Monday, March 10, 2014

Free social analytics to measure your online influence

Those who are entering the communications industry today face the fact that social media expertise is a must in every job posting. For many of us life without Facebook or Twitter is hard to imagine and it is hard to find a person who couldn’t tweet or use Facebook. But employers look for more than just tweeting ability; they look for thought leaders and communications strategists. This is why it is important to sell yourself correctly. For this purpose a piece with your social media engagement analyses will add value to your PR portfolio.
If you are a student graduating from a communications program and looking for employment, probably you have no access to expensive social media analytics that give social media engagement overviews with just few clicks. However you can demonstrate your influence online and at the same time showcase your understanding of social media metrics using free tools and basic arithmetic functions.

There is a broad variety of social analytic tools out there and you can find a use for the free services many of them offer. My own research showed that combining and gives a significant flexibility in measuring your influence on Twitter.

For every Twitter conversation you can measure your participation following three easy steps.

Tweet reach

There is a number of approaches to calculate your tweet reach and unfortunately neither of them is 100% accurate. For a detailed overview of these methods visit

Here is an easy formula to estimate your tweet reach:

Total tweet reach = number of hashtags multiplied by number of followers the user had at the moment of tweeting  +  number of followers for each user who retweeted the original tweet.

Let’s look at each formula element separately.

Number of hashtags from a particular user can be quickly determined with Just go to advanced search and put in the hashtag you are tracking and your user name. The search results will produce your tweets that include the hashtag you requested. Note, you can adjust the time period for the tweets using a submenu on the right side after you fill in the search parameters.

The number of followers on a particular date can be pulled out using analytics on One of the services you can get from Hootsuite for free is a user overview report. It provides a graph called “follower growth” where you can see the number of your folloowers on each day over a selected time range. To pull out the data for the time period you want, make sure to select the time range for your users report at the top of the report page.

Following of the people who retweeted you can also be found via free Hootsuite services on your Hootsuite
home page at the retweets trend. The trend keeps track of all your tweets retweeted by other users. To get the information about the people who retweeted your post, click on the number of retweets under your original post and then click on each individual to find their following. For the tweet reach formula sum up the followers of those who retweeted you.

Top contributors

There is no single way to determine top contributors as identifying them can be based either on followers or on conversation engagement.

Measuring conversation engagement on Hootsuite is a paid service. But if you want to determine top contributors for the reach of your tweets, you can do it manually by using the Hootsuite retweets trend described above. All you have to do is to figure out users with the largest following who retweeted you.

Conversation influence

You can base the evaluation of how much you contributed to a trending conversation on identifying the percentage of your tweets from all posts on Twitter with the same hashtag. Analytic is a useful tool to go about the task. Using the advanced search find all your tweets with the hashtag. Then go to topsy analytics and find the total amount of the hashtag mentions. Use these two figures calculate what part of posts with the hashtag in question belongs to you.

To further demonstrate your influence in the conversation, you can find the number of responds to your tweets through Hootsuite trends and then calculate the ratio of the responses to your original tweets.

The figures and graphs received as the result of the described manipulations are great to put in the summary about your own social media engagement and to add impressiveness to your portfolio. However what you can do with free analytics, by no means, is limitted to these three steps. Play around with number and graphs and see where your creativity leads you.