November 26, 2010

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Tweets Under the Microscope


We’ve recently discussed the idea that the main goal of participating in social media is to create a sense of trust in your audience. The problem is, measuring how well you’ve cultivated that trust isn’t all that easy. Or is it?

As it turns out, there are plenty of Twitter based applications aimed directly at measuring just how effective your Twitter use is. A recent Sellsius blog post reveals no fewer than eleven tools that claim to be able to calculate the “influence” Twitter users have on their followers.

The idea of influence, in terms of these applications, covers everything from how many people received a certain tweet (according to TweetReach) to a breakdown of your followers, “second-order followers” or followers’ followers, and social capital (courtesy of twInfluence).

Each of these tools has their own method of calculating scores, and not all are forthcoming about how they come up with the final results. twitterrank says it measures “how engaged, interesting and/or prominent” a user is, while twitalyzer claims to “evaluate the activity of any Twitter user and report on relative influence, signal-to-noise ratio, generosity, velocity, clout, and other useful measures of success in social media”. twInfluence is more forthcoming, going into some detail about how it calculates its reach rankings and relative scores.

Once you’ve tried out a few of these services, you’ll likely start to wonder what all those scores and rankings mean. real estate blogger James Kimmons has some simple advice for agents struggling to interpret their scores:

“[W]hen you’re checking out your influence on Twitter, you shouldn’t be comparing it with the ‘big names’ that you read and follow. They are influencing you in your practice of real estate, and possibly in how you do your job, market yourself, and what you buy in the way of products and services to do your job. But, if you want a meaningful comparison, try putting your local competitors’ Twitter accounts in and seeing how you stack up against them.”

So why is influence on Twitter so important? It’s a question that had industry commentator Marc Davison perplexed after he was included in a Twitter user list of 100 Influential & Interesting Real Estate People late last month.

Davison interviewed Joe Fernandez, founder of Twitter analytics service, and asked why measuring and amassing social media influence is important for real estate people. According to Fernandez, the practice makes sense if we consider who uses Twitter:

“96 percent of Gen-Y uses social media. They’re real estate’s next customer. What they value, how they search and how they decide will be guided on their platforms of choice and through the counsel of others across social media. Influence matters. An agent will one day matter to those consumers who themselves have built up social influence.”

Looking for more ideas on how to make Twitter work for you? Start with’s Top 10 Tips for Real Estate Agents Using Twitter to find a few more ways to make your influence grow.


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