Guest Writer: Ben Donkor is a social media & web analyst, blogger, writer, live-tweeter and social media consultant. As a blogger, he writes about social media and digital marketing with a focus on analytics. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.
I love social analytics, and people who follow me on Twitter or read my blog already know that. However, what they don’t know is that I have a guilty pleasure – running reports about my own social profiles.
As my online presence spans across so many social networks (mainstream ones like Twitter and Facebook, and not-so-mainstream ones like App.net), I run weekly “health checks” on my online presence. I do it for the same reasons you’d regularly report on your social profiles at work:
- It shows me what I’m doing right.
- It highlights what I’m doing wrong so I can make the appropriate changes.
- It helps me track my influence and “social growth”.
- It gives me a better understanding of who my followers are.
- It helps me be more strategic about the content I post, when I post it, and how I post it.
These health checks don’t take too much time and they’ve helped me a lot. When it comes to this reporting, I mainly check my audience, influence, and content performance.
In this post I’ll show you how I do these weekly health checks. All you’ll need is this free report from Simply Measured and 5-10 minutes. Oh, and some coffee too.
The first thing I do is head over to Simply Measured and create a Twitter Follower Report. The folks at Simply Measured are kind enough to give this report away for free (as well as a bunch of other super-useful reports), which you can find here.
I put my Twitter handle in, I wait a split second, the system recognizes me, and I then run the report. I always try to race Simply Measured to see whether running a report takes me longer than making coffee. So far, Simply Measured has always won – it’s always taken me less than a minute or two for the report to be generated and finally appear on my screen, and that’s been the case for the majority of their reports.
Now that the report is ready, I can delve into it.
PS. Feel free to look at my own report here as an example.
The first thing that Simply Measured gives me is a quick breakdown of my audience, content, and influence:
Consider this as the cover page to your Twitter report: if there’s anything you should know about, any major ups or downs, you’ll find it here.
Here I can see data relating to my audience (followers), to find out who they are and who out of my 1000+ followers are influential (but more on influence later).
There are 3 main things I look at here:
- Audience by number of followers, to see who are the most followed people among my followers; these are the ones with the highest reach and the widest network – now just imagine the impact of even just one of them retweeting one of my tweets with a link to my blog.
Example: I wrote a very in-depth article about sentiment analysis in social media not so long, and when posting this on Twitter I worded it in different ways, taking into consideration the influencers in my network. This resulted in Brandwatch reading my article and tweeting it out from their account.
- That remains one of my pivotal and defining moments as a blogger, and thanks to that retweet that article remains one of my most viewed on my blog.
- Audience by time zone, to see where your audience is located. Now, looking at this at face value you’ll probably think it’s just to see what time zones your followers are in. However, it’s a lot more than this, as you can read here.
- I’ve started using this information myself and now the way I tweet my blog posts is “Simply data-driven” – I used to tweet my posts whenever I had the chance: lunchtime, any breaks from work, or after work. However, after seeing this, I realised that I was limiting my blog traffic to people who were in my same time zone, or people in other time zones who happened to be online at the same time as me. Hence, I started scheduling my tweets to go out between midnight and 7am, so while I’m sleeping in BST, my blog is still getting traffic from other time zones.
- Top keywords, to see what my followers are talking about and what they’re interested in. Now, this is a personal favourite. While I can almost accurately tell what my audience is interested in, and while I usually blog about social analytics, I know that my audience isn’t only interested in that. Of course they have other interests such as sports, music, art etc. However, who are they? Where are they? And what are they interested in? Simply Measured looks through the profiles (bio and tweets) of my followers to derive 5 main interests for each of my followers, and it then puts those interests in visual form for me to see at a quick glance what my followers’ main interests are.
It looks like a number of my followers are interested in business and management, and that makes me think – I haven’t really blogged about those two topics. This also gives me a steer on how to phrase the captions I use whenever I tweet my blog posts – same link, different captions for different people with different interests.
There’s another area that I’m particularly fond of: influence.
Simply Measured supports Klout. Granted, Klout isn’t the absolute sign of influence, but it sure is a good indication (or a “measure of mainstream online and social influence” as I like to call it). Hence, to finish the report, you have a table with a list of your most influential followers, and there are so many ways you can play around with this – you can sort by number of followers, followers-to-following ratio, Klout, and more.
So far I’ve covered the web view of the report, which is the default view. While you can also export this report into a nice PowerPoint presentation, I highly recommend exporting this into another format: Excel.
This is where Simply Measured truly shines – or better, excels. (Bad pun, I know.) These Excel exports are extremely flexible, and there’s virtually no limit to the things you can do with them.
One personal example is the Topics sheet: the “top keywords” view you saw earlier was just a very quick glimpse at the main topics my followers are interested in. The “Topics” sheet in the export, however, gives me the a list of 798 keywords that Simply Measured detected in the past 7 days, the number of people who share those interests, as well as a proportion against the total number of followers.
This list always gives me inspiration when I’m not sure what my next blog post should be about, as it gives me a list of so many topics my followers are interested in. It also serves as a reminder that, while my main interest is social media analytics, my followers are interested in at least 797 other things, and while I don’t have to write an article for each interest, it definitely makes me appreciate the diversity of all the great 1,000+ people who follow me on Twitter.
What about Content?
The eagle-eyed will have realised that out of the 3 areas I have listed (audience, content, and influence), I haven’t really discussed Content. That’s because the report I ran is a Twitter Follower Report, so it only focuses on audience.
So how do I keep a track of my content? I have Simply Measured, so I have access to the various content reports.
These give me insight on who’s engaging with my content, the reaction of my followers, who’s sharing my blog posts, how my posts ripple through my followers networks, and so much more.
So, if you too want to benefit from these reports and keep a close eye on your social profiles – work or personal – make sure you sign up for a Simply Measured trial. It really is that simple.