Twitter Guide for Government: Measure for Success

Download the PDF: Thou Shalt Tweet! 15 Commandments for Government Agencies on Twitter


As a government organization, you always have a duty to spend taxpayer money responsibly. In order to do this, you have to show that the resources you expended for “this Twitter thing” were justified.

The way you do this is by keeping track of your successes.

Growth of your followers
Chart the increase over time of your followers. Try to see if there are spikes relat-
ed to topics, seasons, timing, etc.

Number of clicks on your links
Most url shortening technologies include a way to track the clickthroughs to your
content. You can also check your web logs to see where the traffic came from.

Number of retweets
How many people have retweeted your tweets?

Number of @mentions
How many questions or comments have you received through Twitter?

Quality of retweets and @mentions

Who is retweeting your content? You may find that the same individuals are retweeting your content on a regular basis. Are these people influential (reporters, celebrities, subject authorities, etc. Do they have large number of followers?)?

If you notice individuals who have taken to retweeting your content, it may be useful to develop a relationship with them.  Then, when you have really important content you are going to send out, you can let them know in advance. It will ensure they retweet it and give them a scoop of sorts. Win-win!

Some tools such as Tweetreach will give you an evaluation of how many people
your tweet has reached.

The jury is still out on automated measurement of sentiment but if you have a manageable number of RTs and @mentions you can eyeball it. Just count how many were positive, negative, or neutral. If you can’t or don’t feel the need to eyeball for sentiment on a regular basis, you can perhaps do it only when you issue very important content to gauge the response.

Complete Listing of All 15 Twitter Commandments

This guide evolved from a post by Alain Lemay on GovLoop titled “Who Not to Follow On Twitter: A Guide for Public Sector Employees.” Alain is a Senior Web Communications Analyst for the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Agency in Canada. He graciously donated his time to assist in producing the 15 Commandments for Government Agencies on Twitter Guide in tandem with the GovLoop team.

  1. Thou Shalt Listen Before You Leap
  2. Thou Shalt Use Thy Profile Information Properly
  3. Thou Shalt Have a Disclaimer
  4. Thou Shalt Not Be a Bully (Nobody Likes a Bully!)
  5. Thou Shalt Tweet Regularly
  6. Thou Shalt Integrate My Tweet Approval Process
  7. Thou Shalt Not Register Alternate Accounts
  8. Thou Shalt Not Automate Thy Tweets
  9. Thou Tweet In the First Person
  10. Thou Shalt Not Bait and Switch
  11. Thou Shalt Not Spam
  12. Thou Shalt Be Selective About Who You Follow
  13. Thou Shalt Monitor Thy Account
  14. Thou Shalt Contribute to the Conversation
  15. Thou Shalt Measure for Success