This article originally appeared in My #PRstack: A practical guide to modern PR tools and workflow. Download the full, free eBook here.
Twitter is great, but when there’s so much going on it can be hard to see the interesting, quality tweets even if you have small networks.
bluenod visualises networks using @ account names and hashtags, allowing you to pinpoint who’s talking about your chosen topic in real time, how important that topic is to them and how much influence they have within their community.
Simply head to bluenod.com and sign in with your Twitter account to access the tool’s free version. The downside is that the free plan only lets you create one map at a time that’s refreshed once a day without upgrading, but if you want a snapshot of a Twitter community immediately then the free version is all you need.
Once you’re in you can create your map. The shot below shows a map visualising #GE2015, the hashtag for the General Election, as an example. Maps can be made public or private – useful if you’re using bluenod for research or social media crisis comms, as part of campaign reports, to check out client competitors or simply to test it out.
Figure: Map of #GE2015 community
The bigger the circle on the map the more influence that user has around the searched topic. Maps are interactive and you can zoom in to focus on particular users and their networks, a lot easier and more appealing an activity than scrolling endlessly through lists on Twitter. The users featured in the map are also listed on the right, starting with the last person to tweet about your chosen subject, to give you an easier way to access individuals and their relevant tweets (shown below).
Figure: Zooming in on the map you can pick out individual users within the community, like BBC News
For finding individual influencers around topics and events bluenod also has a Lists option where you can filter the map by highlighting users under criteria like people you’re following. In the shot below you’ll see users with 5,000+ followers are highlighted in red so you can zoom in and see what they’re sharing within their extensive networks.
With all the Twitter noise around the election it’s nice to be able to dive in and out of the conversation this way. You may also avoid seeing the cringe-worthy trash talk tweets between parties, but no guarantees!
Figure: The #GE2015 community with users with more than 5000 followers highlighted
More data please
Bluenod’s dashboard takes you even deeper into the data behind the map – and we all love data! Whilst the map shows mentions and retweets, the dashboard offers insight into the date and time of tweets, the community type of your map (essentially how people within that community are interacting with each other) and highlights top influencers within it.
Figures: The bluenod dashboard gives more detail behind the map
The data within your map can be exported if you have one of the two top tier plans – tweets, users, influencers and lists can all be downloaded in a spreadsheet and shared within your team and with clients. You can even embed your map onto your website where it’s updated in real time.
In short, bluenod at its most basic (and free) level can offer valuable insights into communities on Twitter around brands and events – showcasing the success of campaigns, identifying key influencers and even highlighting what’s happening in a crisis – all of which can shape immediate and future activity on the platform. In my judgement it’s a valuable tool in the public relations arsenal.