Using Twitter to Test Content Ideas

Twitter birdUp until a few weeks ago, I had only ever thought of Twitter as 2 things:

  1. A way to grow traffic for websites
  2. A way to communicate

But, when I began to look more and more at the social analytics for our Twitter accounts, I realized that Twitter could be used for much more.

In particular, Twitter can be used to test content ideas before you even publish them on your website.

Here’s The Idea

Certain tools, such as Buffer, not only help you post content to Twitter, but they also give you analytics for your Tweets. As of now, buffer will give you the number of retweets, mentions, clicks, favorites, and the potential reach.

When I first developed an interest in my Twitter analytics I did it mainly for my ego. Anytime I posted something that got a bunch of clicks or retweets, my confidence shot through the roof. Sometimes I’d even do a dance.

Well, that’s not completely true. But my point is that many times the only reason many of us use analytics is so we know if we’re still popular or not.

But, if you change your mindset slightly, you’ll realize that Twitter can also be used to:

  1. Test out your ideas for content. I also managed one of our sister sites, DesignSnack. By using Twitter, I have noticed that our audience really likes to see development articles. By picking this up on Twitter, I can then write content that will actually be popular for my audience.
  2. Test out headlines. If you break down a typical tweet, you’ll see that it is essentially a headline and a link. Why not test a few different headlines using Twitter to see which one converts the best?

Below is one of the most popular tweets this week from our DesignSnack twitter account.

Buffer Tweet

Now compare that tweet to this not so popular tweet from the past week.

Second Buffer Tweet

Do you notice how the second tweet doesn’t have any clicks, retweets, or mentions. When you compare the two tweets, I think it’s a fair assumption that our DesignSnack audience is much more interested in graphic and font design than WordPress.

But, here’s the big catch. It takes much more than just 1 or 2 good/bad tweets to determine if a topic is a winner or loser for your audience. For example, with the tweets above, before I ruled out WordPress as a bad topic for our blog… I would test different WordPress headlines and topics to make sure that this wasn’t a fluke orrcurence.

I would do the same thing with tweets about typography to make sure that my audience really wants content about typography.

What Do You Think?

This is a tactic that I have recently added to my game plan. But I want to hear what you think. Leave a comment below and let us know how and if you test our your content ideas and headlines.

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Written by Eric Binnion

Eric Binnion is a computer science student at Midwestern State University. When Eric is not online, he is usually volunteering in his community or enjoying time with his family. You can find Eric on Twitter.

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