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TakeFive with TweetReach – Erin Boudreau

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Welcome to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series where we chat with notable members of the social media analytics and measurement community, pulling together insight and commentary on all things measurement. As always, we welcome your suggestions for interviewees and questions.

This week, we’re excited to talk with Erin Boudreau, the founder of TweeParties, Inc., a social media marketing company aimed at helping businesses plan, promote, host and analyze Twitter parties and chats.

TweetReach: Welcome Erin! Let’s start with talking about how you got started using social media. Can you describe you first “ah-ha” moment?

Erin Boudreau: I had been using social media for both personal use and at another job. I was logged on at the end of the day, and I saw a tweet fly by announcing a Twitter party. I wanted to learn more about such events, but found that there wasn’t really one source to go to for up-to-date information. I realized that having live events on both Twitter and Facebook could be really useful for a business, and if more businesses knew about them, they might catch on better. My ‘ah-ha’ moment came when I realized there was no one out there trying to be that Twitter party source.

TweetReach: How important was measurement in your initial strategy and how has that evolved?

Erin Boudreau: I thought it would be important to offer measurement to our clients, but I quickly realized that providing this information was not only vital to analyzing a campaign, but also important in securing future work. If I am approached by a firm I’ve never worked for before, one of the first things they want to know is our past performance. All of them have an idea about the numbers they are trying to reach, and if I can show them what we have done for others in the form of detailed reports and charts, they realize that we do have what it takes to help run a successful event.

TweetReach: So, with TweeParties, you have built a unique way to use Twitter to pull together people around an event, or even to help promote a brand. How have you seen your approach engage users around a particular topic? And, how important is measurement of the results important to your customers’ success with their Twitter parties and chats?

Erin Boudreau: People use social media to learn more about topics, people, and organizations that are of interest to them and that can influence their lives positively in some way. If we organize an event that is not only free to attend, but that also includes an interesting or informative topic, guest experts to answer questions, and special offers and even giveaways — we usually get a positive response from those who felt the time spent taking part in such an event was time very well spent. To be able to measure the performance of a hashtag during such an event not only gives our clients an indication about how successful the event was, it also gives us a starting point and allows us to see how any future changes impact subsequent events. If we change the format next time — add more prizes, make it an open forum, include an expert — and the numbers are much greater than the first time around, then we know we’re on to something. Measuring hashtag performance helps us get closer to giving people the types of events they are eager and excited to attend, and in return, helps build more buzz for a brand.

TweetReach: Olivier Blanchard has written about the need to look at social media measurement in the context of a broader business measurement strategy. What do you think? Is measuring social media success useful by itself?

Erin Boudreau: I think it’s a good start. We not only track the number of impressions, reach and frequency of a hashtag, we also take a look at how our users responded to our calls to action: how many new followers or ‘likes’ a client receives; how many participants signed up for a newsletter or took part in a special offer (such as free shipping or a coupon/discount). We also look at web site traffic to judge how many people followed a link that was tweeted during an event. So there are many pieces to the puzzle, and analytics is an important, vital piece.

TweetReach: Do you have any secret techniques, tools, or other Jedi strategies that you can share with our readers? Any best practices for getting greater reach for your content?

Erin Boudreau: Make sure your content is well-written, useful for your target audience, entertaining and interesting. Also, special offers (coupons, discounts, freebies, etc.) really do seem to go a long way.

TweetReach: Does size matter? David Armano has written about the importance of topical influence. What do you think?

Erin Boudreau: I think that it’s more important to find your niche. If we throw a Twitter party for a new company that sells products for pets, it’s better to have 100 pet owners/bloggers/enthusiasts attend than 500 people who might attend just to win a gift card but who don’t have a pet and aren’t really interested in the company’s products or the topic at hand. I would rather have a small group of followers who are really enthused about our content than a million who follow with the hope that we’ll follow back and who aren’t really interested in hearing our message or exchanging ideas and building a relationship.

TweetReach: Any examples of how analytics have helped you tweak a campaign or program for the better?

