Using Twitter for Social Media Research

So, you’ve committed to growing your brand on social media.  You’re getting into the groove of finding content to share and managing the best times post said content.


That’s excellent.

But if you’re doing social from a business perspective, if you’re serious about digital marketing, you’ll soon realize that it doesn’t matter what you put out if you don’t have a handle of who you’re sharing with and why.

In short, you will need to commit to doing your research.  The bad news is – sometimes you’ll feel like you’re back in college again, scraping the barrels of obscure information late into the night.  The good news is – it doesn’t have to be quite so frustrating!  I’ll tell you why in a moment.

College Should Be Fun (but not that fun…)

When I was in college (the first time around), I had my hands in a lot of stuff.  I was a radio DJ, on several high profile committees, covering sports for a student newspaper, and elected to the student council – all in my freshman year!  Boo yah!  Oh, and I did I mention the parties?  On second thought, I won’t.  Suffice to say – by sophomore year, I was back home.  Studying at a local university, with angry parents hovering over my shoulders.  I had stretched myself waaayyyyy too thin.

That’s never a good thing.

I learned my lesson many moons ago, ‘tis better to focus on what is at hand and finish that out, before one goes off into the fray and parties it up – like it’s 1999.

This lesson (that I learned the hard way) will serve you well in social media too.

Once you get the hang of it, social media can be addictive and fun (yes, fun!).  But if you’re in it for business and branding, then you have to have a plan for staying focused.  For knowing what you’re doing and why.  And that requires both strategy and research.  Both of which can be labor intensive and expensive endeavors.  Lucky for you, I’ve been down those roads and I’ll share with you my tips for managing your social media like the big boys, without breaking the bank.

Today’s Pro Tip

Twitter is a gold mine of data for social media research.

I know there are some of you out there that are saying to yourselves “Twitter? I just don’t get it.”

I hear you (I don’t get what you don’t get, but I hear you).  But consider these latest Twitter stats:

Over 500 million tweets are sent per day (yes, daily!)
The total number of active Twitter users is expected to grow to 66 million by 2018.
The average time spent on Twitter by users each month is 170 minutes.
63% of global brands have multiple Twitter accounts.

Would you rather ignore it?  Perhaps you know something that the big brands don’t?

Really, if you’ve opted out, you’re missing the boat.  Not just in terms of engagement but in terms of the social data and research that’s available, if you’ll just buckle down.

Now you’re thinking: That’s all well and good, Susan, but quality research on social media?  Either it’s impossible to find or it’s still so labor intensive.

Not necessarily.

SWBmedia’s 3 Favorite Tools for Twitter Research

Let me share with you three of my favorite Twitter tools for doing analysis and research on social media.

#3 – Topsy (for keyword analytics)


Topsy is a social media tool that has changed over the years.  Now, much of the service is a paid (Pro) platform.  But the general Social Analytics tools is a great way to compare trends in keywords, shared links or brands on Twitter.  And be sure to try out their Social Trends link (also free) to monitor what’s hot on Twitter right now (you can parse the feed by language, and by type of tweet as well).

#2 – Analytics from Twitter


Most likely you’re using a social media management platform to handle your many networks and online branding.  As well, you should be.  To augment this thought, don’t forget about Twitter as a platform, as well.  And Twitter is free, of course.  Once upon a time, one couldn’t do much but tweet from Twitter.  That’s changed.  Over the years, I’ve witnessed as they’ve worked diligently to make their own platform quite useful.  One of the newer additions to the Twitter on the Web client has been the Twitter Analytics feature.  Trust me when I say, it is well worth your time to log in once a month and use it!

#1 – Twitonomy


Twitonomy is hands down my favorite of the many free Twitter tools that are out there.  It’s robust, it’s detailed, and it’s just d@mn useful.  Pardon my French. It’s got an excellent interface for showcasing and analyzing what’s going on with your Twitter lists…. You DO use Twitter lists, right?  Ok, more on that later.

If you really want to dive into the depths of Twitter data and analyze what’s going on in the universe that is social media, you should go straight to Twitonomy.  Do not pass Go.  Not everything is free, there’s is a premium/paid version.  But you’ve got plenty to do in the free version, so don’t sweat it.

Honorable mention: – really just the basics, and you can’t retweet or favorite from directly within the app, but the platform has a very nice interface and it’s great for quick keyword searches on the go!

There you have it!  My top three favorite tools for Twitter analysis, plus a freebie!  If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the options and platforms available to you, we should chat.  I can help with that!

And that’s why I’m here – to separate social media facts from fiction.  To share with you what I’ve learned about doing amazing things with (seemingly) simple tools.

Now go forth and be social!

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