January 11, 2017 - 11:24am
We use CrowdTangle to measure when posts are over-performing compared to a page’s typical posts, signaling that this is good content to share and repurpose
One of my favorite social media tools, CrowdTangle, is now free. For everyone. For every platform that it measures (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram).
 
We use CrowdTangle to measure when posts are over-performing compared to a page’s typical posts, signaling that this is good content to share and repurpose  – and would likely also do well for other groups. 
 
If you’re a ReThink Media member, you’ve likely seen CrowdTangle at work when we have provided examples of the top Facebook posts in a sector, especially after a given news event. 
 
For instance, we’ve provided round-ups to our members of the top Facebook posts surrounding:
  • The recent pushback to House Republicans trying to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, including how our community organized their members to oppose the move, and later, celebrate the win, when the changes were abandoned;
  • The President’s State of the Union address, and how democracy groups praised Obama for his call to reduce the influence of money in politics; and
  • The debate over whether to allow Syrian refugees into the United States, and how our members underscored the ways that refugees (and the larger Muslim, Arab, and South Asian community) add value to our nation, among other examples.

What CrowdTangle Shows Us

What makes CrowdTangle unique is that it measures posts’ performance compared to other posts from that same account, rather than just looking at a hard number of likes or shares on a post and comparing that to a page of a different size. So, we now have a great way to identify successful content from groups like Women’s Action for New Directions, which has just over 2,100 “likes” on Facebook, as well as Global Zero, which has 54,000 “likes” – as well as measure how much better the post is performing for that page. CrowdTangle simply reports that a post has garnered more likes or shares as a percentage better than a typical post from that page. 
 
But beyond highlighting what posts are doing well, we can also identify what these top-performing posts have in common. This helps us learn from successful content and apply those lessons to content we continue to create. For instance, much of the content we see over-performing includes compelling graphics or videos, making the subject matter of the posts much more engaging.

Ways to Use CrowdTangle:

We will follow up with individual blog posts about the best ways to search on CrowdTangle, but some of the things you can look for include what content is over-performing:
  • on a given Facebook page;
  • on a list of Facebook pages;
  • from a CrowdTangle-compiled list of Facebook pages (like Conservative Media, Progressive Media, Congressmembers, US Mayors, US Government Agencies, Gun Reform, Labor Unions, LGBTQ Equality, Think Tanks, and more); 
  • about a given search term (like a breaking news issue); and
  • Which top Facebook pages have shared a given link.

CrowdTangle In Practice:

Let’s look at how some of our democracy organizations’ content performed over the past 24 hours to identify what content did well around the first of the Senate confirmation hearings.
First, I built a CrowdTangle list of the groups we work with. Then, I chose my time period (24 hours) and selected the over-performing option. I’m looking at “all posts” to see all of the links, images, and videos that rise to the top, but in theory, I could filter by the type of content. Here are some of the top posts that pop:
 
CrowdTangle-search

Here’s what content rose to the top:

 
Brennan-Center-confirmation-post
 
Sunlight-confirmation-post
 
OpenSecrets-confirmation-post
 
OpenSecrets-confirmation-post-2
 
Every-Voice-confirmation-post
 
Common-Cause-Confirmation-post
 
Public-Citizen-confirmation-post
 

What these posts have in common:

  • They’re timely: They were being shared as Senate confirmation hearings were underway.
  • They all work for that given Facebook page: Sunlight and Open Secrets both share posts about transparency and political contributions, whereas organizations like Public Citizen and Common Cause take a more direct critique of the nominee.
  • They all have an image: Either the post is an image itself or the organizations have been sure to include an image with the links they share, but having a photo or graphic helps to capture people’s attention on their newsfeed and makes them more likely to engage.
What other takeaways do you have about these top posts?
 

Going Forward:

Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts (and trainings for our members) further detailing how to use CrowdTangle and our favorite tricks we learn along the way. But in the meantime, sign up for the tool and take advantage that it is now F-R-E-E to you!
 
How do you use (or how are you excited to use) CrowdTangle? Tweet to us @rethink_media and let us know.

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