Erin Boudreau: I think most importantly, we can see exactly who is tweeting or retweeting our links — what social circles they’re circulating in — and to reach out to other influencers who might not be aware of our events, if needed. For example, if a tweet is being sent frequently we might be glad to see a large number of impressions, but if only a couple different users are the ones doing the tweeting, we might need to modify the campaign and seek the involvement of other users to broaden our reach.

TweetReach: Thanks for your time, Erin!

Erin Boudreau is the founder of TweeParties, Inc., a social media marketing company aimed at helping businesses plan, promote, host and analyze Twitter parties and chats. She has more than 10 years of experience in marketing, print and web design. Erin lives and works in the Chicago suburbs.

Written by Dean Cruse

June 29th, 2011 at 11:24 am

The key to a successful Twitter party? Planning ahead

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Twitter parties are a great way to engage your customers, learn what people think about a topic, and raise awareness of an issue or brand. We have a few tips if you’re getting ready for (or helping a client with) a Twitter party. Twitter party success really comes down to planning ahead – make sure you have a plan for execution and evaluation before the event begins.

Pick a unique hashtag.

If possible, use something different than a standard hashtag you use for general tweets. If you’re hosting a recurring Twitter party, it’s definitely okay to use the same hashtag during each party. This adds some continuity to your parties, and gives participants a familiar reference point. A unique hashtag will make it easier for participants to identify the party, and will make your post-party evaluation easier if you don’t have to filter through a lot of unrelated tweets.

It’s important to note that Twitter can’t filter by hour. This means you can’t pull results from Twitter search for only a one- or two-hour period (only by a specific date or set of dates). So think carefully about using a hashtag for a party that you also use in other ways.

Track party tweets.

Make sure you’re keeping a record of the tweets that are posted during the party. If you’re giving away prizes, you’ll need this to pick a winner, but you’ll also want to later read through what everyone said throughout. Twitter parties can move very quickly, so you probably missed tweets during the party. You’ll also need this archive for any post-party analysis.

Tweets from smaller parties (fewer than 1,500 tweets) can be gathered after the event. Just don’t wait too long – Twitter only keeps tweets accessible in search for about a week; after that you won’t be able to access all the tweets that were posted.

If you’re hosting a larger party and expect more than 1,500 tweets, or if you want to monitor tweets across multiple parties, then you should set your tracking up before the party. Since Twitter only allows you to access 1,500 tweets through search after the fact, you should start monitoring tweets before the party starts.

Our new TweetReach Tracker works in real time to find and store all tweets about a search term as they are posted to Twitter. This means we’re not limited to 1,500 tweets or seven days. We can track tweets as long as you’d like, and find way more than 1,500 tweets about a term. The only catch is that you have to set up a Tracker before your event, so we can find the tweets as they happen. You can then access in-depth analytics and study trends over time for those tweets.

The Tracker is available only to TweetReach Pro subscribers. We offer a variety of plans to meet every budget; view our plans and pricing here. It only takes a minute to sign up, and then you can being tracking tweets about any keyword, hashtag, or brand right away.

Measure your results.

Whether you’re reporting back to a client, sponsor, or boss, you’ll want to get a sense of how successful the Twitter party was. Some questions you might want answered:

  • How many people participated?
  • How many tweets were posted?
  • How far did your hashtag reach (or, how many total people saw party tweets)?
  • Who contributed the most?
  • What topics were discussed? What topics were most important or most interesting to participants?
  • What tweets or questions were retweeted or replied to the most?
  • How can you improve for next time?

Some of these questions can be answered manually; sometimes there’s no substitute for reading through a complete manuscript of tweets to see what you can learn. Pay close attention to the ideas that are discussed for longer, that multiple people repeat, or that stand out for some reason. This is a great dataset, so get all you can from it.

Some questions will need a third-party tool to answer. oneforty has a comprehensive list of Twitter metrics tools. For example, this list is a good start. Depending on the stats you’re looking for, many of these tools will be faster and more accurate than if you try to calculate these numbers on your own. And of course, TweetReach can help you answer several of the above questions.

Photo credit: nhanusek

Written by Jenn D

December 3rd, 2010 at 9:05 am

Posted in Guides

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