It’s another Two for Tuesdays, and we’re finally into September! It doesn’t feel that way here in New Jersey, where it’s almost 90 degrees and very high humidity – this might not be so bad if I hadn’t lost my furnace in a flood almost four weeks ago, resulting in NO air conditioning. The new furnace is being installed tomorrow and Thursday, but in the meantime, we are melting over here!
So let’s try to stay cool by talking about Twitter. I saw two posts come through my RSS reader talking about new things on Twitter, so today’s Two for Tuesdays will be two new things to check out over there!
Tip One: Take a look at Twitter’s Analytics
Analytics may not interest you that much, but they should. People often make the mistake of thinking that the number of followers or connections is the measure of how successful you are on social media – but that’s not the case.
Engagement and interaction with those followers IS, as well as being able to amplify what you’re sharing. Analytics can help you to dig a little deeper, so that you can identify which of the platforms is working most successfully for you, and therefore, where you should be investing your time (and where it may make sense for you to invest a little less time).
Twitter is one of the last to roll out good analytics, but their new interface looks promising. I first heard about it in this article from Mashable. According to them:
The dashboard lets users see how many impressions each tweet has received (how many times users saw the tweet on Twitter), the number of favorites their tweet has received, how many times others have clicked on their profiles, and the number of retweets and replies on a certain tweet. It also shows how many times users engaged with a tweet and what that engagement was."
Also important to note is that:
To view these analytics, your account must be at least 14 days old, and it cannot be deleted, restricted, protected or suspended. You also must primarily tweet in English, French, Japanese or Spanish."
So why does this matter to lawyers and legal marketers?
- At a glance, you can see how many people your tweets are actually reaching – this doesn’t mean people are necessarily reading and engaging with them, but it gives you an idea of how many people are getting eyes on your tweets.
- More importantly, it tells you what your engagement level is – things like how many people click the links in your tweets, how many retweets and favorites you get, and how many replies. These are the important numbers. If you’re posting a LOT of content and working hard to engage with people, and these numbers are still low, Twitter may not be the right platform for you, or you may not be connecting with the right people.
Even better, you can also see this information for individual tweets – so if there’s something that you are sharing that you consider to be essential to your practice area, or breaking news, it will tell you whether that tweet is as popular as you think it is or should be. If it’s not, either you don’t have the right people following you, or it’s not as essential to them as you thought. Some of this information is possible to ascertain using your existing Twitter tools, but with all the different methods for engagement that Twitter allows, and the different ways of reporting them based on what you’re using, this is one place that gives you a much clearer picture.
- You can also learn more about your followers – the followers tab tells you what interests your followers have (which can tell you at a glance whether the majority of the people following you care about the things you’re talking about), and also gives you a snapshot of where they’re located. So if you have a target market you’re looking to engage with, this tells you quickly whether you’ve got a substantial base there already, or not.
Take a look at analytics.twitter.com and login with your Twitter account to see what your analytics look like. Get out your business development plan and see whether your analytics show that you’re engaging with the right people, and getting the level of engagement that you should be. If you are, excellent. If not, why not? Is it that Twitter isn’t the right tool for you? Is it that you don’t have the right followers? Is it because you don’t have the right message? Answer those questions, redefine your strategy with Twitter, if it makes sense to keep using it, and then check back periodically to make sure it’s working.
Tip Two: Twitter’s redesign means you should give it a second look
I know many lawyers think that Twitter is just some flighty site where celebrities flock to promote their next project. But Twitter is actually an excellent tool, if you use it well, and engage properly. We’ve talked about all of the reasons I love Twitter before, so I won’t delve into those today, but I will say that you may have a new reason to give Twitter a second chance – the upcoming redesign.
Kevin O’Keefe talked about it last week on Real Lawyers Have Blogs – here are some of the changes he highlighted, and why they may make Twitter more attractive for you:
- Friendlier interface: Twitter has never been intuitive for news users – even the lexicon can be difficult and confusing until you’re used to it. But the new interface is much friendlier, which will make those who may be tech-newbies feel more comfortable.
- Identifying interests: Pinterest does something like this – when you first sign up for an account, they ask you to identify some broad areas of interest, and then they will make recommendations for you based on those interest. O’Keefe notes that law isn’t included yet, and that he doesn’t see this as a problem – and I wholeheartedly agree. Just as you would seek out a niche organization based on your practice area, so you can interact with those that may need your help (rather than just other lawyers), you can now do this from the beginning on Twitter, and start to make a name for yourself among those in the area in which you practice. At this point, the categories are still fairly broad, but it’s a good start.
- Suggested accounts: Before, Twitter used to automatically follow a few accounts just to get you started. A lot of times, these are some of the more popular accounts, which may or may not be relevant to you (more likely the latter). That might turn you off Twitter, if you don’t see how those relate to you, and their value. But now, you can choose instead whether you follow the accounts that Twitter suggests for you – and they put them on a single page, which makes it much easier. Even better, they give you a sample tweet, which will help you decide whether it makes sense to follow them.
- Access email address books: While it’s still next to impossible to access your professional email address book for web applications such as Twitter, Twitter is making it more intuitive for new users to be able to link their web address books, so that they can see which of the people they know are already using Twitter.
As a side note – before you get to this stage, if you’re a new Twitter user, I highly recommend exporting your Outlook address book, and uploading the file to a web email account, like Gmail or Yahoo! Then, you can just link one of those to Twitter, and it will also tell you which of your business contacts are already using Twitter. That’s a greater base to start with than just those you may have in your existing web mail address books.
O’Keefe finishes his post with this:
But at the end of the day, lawyers need to get on and drive Twitter to truly understand its value for information, relationships, and growing word of mouth."
And he’s right – Twitter is still one of those tools that is best understood by using it. Hopefully, if you’re not already using Twitter, you’ll feel inspired to check it out today!