Here’s a video showing you how we’re using FollowerWonk for our new startup, Cruiseable.

And why increasing your @contacts score is vital to your brand’s health

This is part two of a five-part series on “Rise of a startup: Cruiseable.” Today’s installment looks at how we’re using Followerwonk to increase Cruiseable’s footprint in social media. Also see:

Part 1: Great tech startups begin with a great development team

Target audience: Entrepreneurs, startup teams, angel investors, venture capitalists, developers, businesses, innovators, educators, students, journalists, travel analysts.

Anyone who’s programming/scheduling social media updates or running social marketing campaigns for a startup knows that there’s a wealth of good tools out there. If anything, the field is oversaturated with too many choices.

One powerful tool that I think is underappreciated is Followerwonk, a tool from the geniuses at Moz, the inbound marketing software powerhouse, that lets you analyze, optimize and grow your Twitter following. It’s free for 30 days and then costs $149 per month unless you just register for a new free trial. 

Cruiseable score on Followerwonk

Andrew Kamphey, who runs a social marketing consultancy in Los Angeles, has been working with us since April, and we’ve grown Cruiseable’s Twitter following from 600 in April to 5,000 in July (when this instructional video was made) to more than 10,000 today. (Bonus for us: He’s worked in key posts aboard Royal Caribbean ships and has a great idea around the sharing economy for cruises.) Followers isn’t the ultimate metric on Twitter, but it’s one key indicator of whether a brand is gaining traction.

The #1 key metric you may be overlooking? @mentions

Well, the other week Andrew sent me a fascinating, unsolicited screencast about how Cruiseable is doing on FollowerWonk. And as part of our ongoing commitment to transparency, we’ve decided to share it with you. (Remember, this was one month and 5,000 followers ago.)

Here are some of the learnings we’re squeezing out of FollowerWonk — you can likely tease out actionable insights for your brand as well:

• Followerwonk is the only free or low-cost tool that I know of that lets you search Twitter users’ bios for keywords. (I’m sure there are some higher-end paid tools that do this.) Bios offer many more relevant signals than random tweets when you want to zero in on influencers in your sector.

• Twitter doesn’t give you any native capability to look at which top influencers are following you and whom you’re cluelessly not following back. Followerwonk makes it super easy to see the rankings of your followers. For example, in only a few months’ time we had four followers with more than a million followers and another 10 with 500,000 to 1 million followers. Fortunately, we were following all of them, as well as thousands of folks throughout the long tail.

mapped-locations

• FollowerWonk gives you an at-a-glance heat map of where most of your followers are located. (We have a lot followers in Los Angeles, (as well as Miami, Dallas, New York, Chicago, Seattle and London.) And, importantly,it lets you drill down to the state, city, neighborhood and see who exactly is following you, so you can get a better sense of your online community.

“If you look at what real people are interested in and what they’re tweeting about, that’s gold.”
— Andrew Kamphey

“I have spent hours on the map alone,” Andrew says. “One, it gives you a good idea of where people are. Two, you can click on their profile and click on it and reach out to them. And third, you can find out what people tweet about at a micro-level. You can look at all the analytics in the world but that that doesn’t tell you what to tweet about. But if you look at what real people are interested in and what they’re tweeting about, that’s gold.”

• Probably the least understood value of Twitter is the ability to foster one-on-one interactions, rather than mass media announcements. Brands like Nike (95 percent), Moz (75 percent) and SproutSocial (68 percent) have been doing a stellar job of engaging their followers through these @mentions (as opposed to @replies). FollowerWonk calls these @contacts, though I’m not sure why. We’ve been upping our score considerably since Andrew pointed this out to us.

Let’s see, what else?

• Like some other analytics tools (SEMrush, Compete.com), Followerwonk lets you see how your competitors are doing on Twitter with their followers.

• Followerwonk shows you the most active hours of your followers, which takes the guesswork out of deciding when to schedule your key tweets to get the most traction.

• Our Social Authority score was 41 last month; it stands at 52 now. More importantly, like any good analytics tool, it gives you a yardstick to see how you’re faring over time with regard to retweets, url mentions and those all-important @mentions.

Andrew makes the good point that you shouldn’t focus exclusively at the top of the Twitter food chain. All those folks with more than half a million followers get bombarded with retweet requests. A better strategy, he says, is to schmooze up those with 1,000 to 5,000 followers — your peers in the real sense of the word.

FollowerWonk isn’t perfect — it’s still unnecessarily geeky, and a month ago it showed our @contacts at 0.5% and today it says it’s at 79% (the truth is somewhere in between) — but it’s head and shoulders above other Twitter analytics tools in its class.

Next in this series: Glip and Disqus, a pleasant and unpleasant surprise.JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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