One of the major push backs I get surrounding twitter use for business involves the idea of ROI. It’s a genuine concern and something that can feel very hard to measure for most businesses. It’s rare when someone can effectively attract followers and blatantly sell something to that at the same time. In most social media settings it just doesn’t work that way. The objective is to simply create enough engagement that people want to find out more on their own. While that’s a great long term objective, it can be a little hard to track.
One of the approaches I preach is to think about you tweeting activities, and subsequent payoffs, in an expanded way. Sure, you want to get more business, but I find that getting better ideas, testing messages and doing all manner of research with my tweets provides tangible ROI for my business as well. A large percentage of my tweets are positioned to intentionally test ideas and trends for use in other ways. I’m still providing engaging information, but in a strategic way – that’s how you need to think about your activity in any social media setting to get immediate and long term ROI.
The key to making your tweets more useful in this fashion is to employ one of the many twitter metrics tools cropping up daily. These tools allow you to understand how the twitterverse is reacting to your tweets. Basically they are link tracking tools that shorten links and give you a dashboard report on clicks and retweets and the like for each of your tweets. Having this kind of data allows me to do a few things of interest.
- Let’s say I find a site I think is cool and tweet it. From my dashboard I can see lots of folks jumped on that and passed it around and also thought it was cool. Bingo! – I’ve got a topic for an expanded blog post.
- Let’s say I write a blog post and point it out on twitter – I can get real-time feedback, over and above comments, on how hot the topic was
- Let’s say I propose a question to my followers or make a strong statement about a marketing tactic. Again, back to my stats I see the entire conversation that surrounded my topic (or not) and I may have a new theory on how to talk about a marketing tactic
- Let’s say I point out several articles I stumble across as good reads and for whatever reason one of the article ignites a storm of reaction – well, maybe I need to look deeper into that topic.
- Let’s say people seem to pass on stuff more rabidly during a certain time of day – maybe I should take note of that
- Let’s say people seem to like certain types of tweets, judeging by how they interact, than others – could that help me tweet better?
Do you see how, by getting a few details about the ways people, even with small numbers of followers, are reacting to your tweets you could use this data to inform how you tweet and how you might get immediate bang for your buck over and above the obvious long term goal of leads and sales?
Here are a few of the tracking tools you might consider. Most are really twitter toolboxes as they make it easy to tweet with multiple twitter account management, bookmarklets, link shorteners, and built in search functions.
- HootSuite – very stable tool, I see traces of it’s owly link everywhere on twitter
- CoTweet – positioned very well as the enterprise twitter toolbox
- SU.PR – the creation the folks at StumbleUpon and Four Hour Workweek author Tim Ferris this combines some extra features to promote your tweets on Stumble Upon – in a rolling beta release right now, but I sure like this one.
- Objective Marketer – another one in private beta, but looks very robust.
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