4 simple places to find free data for your blog

Getting data for your blog, your content marketing or perhaps even your own business strategy itself can feel frustrating. Google is great for some questions like “How many tweets get sent every day?” But what if you want something more specific or something more in depth?

We’ve highlighted four of our favourite places to find free data quickly and easily for all manner of purposes. Now go out and write something interesting with your findings!

Twitter

Twitter itself is a fantastic source of information on everything to do with Twitter, if you’re looking for data on your own account that is. You may have noticed their new analytics dashboard. This now offers a whole host of new insights about how your own tweets have been performing. Understand not only the number of retweets and favourites you got but many more interactions such as:

  • Clicks on content
  • Clicks on your profile
  • When your tweet was expanded
  • Actual number of impressions your tweet made

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.45.49

Can you really blog about your own Twitter performance? Of course! If you think you have a crafty new technique for getting your content seen, do some experiments and publish your findings. With the new key metrics there’s plenty of information to back up your theories. Try A/B testing with different variables like: Tweet length Timings Reposting Images and Video Hashtags Keywords and see what insights you discover. Everyone loves to read about a social media success story (and tips they can implement themselves!).

And of course, don’t forget the real purpose of Twitter: sharing! If there’s a fact or measurement you really need to back up your points, ask your followers!

Quintly

If it’s Facebook data you’re after, this neat free tool offered by Quintly is the place to start. You can choose to analyse page rankings or live statistics about almost any page’s fans. Page rankings can be filtered by topic or industry. So you can get a quick overview of which brands or organisations are leading the field in Music, Non-Profit or Retail or see which journalists or politicians are being talked about the most.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.47.56

 

Compare the likes each page is getting and the rate of change or find out which company has the highest People Talking About This score (PTAT). You can also get real-time data for a particular page and see the total likes, growth in likes per hour or per day.

Pew Research

Pew_InternetPew is a heavyweight research outfit that has data on all sorts of things from business to social media to public-opinion. Their publicly available ‘fact sheets‘ are regularly updated and they’re a great place to find those key statistics that give your blog that much needed fact to back up your points.

Want statistics on how many internet users are on Twitter by gender, age or income? Pew has the numbers you’ve been looking for. From there you’ll find links to a whole host of published content. Be careful you may spend all day on there!

Alexa

If it’s web traffic data you’re after then head over to Alexa. Type in the website you want to know more about and the free dashboard will give you a simple overview of the number and type of people visiting the site.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.52.59Alexa gives sites a global ranking rather than exact traffic numbers. But you can get an idea of a site’s change in ranking over time and there’s a whole lot of information on who is visiting. Take a look at bounce rates, average time spent and pages viewed. You’ll also see a breakdown of visitors by country, gender, education and whether they’re surfing at home or at work.

Best practice

When using data you’ve found online, always remember to implement best practices.

  • Reference your sources – be careful not to simply state statistics as ‘facts’. Also, it’s polite!
  • Be consistent – comparing similar information from two different sources risks skewing your findings if one is using different a method to collect data.
  • Check dates – information stays on the web for a long time. Don’t quote a statistic from a web page that’s 4 years old. (Unless you make it clear that’s the most up-to-date data around.)
  • Show all the data – it’s tempting to make the data tell the story you want to tell. But presenting only part of the data can be deceptive. For example: “I got 100% engagement on my tweets last month” sounds impressive but what if you only sent one tweet?

logoAnd of course, if you want influence data and content analytics, our new platform PiQ allows you to search our database of over 210m active Twitter users and see what they’re talking about. Try it for free today!

Ok, I`ve found my influencers… now what?

We’ve been perfecting the art of identifying influencers for several years here at PeerIndex. One question we’re often asked by people who have identified influencers using PiQ is “what do I do now?”

It’s a good question. But there’s no single correct answer. It really depends on your particular social strategy and goals and on what kind of influencer you’re dealing with.

So here are a few of the key actions you might want to think about implementing in your influencer marketing strategy.

Be generous

One of the best ways to get an influencer to notice you is to send them a gift! People have been doing this for years of course: handing out free stuff to people who might talk about it or write about it or even wear it. Think of the ‘goody bag’ that celebrities get when they attend the Oscars for example.

Not featured in the goodie bag

But social media has given regular folk today the possibility of having an enormous reach, on a par with some celebrities. An influencer who is regularly engaging with a tight-knit community is particularly powerful at getting a message out about a new product or service they’ve come across. And if they’ve had a freebie from you they’re (hopefully) likely to talk positively about you.

  • If you’re a hotel you might want to leave a chilled bottle of wine with a note in your influential traveller’s room.
  • If you’re a publisher why not send out a few free copies ahead of schedule to some keen readers who will boast about having finished it before anyone else to all their followers.
  • Or if you’re a data-providing service, perhaps you could select some top journalists or bloggers to grant free access to for their research.

Build a shortlist of super-leads

Ok, so you don’t want to just give your stuff away. That’s understandable. That doesn’t mean finding influencers isn’t helpful.

Try building a shortlist of super-leads: the sort of people you’re particularly interested in selling to because they’ll spread the word extremely fast once they’re bought from you. That way you’re focusing your sales or marketing efforts on the best possible people first, making your job a whole lot easier in the future.

This could be as simple as finding your most influential followers in the right sectors and getting in touch with them directly offering to show them what you’ve got on offer.

With Twitter’s new ads accounts you can now target lists of users. This is why we’ve added the ability to export your lists from PiQ directly on to your Twitter account and to download them as a spreadsheet. Want to target your next add at influential people in the cycling world? Search for cyclists (or ask us about our custom communities built around cycling, running or fitness and athletics) and add the most influential to a list at the click of a button. Now you’re ready to start marketing to a particularly valuable audience.

Hire some advocates

Another option is to find the best people you could possibly have talking about your brand and offer them a fee to do just that.

This is sometimes a tricky one so tread carefully. No one wants to be seen as a ‘sellout’ and if you ask someone to compromise the integrity that they have been building up, that makes them an influencer in the first place, they won’t be happy!

But sometimes it makes sense to offer renumeration to the people who are helping you spread the word about your brand.

Examples of this include hiring a guest blogger to write something on your blog. Make it something that they and their followers would find interesting and that tells people something positive about your brand.

Or you may want to try sponsoring an artist on YouTube, a photographer on Instagram or a musician on SoundCloud – helping them make a living in return for some branding or a mention.

Just be social

After all, it’s called ‘social media’ for a reason! The other three actions may depend on what sort of brand you are or the approach you want to take. But this one is a must for any business or organisation today.

Build relationships with the people that matter, follow them, show an interest, share their content and start conversations. The benefits of having a social presence, even a small one, and engaging regularly with the thought-leaders and big personalities in your area are many.

By engaging with key influencers you’ll build your following and you’ll be filling it with other influential people with similar common interests. Having a following like this is far more useful in the long run than having an eclectic bunch of competition hunters who ‘RTd and followed to win’ your latest campaign.

By sharing your key influencers’ content you’ll be posting stuff the rest of your target audience is interested in and you’ll get their gratitude. Perhaps they’ll retweet some of your content next time as well.

Put together a list of target influencers and start following them all and tweeting their interesting content and joining in their conversations. Measure how this affects your engagement rates and see how the quality of your following improves over time.

There’s so many ways to engage with influencers on social media. We’d love to hear your stories. Let us know if you’ve had success (or disasters!) when reaching out.

Of course if you want to start finding influencers, log on to PiQ and start using our free search tool today.

If you’re interested in getting access to our topic-specific communities or your company’s follower audience. Get in touch with us!