will only be visible to your immediate followers. Mentions, on the other hand, are more public than replies as they appear in both your timeline and the timeline of the user that mentioned you.

Are Twitter mentions important?

Mentions provide valuable insight that can help inform your Twitter marketing strategy. Twitter mentions allow customers to interact with brands directly, and share their positive or negative experiences with a company. Knowing how customers feel about your brand means you can remedy any problems and address any concerns they may have. Monitoring mentions can also act as a form of crisis management for your business; it enables you to respond more quickly to any negative mentions and mitigate any potential escalations.

Tracking Twitter mentions also enables you to engage with your customers on a personal level, particularly when they are sharing positive experiences with your brand. Interacting with happy and satisfied customers can help build your following and improve brand loyalty.

Keep an eye out for your top mention - a tweet by another Twitter user that has mentioned you and has had the most impressions within 28-days - especially if it is a positive mention. By replying to top mentions, you can make your account more visible, and you never know, you may also gain some new followers.

What should you be tracking?

When it comes to tracking your Twitter mentions, it’s not always as obvious as it seems. To avoid any tracking mishaps, you should always consider the following:

  • Username mentions - Twitter users won’t always exclusively use your username when mentioning your company, they will also use your brand name and hashtags as well. It’s important to track all three to monitor how your brand is being talked about.
  • Misspellings - Twitter doesn’t have an integrated spell check, so it’s always worth remembering to check misspelt versions of your Twitter username and brand name. Simply do a search on Twitter to see if users have been mentioning your brand name with a typo.
  • Retweets of Twitter mentions - Remember to track the retweets of your Twitter mentions, as these will add impressions to your brand hashtags.

How to track Twitter mentions

Monitor whether people are talking positively or negatively about your business, and track how this is impacting your engagement. You can track Twitter mentions within the Twitter platform or by using the Audiense Monitoring tool. Here’s a brief explanation of how to do it:

Using Twitter to track mentions

If you’re lucky, you can stay on top of mentions by keeping a close eye on your Notifications panel. When people mention your Twitter handle, a notification will automatically appear in this panel letting you know. However, this won’t give you the full picture of how many people are talking about your brand on Twitter.

A clever Twitter user knows that to find every mention and manage their personal or brand reputation on Twitter, they need to be using Twitter search tools. We have a more detailed guide on how to use Twitter search tools, so let’s keep it simple.

1. Let’s say we want to search for recent mentions of Audiense where the Twitter user has not @-ed us. First, we need to navigate to the search bar. The Twitter search bar is located on the top right-hand side of your homepage.

Audiense blog - Twitter search bar


2. Type in your search term. If you wish to search for Twitter mentions of your own handle, the best way to find everything is to type in your handle, without the @. So for us, we went to find all mentions of ‘Audiense’.

3. Twitter will bring back everything you could ever want to know about that keyword, so long as it is publicly available. If you made a typo, or the keyword you were searching for is similar to something else, Twitter may show you results for what it thought you were searching for. If it wasn’t what you wanted, just select ‘Search instead for…’ to see the results you were looking for.

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4. By using a keyword to search instead of typing in a Twitter handle to see all mentions, you’ll be able to see any Tweet that features your keyword. For example, you can see here that the search has picked up on mentions where the user did not @ you. You can also see if a Twitter user has shared a link with that keyword in. This is useful if your website domain is the same as your Twitter handle. So as you can see, an article from audiense.com has appeared in our search. It will also pick up things such as #Audiense and any @Audiense Tweets.

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5. You can create more complex searches using Twitter’s Advanced Search tools, to help limit a search to a particular time frame, focus on a particular location, or find mentions of your brand from a particular handle. To find out more about using Twitter’s Advanced Search, click here.

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Using Hootsuite to track Twitter mentions

Hootsuite is another great tool that can help you keep track of your Twitter mentions easily. Here’s how to set up Hootsuite to monitor your Twitter mentions.

1. Hootsuite uses Streams to show you information about the things you want to monitor. So let’s set up a stream. You can do this from the Hootsuite dashboard by clicking Add Stream. Then, just choose the streams you want to see. So to monitor your Twitter mentions, you need to select Mentions, and that’s all.

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2. As we know, mentions alone won’t show us everything we need to track Twitter mentions effectively, you’ll also need to have a Search stream set up. To do this, select Search. Then type in the keyword you’d like to search for. We want to keep an eye on Audiense mentions, so we’ll search for that.

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3. The stream with your search query will now monitor all Twitter mentions of the keyword you entered.

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Now you're all set up to track your Twitter mentions! Hootsuite will pick up where you left off whenever you log out, to make sure you don’t miss anything. You could also add the Retweets stream, or any other streams you like.

Using Audiense to track Twitter mentions

If you want to find more than the @ mentions and monitor your mentions across the entirety of Twitter, Audiense Monitoring goes beyond the regular searches and mines for the data you need. Monitoring can find all mentions of your brand, with the @, either historically or in real-time to help you keep a close eye on your brand’s reputation. It can help discover what Twitter users are saying about you, and the people you need to reach out to that are speaking positively (or negatively) of your brand to use to your advantage.

Let’s say you recently ran an integrated marketing campaign with a big social element that used a specific campaign hashtag, and you want to see how many people Tweeted about your brand and your campaign overall. All you need to do is create your search query with the Monitoring tool, highlight key information in Tweets such as the hashtag used in your campaign, and the handle of your account, and Audiense Monitoring will fetch all the data needed. You can then export this information into a report and use it to evaluate the success of a campaign or use this information to actively segment and target users of interest. You can also do this in real-time to measure current performance of a campaign and tweak where needed.

Select the Monitoring tool and highlight any key information in tweets like the hashtag used in your Twitter campaign, and your Twitter handle to create your search query. Once you have done this, Audiense Monitoring will gather all the data you need - it’s as simple as that!

To do this, log in to your Audiense account, select Analytics, then click Monitoring in the top menu bar.

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You will be brought to the Monitoring home screen.

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Create a new Monitoring by clicking Create new Monitoring. Choose a name for the Monitoring and enter the criteria of your search query, such as hashtags, usernames, keywords and any other relevant information.

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Refine your query in the advanced editor by clicking the add criteria drop-down menu to open the categories menu.

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Choose the Monitoring period that you want the Monitoring to be active.

Choose the maximum number of Tweets you want to collect in this Monitoring.

Select the sample of Tweets on which you want to base your Monitoring using the slider.

You will be given a) historical Monitoring:

And b) future, real-time Monitoring:

Now you know how to monitor your Twitter mentions, it’s time to get started! Refine your Twitter Marketing strategy and get to know your followers inside and out with Audiense Connect. Want to learn more? Watch the video below for a thorough walk-through of Audiense Monitoring.

You can also find out how to master the Twitter search tools, how to create a list on Twitter, or how to track down fake Twitter followers

Don’t forget to sign up to a demo to see how you can take your Twitter Marketing to the next level. 

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