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Marketing Social Media

What, When, and How to Measure Your Twitter Marketing

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One benefit of having a social strategy is that you get instant feedback on your marketing efforts. I’m not talking about the real-time analytics tools built into platforms. I’m talking about the most basic indicators of Twitter marketing success: the “like,” the Retweet, and the follow.

Those user interactions are what give social media its addictive quality in the first place—and when it comes to assessing your social performance, they’re a simple place to start. If your Tweet blows up with likes and Retweets, you don’t need an analytics platform to tell you that you’ve done well. It’s so easy, right?

For a tiny fraction of a percentage of cases—the one percent of the one percent—sure, it’s that easy. But things get tougher when those Tweets don’t become viral hits. And let’s be honest: most don’t. That’s particularly frustrating for those that brand marketers send with total confidence, only to see them pass through users’ feeds with nary an engagement.

Even the experts will say you can’t predict what goes viral. That’s not all bad: Tweets can be successful even when they don’t win the internet’s popularity contest. But the indicators of that success are much more subtle, and they can be difficult to parse from the information and insights that don’t really reflect the goals of your Twitter marketing strategy.

For Tweets that don’t top Twitter’s charts, performance metrics are there to lay out your successes and your failures. There are plenty to choose from, but only a handful that might be applicable to your current strategy and what you’re trying to learn. And don’t forget the other side to the equation: once you have the data, you have to know how to use it. Here’s what you need to know.

Dig into Psychographics

Twitter’s analytics platform offers a buffet of targeting information, ranging from platform activity and GPS locations to strategy-specific tools—for example, a feature that helps you market to followers of a particular account.

InterestsAccording to Social Media Examiner, the Interests breakdown offered via the platform represents the proportions of your target audience that have an interest in various categories. Some of these will be off-limits—political events, while a popular topic of conversation on Twitter, are far too polarizing for most brands to take on—but other subjects represent creative opportunities to hitch your branded content to a pop culture moment, with references to holidays, recent events, celebrity news, tech inventions, and a host of other buzzworthy topics.

Marketers should use this psychographic data to create content with a high potential for engagement. Twitter might suggest, for example, that a large percentage of your audience has an interest in comedy. The suggestion here is fairly straightforward: your brand should test Tweets that play with humor, or even reference/engage popular comedians, especially comedians in the news.

When you’re in a rut or stumped on how to approach your content creation, these audience insights can even be a great brainstorming tool. You can pull up your psychographics data and riff on popular topics of conversation to create Tweets that resonate (and consequently drive interaction).

Watch Engagement on a Micro Level

Retweets, “likes”, and follows aren’t the only indicators of a Tweet’s success in attracting user attentions. At a fundamental level, brand marketers want to know that audiences are really digesting the Tweets they share.

So while more obvious forms of engagement—particulary those that increase Tweet impressions and expand your potential audience—offer great returns for your efforts, all kinds of engagement need to be counted, recorded, and analyzed. Actions such as hashtag clicks, opening embedded media, profile clicks, and Tweet expansion may seem largely irrelevant, and for driving immediate, tangible results, they usually are. But even a relatively benign engagement like a profile photo click is a positive sign of marketing success. It shows that your Tweets are being seen, and that users are stopping long enough to actually look at what you’re doing. They may not take any meaningful action on that Tweet, but their engagement shows that they’re an active member of your audience, and—on some level—they care about what you have to say.

Will that mildly engaged user ever come to produce conversions or sales, or to interact with your brand’s Twitter account in ways that expand your reach? It’s hard to say. Your continued social media marketing will play a sizable role in determining whether these small actions can lead to bigger ones down the road.

Make (and Monitor) Impressions

Brand marketers are playing a long game when they venture into social media. Few digital channels offer the promise of overnight success, but Twitter success really is built one Tweet at a time. There are short-term goals each Tweet is designed to achieve, but those microstrategies must still be placed inside the context of a larger campaign—one designed to build a social asset that pays out greater dividends with greater investment.

There are several metrics that demonstrate this, but the best one is Impressions. This is a big statistic that illustrates the macro results of your Twitter marketing efforts. Viewed over days, weeks, months, or even years, Impressions represents the overall growth of your Twitter brand, in terms of your ability to grow a social audience. Impressions are presented through two separate metrics. The first is a number of total impressions, accompanied by your brand’s growth—positive or negative―over time. This is an interesting statistic, but it lacks context and specificity.

The second metric is much more valuable: a day-by-day bar graph that you can use to map general trends while investing individual days where performance spiked or plunged. As Hootsuite pointed out, this graph still gives you a general sense of your growth over time, but it also lets you dive deep into individual events that drove impressive Twitter engagement and high impressions.

Impressions

You can use this tool to zoom in and out of your Twitter marketing strategy with ease, building case studies from your best success stories and identifying trends that will help you replicate that success in the future. Marketers should always be looking at this impressions graph when planning their content for the future.

Twitter offers a strong analytics solution in its platform, which makes life easier for marketers. Just make sure you understand which metrics you should be following. You don’t want the wrong string of data leading you down an ill-advised path.

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Jonathan has worked as a journalist for the past 8 years. His journalism credits include employment at the Omaha World-Herald, Willamette Week, and NFL.com, with projects appearing in New York Newsday, WRITERS' Journal, and others. Other writing has regularly appeared on LiveSTRONG.com, Reputation.com and FindLaw.com, among others. He is the recipient of a First Place award in Sports Feature from the Society of Professional Journalists Northwest Region. He lives in Portland, Oregon and works as a marketing writer and a freelance editor.

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