One of the companies we do social media for is custom software creator Clevertech. The CEO and I were talking the other day about their Twitter performance. “It’s not great,” I told him, “but it’s showing some progress.”
But what does that mean? Some of our Twitter accounts have hundreds of followers and lively conversations, some have a few followers who rarely say much. Each is quite different, since each company is quite different. How can we tell whether we’re making progress at Twitter or not?
For me, Twitter serves some important purposes. I follow some useful people who scout the internet and tweet about important things in my field, so Twitter helps me keep up to date even when I’m busy. Twitter is a means of communication for me with a number of my colleagues. I get job offers via Twitter sometimes, but it’s mostly about communication for me. The only metric I watch is whether Twitter sends traffic to my website. It does. But if it didn’t, Twitter would still be useful for me, so I don’t have to debate whether to continue being active there.
But there are people and companies for whom Twitter isn’t a tool for communication and information. For these companies, Twitter may be primarily for marketing. How can they determine whether it’s worth the investment?
I should say first that I think Twitter is always worth the investment, because the investment is small. Even if all you do is set your blog to post automatically at Twitter, or have a volunteer from your staff tweet something at lunchtime every day, that’s 40 seconds you should invest at Twitter. Here’s why: you don’t want your customers looking for you and not finding you there.
Clevertech is in an industry that hasn’t really embraced Twitter yet. I met the whole staff at a virtual meeting yesterday and naturally, I went right out afterward to find them all on Twitter and follow them.
Naturally. In my industry, we do that.
But those Cold Fusion developers weren’t there. And this is what I pointed out to the CEO. If your peeps aren’t on Twitter, then you’re not going to have a lot of tweeps.
It’s possible that I phrased that differently.
“They’re not there yet,” he said, “but when they get there…” By which he meant that when his clients discover Twitter, he’ll be established. For him, adding a few followers a month and getting on a few lists can be progress. For me, steadily increasing referral traffic from Twitter is progress.
Want something more?
Josepha wrote about Klout, a Twitter metric program that analyzes 25 factors (how much you’re retweeted, the percentage of people you follow who follow you back, whether influential Twitterers answer you when you talk to them — lots of stuff) and gives you a grade. It also puts you into categories (I’m a Connector) and shows you various stats. If you do those online quizzes that tell you what superhero you are and so forth, you’ll have fun with Klout. It’s also a good one if you just want a quick number so you can see whether you’re progressing or not. One of the interesting things about using metrics is that things which are measured tend to improve, even if the company isn’t making much other effort. If you want to improve your Twitter performance, but don’t want to invest much, Klout is the quick and handy way.
Twitterholic compares snapshots of your Twitter page over time, so you can see how you’ve increased your followers and whether the number of tweets you post has increased or fallen. They’ll also tell you where you are in terms of friends and followers, both on Twitter as a whole and in your neighborhood. I guess if you’re competitive, this one could be amusing for you. I was interested to see that I rank just below the Arkansas Razorbacks in my regional list. This will have no effect on my Twitter strategy, but perhaps you might like to set yourself to beat the person or company ahead of you. The Razorbacks are large, dangerous-looking guys who knock people down, so I don’t plan to try to beat them.
Twitalyzer provides a lot of data, and had the most up to date info I found on my own Twitter account. There are 9 different metrics, so I can see for example that I’m 100% engaged but only 4.5% generous. I can compare these numbers with the most influential people at Twitter or with people in my physical world community, and Twitalyzer will even give me recommendations. However, it really seems to me that these are measurements and recommendations related to how good a Twitter citizen you are, not how much it does for your business. For example, tweeting more frequently automatically gives you more points at Twitalyzer, whereas I know I’m not the only one who unfollows the very frequent tweeters just because they take up too much of my screen when I drop by. Twitalyzer is moving to a paid model.
TweetMetrics Gives a similar level of detail, with statistics on your network and a variety of graphics. It’s still free. If you liked Twitalyzer but don’t care to pay for it, this is a good alternative.
If I left out your favorite, please share your experience with us!