There has been a lot written about how it is necessary for businesses to use social media to market themselves. Twitter has become one of the “must-haves” for any business.
There has also been much written about businesses that are hesitant to use Twitter, in part because marketers are unsure how to determine the success of a Twitter campaign. Some of the challenge lies in determining a process that measures performance that correlates to business metrics. There are ways to determine that process, through organizing the growth and measurement of the Twitter profile. The three-step process outlined here will give you a process for measuring who and how many people are engaging your company through Twitter.
1. Measure Audience Growth and Retention
The number of Twitter followers and the number of profiles followed should be examined over time. There are good counters that provide a way to identify audience retention as well as related metrics based on connections. Twittercounter is a great example. Users can graph the number of followers added, the number following, and the number of tweets. Graphs show data for daily, weekly, monthly, and three-month intervals as well as an estimation of connection growth.
Hashtagged keywords let you seek followers according to subjects of interest. For example, “#auto” and “#car” would hold potential interest to an auto manufacturer wanting to know how consumers are using those words. It could then be determined which words to use in support of a campaign. Real-time keyword or key phrase searches are conducted on the Twitter home page as well as top daily trending topics.
2. Manage Who Receives Your Tweet
Gaining a large number of followers or following thousands of profiles should not be the ultimate goal. The quality of communication is important. So the next step after gaining momentum with connections is using an aggregator platform such as HootSuite or TweetDeck. These platforms have plenty of features, but the main purpose of both is to allow users to break the main feed into columns. This organizes the conversations, making more effective responses possible. Twitter lists can also be managed in either application as well.
Another connection management platform is Friend or Follow. It visually arranges the avatars so you can identify who is following you who you are not following, and who you are following who isn’t following you. It can export the listings into a CSV file as well as sort the avatars by name, username, location, last tweet, profiles followed, and followers.
3. Determine Quality of Interactions
Klout evaluates Twitter profiles based on the quality of the tweets and influence on the followers. Stats are first calculated by reach, engagement, activity, demand, and velocity, then formulated into an overall score, with analysis to indicate which of the five stats need improvement. In addition, there is a quadrant map to show communication quality in a given network, with the sectors named Casual, Climber, Connector, and Persona. The guidance can indicate the style and significance of the conversations and what improvement should be sought. For example, a Twitter account for customer service communication may have a profile in the Connector sector instead of Casual, to gauge the interaction with followers who are customers.
Twitter Grader also grades profiles and provides suggestions for improvement. Users can determine who is following a given profile and compare against another Twitter profile.
For determining the potential reach of a message, retweets should be examined. Are the tagged words that are gaining popularity being exposed to the right audience? Are the messages being retweeted? HootSuite and TweetDeck can indicate number of retweets. Another method is to add an analytics tag to a page, or analytics event tracking to a video being passed along in Twitter, and tracking arrivals from the tweet as well.
There are other measurement tools to measure communication quality on Twitter. And there are many ways to set up an analytics process. But the main point is to use tools with metrics that can potentially augment business objectives and decisions, saving time and effort.
Pierre DeBois is the founder of Zimana, a consultancy providing strategic analysis to small and midsize businesses that rely on Web analytics data.