Many of the presentations at BlogWell touched on Twitter as a basic tool, but how does one measure? Obviously you need to start with an objective, or a series of objectives. Many of our clients use Twitter for a variety of reasons, but the objectives generally fall into three broad categories.
How many people are listening to what you have to say. In simple terms this is the number of Followers. Yes, you can argue that not everybody that follows an account reads each tweet, but it’s the only benchmark we have that’s consistent across all Twitter accounts. So while we look at it, it’s often less important than the next two.
How much of the discussion is two-way? The easy way to track this is to look at the number of @replies and DM’s on the Twitter account. Also, if you are asking readers to click on a link, what was the click-thru percentage? This can be tracked via a tool like Tweetburner.
How are the tweets you’re posting influencing/starting other discussions? Or how are the readers acting upon the discussions. This can be tracked via ReTweets, inbound links and URL click-thrus via Tweetburner
Also think about what you can track with your competition? For Twitter you can see followers, @replies and with other search tools you can dig up some other stats.
Now that we have those three basic objectives in place and baseline metrics, begin to track on a consistent basis, for example weekly.
What were the (+/-) changes in each of the key metrics from the previous week. Were there any special tweets or other promotions that caused those changes? For example last week, NetApp was named #1 in Fortune’s Best Places to Work list. That day they saw a pretty good jump in Twitter followers.
If one of your primary objectives was engagement, how are you trending against that long term? Up or down? If, down, what should you do to course correct?
If you’re dealing with a larger organization that has multiple employees Twittering, then look to collect these stats for all of them. Now you can slice and dice across business units or product lines.
Continually tracking and reporting will tell you if your effort is well spent, and when it does come time to report on your ‘program’ in 30 seconds you can quickly provide stats such as:
– We continue to show growth in our reach: In the past 30 days we’ve increased our audience by X% while our competition has grown Y%.
– We continue to build engagement with our customers: Over X% of our tweets receive a response from followers, and this continues to grow each week.
– We continue to influence discussions within our industry: X% of our tweets have been linked to or started relevant conversations or coverage.
That’s much better than saying, “Yeah, Twitter is really cool, it helps us have conversations with our customers”