TakeFive with TweetReach – Erin Boudreau

Welcome to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series where we chat with notable members of the social media analytics and measurement community, pulling together insight and commentary on all things measurement. As always, we welcome your suggestions for interviewees and questions.

This week, we’re excited to talk with Erin Boudreau, the founder of TweeParties, Inc., a social media marketing company aimed at helping businesses plan, promote, host and analyze Twitter parties and chats.

TweetReach: Welcome Erin! Let’s start with talking about how you got started using social media. Can you describe you first “ah-ha” moment?

Erin Boudreau: I had been using social media for both personal use and at another job. I was logged on at the end of the day, and I saw a tweet fly by announcing a Twitter party. I wanted to learn more about such events, but found that there wasn’t really one source to go to for up-to-date information. I realized that having live events on both Twitter and Facebook could be really useful for a business, and if more businesses knew about them, they might catch on better. My ‘ah-ha’ moment came when I realized there was no one out there trying to be that Twitter party source.

TweetReach: How important was measurement in your initial strategy and how has that evolved?

Erin Boudreau: I thought it would be important to offer measurement to our clients, but I quickly realized that providing this information was not only vital to analyzing a campaign, but also important in securing future work. If I am approached by a firm I’ve never worked for before, one of the first things they want to know is our past performance. All of them have an idea about the numbers they are trying to reach, and if I can show them what we have done for others in the form of detailed reports and charts, they realize that we do have what it takes to help run a successful event.

TweetReach: So, with TweeParties, you have built a unique way to use Twitter to pull together people around an event, or even to help promote a brand. How have you seen your approach engage users around a particular topic? And, how important is measurement of the results important to your customers’ success with their Twitter parties and chats?

Erin Boudreau: People use social media to learn more about topics, people, and organizations that are of interest to them and that can influence their lives positively in some way. If we organize an event that is not only free to attend, but that also includes an interesting or informative topic, guest experts to answer questions, and special offers and even giveaways — we usually get a positive response from those who felt the time spent taking part in such an event was time very well spent. To be able to measure the performance of a hashtag during such an event not only gives our clients an indication about how successful the event was, it also gives us a starting point and allows us to see how any future changes impact subsequent events. If we change the format next time — add more prizes, make it an open forum, include an expert — and the numbers are much greater than the first time around, then we know we’re on to something. Measuring hashtag performance helps us get closer to giving people the types of events they are eager and excited to attend, and in return, helps build more buzz for a brand.

TweetReach: Olivier Blanchard has written about the need to look at social media measurement in the context of a broader business measurement strategy. What do you think? Is measuring social media success useful by itself?

Erin Boudreau: I think it’s a good start. We not only track the number of impressions, reach and frequency of a hashtag, we also take a look at how our users responded to our calls to action: how many new followers or ‘likes’ a client receives; how many participants signed up for a newsletter or took part in a special offer (such as free shipping or a coupon/discount). We also look at web site traffic to judge how many people followed a link that was tweeted during an event. So there are many pieces to the puzzle, and analytics is an important, vital piece.

TweetReach: Do you have any secret techniques, tools, or other Jedi strategies that you can share with our readers? Any best practices for getting greater reach for your content?

Erin Boudreau: Make sure your content is well-written, useful for your target audience, entertaining and interesting. Also, special offers (coupons, discounts, freebies, etc.) really do seem to go a long way.

TweetReach: Does size matter? David Armano has written about the importance of topical influence. What do you think?

Erin Boudreau: I think that it’s more important to find your niche. If we throw a Twitter party for a new company that sells products for pets, it’s better to have 100 pet owners/bloggers/enthusiasts attend than 500 people who might attend just to win a gift card but who don’t have a pet and aren’t really interested in the company’s products or the topic at hand. I would rather have a small group of followers who are really enthused about our content than a million who follow with the hope that we’ll follow back and who aren’t really interested in hearing our message or exchanging ideas and building a relationship.

TweetReach: Any examples of how analytics have helped you tweak a campaign or program for the better?

Erin Boudreau: I think most importantly, we can see exactly who is tweeting or retweeting our links — what social circles they’re circulating in — and to reach out to other influencers who might not be aware of our events, if needed. For example, if a tweet is being sent frequently we might be glad to see a large number of impressions, but if only a couple different users are the ones doing the tweeting, we might need to modify the campaign and seek the involvement of other users to broaden our reach.

TweetReach: Thanks for your time, Erin!

Erin Boudreau is the founder of TweeParties, Inc., a social media marketing company aimed at helping businesses plan, promote, host and analyze Twitter parties and chats. She has more than 10 years of experience in marketing, print and web design. Erin lives and works in the Chicago suburbs.