In March of 2013 I was in a Media Relations class at DePaul taught by Matt Ragas. I wrote up a summary of the service Followerwonk and how it can be used for Media Relations.
Overview of Followerwonk
Followerwonk is an in-depth search tool for Twitter. Followerwonk was purchased by SEOMoz in August 2012 and is now a feature of the SEOMoz Pro membership (SeoMoz Pro is $99/month, but has a free 30 day trial). Followerwonk has 5 main features and 3 of them can be used without purchasing the SEOMoz Pro membership.
Twitter bio search (free):
This feature is very similar to doing a search in Twitter, but with some extra tricks. Followerwonk lets you type in your own keyword or suggests sample searches to get you started. One of the examples given is “journalists”. After putting in your keyword you can sort the accounts by number of tweets, followers, people they are following, age of the account, and a proprietary metric called “Social Authority” (based on a number of factors surrounding re-tweets). This feature of Followerwonk will give you less spam, inactive, and brand new accounts than a Twitter search.
Compare Users (free):
In this tab you enter the Twitter handles of 2 or 3 users and can compare both whom they follow and who follows them. The results show a Venn diagram comparing the overlap of followers among the handles you entered. It also gives you a breakdown of the number of people following each user and then each combination of users. (User 1 and User 2, User 1 and User 3, User 2 and User 3). At the bottom, it gives you the bio search information on each handle you’ve entered.
Analyze Followers (free):
This is the most interesting feature of Followerwonk because it gives you information on the followers of followers. Here are a few of the things you can find:
- Number of followers the followers have (broken down into segments in a pie graph)
- The hours that a user’s followers are most active on Twitter
- Geographic locations of both followers and people a user follows mapped out on a globe
- Infrared gender distribution of a user’s followers
- Word clouds of followers bios and locations (taken from their profiles)
Track Followers and Sort Followers (Available with SEOMoz Pro Membership):
The 4th and 5th tabs are mainly for marketing purposes, giving you information on your own account. You can track who has followed or un-followed you. You can also sort your followers by number of tweets, who they follow, who follows them, geography, etc., and then export the data to a CSV or Excel file.
Using Followerwonk for Media Relations
Followerwonk can be used for pitching traditional media, bloggers, or other social influencers. In the Twitter bio search section you can enter “journalist agriculture” and your results will show everyone who mentions being a journalist and covering agriculture in their Twitter bio. You could also search for journalists by publication by typing in something like “Writer for Mashable”. You can then sort your results by number of followers or Social Authority to find the writers with the most influence.
This information can be used to help you directly pitch to a writer via Twitter, but can also be used to find what the journalist has written, what their personal writing style is (which will tell you more about their personality and help you decide how to style your pitch and tailor it to them), and in general if anything they write is likely to be picked up on social media outlets, or just in the publication they’re employed by.
Once you compile a list of journalists or other writers, you can enter them into the “compare users” tab to see how unique each person’s followers are. If you discover that writers or bloggers share a majority of their followers, you might want to choose only one of them and then focus your attention on a 3rd writer that has a different audience. You may also consider using writers that do have some overlap as it will lend more 3rd party credibility to your story if readers see it in multiple places.
While the “track followers and “sort followers” tabs are more tools for marketing and SEO than media relations, you can use the sort users tab to help you turn your search results into a tangible media list.
In general, Followerwonk is a great media relations tool because it helps you learn more about whom you’re pitching to. It helps you learn their writing style, level of influence on social media, and how a writer’s followers compare to those of other writers.