Who’s Tweeting About Your Beat? TweetCharts Tells You

There’s a new tool for local reporters and editors, or those on specific topic or business-related beats, to figure out who the top tweeters are about their beats. Thankfully, you won’t need to hire a social media analyst to track this information down. It’s free and as easy* as crafting a phrase or hashtag you want to know about.

TweetCharts, a new site from Hubspot, does the data crunching for you. Just plug in your phrase or hashtag. It searches the past week’s tweets, and then, pops out lots of pretty charts to show your bosses you’re not just wasting your time tracking or participating in the Twitter conversation. The site explains at a glance who’s talking about the topic and generally, what they’re linking to or how engaged they are in the words you’re looking at.

That graphic is a visual representation of some of the data the site charted for the term “journalism technology.” It reflects tweets basically within the past week. Apparently, 601 tweets included the phrase. Among the insights the analysis provided:

  • 80.53% of tweets contain a link.
  • 45.92% of tweets are retweets.
  • 3.49% of tweets are replies.
  • 61.73% of tweets contain a mention.
  • 50.92% of tweets include a hashtag.
  • And more about the tone of the tweet and even the gender of the tweeter (not sure how that’s determined?).

That’s good info for overall brands, but maybe not as informative for a specific phrase, person or beat. A news outlet or specific author, as a brand, may be interested in the tone or how many mentions their name received, but what I think reporters will find useful is below the charts in the “most mentioned users” section. This tells you who is talking about the topic, what sites they’re linking to and what phrases they’re using. So if you’re covering your local schools or city hall for example, you may be able to find some parents or some staffers discussing concerns you wouldn’t hear in the board room.

Who should you follow?

For my sample, I looked up the hashtag #INwx, which is used by locals to tweet about and track Indiana weather developments. I wanted to see who was the go-to source for this since many news outlets look to first-hand accounts and local spotters for weather confirmations and information. (Also, we had some pretty wicked weather roll through central Indiana the past few days, so I knew it would find some tweets to analyze.) In this case, it found 694 tweets. Here’s who I should, apparently, be paying attention to the next time a storm rolls through. I follow many of them already, but several I’ve never heard of:

In addition to finding sources, you could also use this to validate your news teams’ status as a go-to source for this information (below the top tweeters, it tells you what links appear most frequently), or figure out how to get yourself in one of those top slots so you can become the source.

This quick analysis also may help you to figure out which hashtags or phrases to include in your coverage. If, for example, you’re using #newspapernameWX instead of #locationWX, but everybody but you/your staff is using (and searching for) the second hashtag, you’ll probably get better exposure by bending to the will of the local Twitter base and using the more popular tag.

* The only real caveat I have about this site is, they randomly ask for your email but don’t give a good reason why. They say: “By entering your email here you’re agreeing to recieve messages, but we’re not going to spam you or sell your address.” I didn’t get any message immediately, and it’s easy enough to ignore (especially since I used my online “junkmail” address — yes, I have a specific gmail address I use on most sites that I can access but can also filter directly out of my email). But I wanted to point this out. If you’re concerned about it, just use a throwaway address such as those at mailinator.com.

UPDATE: TweetCharts creator Dan Zarrella tells me the email input box is optional. He also pointed out a broken link above, which I fixed.

(H/T: Reynold’s Center for Business Journalism blog for the tip on this informative tool.)