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Storytelling on Twitter – Dig Beneath the Surface of Twitter (Part Three)

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Dig beneath the surface of Twitter

Know your readers, increase your following and develop content with a few simple tools

If you’re Tweeting for your newspaper’s account, promoting the newspaper on your own personal account or just want to advance your skills in driving people to your stories, Twitter offers simple tools to help you grow your readership.

Twitter Analytics

Access your account’s metrics by logging into with your Twitter username and password. This is where you can see your impressions, profile visits and the number of followers you’ve gained. Look at highlights and review summaries from previous months. This is where you see the big picture of what’s working and what isn’t.

To know more about who is following you, from your Analytics home page, click on Audience. Here, you’ll learn about your followers – where they’re from and what they’re interests are. This is valuable information to help make sure your following on Twitter isn’t just growing in numbers. You’ll be able to evaluate if you’re reaching your target audience, the readers who need to know your news.

If you want to dig even deeper, compare your following with others. Click on “+Add comparison audience”, which is below the drop down menu for “Your followers.” This will give you the ability to see how your following compares with different age groups, demographics, lifestyles, consumer behaviors and mobile platforms.

Also from your Analytics home, you can see how your Tweets faired, and how much people are engaging with your content. Evaluate what’s been getting some pick up. And, if something you cherished wasn’t engaged, could a photo or video have helped to boost interest?

Speaking of, pull down the menu for “More”, and open “Videos” to track how many views your videos earned and how long people watched them.

Sometimes it may surprise you which stories go viral and which just don’t connect with an audience, but the more you become familiar with your audience and its behaviors, the more you can tailor your Tweets to raise engagement and readers.


Create Twitter lists to compile a resource for followers to find other members of your news team.

  •      From your main Twitter account, open your Profile and Settings, and then point to Lists. On the right, you can “Create a new list.”
  •      Name it, describe it and choose to make it public.
  •      Then, from the Lists page, you’ll be prompted to find people to add to your list. Enter your colleagues’ names.
  •      Once you find their account, click on their home page. Next to the “Follow” button, you’ll see three dots.
  •      Click on those, and choose Add or remove from lists.
  •      This will bring up a menu of your list or lists. Check the box for the list you want your followers to use.

There you go. Your list has begun. Now, you can link to it and point your readers to your entire organization’s coverage. This in turn helps you to gain more followers and readers when your colleagues create lists that link to you.

Some journalists also use lists to create community specific information. This helps to filter content and makes your account more valuable to your readers looking for local information.

Advanced search function (digging up information for a story)

This last quick tip on the Advanced search function on Twitter taps into your drive to dig and uncover information by using your research skills and instinctive curiosity. By using this, you’ll pull up much more information than you would if you punch in key words into the main search tool.


In this tool, you have a dozen fields where you can plug in key words, phrases, people, places and dates to find trends, mentions and to see how your name and your organization’s name surface in other accounts. This can also help you to find people to follow and come up with story ideas by surfacing what questions people in your community are asking, such as “Anyone know what happened at the Circle K on 101st Street?”

The advanced search not only provides you with insight on how people are talking about your reporting and your organization’s reputation, but it also puts your finger on your community’s pulse, helping you to create better content and stay ahead of your competitors.

Looking ahead

The reality is there are many ways people find their information, but it is more important than ever that the public is driven back to your professional reporting and valuable information.

Twitter is a vast cybersphere, where just like in print, on your website and the rest of your life for that matter, it is up to you as to how far you will take it.

But this platform is one powerful way to help you tap into a readership already looking for breaking and credible news. You have the ability to refine it and help your readership grow!

As it was from the beginning of your journalism career, the mission remains the same: deliver crucial and timely information and spark important conversations.