April 27, 2015
Are you making the most of your personal social media brand?
An abbreviated version of this post appeared in the April 27 edition of PRNews.
Do you use Twitter Analytics? You should. Whether for business or personal use, Twitter Analytics can provide you with a lot of meaningful data to help you enhance and amplify your Twitter brand. But it can also be a little overwhelming, especially if you don’t live and breathe analytics as a full-time job. Today, I’ll share which data I found most useful as I sought to explore how to make the most of my personal Twitter brand using data and analytics. You may find other metrics are more meaningful to you. For the purpose of this post, I lived in my Twitter analytics for an 18-day period to identify trends and takeaways that helped me better understand my personal Twitter brand – and apply those same findings to my role as a brand and client counselor.
1. Analyze your audience
Perhaps the most obvious first step is to analyze who your followers are (or, as I like to ask, “Who are your tweeps?”). Imagine walking into a cocktail party and just spouting off the first thing that came to mind, with no concern for who was in the room or what they would want to hear from you. The same holds true for your Twitter account. If you do a quick audit of your followers, you’ll understand why they probably followed you in the first place, and what will keep them coming back for more.
Go to the “Followers” tab in Twitter Analytics and check out the “Interests” column. When I did that, I (unsurprisingly) learned that a combined 52% of my followers are interested in either marketing, advertising or SEO. What did surprise me, however, was that a full 20% of my followers are also interested in cookbooks, food and red wine. (I am interested in two of those three myself. I’ll let you guess which ones.)
Likewise, I learned that an equal number (40%) of my followers are interested in comedy and business and news. Why is this important? Because it helps me think about what content will resonate with those folks who followed me for professional insights versus personal insights – and perhaps provide a roadmap for how I might combine the two. I already do this by imbuing a bit of humor into my professional content when I can – and this data suggests I should continue doing so.
The “Followers” tab can also offer insights into which geographic regions most of your followers hail from (shout out to the 2% of my 6,600 followers in the UK), their gender (I was surprised to learn 64% of my followers are males) and who else they follow (I am in good company with the likes of @ChefSymon, @ClevelandDotCom and @Cleveland_Scene). This can be especially powerful when seeking ways to better connect with followers, since you can extrapolate the data to build personas around the types of followers you have.
Spend some time analyzing your followers. You might be surprised what you learn.
2. Determine your influence
The sad truth about Twitter is that you reach only a small percentage of your followers with each piece of content you distribute. (That’s why it’s a best practice to repost and repurpose your strongest content over the course of days, weeks and months.) But you can use Twitter Analytics to determine how many people you’re reaching (impressions) and how many of them engaged with your content (engagement rate). The chart below explores the impressions and engagement rates of my tweets over the 18-day period I studied. (Disclaimer: I’d certainly recommend a more comprehensive review than 18 days to provide solid benchmarks.)
What does this chart suggest? A couple of things:
- More impressions does not mean better engagement. In fact, it’s the opposite. Which metric is more important to you? (Personally, I’m more interested in how many people connected with my content – the engagement rate – than I am how many people saw it.)
- The day of the week matters. (Check out #4 below for more on that.)
If you spend some time establishing benchmarks, you can also determine how your influence is growing or waning over time.
3. Understand which content resonates
Of course, a deep dive into the engagement data will tell you which content resonates most with your audience. For me, I found it varied by time of day and day of week and, of course, the content of the tweet itself. Let’s take a look at some of my highest-engagement days:
Interestingly, most of my best engagement happened leading into or over the weekend. (More on that in the next section.) And while I’ve already acknowledged an 18-day study is not broad enough to draw hard and fast conclusions, it does provide some baseline insight that I can continue to monitor and study over time. One thing that is not debatable, however, is the power of imagery and photos in tweets. The chart below illustrates the engagement rate of tweets containing photos versus no photos over that same period:
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t also try to understand which content my followers do not connect with. To provide balance, I took a look at my five lowest-performing engagement days (ranging from 2.8% to 4.8% engagement rates) and now have a much better idea of what kind of content my followers could probably do without. (As it turns out, simply sharing articles that are interesting to me – without adding the “why” of what I think makes them good – isn’t such a hot commodity in the @LZone world.)
4. Know when to post
Those five days I had the most Twitter engagement?
- Wednesday (February 18)
- Friday (February 20)
- Saturday (February 21)
- Sunday (February 22)
- Saturday (February 28)
In the weeks since I stopped formally tracking for the purpose of this blog post, I have continued to keep an eye on my engagement rates. By and large, I still have high engagement on the weekends, but Tuesdays and Wednesdays are also strong engagement days for me. What does a closer look at the data and analytics tell me?
- Even work-related content does well on weekends. My conclusion? Folks who follow me are busy during the week and often get caught up on work-related content on the weekends. So, I should continue posting work- or industry-related content into the weekend as well.
- If I have an important work- or industry-related piece of content to share, I should make sure it happens (for the first time) on a Tuesday or Wednesday. So, the next time I have a blog post ready to go (which I cross-promote through my Twitter account), it should definitely happen on one of those days. (Note that this post went live on a Tuesday.)
Phew. As you can imagine, I could have sliced and diced the data every which way to (a high engagement score) Sunday, but my guess is you are already bored and/or overwhelmed with the data. The point is that you – Mr. or Ms. Communications Person Who Got Into The Field Because You Were Told There’d Be No Math – need to immerse yourself in data and analytics to understand not only how to build your personal brand, but also how to build the brand for your company or clients as well. Increasingly, any PR or communications person worth his or her salt needs to be able to understand, analyze and act upon the digital data that is – quite literally – right at their fingertips.
This post is the first in a series that will explore how to use data and analytics to build or enhance your personal social media brand. The series seeks to help you understand how to harness the power of data to improve your personal social media brand, while at the same time providing a strong foundation to help you apply those learnings to your company’s brand.