The Twitter search function is optimal for companies interested in monitoring what is being said and who is saying what about their brand on Twitter.
Here are a few things I learned about using search.twitter.com for a brand:
1. It is better to reply to someone after they mention your brand, rather than just following them. It is an even better idea to wait for them to follow you before you first. Real life example: There was a positive brand mention for an account I was working on and I decided to follow the person. I also replied to them after following. They blocked me and made another mention that it was “creepy” that I knew they wrote about the brand and then I followed them. Changing my strategy, I sent replies to new mentions of the brand before following and got a much more positive response (no one else blocked me…so far).
2. Set up a Tweetbeep account. Tweetbeep will allow you to received mentions of your brand via email (once every hour, once a day, etc.) instead of manually monitoring search.twitter.com. You set the criteria and can search for as many words or phrases you wish. You will also have documented results in your email.
3. Also be sure to search your @name. If you don’t, there might be some third-party mentions you will miss (i.e. someone might be tweeting about you and not at you). Sometimes these mentions are just as important as a one-on-one dialogue exchange. Some of these messages deserve recognition and/or need to be addressed.
4. You can also use other “trigger words” and search for those to give you grounds for deciding to follow certain people based on interests. It takes a little bit of reading and scanning to be sure the mention is relevant so it is good to stay on top of this type of search.
Search.twitter.com is the best searching source for Twitter (in my opinion) when monitoring brand mentions. For other searches, Twibs (businesses on Twitter), Twellow (search for people based on keywords) and Twittergrader (finding influential Tweeps based on geography) will do the job.
Sidenote: The Twitter search function also offers the ability to add your search through an RSS feeds and use the advanced search options to better target what you are looking for, so use these options to receive direct results and to narrow criteria.