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As Twitter continues to become mainstream and more brands create a presence on the microblogging platform, Twitter analytics tools are becoming more and more important.
There are some standby services and some new tools that allow you to analyze several Twitter metrics.
This includes information about your followers; the number of tweets you’re sending on average and when you’re sending them; topics you tweet about frequently; and advanced ways to search your timeline for users or topics.
Here’s a profile of 4 of these Twitter analytics tools that you can use to gather and analyze your data.
SocialBro is the most comprehensive tool for analyzing Twitter data that I’ve found (and if you can find something even better, I’d love to check it out).
Available as either an add-on for Chrome or a desktop application, after entering your Twitter log in information, prepare for your mind to be blown.
Take the Insights tool: Using Insights, you can see languages your followers speak; the time zones from which they are tweeting; public versus private users; a map displaying your followers’ locations; and specific information about your followers, such as the number of followers they have, the number of people they are following, how long it’s been since their last tweet, and how many times they tweet per day.
SocialBro also provides a visual display of your followers, showing you who isn’t following you back, which of your followers you aren’t following back, inactive “friends” (people you follow who don’t tweet much), inactive followers, famous/influential followers, and famous/influential people you follow.
This could be a great feature for your brand to utilize because you can see who out of your followers might be beneficial for you to follow. For example, if you sell software that runs on a Windows platform and Bill Gates suddenly starts following you, he’s a user you are certainly going to want to follow back and engage with.
There’s also a comparison tool that allows you to analyze your Twitter competition. By entering in your competition’s handle, you can discover all of the same data about their followers that is available for your profile, assuming their handle is public.
The comparison tool lets you see common people or brands you both follow, people who follow both handles, how many followers/friends your competitor’s handle has, people you are following that they aren’t, and more.
So, how can you use this to benefit your brand’s Twitter presence? You can go through your competition’s followers and begin following users if you believe they might be someone you would like to follow and would like to follow you.
SocialBro makes it easy to instantly start following other Twitter users, but be careful not to start following too many at once to avoid looking spammy.
For example, I compared myself to my coworker, Erin. I went through her followers to see who was following her but wasn’t following me. The black arrow icon pointing right indicates a profile you are following, a while the teal arrow pointing left indicates a profile who is following you. Both arrows mean the two handles are following each other.
You can also monitor a hashtag you frequently use for events or branding. For example, we use #352mg after tweets from our company’s handle and #352webinar any time we’re hosting a webinar and want to take questions from Twitter.
You’re able to see the Twitter users using said hashtag broken down by users you follow, users following you, and users you don’t follow. There’s also a tweet editor tool that allows you to send tweets directly from SocialBro. So while you’re busy analyzing all your data, if you suddenly feel inspired to compose a tweet, you don’t even have to leave SocialBro to do so.
As great as all these features are, I’ve saved the best for last. The best feature SocialBro offers is a report of exactly when it would be best for you to tweet. SocialBro looks at your top 100 followers and analyzes their online presence to determine the time of day and day of the week when most of your followers are online.
You can also see the how many of your followers are online by hour, as well as the potential exposure each of your tweets might have per hour. This analysis takes all of the guess work out of when is best for you to tweet.
This feature also lets you determine when you get the most retweets and replies for each time of day and day of the week. Judging by my activity, Tuesday afternoons are when I receive the most replies and retweets.
You can also see what topics your followers talk about, what they share links about, and what your resonant topics are. Again, this is just for your top 100 followers, so if your brand has a large Twitter following, this data won’t be reflective of all your followers, but it’s a great start to take out some of the guess work of when to tweet.
While this doesn’t offer as many features as SocialBro, I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on the data visualization for my Twitter activity courtesy of TweetStats. TweetStats will measure your entire Twitter history, showing you the aggregate number of tweets sent each month, further broken down by days of the week and time of day. Below are the TweetStats for 352 Media Group, dating back as far as 2008.
You can also see the users you reply to most frequently, the number of tweets you retweet (including the handles from which you retweet information), as well as the total number of tweets sent according to day and time of day.
To figure out when it would be best for you to tweet, go into your Google Analytics account and see which days of the week you typically receive the most traffic, breaking it down by day and by hour.
If you know you usually receive a lot of traffic between 10 and 11 a.m. on Thursdays, make sure you’re sending tweets to your followers around that time. Give them even more reason to go to your site and spend some time there.
If you don’t notice much fluctuation, try and be consistent with when you send out tweets. Don’t overwhelm users by sending 12 tweets between 9 and 12 on Monday and then stay dormant until Thursday afternoon. TweetStats can help you mark your activity and make sure you’re tweeting effectively.
Other features your brand can use in TweetStats are the hashtag cloud and tweet cloud. These visually represent what topics and hashtags you use in your tweets, as well as how frequently you are using them.
While you want your product and services to be important aspects to your tweets, they shouldn’t represent the only thing you talk about. Don’t bore your followers with pitch after pitch; monitoring your tweet cloud for topics you discuss frequently can help ensure you’re offering followers the variety of information they desire.
While not as in depth as the previous two tools, TwentyFeet allows you to log in using your Twitter handle and analyzes your followers; mentions and retweets; lists; and the number of your followers not following back.
You can change the time period used in the analysis, ranging from the past week, month, or three months. TwentyFeet will monitor the number of followers you have over the period of time, the number of lists your handle is in, and the number of followers you lose, which can be important for a brand to monitor.
Any sudden, drastic drop in followers is a red flag that something needs to change in your social media strategy, so keeping an eye on your lost followers is important.
TwentyFeet will also measure what they refer to as Influence Indicators and Conversations.
Influence Indicators will display how many mentions you receive over a period of time, as well as the number of times your tweets are retweeted. This can help you measure which topics over the past week or month really resonated with your followers (assuming you are able to determine which tweets solicited the responses).
You can also measure the number of tweets you sent, the number of times you retweeted someone, and the number of times you replied to someone you follow.
TwentyFeet lets you see the number of people you are following, as well as the number of users not following you back. TwentyFeet doesn’t just track Twitter movements, but also Facebook, Google Analytics, YouTube, MySpace, and bit.ly.
By entering in your Twitter handle and email address, PostPost will present a searchable version of your Twitter timeline.
You can search by usernames, hashtags, or any other terms and PostPost will present all the search results that have appeared over the history of your timeline. For example, I searched Tim Tebow in my timeline and found the following results:
You can also filter the results by a particular user. So if I wanted to see 352 Media Group’s (@352media) mentions of Tim Tebow in their timeline, I could select them in the left toolbar and see only their mentions of Tebow over their timeline.
One of the good features is even if you’re a relatively new Twitter user, the search results will go back as far as your followers have been on Twitter. For example, I joined Twitter in 2010 but I’m able to see 352 Media Group in my search results dating back to 2009.
So how can you use PostPost for your brand?
You can easily use this as a more targeted search feature than just what Twitter offers.
Use this tool to run searches on your brand name, products, any hashtags you use for your business, or even names of events you’re hosting. You can also filter by specific users, allowing you even more control over the results that will appear.
Use this to see what users are saying about your business or products, and monitor Twitter feedback as best as possible.
As comprehensive as some of these features are, when managing your brand’s Twitter activity, it would be best to use a variety of tools instead of relying on one feature or metric to provide all the information you need.
Analyzing your followers, your own activity, and what other people are talking about online are all smart ways to make sure you’re getting the most benefit out of your social media presence.
Lead image source: Shutterstock.com