In this first blogposts in the series “Twitter Analytics in QlikView” I will introduce you to some of the Twitter basics. A basic working knowledge of Twitter will be required before starting with the more advanced part of this series called “Twitter Analytics in QlikView - Finding Top Influencers“. In the follow up post I will show you how to analyze Twitter data, find top influencers in an industry and measure two important Twitter KPI’s: brand “Promoters” and “Detractors”. But first let’s dive into some Twitter fundamentals for QlikView professionals.
Setting up a Twitter account
The first thing you will need to do is create a Twitter account though this link. Simply fill in your name, e-mail address and choose a nice Twitter name. The name can be changed afterwards so don’t worry too much about this at this stage. In the second part of the signup process you will be asked to fill in some additional information and create a profile description. Make sure to include some words you would like to be found on, like “QlikView”, “Business Intelligence” or “Business Discovery”. Adding these words will make it easier for like minded people to find you when searching for new profiles.
Reading Tweets about QlikView
After setting up an account you can start reading information people share in the form of “tweets”. Let’s start by searching for tweets about QlikView. Simply type in the word QlikView in the search box and read what people have twittered about QlikView. The results in the screenshot below already show some interesting information about QlikView. Notice that Tweets often contain special symbols used for Twittering. These symbols might initially look a little cryptic but are actually very easy to understand. I will explain more about them in the next section.
Writing our first Tweet
Now that we have set-up our basic account we can get started writing Twitter messages. Messages can only be 140 characters long and often contain special characters like the ‘@’ and ‘#’ symbols. Because of the length restrictions Tweets frequently also contain “shortened URL’s”. Let’s take a look at the following Tweet example. Feel free to copy and paste it into your message box and send it:
Great blogpost by @QlikMetrics: “Twitter Analytics in QlikView” http://bit.ly/p7YZXQ #QlikView
In the tweet above you see two words that contain a special character and a shortened url:
The hashtag (#) in front of QlikView means that the writer of the tweet wants to share this message with readers of the “QlikView” twitter feed. Adding hashtags makes it easy for others to follow interesting news targeted towards a specific topic. The @QlikMetrics means the tweet is directed to the user with the account QlikMetrics (that is me!). Adding the ‘@’ tag will make your tweet appear in my personal twitter feed as can be seen in the screenshot below. Don’t misuse this technique as I already get complaints at my work that I Twitter too much . On a more serious note, using tags is a great way to reach out to the right audience for your messages and trigger influential people to join conversations.
Because Tweets can only have 140 characters it is common practice to use free services as bitly to shorten URL’s. Simply fill in the original URL of the blogpost “http://qlikmetrics.com/2011/08/introduction-twitter-for-qlikview/” in the text box and push the “Shorten” button. As can be seen in the second screenshot bitly automatically creates a shortened URL. If you click on the following Shortened URL you will automatically be redirected to the original source: http://bit.ly/p7YZXQ.
Building a network of QlikView followers
One of the first things you want to do is start building a network of people that are interested in the same topic, in our case Qlikview. A good way to start is following people that tweet about QlikView or have brand related terms in their profile like “Business Discovery” or “Data Visualisation”. Click on the “Who to Follow” Button in the upper right corner of the screen and fill in the word “QlikView”. In the results you see a list of people that are related to “QlikView”. This shows directly why it is good practice to include some of the keywords related to your topic of interest in your profile. After clicking on the “Follow” button behind an account you will we able to read what this person Twitters about in your personal TimeLine, on your Home page.
A person will automatically receive a notification when somebody follows them and many people will frequently follow back. This allows you to quickly build a network of like minded people. If you actively tweet and engage yourself in meaningful conversations, or “retweet” other people’s messages people will quickly notice you and start following you. It is good practice to retweet somebody’s message if you really like it. Besides that people appreciate it, it will also help you to increase your visibility on Twitter. If you feel the process of searching and adding people takes too much time you can consider automating part of the process. I added some tips and tricks in the next section on how this can be done.
Advanced Twitter Tips & Tricks
In this final section I would like to share some advanced “Tips and Tricks” that can be useful to jumpstart your social media analytics efforts. After reading them
you will be fully prepared to start with the “Twitter Analytics for QlikView” dashboard in the next blog post.
Social sharing buttons
Twitter is all about conversation, sharing and spreading content. To make it as easy as possible to share content make sure your website or blog contains social sharing buttons like the “Tweet” button in the upper left side of this blog post, or the buttons below in the screen. If you click on the “Tweet” button a small popup window will appear which allows you to share the content of this blog on Twitter. Social sharing buttons are the most user-friendly way of share interesting content with others. When finished reading this post do not forget to share it with others as well!
Twitter automation – building followers
Building up a network of followers can be a daunting task. Luckily there are good ways of automating this process, or automate others common Twitter tasks like scheduling tweets, sending thank you mails and/or automatically unfollow users that do not follow back. Please do NOT miss-use these techniques as some people do. If you happen to see a Twitter account with hundreds of followers without ever sending a single Tweet, than you now understand how they do this. I recommend using “Twitter automation” for freeing up time to write good tweets, read news and build valuable conversations with like minded people. Automatically following and unfollowing people can quickly help to build a large follower list, but when miss-used it can also add “noise” and “spam” to otherwise interesting Tweets. However, when used in the correct way it can save you tons of time, allowing you to focus on meaningfull Twitter tasks.
In the screenshot below you can see the tool I use called TweetAdder. In the image you see a green button with “Automation On” that has been activated. When actived TweetAdder will automatically start searching for people that have Twittered about the topics specified in the “Automated Searched” list. In the example below this lists starts with the keywords: “qlikview”, “#measure” etc.
TweetAdder can be configured to automatically follow or unfollow people that do not follow back within a specific time period. By running TweetAdder in the background it will automatically build a list of followers on your topic of interest, without having to spend any time on searching for accounts online. Together with other power features this tool can really boost your effeciency and follower numbers in a short time. If you are interested in TweetAdder I highly reommend watching some of the turorial video’s on their site to get an impression of what the tool can do for you.
Now that we have covered some of the Twitter basics we can dive into Twitter Analytics. In the next serie called Twitter Analytics – Finding top Influencers I will introduce you to Twitter Analytics with QlikView by showing how to find influential users in an industry and measure two important social media KPI’s: the number of brand “Promotors” and “Detractors”.
Part 1 - Introduction to Twitter for QlikViewBI, dashboard, qlikview, Social Media, Twitter Analytics