If you are running a social campaign, you have to be analyzing your account's data. To do that, you have to do some data mining. Unfortunately, it is a time consuming process that brands often hire whole teams to manage, rather than entrusting it to a single person.
The good news is that there are tools that make it infinitely easier, and that you can take advantage of to archive your own Twitter data.
1. Twitter's official archive download.
The easiest route to go is always going to be Twitter itself. They allow you to access your own archive of posts, and save them in an easily exported format. This option has been available since 2012, and it is a consistent way to build up a good archive of your tweets in a CSV file that includes all information.
Of course, there are a couple of downsides. There is no way to set what dates you want, and so it will go back as far as it can to create your file. Any time you re-download a new version, you will be overwriting the old one, or else saving it as a separate file with the same old info.
While this is annoying, it is preferable to how it was, when you could only get a short period of tweets before they were lost forever. Progress!
2. BirdSong Analytics.
BirdSong Analytics is an absolutely unique tool that lets you download all the followers of any Twitter accounts. It's a paid tool but I don't think such feature has any alternatives.
The export comes in an Excel format and contains each username, number of followers/following, real name, Twitter URL, bio, number of tweets, date when the account was created, location, Verified status and how many lists the account is included into.
Now, think about all Excel sorting, filtering, searching options: You can now find most followed accounts, search bios by a keyword, sort accounts by location, etc. For example, you can download all people your competitor follows and investigate their habits, sites, etc. Or you can download all accounts that @nytimes is following and get the list of high-profile journalists, their personal sites, their hobbies, etc This is a great database to plan your outreach campaign out.
For a more customizable option, it has to be Cyfe. This is an all-in-one business management tool that allows you to create custom made widgets that work with any number of services, including most social networks. There are pre-made widgets already available for Twitter (among dozens of others), but you can craft your own to catch the data that you need. Getting started is free, but you will want to use their premium service for real analytics gathering.
To go more simple, but very thorough, you could try NodeXL. It is an open source template for Microsoft Excel that works by integrating data pulled from a CSV file into a ridiculously informative network graph. So you could get your archived data from Twitter, input it into NodeXL, and create a breathtaking visual representation of your tweets from any period you like. For a graph junkie like me, this is a very exciting tool.
Better known as a Twitter chat room for tweet chats, TWChat also provides you with the option of creating a permanent archive for various hashtags of your choice. Every day, a new archive will be created that shows you how that tag is being used. This is an amazing tool if you are looking to monitor your reputation, or even a specific social campaign.
Using Twitter archives.
Now, there may be numerous ways to use the data; here are just a few ideas:
- Gary Dek of StartABlog123.com uses Twitter for content inspiration.
- Anna Fox of HireBloggers uses Twitter favorites as a bookmarking tool, so her archive is her ultimate reading list (she can also share)
- You can use BirdSong exports to identify niche influencers for outreach campaign or customer research.
- You can also use hashtag archives for keyword research to investigate which words tend to go in close proximity with the chosen hashtag.