Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In Praise of Twiangulate: Graphing Twitter’s Hidden Networks

Twitter offers tremendous business value to b-to-b marketing communications programs, but as in many things, it pays to be strategic.

I advise my clients to first set goals for a Twitter program – is the goal to direct more traffic to a website, engage with key audiences, or connect with targets?  Once business goals are set, it's critical to track key metrics to see if the program is successful. 

Twitter delivers the biggest business benefit via engaged participation.  To that end, we turn our attention to an extremely useful application called “Twiangulate” – yes it’s very fun to say!  But what does it mean?

“To triangulate: create a short list of interesting people by comparing two or three target Tweeters’ followees.”

I’m just starting the management of a b-to-b Twitter program, and Twiangulate is one of the first and most effective ways to build a successful program.

How does it work?
By doing a bit of research on Twitter itself, one can easily see the most active Tweeters in any given industry.  Once that information is known,  Twiangulate helps uncover hidden relationships with other key players in an industry.  

The application analyzes influential Twitter followers, and provides social network mapping.

It’s not the fanciest looking user interface you’ll ever see, but looks aside, this is what Twianglate does:

1.  Establishes Twitter metrics for influence. Simply enter in a Twitter name or two or three, and Twiangulate finds out how influential someone's follower base is. Influence is more than the number of followers, influence looks at number of engagements, replies and retweets.  This is the same logic Google uses when they rank web pages so it makes sense that this Twitter app considers these factors to help judge influence.

2.  Uncovers common intersections. It's not hard to find a list of the top corporate trainers active on Twitter, or the top HR bloggers, but it can be tough to narrow down the list of bloggers who also talk often about corporate trainers. This research is possible with Twiangulate. Find one Twitter username for each category and then just highlight the people they commonly follow. This helps to find new people on Twitter without just evaluating their username or their bio.

Why bother finding common Twitter followers, you ask?

As the Twiangulate blog notes:  This search can help reveal who cares about the same set of ideas, domain of information, or corporate structure.  This can be a good place to find new people follow.  

The people on this list may not be stars, but they've made follow decisions that suggest they feel strongly about a person or topic.
3.  Provides competitive analysis.  Twiangulate helps discover the common followers of your three biggest competitors on Twitter and then build relationships with them.  It also displays mapping graphics to analyze connections among followers, and even insight into conferences and events.

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