Are You Using Twitter Effectively?

I’m a tech journalist and writer in my day job. I’ve been a twitter user for many years. I tweet all sorts of things of interest to my readers and others from information about my books to career milestones, causes I support, and more. For my day-to-day twitter needs, I use Tweet Deck, a powerful, handy app that Twitter bought for a cool $47 million in cash and stock some time ago.

One of the things I notice from people and tweet streams I follow is how often people who position themselves as social media elite decry others for using twitter incorrectly while they themselves do things that I consider just as bad. But does it really matter anyway? Does anyone really think that a tweet sent once is read by all their followers? Because that's not how twitter works. By its very nature, twitter isn't something most people log into and watch 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At any given time, on any given day, odds are only a tiny percentage of anyone’s twitter followers are even following their twitter timelines.

In reality, anything anyone in the public spotlight (author, actor, singer) does on social media is self-promotion. Your tweets don't have to be the me-me-me kind, but whether you are talking about what you ate for breakfast, sharing details about your latest release, or having a conversation with your friends, you are promoting you. You are self-promoting. You are on social media to be noticed, to be followed. If you didn’t want to be noticed or followed, you’d have private conversations beyond the social media spotlight.

If you can’t admit to yourself that you’re a self-promoter, if being thought of as a self-promoter bothers you, maybe social media isn’t the place for you. Otherwise, if you’re going to be honest and admit that it’s all self-promotion, a question you need to ask yourself is whether you are using twitter effectively.

Twitter can be an exceptionally effective tool for helping people get to know you, for spreading the word about your work, for showing support for causes and ideas you believe in, and more. One of the things I’ve done to help understand Twitter better is to use Twitter Web Analytics.

Twitter Web Analytics is a platform for gauging the amount of traffic twitter sends to your website or specific locations (URLs). Using the platform, you can graph and analyze many important statistics, including the number of tweets for a specific website, such as www.robert-stanek.com, and the number of clicks on those tweets. For me, the platform was most useful to analyze specific tweets that included links, such as a link to my Facebook page or my blog, and views of pictures added to tweets. I could then graph the number of tweets, views, and clicks over time. These tweets, views, and clicks were one way of understanding how effectively I was engaging with readers.

Twitter Advertising is another service you can use. Twitter Advertising allows you to promote your account and tweets. As Twitter Advertising provides web analytics, it can be an easy alternative to setting up the official Twitter Web Analytics and determining the effectiveness of your tweets. I learned much from analyzing the effectiveness of various tweets. One of the most important things I learned was that a retweet (RT) was only one aspect of engagement. Knowing this, I started focusing on total engagement.

Total engagement is reflected in:
  • The number of follows
  • The number of clicks (on links, pictures)
  • The number of replies
  • The number of RTs
  • The number of favorites
If you want to build total engagement on Twitter, you need to think about each of these factors and decide which of these factors are most important to you. For me, I became more interested in having people engage with my tweets by clicking on them to follow links or view pictures than in having replies or retweets. Using the web analytics provided by Twitter, I’ve been able to increasingly build traction in this area. While my most typical tweets get only a relative few retweets and replies, most of my tweets get dozens of engagement clicks and views. My more successful tweets have garnered hundreds--and a rare few, thousands. For me, that is Twitter success.

How you measure your Twitter success may be different, but you can use the engagement factors I listed previously to help you determine your level of success. Regardless of how you use twitter, I hope this post has given you something to think about.

Thanks for reading,

Robert Stanek

1 comment:

  1. What a great post. I've been using Twitter for awhile but I tend to get lost in how it works. I spent most of my time on Facebook. You've challenged me to go back and re-evaluate how I use twitter. Thanks.