Understanding who our audiences are is critical in digital marketing. Understanding who they are, their drivers, pain points and what makes them have a laugh at the end of a long day are all critical to communicating your message, connecting with them and closing the sale.

While most social networks give us fairly robust analytics such as age, gender and location, Twitter still gives us limited demographic data. Part of this is due to the flexible nature of the platform: we can be a person, business, or imaginary hippo. In short, demographic data hasn’t always been a priority for Twitter outside of it’s advertising platform.

However, knowing about our audience is still really useful to us as marketers, so there’s a little life hack you can use to help you glean a little more information about your Twitter followers.

Related: 5 Ways a Social Media Audit Can Give Your Business a Leg Up

How do I find out about my followers on Twitter?

Twitter lets all users write a short bio about themselves. Users self-identify trait about how they want to be seen by the world: whether it’s an academic, marketer, parent or Taylor Swift fan.

These bios can be a gold mine to help you learn about your audience. By aggregating all of your follower bios in the same place, you can find trends and patterns in your followers, so help you better inform your marketing activity.

And, even better, this little trick will work on your competitor’s Twitter account, and you can even adapt it for Instagram, too.

So here’s how we do it.

How to learn about your Twitter followers

Step 1.
Log into Twitter on a computer and find your Twitter followers. Click on your ‘follower’ listing to expand them out and view all the bios.
Scroll to the bottom to view them all, then highlight every since one and copy and paste them.

Step 2.
Paste them into a notepad document to strip it of its formatting.
Find and replace the words copied from the webpage like ‘follows you’ and ‘follow’ with a space to delete it, so you’ve just got the bio information only.
Now, your follower data is ready for analysis.

Step 3.
Throw it in a word cloud generator – this one is my favourite because it’s so easy to use and customise the design.

Step 4.
Find the trends based on the popular words which appear in the largest font. For example, I can see a lot of my followers are into marketing, media, content, social and freelancing.

Take this with a grain of salt, though, and feel free to refer back to the original dataset to check your assumptions. For example, it looks like a bunch of my followers are into ‘hamsters’. Nope, it’s really just one follower who is really, really into hamsters.

Of course, it’s not as robust as other analytics platforms’ reporting, but it is one of the few methods available to use to draw insights about our Twitter followers to learn about them.

Related: How To Create 6 Weeks of Social Media Posts in 30 Minutes

This hack can also work with your Instagram followers. While we can’t see all the bio information, we can still see some descriptors and pull a few trends from the information we’ve got there too.

Give it a go, and see what you come up with. Or, if you’d like a hand with a social media audit, I’d love to help! I’d love to jump on a call and find out more about what you’re looking to learn from an audit.

Want to work with Rachel?

Rachel Beaney is a writer and social media content specialist, helping businesses connect with their audiences.

She’s worked with local, national and global companies, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping businesses tell their stories with creative and data-driven solutions.

She is based in Sydney, Australia.

Want to work together? Rachel would love to hear from you. Get in touch today.