Monday, June 3, 2013

What are Guy Kawasaki’s Best Twitter Tools?

Guy Kawasaki has been very open about his tweeting strategy, so it’s no surprise that he openly shared which tools he uses to manage his social media.  His article outlined why he chose Facebook, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and GRATE, Kawasaki’s custom tool that posts content from Alltop.com, to post his tweets.  However, what Kawasaki didn’t cover was how effective each of these tools was at posting tweets that people liked.  By analyzing two weeks-worth of tweets, the data showed that Facebook is the most effective tool for Kawasaki, that Kawasaki is using more tools that he described in his article, and that the vast majority of Kawasaki's tweets come from Alltop.com.


I measured the success of a tweet by using the number of retweets 35 minutes after the tweet was posted.  I chose 35 minutes because, as discussed in a previous post, this time period is a good predictor of the final number of retweets.  Also, using 35 minutes helps us get around the Kawasaki’s missing tweets problem, which would reduce our sample size by 64% in this case.  The graph below shows the distribution of retweets 35 minutes after posting for each Twitter tool.  The top of the boxes represent the 75th percentile of retweets while the bottom of the box represents the 25th percentile of retweets.  The horizontal lines in the boxes describe the average number of retweets.



The biggest surprise in the data is that the tweets posted from Facebook outperform those posted by Kawasaki’s custom twitter posting tool GRATE, which posts content from Alltop.com.  On average, tweets posted from Facebook receive 50% more retweets than those posted by GRATE.  The only tool with better average results than Facebook is Bufferapp.  However, because we only found 3 tweets for Bufferapp, this tool’s performance should be taken with a grain of salt.

A second surprise is that Kawasaki seems to be using more tools than the ones he shared in his article.  In his article, Kawasaki described how he used GRATE, Facebook, Tweetdeck, and Hootsuite.  However, the data shows that he is also using Bufferapp, a social medial scheduler similar to Hootsuite. Kawasaki also posted tweets from the Twitter sharing functionality of Paper.li, a customer newspaper site that created a page for Kawasaki.  The data also included one tweet posted through Twitter’s tweet button, and one tweet using Mailchimp’s twitter sharing functionality, demonstrating that if he finds something interesting he is willing to share it on the spot.

Third, I thought it was interesting to see that 85% of tweets on Kawasaki’s account come from Alltop.com.  This percentage shows that Kawasaki’s account in mostly another channel for Alltop content.  Kawasaki’s personal comments and responses in contrast account for only 4% of the accounts’ tweets.  However, promotional tweets posted through Hootsuite only account for 5%, so at least only a small fraction of the accounts’ tweets are advertising.

Finally, an interesting insight is the large variance in the number of retweets posted by Hootsuite, the tool that Kawasaki uses for promotional tweets, according to his article.  The difference between the 75th percentile and 25th percentile for Hootsuite is 3 times greater than the difference for Facebook, the tool with the next largest variance difference.  The gap in variance might be a sign that some promotional tweets are very binary.  They either become incredibly popular, or are mostly ignored by Kawasaki's followers.

The data above is just snapshot of how these tools look today.  In an ever changing technology landscape, the winners' podium can change very easily.  Stay tuned as we check back in a few months and see whether Facebook will be able to keep its crown as the best Twitter tool, or whether an existing, or potentially new tool, took the lead.

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