Is It A Good Tweet Or A Bad One?

I mentioned Twitter the other night at a dinner party I hosted  -- and the facial responses around the table gave me a good laugh.  The marketers and technologists all perked up with interest and delight, while the lobbyists and lawyers tried to hide their disapproving looks.  But regardless of what folks think of Twitter, or if they use it, the micro-blogging service is having a direct impact on traffic to Web sites and the reputations of companies.

Measuring the impact of Twitter is both qualitative and quantitative.  It needs to be thought of as a discussion with (or "@") your company or brand -- and not just a marketing channel.  As many companies are learning, the conversation about your brand is going to happen with or without you. Since Twitter allows its users to express themselves in what many refer to as the "twittersphere," you are bound to find other Tweeters who are either enthralled or enraged with something that your organization is doing (or not doing). If you aren't convinced yet, just go to and browse around. You might just find a wakeup call when you learn what folks are discussing.



Are you participating in the conversation and measuring what's going on via Twitter?  Here are a few tips for getting started:

·         First do your research: go to and search for your company or brand.

·         Once you get over the shock of what folks might be saying or doing, create an account on behalf of your organization.

·         Create alerts on Twitter with keywords for your company brand, products, competitors and executives. You can do this by subscribing to the RSS feeds for each of these searches and then monitoring them via the RSS reader of your choice.

·         Assign accountability: there has to be someone assigned to follow the discussion.  If "everyone" watches Twitter, then really "no one" will be watching it.  You need someone on point to read the tweets, who is empowered to respond in a timely manner if needed.

·         Pick a tool to follow your tweets: I use Twirl (an Adobe Air Application), but our community manager uses Tweetdeck to follow discussions on the keywords our company is monitoring, as well as those he follows personally.

·         Watch and respond to what folks are saying. Don't hide behind the curtain -- Twitter is about transparency.  Hiding will only hurt you, as Tweeters are expecting honesty here.

Measure! Yes, you may have to do this manually (although I am sure others will comment on what tools they have developed or are using to quantify the number and tone of tweets).  How many tweets does your company receive each day, week or month?  Are the comments positive, negative or neutral?  Is the discussion aimed at your company or about your company?  How many users are following your company's profile?

Don't forget about Web analytics.  You can measure the number of referred visits that come to your site from  They may be from links you've posted there to tell your community about something new  -- or they could be viral links that others are using to discuss you and drive traffic to your site.

Trends in the discussion can be monitored over time. Understanding the impact of Twitter on your company is not just about the numbers, but about the tone and topics.  When presenting your Twitter report to management, keep in mind that numbers can't stand on their own.  The content of the tweets and the direct feedback to your company may have much more impact on how you manage your business and how you communicate back to the Twitter community.

So is your company measuring the impact of Twitter?  Let us know on the blog how you are measuring Twitter for your company and how management interprets the results.

3 comments about "Is It A Good Tweet Or A Bad One?".
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  1. Eric Friesen from United Way of Winnipeg, November 29, 2008 at 1:25 a.m.

    Have you heard of anyone using language processing tools - something like SPSS's Text Analysis tool, maybe - to code tweets?

  2. Kevin Horne from Verizon, November 29, 2008 at 4:36 p.m.

    Great point made to focus on website analytics, looking specifically at the Twitter-sourced traffic. The $64k question it might answer is who are these people (apologies to Seinfeld)? Are they just like the Web-at-large, a bunch of Motrin-complainers (i.e., influencers, not customers), or in between?

  3. Jodi Mcdermott from comScore, November 30, 2008 at 11:24 p.m.

    @Eric - no I have not used any language processing tools. I am sure some of our readers have though. Would be interested in hearing what others might be using. I must say though that you really have to read through the comments and click on the tiny urls that folks embed - there may be much more to the discussion based on additional content that tweeters are sharing.


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