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In the first 30 minutes of waking up, among wrestling the last grips of the sandman, most people reach for their mobile devices and check Twitter. We want to see what happened while we were sleeping and we want to know who responded to our last tweets.
Aside from the counts of retweets, the occasional favourites and perhaps the number of replies a tweet gets, it’s hard to figure out how well your Twitter account is performing. But do you really care how your tweet is doing?
If you are anything like anyone that works at Burn Media HQ, you have spent the last 24 hours ogling your Twitter analytics. Previously Twitter reserved its analytics for brands and advertisers wanting to monetise or better target their tweets.
Similar to Google Analytics, Twitter’s new dashboard lets you measure your profile’s engagement. Already you can see the potential for people trying to build an online presence. The analytics dashboard being opened up to everyone is possibly one of the biggest things Twitter has done in recent months. The information I have gleaned both from my personal account and the Burn properties has already proven to be incredibly insightful.
The rise of the social media influencer
Imagine this for a second:
You are interested in wine and fashion, you have gathered an awful lot of knowledge about both so you join Twitter. You begin tweeting about your radical fashion choices and what wine you like. Then people begin to take notice. They want your opinion, they are interested in the content you are producing, they trust your judgement because your tone is authentic. Your have gained a respectable following, you have become a social media influencer. You have an audience that listens and engages.
Now imagine this:
That audience is the thousands, and they all want to know what the latest wine is and what the trends are. You have a certain social prowess that brands want. Marketers and PR companies an attempt to tap into that audience and leverage your influence they want to send you “free” packages that you can tweet about and talk to your audience.
“Influencers have some distinct advantages that brands do not, including large communities of followers, trust from consumers, authentic personal experience, and expertise on a variety of social networks,” writes Holly Hamann, Co-founder and CMO of TapInfluence, cloud-based influencer marketing platform.
The rise of the social media influencer has grown to such lengths that people have begun to threat brands with their Twitter following. How do you track campaigns run through blogger and Tweeter drops? Where are the metrics that makes an influencer viable?
No one really knows. Social media influencers charge for tweets but there is no body regulating the space to mitigate what the costs ought to be.
To tackle this problem, Mike Sharman and the folks at Retroviral launched Webfluential. A platform that hopes to regulate this heavily unregulated space.
Sharman reckons that it is important to regulate social media influence because it is so easy to cheat the system.
Webfluential works as a self-serve ad platform that connects brands with online influencers from a range of social networks such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
“Prior to the launch of Webfluential, there was nothing to qualify how much an influencer was worth, in terms of advertorial content publishing,” says Sharman.
“Similarly, there was nothing for brands to compare like for like with, to guide them in terms of the fees that they should be paying influencers to post advertorial.”
In the world of social media influence the company you keep is likened to rockstars, you’re invited to event launches and companies take you seriously and marketing manager kiss your ass. Between the champagnes, cocktails, overseas flights and a couple five-alarm kisses, you are in a world that no one really understands how to get into but they all really want in.
Your audience can see this too. They know you have all the skinny on the latest product and you will tell them about it they trust you.
“People trust content that comes from third-party experts and their personal networks. In fact, they often trust that content more than they trust content from advertising or brand websites,” says Hamann.
Analytics will change everything
The opening up of Twitter analytics is likely to change this murky world of social influence drastically. Brands can finally request campaign analytics from influencers to unpack out tweets did, the level of engagement, impressions and reach.
“Twitter analytics are fantastic because the segmentation of the data allows marketers to not only delve into engagement with individual tweets but also analyse follower gender, location, interests, common followers of brands and people,” comments Sharman.
A world that ones once cloaks and darks, shadowy reach and heavily dependent on follower numbers, rather than quality of followers. Influencers trade heavily on the fact they can share with many people but not whether or not they understand the space or the brand that is being “pushed” to their followers.
Brands on the other side of the fence, have become to blinded by the concept of influence that they have forgotten about their audience, their users and the people who actually buy and user their products. When marketers suggest an influencer, brands now have the opportunity to interrogate the choice and see if that person has the key qualities to “push” their product or brand.
Twitter and the monetisation gauntlet
Now let’s track back to Twitter itself. A noble gesture this and brands and marketeers everyone I am sure are celebrating the opportunities analytics provide for them. But Analytics was available for advertisers and users using Twitter Cards, in other words paying customers, now it’s available for free.
We of course must ask the question: is Twitter planning to add premium analytics in the near future? Will these premium features that can include tweet or content suggestions for your followers like Buffer’s Suggestions.
Buffer and Hootsuite, which also opened up its analytics to the public, charge users for this information. Twitter’s free and interestingly much more informative around metrics such as gender, geography and topics.
The same way Google Analytics helps people boost, manage sites, Twitter Analytics does Twitter profiles. Will access to analytics on Twitter help improve personal and individual brands, as well as group publishing brands?