Generating engagement on Twitter is no easy task. Your tweets, retweets, mentions, hashtags, etc., may not influence if they are poorly targeted. Analyzing your followers, tweets, and hashtags can help you generate better engagement on this social media platform.
You keep following people hoping to increase your reach and improve your follower growth rate. But the day you stop following more people, your follower count goes stale. You keep tweeting images, interesting posts, GIFs, and videos, but still don’t see any retweets or likes for your posts. You keep using great-sounding and popular hashtags, but still no more engagement on your feed. Why is it so?
Twitter is only the 8th most popular social network in the English-speaking world, with over 330 million users (as of Q4, 2017). But it’s the go-to place for celebrities and companies. Twitter is perfect to track trends as well. So, even though Twitter is slightly losing its user base, it will remain relevant for quite some time into the future.
And yes, Twitter is the absolute best network for TL;DR, due to its 280-character limit.
Among the 350,000 tweets going out every minute, you want to stand out. You want to have the right followers. You want to follow the right people as well. Because, having the wrong followers translates to no influence in the Twitterverse.
In order to achieve everything you want through Twitter, you need to do a detailed analysis. Let’s see how.
I would like to take you through my thinking process on analyzing a Twitter account. We will see beyond our Twitter account metrics: The followers, people we are following, tweets, hashtags, lists, and moments.
The aim here is to unearth insights that will help you generate more followers, retweets, mentions, etc.–the Twitter KPIs.
In order to report your efforts as a social media marketer, you will find this analysis helpful. You can boast about your ROI on Twitter. The analysis will give you a lot of insights on:
- Who are the right people to target
- How to target them
- When to send tweets
- Where to focus your efforts
- What kind of keywords to target
- What kind of hashtags to target
And a lot more.
So, what are some of the key performance indicators on Twitter?
- Followers: Worry about only those who are really interested to follow you.
- Retweets: If somebody decides to retweet your tweet, that’s great. Your visibility is extended to that person’s followers. Plus, well-retweeted tweets have an edge on Twitter’s search rankings.
- Mentions: These are triggered by people who want to include you in conversations. More mentions translate to growing influence.
- Likes: This used to be called “favorites” till 2015. Why would you want more likes for your tweets? The answer is simple. Well-liked tweets are better ranked on Twitter search.
We can use a number of tools to gather intelligence around your Twitter account. Here are a few of them.
- Official Twitter Analytics
- Birdsong Analytics
Your followers are your most important asset. They help you reach a wider audience through retweets, likes, and mentions. They help you gather more followers. There are a number of things you need to analyze about your followers:
- Active vs. inactive followers
- Real vs. fake followers
- Gender and language(s)
- Followers of followers (to identify influential followers)
- Follower growth rate
- Audience insights
Businesses that target specific geographies (such as restaurants, hospitality, department stores, etc.,) need to know the location of their followers. It will tell you whether you are influencing the right people. Use Tweepsmap to generate a map of your followers.
You can use Twitter authentication to sign into Tweepsmap.
Tweepsmap gives you the percentage of followers by country, city, or state/province. You can easily see whether you are influencing in your target locations.
Followerwonk also can give you the geography of your followers, but it can’t show city- or province-based followers.
Geography analysis above can give you a good idea of time zones as well. The time zone data is important because it will tell you when to schedule your tweets to have the widest reach.
Now Twitter allows scheduled tweets through Twitter Ads with which you can schedule your tweet. Coupled with time zone data, you can launch an effective tweet attack.
Followerwonk can give you the details of your followers’ time zones. Check out the report below.
This report shows the active times of your followers based on your own time zone. Find out the time zone of your target customers and you will know whether you have enough of them.
However, the times when your followers are active may not correlate with their time zones. Birdsong can give you the time of day when most of your followers tweet themselves. Check out the image below, taken from Birdsong Analytics’s Twitter follower report.
Through this report, you can easily find that Friday 2:00 PM is the time when most of Crayola’s followers are active on Twitter. However, Crayola seems to send most of its tweets on Monday 1:00 PM—not really ideal, right?
If you want a boost in your KPIs, you need active followers. Birdsong Analytics can tell you what percentage of your followers are active Twitter users, based on when they last tweeted and how many people they follow.
From the image below, you can see more than 21,400 of Crayola’s followers tweeted more than a year ago. That means over 37.3% of followers are inactive.
Another important thing you need to find out is whether your followers are fake or not (9-15% of Twitter accounts are bots). TwitterAudit is a tool that helps you identify fake followers. Simply type your Twitter handle and click “Audit” to get the real vs. fake data.
See below the report for Susan Hallam’s Twitter handle.
You may also need to analyze the gender of your followers. For certain gender-targeted businesses, this may be useful. For instance, a jeweler may want to seldom target men. Twitter’s official analytics tool or Birdsong’s follower analysis can provide you the gender split among your followers.
As you can see above, @Crayola has abundant women followers, more than thrice the number of men following.
Birdsong also provides the languages used by your Twitter followers, as shown below.
You need to know the level of influence your followers have. When you have influential followers, their retweets, likes, mentions, etc., of you will help you multiply your reach.
