Twitter Metrics – How to Fool Your Leadership

Twitter Metrics Are Too Easy to Manipulate

Metrics to track Social Media initiatives are the first topic in many leadership meetings.  Social Media is very difficult to understand, especially for leaders who have demanding schedules.  But numbers are not difficult to understand, they are clear, objective, and easy to compare.

However, when you create a metric, you create an incentive to focus on that metric.  Ask anyone that works in sales to tell you a story of how they’ve “worked the system” to maximize their metrics.  It happens all the time.

twitter benph

To prevent social media metrics from hurting your company, here are some common Twitter metrics and how to game them.  By exposing these metrics, I hope to advance the discussion and take a more holistic view of social media’s effect on business

Number of Followers

Number of ReTweets (RTs)

What Twitter Metrics Matter?

The problem with Twitter metrics is that we focus on the transparent metrics rather than the ones that matter.  The metrics that matter is what happens on your site as a result of Twitter.  Use your analytics software to compare Twitter traffic to Organic Search and Direct Traffic.  My favorites are as follows:


Posted by Ben Foster

Photo Credit to szlea via Flickr

Posted on August 25, 2009 at 9:19 pm by Ben Foster · Permalink
In: Twitter

5 Responses

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  1. Written by Jordan Julien
    on August 30, 2009 at 5:46 am
    Permalink

    Great post. People have been manipulating metrics ever since tracking started. I'm not sure that it's any more pervasive on Twitter than anywhere else; but this is a great reminder that focusing on one metric could lead to misinterpretation.

  2. Written by Ben Foster
    on September 3, 2009 at 7:56 pm
    Permalink

    @ Jordan
    Not only can it be misinterpreted, it can also cause you to focus on only those things which help you make the metric. If I'm measured on # of followers, you better believe I'm going to spend more time attracting followers than putting out great content.

  3. Written by Ben Foster
    on September 4, 2009 at 1:56 am
    Permalink

    @ Jordan
    Not only can it be misinterpreted, it can also cause you to focus on only those things which help you make the metric. If I'm measured on # of followers, you better believe I'm going to spend more time attracting followers than putting out great content.

  4. […] Twitter Followers is NOT the most important metric, but having more followers gives you more […]

  5. […] Twitter Metrics – How to Fool Your Leadership […]

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