Small businesses should use Twitter. Yes, we all know the microblogging service can help boost a business’s brand and exposure, but what is not as obvious is how owners gauge the impact of their efforts?
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Whether a small business is running a promotion, posting information about their business or alerting customers to a new product, simply being on Twitter isn’t enough. Unfortunately “most never pay attention to how many people saw a tweet or how many people retweeted it,” said Jenn Deering Davis co-founder of TweetReach, the company that offers free and paid tools to help businesses track their Twitter efforts.
Small business can track their progress manually, but according to Deering Davis, Twitter only provides some information on the number of followers and how many times a tweet gets retweeted. Not to mention that many small business don’t have the time to track their efforts manually.
“Some people are Tweeting and nobody is paying attention. It’s like shouting in an empty room,” Deering Davis said.
TweetReach offers a free tool that lets small businesses measure their reach, exposure, tweet volume and the number of unique contributors. Users get a free report on the 50 most recent tweets on whatever key word it is using to search on Twitter. For example, a small business can search by the company’s name or product. Users can run the report whenever they wish, and after time, patterns will emerge.
TweetReach offers a $20 upgrade that gives the small business information on up to 1,500 tweets, including a weekly snapshot of their Twitter efforts. For those that want a more comprehensive reporting tool or have a number of keywords they need to search, TweetReach offers the TweetReach Pro service that gives unlimited, real-time analysis of a particular key word. The service ranges from $84 a month to as much as $899 a month depending on how many searches the company wants to monitor. According to Deering Davis, big media companies that are tracking multiple TV shows or large public relations agencies that have multiple customers tend to use the $899 a month service. “The more topics you are tracking, the more you pay,” she said.
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While it’s important to know how a business is doing on Twitter, the metrics the business is measuring is equally important.
For instance, TweetReach gives small businesses access to the number of contributors and what these contributors are saying. According to Deering Davis a contributor is anyone talking about the company or whatever the firm is tracking. Knowing who is tweeting what about the company enables the small business to track online exposure.
Reach, which is one of the most important metrics to measure, is the unique potential audience for a particular tweet. Retweets, the number of times people reposted what a company tweets, is the best way to track reach. TweetReach measures this for a business and removes any duplications to provide a more accurate number of people being hit with a message.
“Reach gives you a denominator for your effectiveness,” said Deering Davis. “If you reached 1 million that’s good, but if you had only 100 click-throughs that’s really low.”