Last month, Twitter made their full Analytics dashboard available to every user. The two biggest features in Twitter’s official Analytics tools are:
- The followers dashboard, which breaks down who is following your account based on Interests, Location, and who Your followers also follow.
- An official measurement of reach, which how many users a particular tweet was served to.
Today we will be exploring the first set of features—the followers dashboard, and what it might tell you about how well your current social media strategy is working.
Why Twitter Analytics?
The numbers of followers you have on social media is often described as a vanity metric. Part of the reason is anyone can subscribe to follow you, from John Doe to Justin Bieber, and the number of followers you have will go up by one by everyone. Followers is a measure of quantity, not quality, and there are a number of methods for gaining followers who will not care about you or your brand, including following accounts tagged with #TeamFollowBack or #F4F, paying for follows, and even using apps that trade following accounts for more people following your account. All of these practices will result in your brand having low-quality, irrelevant followers. Low-quality followers are people who see your posts, have no intention of buying your products or services, and contribute nothing to your conversations—even if they add to your followers score.
If you know what to look for, Twitter’s Followers dashboard can provide hints as to whether your followers are relevant to your brand’s goals. This article will help you understand what Twitter’s Interests, Location, and Your followers also follow lists are and how they can help you evaluate your current social media strategy.
Is your brand local or international? Twitter’s location analytics breaks down followers into country, province/state, and city. If you have a service that only operates in Ottawa, you would expect the most relevant followers would also be posting from Ottawa and nearby cities. People who live far away are not likely to be enjoying your services or writing about them. Meanwhile, if your brand intends to do business internationally, you want your followers to be from all the regions you can distribute to. It is not a good sign if a brand with international aspirations only has followers from their local community. When your followers do not match your goals, it is time to adjust your strategy.
When creating a sponsored post with Twitter, you have the option to target an audience based on interest. Twitter’s Followers dashboard shows how many of your followers match a given interest in one of their 350 categories. If you run your social media well, what your followers are interested in should match your brand (though twitter may not be able to identify all your followers). If you run a vegetarian restaurant, you want a sizeable portion of your followers to be interested in topics like “vegan, vegetarian, and foodie news.” For a craft brewery: “beer, cocktails and beer, bars and nightlife.” For an educational toy brand: “Moms, board gaming, babies and toddlers”. If it all seems random, your followers’ interests may not match up with your posts.
Your followers also follow
Keep an eye on how many of your followers follow these accounts, what these accounts offer, and what they may have in common with your brand. If a lot of your followers also follow one particular account, it could be because you are competitors in the same field, the accounts are influencers who referred their followers to you, their engagement team has been poaching your followers, or your engagement team has been poaching theirs. If your followers do not have a lot of follows in common, this could either mean there is not a cohesive conversation about your topic on Twitter or your followers are not high quality. Even if you are offering something truly unique, you should be introducing your followers to each other in the process of having conversations with them. Keep an eye out for warning signs, such as accounts associated with #teamfollowback, this could be a sign that your followers do not really care about your brand.
While you can not choose who ultimately follows you on Twitter, your approach to the platform and the quality of your content will influence the audience you attract. What does Twitter’s Analytics dashboard say about your followers? Share your results in the comments or @ReSoMe on Twitter!