Observing Satisfaction on Twitter

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For those of you who have reviewed my slide presentation on using web analytics with social media, you’ll notice that I have a minor addition to the usual Reach-Acquisition-Conversion consumer behavior model. That addition is Satisfaction. With social media, the customer’s ability to express satisfaction is significantly increased and also removed from the control of the producer or company. Customers have just as big of a printing press as companies do. Sometimes bigger.

On a practical note, if we’re going to measure satisfaction, what exactly will we be counting? Here’s an outline a few of the possiblities available on Twitter.

  • Favorite button
  • Retweeting
  • Spontaneous mention
  • Adding an individual to a list

It’s simple enough to figure out when you or your content has been the subject of any of these actions on Twitter. Usually a search for your name will catch the vast majority of these actions. From there, how you keep records is whatever way works best for you. A spreadsheet is helpful.

Let’s look at all four of these potential satisfaction indicators one-by-one.

The Twitter Favorite Button

Probably the easiest thing for a person to do, when they see something they like on Twitter is to click the little star next to the tweet. This adds the twitter post to the person’s “favorites.” One side effect of people “favoriting” your tweets, is that they don’t disappear into the Twitter memory-hole. You can find those tweets which have been favorited beyond the usual one or two weeks back.

Gathering data on Twitter favorites

To gather data on which of your tweets are being favorited and by whom, use Favstar. You might want to gather quantitative data on how many tweets get favorited, how many different individuals favorite your tweets, which individuals favorite the most tweets, etc. You might want to gather qualitative data on the topics of tweets that tend to get favorited (either by a wide variety of people, or by your target audience, etc).


Probably the second-most easiest way someone can express satisfaction is by hitting the Retweet button on Twitter. This simply reposts something you posted into the persons Twitter stream. It’s sort of like a “ditto” or other sign of agreement. Sometimes people put additional comments on as well which can qualify the retweet, adding more insight into the nature of their reason for passing along your tweet to their followers.

Gathering data on Retweets

To gather data on people retweeting you, do a Twitter search for your Twitter handle and the letters “RT.” You might want to gather quantitative data on how many tweets get retweeted, how many different individuals retweet your tweets, which individuals retweet the most tweets, etc–just like with favorites. You might want to gather qualitative data on the topics of tweets that tend to get favorited (either by a wide variety of people, or by your target audience, etc) and also if there is any commentary that goes along with the retweets.

Spontaneous Mentions

Sometimes someone will, out of the blue, say something about you on Twitter. If you’re speaking at a conference or maybe they just found something you made that they liked that isn’t on Twitter, for example. This requires more effort on the part of the Twitter user: it takes more than pushing a button to do this.

To gather data on mentions of you on Twitter, make use of the Twitter search again. This time, search for your Twitter handle and also do one for your name (sometimes people will be saying nice things about you without knowing that you’re on Twitter). The same suggestions for qualitative data and quantitative data for retweets is probably effective here as well. Though there’d be even more focus on the qualitative messages being passed along.

Adding to Twitter lists

This is another one that is done with a click of a button–add to list. What’s useful about a Twitter list is that entire lists can be followed. So if a lot of people are following a list you’re on, then your reach is increased significantly. It also lets you know how others are categorizing your use of Twitter.

To gather data on Twitter lists, look at at your Twitter profile and click the “lists” link. There you will see all of the public lists you’re a part of. You might want to gather quantitative data on the number of lists you’re on, the number of public lists you’re on, and the number of followers you have that are via lists. As for qualititative data, the titles of each list should give you a sense of how your audience is valuing your Twitter contributions.

This is all just data

All of this observation is just that, observation. It’s the first step in using the OODA Loop strategically in your Twitter practice. Just gathering this data probably won’t lead to any insights (though if you discover massive dis-satisfaction then you’ll probably get right to fixing it). Once you have some satisfaction data you can start to put it in context and from there move on to make decisions and take action based on data. I hope this is helpful.

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