I wrote not too long ago about how to use Google Analytics for your content strategy. I decided to turn that same train of thought to other arenas like social networking. It isn’t always as easy as it looks to determine what is working, what we should share, and who even cares.
I am hoping this list will help you shed some light about how to think critically about the traffic that comes to you from outside your website or search. In this first post we are going to tackle Twitter because it is my favorite of all social networks — it is teeming with data that anyone can grab if they are looking for it.
Here are 12 tips on making the most of what Twitter has to offer:
One thing people don’t realize is that you can insert a URL into Twitter search and it will show you all the related tweets — no matter what URL shortner was used! You can also see the top tweeters and any responses that share the URL but not your username.
2. Isolate Twitter in your Google Analytics
Here is a great tip: you can create a custom segment for your Google Analytics. You can isolate all your Twitter traffic this way — SEO Moz tells you how. You might be surprised to see that your blog performs differently than it does in search. You can apply your segment to following reports to guide your content strategy for the platform.
3. Analyze your followers
In the realm of social media, you are what you put out into the world. We would expect all our followers to be people interested in our Tweets, but not so — that is watered down by many things outside of our control.
I use Followerwonk to analyze this effect. Since Twitter became a marketing tool, I ended up with a lot of people following me who are not my primary audience. So, I need a way to root these people out. Go to Followerwonk and use their “compare Twitter users” feature. Choose your own username and someone in your niche with more success. See if your followers overlap. A higher percentage means you are attracting a similar crowd (or at least attracting attention from the same bots).
The caveat — if you are following the same people there will be a higher percentage of overlap. So, this might not be 100% effective, but I have found it useful in the past. It depends on which Twitter name you use to filter the results.
4. Write for Twitter
Actually you can create content that is completely optimized for Twitter. All of your SEO value is not in Google alone. Take advantage of how people share and note the following:
- They are probably using an app or mobile device — your website needs to be able to handle that.
- Keep it brief, about a paragraph or so.
- You can put in @usernames and #hashtags in your titles and they will appear linked on Twitter.
- Great for tips, breaking news, or research.
5. Add to the conversation
I know, I know — I rush things sometimes. I automate much of my promotion, which does not get you very far. Try to add some commentary to what you share — you might Tweet less, but you might be able to make it more relevant to others.
6. Share with your closest friends
Twitter is a social platform, so be social. Instead of sharing right away, choose two or three friends (fans) that have a strong interest in your chosen topic. Start a conversation around it and ask for their thoughts. This is far more enlightening and will strengthen your bonds with others.
Don’t use the broadcast aspect of Twitter as an excuse to not build any relationships. It doesn’t have to be that way. It depends on how you use the platform.
7. Brand your short URL
Bit.ly has an amazing feature that allows you to brand your url. Use a tool like domainr to find an available domain you can use for your short links. Then buy that domain. The setup is complicated, but doable with some patience. Unless you sign up for a premium service, the shortener only works for links you create. Still, it gives you free advertising everywhere you share even when it is not your creation.
8. Mind your Twitter ratings
I think of click through rates on Twitter like ratings. You can use Followerwonk or SocialBro to check out your demographics and see when your followers are tuned in. You can use TweetReach to see your potential exposure for your content. You should be tracking your click throughs with bit.ly or similar. Use these tools to come out with your own ratings report. How much of your target audience were you able to capture?
9. Don’t neglect your bio
There are many things you can do with a Twitter bio. I include two links, one in the Twitter URL and one in the bio itself. I use this for a call to action and I never have to send an auto-DM.
10. 20:80 rule
I believe in that good old quote, “Speak softly and carry a large stick.” I apply that to social media with the 20:80 rule. I try to promote others 80% of the time and self-promote only 20%. But, I never ever skimp on effort when I write. The big stick here is a reputation for quality.
The surest sign of success is when you no longer have to say “look at me.”
It kills me when I see some thoughtful Tweets sent to individuals who fail to respond. I mean, why are they online if not to create a dialogue? There are mitigating factors around this — be dutiful when you have the time to get back to people; they will remember it forever.
12. Don’t Spam
Just don’t, I mean, don’t. Rachel Thompson has you covered with all the reasons why.
Next time I will be covering Google+ , which I know people have a lot of questions about. What are your concerns when it comes to getting the most for your efforts? Perhaps we can help each other out by crowdsourcing our knowledge.Featured image courtesy of striatic licensed via Creative Commons.Tweet