It happened again this weekend. Over mimosas and a lovely chat. Laser focused and sincere the question came: “How many followers should I have on Twitter?” Ahh, yes. It’s still a common question, mostly I believe, because its the easiest to measure, its a number you can view at a glance. I get this question a lot. My answer is always the same: “It depends on your goals. Generally speaking, I’d say the more important question is, how many people are sharing and discussing your info? How many people are talking about, distributing and sharing your information?” Of course you need some followers on Twitter, otherwise its as if your standing in the middle of the forest with a blow horn..what possible effect could that have (except to scare a few racoons)? But is number of users the best metric to track?
A prime example is this article on Aston Kutcher who is wildly admired for his Twitter fan base. Except, he has very little influence over that fan base. His tweets don’t drive action or response, mostly because he isn’t viewed as an “expert” on his topics. His fans might like to hear what’s on his mind, but they don’t necessarily take action on it. Now, you might desire a list like his and it certainly has brand potential, but you could generate more influence with a much smaller number of followers. Keep in mind, that a little over 95% of Twitter users have less than 500 followers and only .05% have more than 10,000 followers. Extraordinary, when you think about it, particularly given all the attention that Twitter garners. Chances are your business falls somewhere in the middle of that range. I generally encourage my clients to measure engagement: defined as taking action such as conversation and information sharing. However, this only highlights the need to find and engage both influencers and brand advocates. Your brand advocates will be different from your competitors. You need to find them and inspire them to act.
So the question then remains, what SHOULD you track on Twitter? Again, I’ll say that what you should measure depends on your strategy, what are you trying to accomplish with social media? Increased brand value? Increased share of voice? More customer passion? The real nitty gritty is engaging with your followers and creating a relationship. That’s the artform of Twitter. Now, as I said in an earlier blog post, you should use several different metrics to dig deeper into your audience and see what’s really happening with the content your sharing. But here are a couple of metrics to monitor your Twitter efforts how you apply these metrics will be determined by your strategic goals.
Here are 5 metrics to measure on Twitter. They aren’t the only metrics and
Effective Reach multiplies a user and each of their retweeting user’s follower count by their calculated influence (the likelihood that that user will be retweeted or mentioned) to determine a likely and realistic representation of any user’s reach in Twitter at any given time. (According to Twitalyzer) You can also use a tool like TweetReach to monitor a particular #hashtag, URL, phrase or user name. The paid version is well worth it for particular campaigns.
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Potential Reach sums a user’s follower count and the sum of followers for any user retweeting any of their Tweets during the previous seven days to estimate the total potential reach in Twitter at any given time. (According to Twitalyzer)
Number of Clicks on Links You can track the number of clicks you receive on particular links you share on a number of different platforms. Analyze the links every 30-60-90 days and watch for consistencies for what is shared and commented on. That will tell you what kind of information your audience craves from you.
Website Traffic: Including top referral sources, time on page and number of pages per referral source.
Comments and Shares on Website/Blog: Track the topic and the number of shares and discussion around the topic. PostRank will help balance out the information from Google Analytics, including RSS feed tracking and conversation on Twitter surrounding a particular link.