The Top Free Tools For Measuring Your Success on Twitter

[This post is part of the ongoing series The Complete How To Guide for Twitter Marketing]

Well, you win some and you lose some, right? It was less than two weeks ago that I did a post lamenting the problems with online measurement and metrics. You can read my rant here, but today I am actually going to cover some of those very metrics. You see, it’s a double edged sword. While the problems with metrics still exist, we need them to measure how effective our efforts in social media are. Ignoring available data would be wrong. We just need to handle it properly.

What Are They For?

The thing to keep in mind when using stats and analytics is – everything in moderation. Stats can be great if we use them right, or they can be trouble if we let them control our day. Here’s a simple formula for success:

  1. Check stats monthly.
  2. Track and chart the ones that matter
  3. Make adjustments according

If you find yourself checking them daily, or even weekly, you may have a problem. Unless, of course, you are monitoring a singular campaign – which is forgivable.

Which Stats Matter

According to Olivier Blanchard, the author of Social Media ROI and an authority on the subject, we should be tracking those things that help us determine and measure our business goals. Basically, business objectives become social media objectives, and we use measurement tools to track how all of those things are lining up. You can hear Olivier say it much better than I in the latest episode of the Better at Marketing Podcast.

So, without further caution, or aeidu, here are five good tools for tracking your progress on Twitter.

Replies, retweets, and regular old tweets.

Tweetstats

Tweetstats is part of the old guard. They have been there since the beginning doing their thing, and doing it well. They take an inward look at your tweets, measuring your own activity. They can tell you who you like to interact with the most, and what time of day you like to tweet. Most of these stats aren’t overly helpful – just interesting. The most powerful stats on Tweetstats surround your actual tweet frequency and type. If you click on the line bars for each individual month, you will get a nice breakdown of your activity.

From the graph above, we can see that activity on this Twitter account is fairly healthy. There is a good balance of tweets, replies, and retweets. Frequency has some noticeable valleys that could be improved, but overall it’s pretty good.

Real influence isn't easy to measure, but it is getting better.

Klout

I have covered Klout before in a far more in depth way than I will here. Klout is a tool that attempts to measure your level of online influence on Twitter and Facebook. This is a flawed measurement for many reasons – like it only takes into account Twitter and Facebook. Either way, it is currently the best tool available and worth a glace. Like Tweetstats, this will primarily grade your overall activity, showing you areas where you need to improve in how you use Twitter properly.

Bit.ly provides a clean breakdown of all clicks to your links each day.

Bit.ly

Bit.ly is not specifically a Twitter stats tool, but it is the most popular tool on Twitter for creating and sharing short URLs. This makes it a useful tool for regular tracking. Bit.ly will basically tell you how many times a user clicked on your links. For many of us, most of our links are shared through Twitter, so this can give us a good idea of how likely people are to follow through with things that we recommend to them. If used right, this data could tell you which type of links get the most activity, and which get easily ignored.

Twitter mentions of a certain domain broken down by month.

Backtype

On the subject of link sharing, there comes a handy tool called Backtype. This tool basically measures the number of times that your URL is shared on Twitter. It is a simple, but important, metric if your goal is to gain more traffic to your site. I like this tool because it tracks shares and user engagement. If you are trending upward, then you are definitely doing something right.

Another chart, and another data set.

Google Analytics

While this is the farthest removed from all of the sites above, it can still be used to track your Twitter activity. Specifically, it can be used to measure how much inbound traffic you are receiving from Twitter. If Backtype tracks shares, and Bit.ly tracks clicks, then this will show you how many people actually make it to your site. More importantly, it will show you what they did once they got there. This is hugely important, because in marketing we are usually using social networks, like Twitter, to drive traffic to our site. We not only need to measure the amount of traffic, but also the quality of traffic (bounce rates, goal completions, etc).

Putting It Together

Remember, use these metrics responsibly. Define a set of objectives, set goals, and use these metrics to track your progress. Statistics aren’t there for the sake of it, they are there to help you reach a set of goals and objectives. There are many other ways to track Twitter. What are some of the tools that you love?

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