How Twitter Analytics Will Make You a Tweet Master

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By Ritu Sharma, CEO & Co-Founder, Social Media for Nonprofits

A lot of people think Twitter insights are just about measuring traffic – “We have this many followers, and this many @replies.” That’s certainly part of it, but the best use of insights is when they inform your use of social media for maximum advantage – it’s not really a numbers game.


After all, you want to increase your reach, engage more people, and send them flocking back to your cause’s website to take further actions for you.

Before we peek behind the curtain at analytics platforms, what does a successful Twitter presence look like from the followers’ point of view? This:

What these organizations and influencers have in common are a few details: more followers than following, actively tweeting on a regular basis – superficial observations. You can’t know what any of their engagement metrics are, though it’s clear they’re all doing something right.

According to analytics platform Simply Measured (more on them in a moment), “Great content leads to engagement and amplification. In turn, you increase your reach as more fans opt-in, which adds more fuel to the machine.”

But it doesn’t happen magically. You need to check responses to your content and make adjustments to keep your followers interested in continuing to engage. That’s what insights are all about.

Start at the Source

To see what’s working and how, start with Twitter’s own analytics – which are pretty new. You need an Ads account to access them, but there’s a workaround that will make these analytics free. Here’s a breakdown of some key features, and what they mean for you:

Tweet Dashboard – See how outgoing messages are performing, including best tweets; recent tweets and associated impressions, engagement, and engagement rate for each; and engagement over the last month, including which days your tweets performed best.

Now you know what kinds of tweets to post, and when to post them.

Followers Dashboard – Provides information on follower increases, gender and location, as well as interests by category. This applies to original content AND retweets.

You also get a ranked list of the top ten accounts your followers follow.

Now you know what topics most interest your followers.

Twitter Cards Dashboard – Twitter cards allow you to track URL clicks for your website by attaching “rich photos, videos and media experience to Tweets” to drive traffic to your site. A simple meta tag added to your website will cause anyone tweeting content links from your site to have a card attached to their tweet as well, lending added visibility.

Now you know who is sharing your content and mentioning your site on Twitter.

This information allows you to direct your energy where it will be most successful, saving time. Anytime you see that something is working, replicate it, and note whether it continues to work or changes over time. Keep correcting your course until you’re getting the engagement you want.

Options for Deeper Insights

Of course, there are a variety of other metrics you can measure if you want to. Here are a few analytics platforms that can offer you even more:

Simply Measured (paid) – Offers numerous insights, including most engaging post on your peak day. There’s also a Free Twitter Follower Analysis you can access for a sneak peek at location, influence, behavior and interests of your followers.

Sprout Social (paid) – Offers a 30-day free trial. One favorite insight is the Trends Report – detailing topics and hashtags mentioned for your cause.

Hootsuite (free/paid) – While they do offer a free Twitter overview, it’s limited, only showing follower growth. The best features are available in their Pro version, but you can test drive it for free and see if you like it.

SocialBro (free/paid) – Similar to Hootsuite, this is part of the Twitter Certified Products Program. With lots of analytics – including best time to tweet – this is a great option. Best of all, it’s free to users with under 5000 followers, and affordable in increments as your community grows.

FollowerWonk (paid) – Search Twitter bios and compare your social graphs to anyone from friends to competitors to influencers. Try advanced features free for 30 days.

Take advantage of free trials and see which actionable insights result in the most growth for your cause on Twitter. When you find the formula that works, it’s worth the money to run with it and keep building on that engagement.

Just remember that social media is a living entity, and you’ll never be “finished.” Check in on analytics regularly and keep making adjustments and you’ll be flourishing on Twitter soon enough.

Do you have a favorite insights platform not listed here? Tell us!

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