How to tell if you’re doing well: Twitter

The thing with social media is that anyone can reserve real-estate for their brand or business on social platforms, but it actually takes workload and strategy to do effectively and to do well.

When you pour a significant amount of time into properly resourcing channels, you do need to know that your efforts are provided returns in the form that your business needs to see.

Whether those returns are in the form of:

  • Raising the profile of your brand/business
  • Raising the profile of a particular issue/cause
  • People engaging with your content
  • Specific action(s) you are hoping your audience on that channel will take (clicking on a link to complete an action(s))

I’ve previously given some basic benchmarking advice: why you would do it and some of the things you could look at on your own and competitors Facebook pages but I want to provide information on tools and some quick measures you can use to assess your performance (and that of your competitors) both for Twitter and for Facebook.

© Ivan Chuyev | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Today’s post is about twitter:

  • a couple of quick performance measures you can apply to your own activites and, in some cases, also to your competitors
  • some internal measures that will help you assess if the content you are sharing helps you achieve the returns discussed above

Most of the tools I discuss are available to everyone (for free) and they do not require sign up, although there is one tool suggested that you will need to be a channel owner to use (as you will have to grant the application access to your account).

I’ll be using the same entities for both posts so you can see the the differences between their real-estate on two different channels.

I have chosen to look at 4 Not-for-Profit (NFP) organisations who have an environmental focus. Each of them (in one way or another) address the issue of plastic pollution and two of them are Australian initiatives (a little local pride):

Apart from enabling you to see a benchmarking case studies and performance measures applied in real life (and open your eyes to what you can measure with little/no effort), these posts will also hopefully help inform the NFPs social efforts and provide them with tools for making their work managing their social channels more effective.

How are you (and your competitors) growing your channels?

On the first of every month (or at the same point every month), note down the follower numbers for your and the channels you are benchmarking against.

Look at the amount your followers and your competitors/peers ar growing by each month with the following queries in mind:

  • Is the amount of followers on my channel growing at a predictable rate each month?
  • Is the amount of followers on the channels I am comparing, also growing at a predictable rate?
  • Is there difference between the rate my channel grows month on month, compared to their channels? e.g. does the social following on my channel grow by ~20 followers / month, while theirs grows by ~100?
  • If so, what are they doing differently:
    • what types of content do they post (that my channel doesn’t)?
    • do they use their other social channels to promote this channel and therefore grow their follower base?
    • are they undertaking other activities to recruit followers (calling for participation, submitting photos, using a hashtag)?
Plastic Pollution Coalition Albatross Anti Plastic Pollution Two Hands Project Take 3
24 September
24 October
24 November
24 December

Are you (and your competitors) tweeting at the right time?

There is a science to timing your posts so they are effective.

Dan Zarrella and Hubspot produce a heap of resources about the best times to share content on twitter for your desired results:

Apart from following best-practices they outline, based on the content of your tweet and the desired outcome (i.e. whether you want people to share it or click on it), you should also use tools like to inform your own posting schedule and also compare it against your competitors to see how effectively they are tweeting.

You don’t have to sign up to do this, just enter the twitter account you want to see data for 🙂

The other good thing about is it suggests times for you to post content so you can optimise your followers engagement with important posts:

Plastic Pollution Coalition Albatross Anti Plastic Pollution Two Hands Project Take 3
24 September
36 of your last 199 tweets didn’t reach their full potential
96 of your last 199 tweets didn’t reach their full potential
98 of your last 199 tweets didn’t reach their full potential
80 of your last 199 tweets didn’t reach their full potential

Suggested times for posting (WST):





Suggested times for posting (WST):





Suggested times for posting (WST):





Suggested times for posting (WST):





Analysis: 18% of tweets posted weren’t posted at a time that optimised your followers engagement with the tweet
Analysis: 48% of tweets posted weren’t posted at a time that optimised your followers engagement with the tweet
Analysis: 49% of tweets posted weren’t posted at a time that optimised your followers engagement with the tweet
Analysis: 40% of tweets posted weren’t posted at a time that optimised your followers engagement with the tweet

It’s worth looking at the times suggested by as well as the times suggested by Hubspot and Dan Zarrella with respect to time-zones your audience may be based in.

Perhaps the times you will optimise your engagement (as suggested by timely) match with some of the more general rules of thumb discussed by Hubspot and Zarella? Maybe your audience(s) are engaging with content around morning-tea/lunch time for their specific region/country?