The number of followers is a really good measure of the influence of your Twitter followers. Check out Birdsong’s analysis of followers of your followers shown below.
This tells you that 1,124 of Crayola’s followers have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers for themselves. Increasing the number of influential followers is a pretty decent recipe for success. Followerwonk will also give you a neat pie chart of the followers of your followers.
You really need to grow the number of your followers. And Adam Connell gives some great tips to achieve that. Twitter follower growth rate can be monitored using the official Twitter Analytics. On your Analytics page, go to the Audience tab to get audience insights.
The above image shows the number of followers for every day of the last thirty days. You can see that the followers haven’t significantly grown over this time. The average number stayed just over 1,930. For growth to be significant, you need to have steady growth day after day. You can track the increase in count using Keyhole.
Followerwonk can also give you great insights into your follower growth rate. It will tell you the follower and un-follower count for each day. Important spikes or troughs on this report will signify major events on your account.
You need to know whether you have the right followers. So, you need to know your followers’ interests, occupation, buying styles, income, etc. Twitter Analytics’s audience insights data is the best source for this information. It gives you information around a number of areas:
- Interests of your followers
- Household income categories
- Buying styles
- Home value
- Political party affiliation
- Mobile footprint
Followerwonk and Birdsong Analytics can give you the most widely used words on your followers’ profile bios, tweets, etc. These words can give you a great idea of what your followers are interested in.
After analyzing your followers, you want to know whether your tweets are really interesting to them. There are a few metrics to analyze tweet performance:
- Impressions: The number of times a tweet is seen
- Engagements: Actions on viewed tweets (clicks, retweets, likes, replies)
- Engagement rate: Engagements/impressions
The higher these numbers, the better it is for your Twitter account.
Twitter Analytics can give you these metrics for every tweet, as shown below. All engagement stats are shown on the right-hand pane.
The top tweet is determined based on the number of impressions, not the engagement rate. This means, if a tweet has fewer impressions but has higher engagement rate, it will still appear lower in the report. But it’s clear that the higher engagement tweet is the one your followers like better.
After using Twitter for a while, you may want to know which keywords you have used on your tweets. This data can give you some idea on whether you are engaging well with your target audience. Birdsong Analytics can give you the most used words on all of your tweets. Couple this with the words used by your followers, and you can get an idea of whether you are engaging them.
You want to know how well your tweets are reaching people. Tweetreach is the ideal tool for the purpose.
It gives you in-depth information on your tweet activity, including the reach (the number of accounts that saw your tweets), impressions, contributors (who caused the reach you enjoy), retweets, replies, tweet timeline, etc. The data is extremely valuable to tweak your tweets for better reach. You can easily export the data as a PDF report.
Are you one of those who add five or six hashtags at the end of every tweet hoping to get better reach and visibility? But your tweets still fail to get noticed, right? You think the failure is due to the popularity of the hashtag, and your tweet is quickly buried.
But the hashtags chosen can have an imposing effect on the tweet’s engagement rate; in order to influence on the hashtag feed, you have to analyze the hashtag itself.
Use Brand24 to analyze the hashtag across social media sites: Facebook, Instagram, forums, news, video sites, etc.
As you can see above, the hashtag reach shows the number of times a hashtag has been mentioned and the resultant reach. It also gives a list of recent tweets using the hashtag. The overall data can be exported in the form of an infographic as shown below.
There is a trick to use the hashtag report to reach the audience better and make an impact. Click the Analysis link on Brand24 to find the most popular mentions of the hashtag. These are the tweets with the hashtag that were retweeted and favorited the most. This list will give you some important data:
- Additional hashtags you may want to use
- Accounts you may want to mention
- Links or infographics you may want to retweet
- Conversations you don’t want to miss being a part of
Use this data on your future tweets and you will see significant improvement on your tweets’ performance.
What is sentiment on social media? It’s the variable that will tell you whether the social media approves or rejects something, such as an idea, concept, thought, or content. You need to analyze sentiment because you want to associate with positive ideas and approved concepts. You also want to participate when the community rejects something negative.
Advanced sentiment analysis is done using natural language and text processing. Tweepy and Textblob are useful for the purpose. But for all practical purposes, the sentiment of a topic can be easily found using Brand24.
The above image shows negative sentiments against the hashtag “IoT.” The number of negative sentiment tweets for #IoT is one tenth the number of positive tweets, so this will tell you that people are generally favorable towards IoT.
Brand24 analyzes sentiments by reading the words used on the tweet. Negative words signify negative sentiment, so the analysis may not be always accurate. Brand24 analyzes the sentiment only for English tweets.
I personally use most of the tools mentioned in this article to get insights on my Twitter handle @zoomowlofficial. You can easily log into most of these tools using Twitter authentication. Careful analysis of your followers, tweets, and hashtags will give you a significant edge over your competition.
Lenin VJ Nair
Lenin Nair has years of experience in marketing for software and technology domains. He is a certified specialist in marketing and enjoys exploring new ways to market products and services for small and medium businesses. He enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and ideating. He holds an MBA in marketing and a bachelor's degree in IT.