[This post is part of the ongoing series The Complete How To Guide for Twitter Marketing]
I have been meaning to write a post for weeks about why social media metrics are overrated, and while I will probably still write that post in the future, there are a few metrics that I want to discuss today. If used properly, these can be very beneficial to your online marketing efforts.
Within the sphere of social media metrics, I think there are three different categories that users generally fall into.
- The first group is obsessed with the numbers. They are constantly going over the stats and watching them after every tweet.
- The second group knows they are there but doesn’t always know what do to with them. For this reason, they tend to just ignore them.
- The third group is right in the middle, which is where you and I should fall. We use social metrics to help make smart marketing decisions, but don’t obsess over them in an unhealthy way.
A Twitter Metric That Matters
There are dozens of ways out there to track and watch the number of followers that you have on Twitter, but here’s the thing: The number of followers you have, just doesn’t matter that much. If you have a few hours and a mouse, then even you can gain thousands of followers pretty easily.
The problem with tracking follower counts, is that because they can be so easily ‘gamed,’ they don’t tell us very much. The thing that you really want to know is, how influential you are.
So, this is where Klout comes in. Klout.com is a metrics site for measuring online influence. While you can also include Facebook, it is primarily a Twitter tool that can be used to evaluate any Twitter user. The report that it produces is clean and focused on useful metrics.
What I like about Klout, is that rather than giving you useless stats about follow counts and the number of lists your on, it provides information about your actual sphere of online influence. To do this, it breaks your influence down into four key metrics.
Klout Metric 1: The Klout Score
This is the primarily metric that you will be provided with, and it is meant to be an overall measure of your online influence. This score can range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a stronger sphere of influence. Ideally, this number should be between 40 and 60, but even something in the mid-thirties is acceptable.
Klout Metric 2: True Reach
True Reach is the size of your engaged audience. This is a great stat that actually tells you how many of your followers actual listen to what you have to say. Chances are, that this number will be less than 50% of your actual follow count.
Klout Metric 3: Amplification Probability
Amplification Probability is the likelihood that your content will be acted upon. Action, according to Klout, is primarily measured by retweets and replies. The one thing that this doesn’t measure, is the number of links clicked. This would be very difficult, but it would also be really useful.
Klout Metric 4: Network Influence
Network Influence is the influence level of your engaged audience. This score primarily looks at the quality level of the people who interact with your content. The higher they rank, the higher you rank.
How to use these stats
One thing that we all need to realize is that almost all metrics are flawed in some way. There are plenty of blog posts out their pouring over the flaws with Klout, and believe me, there are plenty to be seen. The key, I think, to good metrics is understanding how to properly use them. Here, are a few tips.
- Don’t get into a numbers race. Focus on creating good content, not bigger numbers.
- Use them for personal improvement. The main thing that matters, is that your numbers are growing. Focus on improving what you do, not improving the number itself.
- Don’t get stuck in comparisons. It is inevitable that you will cross-reference yourself with other Twitter users, but don’t get stuck on it. It just doesn’t matter. Focus on making your content better.
- Don’t cheat! Quick methods for success will give you higher numbers but won’t provide greater influence. Numbers don’t sell things, but influence can.
- Don’t check them every day. It is obsessive, and not helpful. Spend 20 minutes a month reviewing your stats and then spend the rest of the month focusing on better content.
Content is Still King
At the end of the day, stats don’t matter if you don’t use them to improve or validate what you are doing. Understand them for what they are, and then use them to refine your goals. At the end of the day, just learn to provide really compelling content that your followers care about.