How to Use Twitter Analytics to Boost Your Social Media Marketing

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I’ve written before about how important I think it is for authors to use Twitter as part of their outreach and social media marketing, both to each other and to readers. At the corporate level, investors are looking for more revenue, while at the user level, the 10-year-old platform remains a busy point of discoverability for writers and beyond. One of the best-hidden and most helpful features, however, is the frequently overlooked Twitter analytics offering.

Does your Twitter help readers find you? 5 tips to make sure you’re easy to discover.

How to Add Twitter Analytics to Your Account

If you’ve never found this, open a Twitter session, go to your homepage, and left-click on the small image of yourself at the upper right. (Remember, your image for Twitter should be of you—not of your book, your cat, nor your children. This is why we call these media social, and your “avatar” needs to represent you.)

The dropdown you see when you click there includes “Analytics.” Usually it’s about the seventh offering down. Left-click that and then select,  “Turn analytics on”.

Do You Know Where Your Tweets Are?

At the top of the page, what you’re seeing is your 28-day summary, revealing to you such helpful trends in response to your action on Twitter as:

  • Tweets (the sheer volume of your output and the percentage up or down);
  • Tweet impressions (how many other users have seen your tweets);
  • Profile visits (how many people have clicked on your profile to learn more about you – that’s where your bio becomes so important);
  • Mentions (how many times one of your tweets was turned around by another user as a retweet or included in another tweet); and
  • Followers (the ups and downs of how many people follow you—don’t worry, churn is normal on Twitter, you generally just want an upward, green trend).

More Helpful Displays in Twitter Analytics

What else should you check here? Everything. You’re looking at a whole page of intelligence about your social media marketing on Twitter and how your presence on this vast medium is playing out.

  • “Top Mention” in the center is an important one to learn from: which of your tweets has drawn the most engagement? From this you can learn what your followers are responsive to.
  • “Top Tweet,” on the left, is also important for how many impressions it has gained: which tweet was seen the most?
  • Who’s your “Top Follower”? Twitter is gauging this not only by who reacts the most to your efforts but also by how prominent this person’s own position on the platform is. (A blue checkmark indicates someone Twitter has “verified” as a public figure worth others’ special consideration. The system likes to see you followed by verified users of note.)
  • “Top Media Tweet” (center, lower) is interesting in that it looks at which of your tweets with a graphic element got the most response. In the last month, for example, my biggest in this category has been a tweet in which I offered users Google’s help in finding their voting place on November 8.

Scroll down, and you’ll see this set of top actions for previous months, too, so you can compare what was hot for you on the platform a few months ago in each category, as compared to what’s working for you now -- another good way to start detecting trends in your social media marketing.

Best Twitter Analytics Display of All

Here’s my favorite element. Under that top horizontal 28-day summary, look to the left and just below it: there, you’ll see the current month and how many days of the month the system is tracking so far. Under “Top Tweet,” there’s a button on the left, “View Tweet Activity” which will show you what response that one tweet has had. Instead, click the easily overlooked plain text line just to the right of that, still under “Top Tweet” – it’s called “View All Tweet Activity.”

Wow, huh? This is a daily, moving graphic for the past 28 days, bar-charting your activity on the platform. It’s very responsive. A tweet that goes out from your account will appear there within minutes (just under the “Tweet Activity” graphic).

And it’s in that lineup of tweets as they go out (the most recent is on top) that you can immediately see how many impressions each is getting, how many people have “engaged” with a tweet (this means clicking on something in the tweet) – a wonderful way to monitor how your tweets are faring in the wild.

You can set this chart to “Tweets,” “Top Tweets,” “Tweets and Replies” or “Promoted,” but I recommend you stay on the default “Tweets” overall setting – and refer to this during the course of a day when you have messaging going out.

This is almost immediate feedback, real-time tracking of what impact your social media marketing is having as you cultivate your readership with community-building information and engagement that helps them eventually find your books. Be sure to refresh from time to time, because tweets have a lifespan and can gain interaction over time.

Mindful Tweeting

Knowledge is power, after all, and the more you know about how you’re doing in “the tweeterie,” as I call it, the more you’ll find your effectiveness growing. You can’t help but learn from so much fine feedback if you just stop every now and then to take it in.

There’s much more to be learned from Twitter analytics, so tweet on! 

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Porter Anderson

Porter Anderson (@Porter_Anderson) BA, MA, MFA, is a journalist, speaker, and consultant specializing in book publishing. Formerly with CNN, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and other media, he is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives, founded by the German Book Office New York, the magazine for the international publishing industry. With Jane Friedman, he produces The Hot Sheet publishing-industry newsletter, providing expert analysis and interpretation in a private subscriptionemail newsletter, expressly devised to give authors the news insights they need, free of agenda and bias. Anderson also writes the #MusicForWriters series on contemporary composers for Thought Catalog.