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As Twitter becomes more and more prevalent in all aspects of business, marketing, sales and personal communications, the need to create a better strategy is more and more stringent. And, as always, the old saying "knowledge is power" still stands when it comes to Twitter as well. As your involvment in Twitter grows, as you acquire more followers and start developing a strategy based on your needs, the analysis of your results becomes critical. This became obvious to many big Twitter players since the early days, so it's not surprising that some of them set on to create various tools that could help us in this respect. In this article I will try to give you a brief summary of some of the best Twitter analyzing tools out there, based on my own experience through trial and error. This post is basically an expansion of one of the bullet points in my comprehensive article "Great Twitter Tools and Applications". So, if you read that article and you want to know more about Twitter analysis and the tools of the trade, this post should be exactly what you are looking for.
Before we move on, I want to you understand the difference between a Twitter Analyzing tool and a Twitter Ranking tool. Very often these two concepts are combined by the virtue of the tools that offer them, and other times by a lack of understanding. So, what is a Twitter Ranking tool? It's a system that uses a certain algorigthm to obtain a value or multiple values that allows ranking of twitter accounts. Usually the ranking can be based on number of followers, number of tweets, number of retweets and so on. Regardless of the algorigthm, at the end of the analysis you get a number, or some other type of representation, that tells you where you stand in the twitter universe. This is very important for your own understanding of your progress and also counts as bragging rights. Most of these tools will allow you to tweet your rank, thus drawing attention to other users of your current positioning. These are not the tools I am interested in.
Twitter Analyzing tools are applications that look at your activity and the activity of your followers and those that you follow and provide you with a rich feedback, usually in statistical format, that allows you to further tweak and tailor your twitter strategy in the future. I will not dig into twitter strategy at this point - I have a full article in the works on that subject - but I wanted you to understand what I will be talking about in this article. These are tools that actually analyze your data and shoot data back that you can then process and use in your future Twitter tactics.
Before I move on with the tools, let me tell you that most of these tools take a while to give you results. This is especially true if you have a lot of followers and a lot of tweets. So, if you want to experiment with all of them, make sure you put your patience hat on... Also, I do understand that a lot of these tools' functionalities overlap, so after you experiment you should choose one or two that best serve your purpose and stick with them. Every now and then, try something new, but always remember not to spend all your time analyzing and not doing. Just do enough analysis to get what you need and spend most of your time executing your strategy.
TwitterStats has a very nice AJAX based interface. Everything moves very smoothly and it has a wealth of information. All you need to do is input your Twitter username in the opening screen below:
A very good graph here is the Tweet Density. It shows all the days of the week, and how many tweets do you send during each different times of the day. This is a very important metric. Remember that your followers have a life and therefore are not watching the screen 24x7. You need to get some overall Twitter statistics that show the best days and times of the day to tweet, that is when most people are actively using Twitter. In order to maximize your reach, you want to make sure you tweet at the right time. This graph will allow you to see if you actually follow this rule.
Next thing is to click on the Tweet cloud and look at the hashcloud. Do you see your interests there? If not, perhaps you are not using hashtagging properly. Make sure your tag cloud is diverse enough so you have a wider audience reach. Similarly, in the TweetCloud, click "Hide Replies" and look at the cloud. That combines the most common words you use in your tweets. Do you use all the words that you think you use? If you are tweetting about programming and you notice that Beer is larger than programming, than perhaps you are not making your point as well as you thought. If you want to attract a certain audience, make sure you provide the keywords needed for them to find your tweets when using various search methods. That's pure SEO applied to Twitter. Come back every month and look at the evolution of your cloud. You can even take snapshots and save them for later so you can compare.
TweetReach is a great tool to help you with your gratitude towards your best followers. Basically what this tool does is it looks at your latest 50 tweets and follows their path through the retweets. It digs in depth and calculates how many Twitter users were exposed to your tweet by the virtue of your friends who are retweeting it. As you can see from the screenshot below, the tool gives you two pie-charts:
But that's not the important part. The part that I care about is the right-hand side where you can see "Impressions Contributed by X Twitterers". This is where you find the root of your gratitude. Those are the users that helped promote your latest 50 tweets. You should analysis every day and then drop a note to the first 20 users in that list. Either create a #FastFollowFive list or just add them to a trail of #Follow suggestion. If you want to be really nice, go to their account and retweet one of their tweets. This is paramount for your Twitter success and this tool makes it really easy!
One very cool fact is the On-line Followers. It's a graph that gets updated every 15 minutes that shows how many of your followers are actually online. You can use this information everytime you login or at major times throughout the day and mark down the % of your followers who are online. Once again, this statistic will allow you to improve the visibility of your tweets by allowing you to target the proper time of your updates. Even if the overall statistic says that most users are online between 1PM and 3PM but you notice that your particular users are mostly active in the evening, then you need to tailor your updates and post them at that time for best results.
Click on Closest Friends to see the users that this tool considers as being your most loyal buddies. It uses a certain algorithm based on your direct messages and retweets. Once again, these are people that you must acknowledge everyday and return the favor. Keep in touch with them, interract, retweet, be a good network friend and it will come back ten fold.
I haven't used Twitalyzer a lot, but one thing that I use is their graphical representation of the retweeters with their impact represented by the size of the bubble. Basically, you can see at first sight who are the most influencial retweeters that you have. Those are the people that you want to pay most attention to and reciprocate the most:
TweetEffect is trying to help you understand why are you loosing followers. It shows you a quick overview of the net number of followers (won minus lost) and then it gives you a list of your latest tweets with their effect. By looking at this information you might get an idea about what is going on with your followers. For instance if you notice that everytime you post some sports related news you lose a few followers, perhaps the audience that you have is not responsive to sports and you might want to rething posting that. On the other hand, posts followed by large followship might be the result of your tweet being retweeted many times and thus getting you new followers. So, see what was that tweet about and in time you will learn how to adapt your updates to preserve and grow your followship:
Twiangulate helps you locate influencial tweeters as well as mutual followers and friends. The first part is, once again, good for you as it helps you identify those followers that you want to make sure feel your presence. They are influencial so their word weights a lot in front of their many followers. So, you need to make sure that you develop a friendship and a relationship with them which basically opens you the door to their followers. But the second really cool part is mutual followers. What you have to do here is find out who are your top 10 biggest most influencial users that you follow and then use this tool to identify all those common friends and followers. That is people who follow you and those big users that you follow. What you need to do is find these users and develop a relationship with them. Why? Well, because it's not easy to reach a top user, but it may become easier if you reach some of their best followers. By retweeting their updates and by mentioning them and participating in discussions you increase the chance that you will fall under the radar of those large users. And sooner or later, you will be followed back by them. And that's what you need to focus on. Because now, your updates are being followed directly by these top influencial users and, as I said before, get exposure to a much larger pool of followers.
I hope this post will help you improve your twitter strategy and if it does, then may job is done! Stay tuned for some new articles that will be coming soon, focusing on using twitter lists, retwetting strategy and a generic Twitter beginner tutorial.
All the best,
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