My friend Marshall Sponder alerted me to a comparison created by KeenKong around conversational metrics between our two accounts when he blogged about it. What's interesting is that if you take a look at the screen shots he grabbed from the comparison for April 7 and 8, you may jump to the conclusion that I'm a total jerk - at least on those two days.
I mean, look at those numbers, I'm not out there using @ reply to its fullest or something. Well, in my view, they don't tell you much about my ability to create connections -- after all, I am the Conversation Agent! Let's dig in a little.
According to KeenKong -- what's in a name? this should be interesting to hear -- I don't respond to tweets mentioning my posts, I don't even keep using @ reply with the people who respond to me when I collaborate with other professionals on Twitter, and so on.
Could we extrapolate a trend for my account with two days? Doubtful. Yet, let's indulge in responding to the data.If you're a business owner and already skeptical about spending time on Twitter -- actually, you probably see it as wasting time on Twitter -- you may see this kind of report as a further proof that social networks are a time sink. Given that I am on Twitter already what it feels like a lot, compared to other networks, these numbers/results would give you pause.
To further complicate matters, imagine if you're reading this from an organization that is already thinking about how your employees should help you establish a presence on social networks -- and do so without frittering away time just being chatty. In the case of April 7 and 8, clearly, I was working and not chatting away on Twitter.
The CMO at KeenKong caught my tweets in response to Marshall's post and tweet. Guess what they did? Instead of reaching out to me within the network where the conversation was happening they sent me emails. Interesting choice, given the public conversation. Eventually there were also tweets. To me this means that for meaningful conversations we still choose off line communication -- email.
You should never start from the tool when you think about your marketing strategy using emerging technologies.In a post not long ago, I shared with you the Twitter @ConversationAge effect. That is one part of how my integrated marketing communications implementation shows up on Twitter. There is much more. For the moment, if you've met me, heard me speak, or worked with me, think about how that experience was. Then ask yourself: was that experience consistent with how I interact in social media?
This is important for business owners -- you're in the driver seat. Please don't take these examples and case studies as a boilerplate for your own participation and use of the tools. That would indeed lead to a disappointment for you and a lack of correlation to the bottom line for your business.
What do those numbers mean within the context of my strategy?
One more essential part of your strategy needs to be a consideration of the feedback from your customers and relational ecosystem. Over time, I received the following feedback from my followers -- those who experience how I use Twitter -- both directly, and indirectly, through their behavior:
- when you go back and forth too much with any one person, your stream has too much activity I may not be interested in, take the conversation on DM or offline
- I follow you because you share much valuable content in a structured approach -- early in the morning when I have thinking time, I like that
- the weekly chat #kaizenblog is the most of your activity and I appreciate that you highlight the content of others, engage in conversation without overwhelming the chat with your tweets, demonstrating you listen and take in the ideas
- love the times when you ask questions as background for a post. I know that you will quote people, and that you will give us an analysis of what you learned, which helps everyone
Twitter is an interesting example, because it's not really ideal for conversation. In fact, the way content flows out of sight and disappears, it's very much a tool that encourages quick bursts, rapid fire messages, and link-sharing that takes you elsewhere for actual conversation.
However the tool works, I can tell you one thing -- don't ever rely on data without understanding the context in which it lives. As you can see in this case, there are many more variables at work than meet the eye. Some data is qualitative and will not be captured in an easy to boil down metric, it has to be experienced to be real.
You can automate everything except your attitude, approach, and people. We're talking big variables here. So beware of falling in love with algorithms.
What's your take? What's been your experience with sentiment analysis tools? Do you cross reference that data with qualitative information?
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.