Making Sure Twitter Helps Your Business

Twitter for small businesses

Twitter has more than 271 million monthly active users, and 94 percent of users who follow businesses are on the lookout for discounts and special deals. Hashtags routinely appear on Super Bowl commercials.

But, it’s a medium that needs daily attention and quick responsiveness, particularly if your customers decide to use it as a customer service platform. (Twitter offers good tips and information at business.twitter.com.)

But once your business is on Twitter, how do you know if your tweets are helping boost your business?

Making sure Twitter works for your business starts with your goals:

  • Do you want to be seen as an expert in your field? Drive sales? Push website traffic? Your goal will define what you post, and when you post it. After a few weeks of consistent tweeting (at least once a day – preferably more – every day), analyze your tweets against your initial goal.
  • Are you gaining followers, and are they the type of followers you want?  (Are they your local customers, or an international audience?)
  • Are your customers or other people retweeting you, or mentioning you in Tweets?

Check Out Your Data

Figuring out if Twitter is working for your business starts with looking at your data.

In July, Twitter released a new analytics service – a significant upgrade over what was previously available to Twitter users. The information is free for verified accounts (mostly celebrities and accounts with 100,000 followers or more), websites that have implemented Twitter cards (ask your web developer about enabling those) and/or those who have advertised with Twitter.

To see if you have access to the new data, sign into Twitter and go to analytics.twitter.com.

The data includes number of impressions your tweets have gotten (that’s the number of times people have seen your tweet), and the engagement rate of every tweet (that’s the number of times people have clicked somewhere on your tweet). You can also get data on your followers – where they live, their interests, and who else they follow, among other data.

If you do have Twitter cards enabled on your website, you can also track clicks to your website, and even add rich media (videos and more) to your tweets. Twitter cards can also make your retweets even more powerful. (Learn more about Twitter cards here.)

Don’t Have Analytics? Here are Your (Free) Options

If you don’t fall into the verified, carded or advertiser categories, you still have options if you want to go beyond manually counting your retweets and favorites.

If you schedule tweets through Hootsuite, that program comes with analytics built-in. Although the information isn’t as useful as Twitter’s own analytics (unless you pay for a report), you can still get good information on which tweets have been most interacted with, retweeted most and more.

You can also check out Twitonomy or Simply Measured, both of which offer free data on your own account – or your competitors’ accounts.  (See more free options in this blog post.)

For more tips on Twitter (plus Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, content marketing and more), follow @CanoeMedia on Twitter.

Beth Lawton is founder and CMO of Canoe Media Services, an Alexandria-based business that helps entrepreneurs and small businesses shine online with smart social media marketing, blog content and more. More information is available at www.canoemediaservices.com.