For any of us who have worked with social media – both personally and professionally – we’re always on the hunt for new tools that help us measure how we’re doing. When it comes to Twitter activity, it turns out something very useful is sitting right under our noses.

Twitter offers its own analytics tool that provides insight into your activity on the platform. As of late August 2014, the Analytics’ platform has been available to all users. The best part is that it’s completely free and fairly straightforward to understand. All you have to do is visit; you can also find it within the platform under the ‘Analytics’ drop-down menu.

Here is a quick overview of some of the most useful features and how they can help grow your Twitter presence.

Tweet activity

The first section of Twitter’s Analytics tool lets you scope out each individual tweet you’ve sent, providing data on impressions and engagement.

How do your tweets look?

While the main Tweet Activity page will provide a snapshot of each tweet, you can also drill down by clicking each one. There, you’ll see more data including link clicks, retweets, how many times someone clicked on your profile as a result of the tweet and more. Take a look:

Data .. ooo ... ahhh

This is all useful because you can start to get a sense for what type of content your Twitter followers prefer and use that information to tailor your own content strategy. Notice a huge spike in engagement when you post photo or video? Consider adding more visual tweets. Does your audience tend to click on articles specifically related to a certain topic? Share additional articles on that topic – or take it one step further and use this information to create your own content. If your audience has really been responding to articles focused on marketing analytics, why not draft your own take on the topic?

This can also come in handy if you have a client wondering why tweets aren’t getting any engagement. Though they may not be seeing retweets or favorites, use Twitter Analytics check out the Link Clicks section. If the number of clicks is high, you can point out that people are still interested. They just haven’t taken that next step to interact with the tweet (which is a blog post for another day).

As you explore, consider this fun tip discovered by our own Chris Penn. Though Twitter appears to only let you search in 90-day increments, you can actually export data on all your tweets from the past year. Check out his blog post for more on how to do so.

Get the download on your followers

If you click on to the ‘Followers’ tab in Twitter Analytics, you’ll come to a page that offers up new insights on, well, your followers. This includes their interests, their location, their gender and some of the top people your audience frequently follows. As you scroll over the various interests and locations, Twitter will actually give you an approximate number of followers that fit into that category.

Who are your followers?

Why should you care about your followers seemingly random interests? It can help you map out your content. If you look at SHIFT’s follower interests above, you’ll see the unsurprising interests of marketing, technology, etc. We share a lot of content on those topics. However, we’ve also noticed that there is a high interest in entrepreneurship and business news, we might start to think about how we can incorporate those topics into our content as appropriate. After all, social media is not just about you. It’s about genuine engagement with your audience. It’s pretty important to consider what they might like to see you talking about.

Twitter cards

Twitter also offers more data around any Twitter Cards you’ve used. If you haven’t tested out a Twitter Card, you won’t find any information here. But if you have, here is where you’ll find a deeper dive into impressions, link clicks, top influencers who have shared your content, how your cards compared to everyone else’s and more. Once again, this data ultimately helps point you in the right direction as far as what types of Twitter cards work better with your audience, and so on.

Twitter Card Info

Take a few minutes today to check out Twitter Analytics. It’s a simple, free way to get an overview of your Twitter activity and help serve as a roadmap for your future content.

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