How to Interpret Every Twitter Metric in Sprout Social’s Reports
The articles here at Sprout Insights are written to keep you informed about ways to improve your social media presence. But beyond this publication, Sprout Social has tools that help you track and control that presence.
We’ve covered how users of Sprout Social can create beautiful reports that chart your company’s presence on either Twitter or Facebook. Knowing how to interpret what you see in those reports is the key to capitalizing on what the tool has to offer. Once you can analyze the data, you’ll be able to see how your current strategy is working and track how changes impact performance.
Here’s a walk-through of the metrics in the Twitter reports and how you can use that information to make a stronger social media strategy. If you don’t have a Sprout Social account already, you can sign up for a free trial and explore these reports for yourself.
What the Reports Include
You can generate a report for any Twitter feed linked to your Sprout Social account. The analysis starts off with General Stats, featuring basic data about the Twitter account in question. You can see details about the changes in how many Twitter members follow your feed and how many accounts you follow. There is also a chart that lists the number and change in direct mentions, clicks, and retweets. It also shows numbers of sent and received messages, which combine direct mentions and direct messages.
Next is the Key Indicators section, which shows how the account is communicating with its followers. It tracks an engagement score based on interactions with your audience, while influence assesses your growth and interest level among those people. You can also compare how many of your tweets are part of a conversation versus standalone updates and how many chats are with new versus existing contacts.
The Follower Demographics section breaks out your audience’s ages in a bar chart and shows what percentage of your followers are male or female. Last is the Publishing section, which keeps you informed about how your content performs among your audience. The graph shows the number of times your account was directly mentioned and how many times you were retweeted. You can also see how many of your tweets during the time frame contained photos and outbound links shared through the Sprout Social tool, versus how many were plain text.
How to Interpret the Data
The information provided in all of these sections is designed to help you better understand the details of how your brand is interacting with your audience. The General Stats offer a quick snapshot of your status. If you launched a push to follow more accounts, you can see if your account also saw an uptick in followers. You can also compare whether most of your conversations happen in tweets or in direct messages.
Since you can set the report to chart those metrics over different lengths of time, you can check whether your company is seeing improvement or holding steady. If you see a dip in your numbers, then you can look back at your Twitter archives and see if there was a change in your tweeting behavior at that time that caused the drop. In fact, the Key Indicators and Publishing sections include charts that show changes with corresponding dates, so you can cross-check with your feed and see which tweets sparked the most or least interaction with other people. Did you get a lot of retweets the day you mentioned an upcoming sale? Did you see an influx of messages after a technical glitch?
Having demographic information compiled can help you visualize the average reader for your Twitter feed. That means you can tailor your company’s voice and content to best appeal to those people. If the report shows that the leading force in your audience is not a group you expected, you could try reaching out to a new audience, possibly using Sprout Social’s Discovery tool. Or you could redesign your approach to cater to the people already following you. A better understanding of your followers will help you craft smart interactions and will likely help improve your engagement and influence.
Direct Comparison Reports
For Sprout Social users with multiple Twitter feeds connected to their account, there is an additional feature to give you a fuller picture of how the feeds are performing in relation to each other. The Twitter Comparison report lets you look at the metrics for two Twitter accounts head to head.
This report is great for a larger company that has multiple Twitter feeds. For example, some companies have an official customer service account on Twitter along with individual accounts for their various customer service representatives. You can check which of those Twitter profiles has better engagement and influence. The report also has graphs charting the change in number of followers over time and the number of direct mentions during the period. This information helps you compare the performance, so in the case of multiple customer service accounts, you may be able to shut down a poorly performing Twitter account and save some resources.
This article discusses Sprout Social, our social media management tool for businesses. To learn about our editorial ethics and our commitment to objective coverage of the social media space, visit our About page.
[Image credit: Andy Melton]