My mom always says, “statistics are like puppets, you can get them to say whatever you want.” I kind of think statistics (and Twitter stats) are like art – everyone interprets them a bit differently and you have to know what you’re looking at.
When it comes to Twitter stats there is so much information, sometimes too much. Sometimes it feels like you’re drowning under a pile of numbers and percentages. How many people retweeted me today? How many new followers have I picked up? How many people found my link to a video of a cat on a highwire entertaining? I don’t know about you guys, but when faced with information overload I shut down (or more like melt down), so I learned long ago to streamline and focus on the Twitter stats that matter most (for the sake of my sanity and the general wellbeing of everyone around me).
Keep what’s important. Toss out the rest. (That’s another one of my mom’s favorite expressions. She’s a wise woman.)
So what did I keep? Let’s see.
Stat: # of Clicks
Why do I care? When someone clicks on my tweet they might be checking out the image I included (because a picture worth a thousand words is one way to circumvent140 characters!) or they might be clicking on a link. Either way, they’re engaging with my content, which is a good indicator that something I said struck a chord.
Stat: # of Favorites & Retweets
Why do I care? Favorites and retweets are the difference between dating (clicks) and falling in love. When someone favorites my tweet they’re telling me they liked my post. They’re offering up a virtual high-five (amazing because high-fives are pretty much my go-to response IRL). They leave me feeling like Sally Field at the Oscars, circa 1985.
If they retweet me, well, that’s next level stuff. Not only are they saying they like what I have to say, but they found it interesting/entertaining/relevant enough to share with their followers and friends. Retweets let me know what I’m sharing has value, plus it’s a great way to gain even more followers, two, three, or six degrees of separation away.
Stat: # of Replies
Why do I care? Twitter isn’t a soap box (although some people use it that way). At its most powerful, Twitter is designed to be a two-way (or multi-way) conversation, where you can start a dialogue with people (supporters, debaters, current or future customers), unhindered by distance or time. How amazing is that?? That’s why I track the number of replies to my tweets, so I can respond and initiate conversations. Social media engagement is where it’s at.
Stat: Tweet time vs Engagement
Why do I care? I might have insightful things to say (okay, more often just cool cat videos to post), but if I’m posting them in the middle of the night, it’s doubtful anyone will see them in all their glory. That’s why I keep track of tweet time versus engagement, so I can determine the best times to tweet.
Stat: Me vs My Competition
Why do I care? It’s safe to say I’m somewhat competitive (I once threw a set of dice at a friend’s head during a particularly intense game of Settlers of Catan – I’m not proud of that moment, but it happened, sorry Tom!), so comparing my Twitter stats to my competition is a bit of a no-brainer. I want to see when I need to kick my social media marketing into a new gear and when I’m coming out ahead.
Stat: My Followers’ Interests
Why do I care? I feel like this should be obvious, but in case it’s early in the morning when you’re reading this and you haven’t yet caffeinated to kickstart your brain and the day, let me explain. If I can see what my followers are interested in (info that Twitter Analytics provides), I can tailor my messages to fit the things they like, creating content that’s more relevant and more likely to spark engagement. Win-win.
Some of you may be thinking, “wait a minute, ‘stats’ sounds dangerously close to ‘statistics’ and I’m having flash backs back to grade 11 math class, when I swore I’d say goodbye to stats (and boring Mr. Pederson) forever.” Trust me, I’ve been there (well, not in your actual math class, that would be weird), but it’s not as scary as it sounds. Another way of saying stats is ‘metrics’ and that’s basically just measuring what’s happening in your interactions with your friends/followers/anyone at all.
You could do the same thing in real life if you kept track of every time someone engaged you in conversation, it would definitely be a bit odd, but it’s possible. And when you think of it that way, it seems much less intimidating, right? Which is good because these metrics are the cornerstone for improving the quality and impact of what you’re putting out on Twitter.
So go forth, brave tweeters. Gather data. Track your stats. Grow and learn and compare and be bold. You can do this! Have fun and have faith.
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