Unless you’re measuring your efforts along the way, Twitter marketing can be a shot in the dark for many marketers. Only through analyzing Twitter marketing data can you pull insights and evaluate whether you’re spending your time wisely to benefit your business. Twitter, however, doesn’t offer a seamless way to see how your marketing is paying off.
Closed-loop marketing is what you should be looking at to track the power of Twitter compared to your other channels, social media or not. This means tracking the path of a user clicking a link in a tweet, to visiting a page on your website, to filling out a landing page to become a lead, and, ultimately, to converting into a customer. And isn’t that ultimately why you’re using Twitter for business in the first place? To bring in new customers?
To see how many visitors are coming to your site via Twitter, you’ll need an analytics tool, such as Google Analytics or HubSpot . While Google Analytics is free, the benefit of using a tool like HubSpot is that you can directly see how many leads are generated through Twitter. Once you tie your customer relationship management (CRM) solution -- like Salesforce and HubSpot CRM -- to your inbound marketing software -- like HubSpot -- you can also close the loop between your Twitter marketing efforts and sales. (Note: A new feature rolling out from Google Analytics soon might make this slightly easier for Google Analytics users.) Now there is a two-way communication between your marketing activities and sales results. When you visit your inbound marketing analytics, you’ll see not only the visitors, but you'll also see the number of leads and customers Twitter brought in. Then you can compare the effectiveness of Twitter marketing to your other channels!
Set Up Tracking Tokens for Different Sources
Now that you have a marketing analytics tool, you have to overcome the issue of third-party Twitter clients, such as TweetDeck or HootSuite. If a Twitter user is sharing a link to your blog post from such a client, it might not show up in your analytics as a visit from Twitter, even though that link is ultimately being shared on Twitter. This can greatly impact your data.
The solution is a tracking token. A tracking token is added to the end of a link, allowing your analytics tool to pool a certain group of traffic. Different tools employ different tokens, but a generic one looks something like this:
By attaching this to the end of your link, anyone who clicks that link is signaling to your analytics tool that they are coming from Twitter. The same type of tracking tokens apply to different channels, such as email, paid media, and referral traffic. Investigate your marketing or analytics software to make sure you have tracking tokens in place and your data gets assigned to the right categories. HubSpot’s social media publisher , for instance, automatically adds tracking tokens to social media updates sent using the tool.
Use the Right Metrics
At HubSpot, we look at our analytics constantly. And as a data-driven marketer, you should be following your progress monthly -- if not weekly. Here are the metrics we recommend you keep track of:
1) Twitter Follower Month-to-Month Growth
By pulling the number of Twitter followers and net new followers, you can get a sense of the growth of your Twitter reach monthly. For example, if you were to compute the following growth in March, you would pull the numbers from February and March:
(March Twitter Followers - February Twitter Followers) / February Twitter Followers = Growth %
Tracking this percentage monthly will allow you to see whether your tweeting strategies and campaigns are helping to boost your reach , or have become a waste of time.
2) Twitter Visitor-to-Lead Rate
Similarly, by pulling Twitter visitor numbers and Twitter lead numbers, you can calculate another percentage to help you track your lead growth.
Keeping track of your Twitter visitor-to-lead growth rate will help ensure your social tactics are translating into leads for your sales team. If you want to track this growth more closely to see how specific campaigns impact it, you can create daily goals. Decide on the number of leads you want to generate monthly. Then divide that number by the number of business days in that month, and that will give you your daily goal.
Your monthly goal should sprout from an understanding of what your leads have looked like in recent months. Don’t set a goal of 1,000 if last month you had 150. You can take the same approach to your other social media channels , like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. HubSpot’s marketing software keeps track of that social media visitor-to-lead rate, so you don’t have to maintain various Excel spreadsheets to generate these insights:
(If you'd like to set this tracking up for your organization, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of HubSpot and explore how your social media stats are faring.)
Further Qualify Leads
If you’ve executed your tweeting strategy, set up the proper tracking system, and earned some leads, should you now pass these new contacts directly to Sales?
Twitter leads, one might argue, are not yet qualified enough for a conversation with Sales. This is where lead nurturing comes into play. Follow up with your leads, offer them more of the resources they're interested in, and further educate them about your product(s) or service(s). Whether you decide to nurture these new Twitter leads through simple drip marketing or more sophisticated behavior-based communication, you need to focus on getting them further through the sales funnel.
Check Other Engagement Metrics
In addition to the hard metrics like leads and customers, Twitter engagement is associated with other metrics that are unique to its environment. For instance, how do you measure the effectiveness of using a hashtag? Or a mention of a specific campaign?
Let's cover a range of free tools that can help you measure Twitter-specific interactions.
Tool 1: Twitter Counter
One of the fundamental metrics to track is your follower growth. Twitter Counter allows you to easily examine your follower growth over time. More importantly, you can see your net new number of followers per day by hovering over each day. This data can be used to see how many new followers a certain campaign garnered on the day it launched. If your following remains constant over time, this could indicate that you’re not using Twitter as well as you could . Your goal should always be to increase followers so your reach grows. Expanded reach results in more leads and customers.
Tool 2: Twitter Advanced Search
For example, when HubSpot acquired marketing automation company Performable in 2011, we could run a search looking for tweets with the words “Performable” to see how many people were interested in the news. In a similar fashion, you can use this search tool when running campaigns to see if your efforts sparked any conversation.
Tool 3: Hashtags
Another successful way to track how well a certain campaign is performing is to label it with a hashtag . Tools such as HooteSuite and Hashtracking allow you to see how many times a hashtag has been used. Furthermore, they can help you track a topic beyond what you say about it or beyond what you link to.
For example, HubSpot started an #inboundjobs hashtag, which any company can include in their tweets to look for inbound marketing candidates. Potential applicants (a recruiter’s potential leads) can also find jobs via this hashtag. Now, we can track the popularity of inbound job openings and opportunities through the hashtag, even if we aren’t the ones linking to or talking about a job posting.
Tool 4: Bitly
Many of you know about bitly. It not only allows you to shorten links to be Twitter-friendly, but it also provides you with the ability to analyze the number of clicks on that specific link. To access the metrics tracked by your bitly link, add a + sign to the link (e.g. http://bitly.com/wpIlMC+) to view clicks and referral details over time.
Be Smart About Twitter Measurement
Twitter is more than just a network for engaging in the conversation and creating a positive brand image. The days of updating on-the-go tweets and leaving it at that are over. You must test and analyze all your efforts to understand whether it’s even in your business’ best interest to be vesting much time on Twitter.
Don’t invest a ton of effort in marketing on Twitter unless you can measure the results of your activities. If your closed-loop marketing process leads to extremely low numbers of leads and a pitiful ROI, then it’s okay to back off and do less to maintain your account rather than use it heavily. Test the waters on other social media channels, and find the ones that provide your business with marketing dollars. In conclusion, be smart about the way you prioritize your marketing initiatives, and keep an eye on the specific benefits this social network can offer your business. Good luck!