Twitter has 140 million active users and 175 million tweets per day.

This is no trivial statistic. People are using Twitter as a giant news feed to stay connected and up-to-date with friends and admired brands. There will always be tweets that have little-to-no value for followers; however, there is a building tendency to see brands, companies, celebrities and athletes using Twitter to engage, build awareness and release breaking news.

It ranges from Old Spice’s response campaign which increased their Twitter following by 2700% and doubled sales by 107% (solidifying Old Spice as the #1 body wash for men), Obama announcing he was re-elected (most retweeted tweet), controversial tweet from TJ Lang of the Green Bay Packers (helped bring back official NFL referees), Janis Krums reporting the plane crash in the Hudson river, to the success of Zappos building customer loyalty by engaging with customers, resulting in 600+ product-related customer tweets over a single month.

To say the least, Twitter is influential, showing businesses that it can contribute to their marketing initiatives and bottom lines. Yet, Twitter (or any social media channel) should not be added to any marketing activity unless the CMO or manager is able to show the KPIs for Twitter and observable return. To facilitate the power of the tweet, Twitter has incorporated analytics into their ad dashboard so that companies and brands can detect trends, KPIs and follower stats to drill down into the exponential results of their social media efforts.

twitter_display_cmxThe new analytics allow users to view the following activities/measurements:
  • Followers – with timeline of activity
  • Unfollows
  • Location of followers
  • See who your followers follow for target demographics
  • Most unique interests of your followers
  • Top interest of your followers
  • Mentions
  • Link clicks
  • Retweets
  • X times normal reach from retweets
  • Favorite tweets
  • Replies
  • Download CSV for reports
You can also sort all of your recent tweets based on performance:
  • Best
  • Good
  • All
Warren Whitlock, author of the first book about Twitter and mobile marketing, Twitter Revolution: How Social Media and Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Do Business & Market Online, stresses the importance of going beyond the singular measuring options: “If I send out three different tweets and one of them gets people talking, one nobody does anything, and the third one, one person wants to get into an argument, well, that first one is the one I’m going to use. You always want to be measuring something and if you continually improve those types of things it will add up to being the ROI that we talk about as being a bottom line or cash in the bank.” In other words, it is important to track engagement to see how your target audience is responding/interacting with your content. Is it drawing praise, criticism or confusion? Pick the topics and content themes that contribute to your organization’s established goals while serving the needs of your audience.

Warren also stresses the importance of engaging with customers, just as Zappos did. “With 100,000 tweets on Twitter, I’ve had a whole lot of discussions with people on every topic imaginable. I find that when I’m open to engaging with those people and say thank you, 99.99% of the time they are grateful that I responded. They’re not going to get to know you if you’re not online, if you’re not open, if you’re not taking responses to your content. They’re not going to like you unless you like them.” Trust is one of the main motivations behind why companies do business together or why consumers buy from you.

Starting a Twitter account on your own or doing social media for business can be like exploring uncharted waters. “It’s important for people to understand, particularly around the idea of content and social media, that you can’t do this for a business unless you’ve experienced it on a personal basis first. If you’re scared of Twitter and you’ve never been on Twitter, go out and find friends and follow them. The stressing point is that you can’t do it for your business if you can’t do it on your own,” says Nate Riggs, marketing strategist for content marketing and social business.

With the built-in analytics tools to track the KPIs in Twitter, marketers no longer have an excuse to not get started. Begin experimenting on your own if you’re uneasy. Work with the different departments in your company to align goals with the content and media formats being created before you start posting content. Above all, measure your Twitter’s KPIs so that you can refine your marketing practices.

This is the seventh piece of the Measurable KPIs for Social Media series.

*Originally published on July 24, 2013 in the Content Marketing Examiner, sponsored by Cadence9®.