Building Content Strategy by Segmenting and Analyzing Twitter Followers

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To answer that question, you have to look for examples of the best storytellers. The best storytellers are the television studios. They divide the day into different segments to reach different audiences. Morning: news. Midday: soap operas. Evening: Nightly news segues into primetime sitcom. Late night: news segues into comedy.

An entrepreneur told me a few weeks ago, when we where talking about how to build a blog audience and I had asked him how he thought about content strategy. In short, segmentation was his answer. Figure out all the customer types and give each one what they want.

Since that conversation, I’ve thought a lot about what it means for this blog. Should every week contain a post targeted to one particular audience segment? If so, which are the main segments within the audience? How would I even generate such an analysis?

In the end, I co-opted an existing tool. Over the past week, I’ve been using my Twitter Game to bucket my roughly 7k Twitter followers and gathered some quantitative and some qualitative conclusions from the analysis.

First, the quantitative results:

  • 6% are company/corporate accounts

  • 20% are company founders

  • 23% are based in the Bay Area

  • 7% are based in NYC

  • 3610 average number of followers

Second, the qualitative analysis:

While I recognized many names in my Twitter follower list, it became clear that Twitter isn’t a great stay-in-touch/remarketing tool. Of the people whom I’ve met through working at Redpoint, the fraction following me on Twitter is tiny, less than 10%. That could be because of my lack of follow-up marketing or it could be because many acquaintances don’t use Twitter in this way or it could be these acquaintances don’t care what I have to say. I can’t say which.

Twitter descriptions are more informative than I would have thought. Some people don’t fill them out or post mantras, but many users list their current positions and employers and for the vast majority of the 7k followers, I didn’t need to pull up their LinkedIn profiles to understand whom they are.

Service providers (lawyers, real estate agents, PR firms, design firms) constitute the second largest segment after founders. I suspect they use Twitter as I do, as a form of business development and lead generation.

While there are some spam accounts among my followers, there are fewer than I would have thought. I didn’t classify them but I’d estimate it’s 5% or less.

Conclusions

This blog does help me reach my target audience: founders of companies in the Bay Area, New York and around the world.

Developing more sophisticated segments than this first-pass analysis is challenging without surveying the audience or performing engagement analysis on the content - which likely should be my next step.

Twitter should build or license a tool that performs audience analysis for all its large customers and users. Knowing the basic demographics of an audience could improve content, engagement and ultimately monetization.

How do you think about your Twitter followers and how to build a blog to serve them? Let me know in this branch.

Apr 4, 2013

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