Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Measuring Twitter - Usage, Interactions, etc..

There is an old business concept, quoted by Peter Drucker, that says, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it". Following up on previous posts about Twitter, I think it might be useful to look at ways to figure out it what it's doing. As before, this isn't a complete list, but might give people a starting point to determine if the results align with your goal for using Twitter (or any social media).

The first thing to consider is what your goals might be for using Twitter.
  • Is it to figure out why there is so much buzz around Twitter?
  • Is it to gain knowledge more rapidly?
  • Is it to spread information about your company, product, service or interest?
  • Is it to meet new people that share your interests?
  • Is it to integrate some additional tools or services via the Twitter data feed (called an API) that would increase visibility to your business?
  • Other goals....
The second thing to consider is if you're going to be a "farmer" or "gatherer". Other people use different terminology, but essentially this asks if you're trying to initiate conversations and trying to connect people ("farmer"), or if you're mostly looking to collect knowledge from others ("gatherer"). Either is fine, as long as it aligns with your goals. In most social media applications, the number of "farmers" typically does not exceed 10% (dominant voices). This may sound low, but if you think about a classroom or a dinner party, those numbers aren't out of line with traditional human interactions.

Let's look at some tools that might help you determine if you're using Twitter in a way to align with your goals.
  1. If you're just looking for a starting point, Twitter Grader is a easy place to start. It give you a simple 1-100 score (100 is highest) that analyzes how active you are, how connected you are, and where you fall in the broader Twit-o-sphere.
  2. If you're interested in who are the top Tweeters by city, Top Tweeters by City might be a good place to start. This may be really useful if you're trying to organize local events, or want to make local contacts.
  3. If you want to get into some more granular details of how you're connected or creating connections and buzz, then tools like Twinfluence or Twitanalyzer can be helpful. Not only do they give you stats, but also suggestions on ways to improve your relevance and influencing ability.
  4. If keeping up with all the activities on Twitter seem overwhelming, tools like Twitter Search, TweetDeck and Twirl are very useful to monitor multiple feeds, keywords or trends.
Since all of these tools also allow you to plug-in other people's TwitterID, you can create some baselines that align with your goals. Beyond that, you can create whatever types of correlations that are relevant to your goals (Tweets -> Website hits; Tweets -> Attendance at events; Rate of adding new Followers, etc, etc, etc.)

Hopefully some of this is helpful to find some places to begin measure how impactful your involvement with Twitter is on your business or personal goals.