In terms of the analysis I added above, we can see a couple of things:

  • a lower % of ineffectively scheduled tweets is possible:
    •  of course a lower % is always possible: just (start scheduling tweets within the times suggested
    • looking across your industry/peers/competitors will give you an idea of how successfully they manage it and figures to aim for
  • in terms of the other NFPs, for about third and nearly up to half of the tweets they posted in their last 199 tweets (so 30-50% of their efforts) were undercapitalised and ineffectively scheduled, especially if their objective was for their followers to engage with the content in the tweet

There may be reasons for posting outside of those times, perhaps:

  • you are responding to questions?
  • you scheduled a tweet up outside of those times with people interested in your not-for-profit asking questions and you responding?
  • you are trying to engage with followers in another time-zone(s) and the suggested times aren’t compatible

With that in mind, if you do a monthly health check using and record the data, you can:

  • set a baseline for how much of your efforts on twitter are effective in terms of capitalising on follower engagement, both in terms of:
    • your own progress/improvements
    • where you are positioned in relation to your peers/competitors
  • help identify areas of improvement to work towards
  • record any events that impacted on your results (tweet ups and etc)

Where are the people you (and your competitors) are talking to?

If you are located in a specific area or targetting an audience in a particular country, it’s also good to know that the bulk of people following you on twitter are based in that region.

Or alternatively, what countries/regions your twitter following is based in – in which case you might want to either:

  • bias the content you share towards events/news/happenings relevant to that country/region
  • look at content to share that will help you recruit followers in the country/region(s) you want to prioritise
  • look at other ways to recruit followers from specific country/regions to this channel

You can use Tweetsmap to plot your followers*. You can use:

  • follower location information +
  • an understanding of times across different timezones +
  • the tweet times suggest by

To identify timeslots where you may be more likely to be talking to an audience in a specific region(s).

* This tool is one you have to authorise, unfortunately I haven’t yet found an openly available tool that you could use to see where your competitors audience(s) are located. But I will keep looking…I live in hope 😉

Some internal measures

Apart from month-on-month channel growth, you should look at how your followers engage with and propogate the content you post.

Again, look at summarising activities and outcomes on a monthly basis (either the 1st of the month or the same point every month) so data can inform future activities.

Things to look at and what they can mean in terms of success measures for your objectives:

  • Retweets (RTs) – somene directly quoting your tweet with or without comment, sharing it into their stream to all their followers: Profile raising, engagement with content/support of issues raised, advocate of content
    • Dependent on your email preferences you usually get email notifications from twitter when your content is RTd
    • Otherwise go into the Connect screen >;; Look at interactions for the last month or, alternatively, sign up to
  • Mentions/Replies (@) – someone replying to a tweet or mentioning you in a tweet: Profile raising (if a mention) and engagement (if the start of a conversation/interaction) or direct response (if your content was looking for a specific action(s) as a result of the tweets)
    • Dependent on your email preferences you usually get email notifications from twitter when you are mentioned
    • Otherwise go into the Connect screen >;; Look at interactions for the last month
  • Using a hashtag (#) that refers to your business/brand/cause: Profile raising, engagement with content/support of issue raised, shows people advocating content/cause (and great for monitoring :D)
  • Click Throughs on links – direct response, engagement with content.
    Note: Always use a link abbreviator ( or as they can record other data that will help you assess whether you are effectively meeting your goals

    • (Through Hootsuite) will indicate what regions the clicks are coming from: great if content you are posting is targetting a specific region/country and you need to assess how effective this is
    • Hootsuite can also indicate the most popular tweets for a time period: this can help inform future content writing/creation
    • If the links people are clicking on direct to pages on your website, you can get fancy and start using Google Analytics to see what happens once people hit those landing pages (where are they coming from, how many of them hit the page and leave and more)


There are other measures – this post is by no means an exhaustive look at all the analysis or tools you can apply to your twitters.

But given my focus is on small creative business and grass roots NFPs, who may not be resourced or have access to a social media strategists, this set of simple and quick measures that you can apply every month should help you:

  • assess the outcome of your efforts on twitter
  • refine and improve your engagement with your followers
  • identify what content your audience wants to see from you on this particular channel (hint that’s the content they engage with one way or another)
  • ensure that content you hope will be responded to in a particular way by your followers (e.g. RT, click through) is shared at the optimal time for that outcome
  • start you thinking about:
    • the strategy behind your posting (and what you are trying to do on this particular channel)
    • the bigger picture objectives (and some relevant measures)
2 Responses to “How to tell if you’re doing well: Twitter”
  1. Georgette says:

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