Twitter started in 2006. My first tweet, sent in 2008, was likely something about what I was listening to while barbecuing. Needless to say the micro-blogging service has matured, becoming a lynchpin of many brands’ marketing efforts. It is also becoming increasingly useful to individuals and their own “brands.”
I find looking at personal behavior in marketing terms somewhat disconcerting, but I just eclipsed the 1,000-follower mark on Twitter. Now, I don’t consider this anything to be proud of, but 1,000 of anything is basically a lot. So, I don’t know… Is that good? Bad? Good for my “niche”? Who were these followers? Do they care about my tweets? How do I compare to other tweeters? Basically, What does that mean?
The fact that I had little idea to whom I was tweeting, other than anecdotally, bothered me. I would never accept a similar lack of discipline and intentionality in a marketing group. Why was I when it came to “just me” – especially when “just me” is now literally my business. I was, in effect, hoping that what I tweeted was what my audience wanted to hear, relying on Twitter to tell me about re-tweets and @ mentions, and assuming that I’d attract more like-minded folks if I just kept it up.
I set out to take a a quick but meaningful look at my (primarily) Twitter audience, with the goal of ensuring that I am engaging as well as I can and doing so efficiently. What I did not try to do was the type of comprehensive analysis and ongoing social monitoring I would recommend for larger, enterprise-level accounts. What I needed were some lean, cheap, and useful tools for a marketing department of .1 full time employees. I’d been using Klout for years but mostly as a general vanity tool. They’ve done a nice job, though, and I’d say the tool provided 35 percent or so of what I needed to know right out of the gates. For the rest, though, I needed a little more specificity and some different items altogether.
Giving it an hour, here’s what I found.
Networks: Facebook, Twitter
What it tells me: insights about my audience
Some details: Over time impressions, follower growth, influential followers, top retweeters
Opinion: May be geared toward bigger fish than I am
Networks: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
What it tells me: Like Klout, my overall influence and the details thereof
Some details: Retweets, mentions, a tag cloud of lots of topics, trends over time, post effects, and much more
Opinion: Nice tool, very similar to Klout though with more drill-down and transparency
- Peek Analytics
Networks: Twitter only
Price: Free up to 20,000 audience members
What it tells me: The social pull of my audience compared with others’ audiences
Some details: Demographics (including location), business or individual, follower network size, social media usage, online behaviors, interests, some socioeconomic data, industry
Opinion: Lovely report with useful information of my audience, especially about the “who” and “where”
What it tells me: My ranking out of 12M twitter users who have used the tool
Some details: That’s pretty much it
Opinion: I love HubSpot, and the same company put this together ,so I put some stock in their rolled up number
There are a slew of other tools, each of which seems to do one thing slightly different than the others. I liked the ones mentioned above and found many others to be too much, too little, or, most often, too specific.
Trying to Get at Why
All of these are very good tools for directional and overall social intelligence — the who, what, when, where of it all. It’s up to me, though, to bounce the data off each other, filter it, and then use it to get at the “why.” As an example, I use Twitter and Facebook very differently. On Facebook, I lightly post things that interest me personally. I do a lot more looking at what my friends are up to and liking and commenting on their activities. In a way, I am the shy person I am in real life. Klout takes notice and my influence reflects this. Conversely, on Twitter I am very diligent about posting tightly-wound digital marketing, publishing, technology content on a daily basis. My Peek Analytics account is thus going to reflect this different behavior. I just need to be aware of what I am doing and adjust my inferences accordingly.
I have found it comforting to use these tools and I’ve also concluded that a periodic check-up using all of the above is in order, probably monthly or quarterly.
How about you? Are there additional/different tools that you use? Do you use any at all?