How to Find Your Hidden Social Mentions on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Whenever a client asks us to help improve their social media presence, one of the first things we look at is how responsive they are. It's one tactic in a larger audit we do, but it's a big one because it represents the "social" part of social media.

We're not just talking @ mentions and wall posts here; we look at brand mentions, and whether our client's social team is picking those up. If they're not, queuing them into these types of mentions is one of the fastest and easiest ways to improve the amount of engagement on a social account.

You can do this yourself if you know where to look. Here are a few key places to check:

Instagram - Photos of You and geolocated photos

Open up your Instagram account and click to view your profile. Click on the head-and-shoulders icon inside the tag in the middle-right of the page. This is Photos of You—photos that other users have tagged your account in. If you see photos there that you haven't noticed before, and that you haven't commented on or liked, go through and do that.

Next, check out who's geotagged photos at your place of business. To do this, you'll need to have uploaded a photo that's geotagged to your business' location. Click on the geotag, and see who else has posted. Again, make sure to like and comment on all those photos.

Make it a habit to check these spaces regularly, and interact with any new photos you see.

Facebook - Notifications tab

You probably already check for likes and comments on your Facebook posts, but there are a lot of other actions Facebook users can take on your page. The Notifications tab is a great way to check for them. Along with notifications for likes, comments, and shares on posts, you'll see when people post to your wall, mention your page, or check in at your location. For storefront businesses, the check-ins can be particularly high-volume and valuable.

Twitter - Brand name search

We've talked before about how useful Twitter Search is. One of the easiest ways to put it to work for you is to type your brand name into the search field (in quote marks, if your brand is more than one word) and see what comes up. The initial results will show the most-popular tweets about your brand; if you click the Live tab, you can see everything in chronological order (newest on top).

From here, do the same thing you did on Instagram and Facebook—interact with as many tweets as you can. Try out variations of your brand name, too; for example, search "Coca-Cola" as well as "Coke," "Diet Coke," "Coke Zero," #cocacola, #coke, etc.

Got it?

If you haven't already grabbed at this type of low-hanging social media fruit, work on it for a week, and you'll see great results in terms of the number of interactions and impressions your accounts receive.

Annoyed With Twitter’s New Favorites-In-Your-Timeline Feature? Use Lists.

The Art of Twitter Twitter has gone all Facebook on us and changed the way your timeline works. From now on, tweets that people you follow favorite can show up in your timeline.

It’s weird, because that feature ostensibly already exists in the form of retweets, but if it’s something that annoys you, there’s an easy way around it: Twitter Lists.

Lists may be the most underused and underrated Twitter feature. They’re phenomenal from a productivity standpoint. Once you’ve set them up and themed them—some of my most-used, for example, are Social Media, Mariners (news), Friends and (national/international) News—your X-thousand followers instantly turn into a couple dozen per list who are focused on a narrowly defined topic.

The upshot is that you spend less time mindlessly scrolling and looking for something to interact with. And the other upshot is of course that lists won’t show you randomly favorite tweets.

For now.


"The Art of Twitter" by mkhmarketing is licensed under CC BY 2.0

'The Bubble' Is The Biggest Threat To Your Company's Image

Image of a bubble On Tuesday, the NYPD did something incredibly stupid. Someone had the genius idea to solicit user-generated photos of interactions with police officers via a Twitter hashtag called #MyNYPD.

Here's the setup:

Everyone can see where this is going, right? Well, apparently not the NYPD. Exactly what you would expect would happen happened, and, as my boss Scott Battishill put it, New York's finest suddenly found itself with a huge PR problem where none existed before.

This wasn't the first time something like this happened, and it won't be the last.

The cause is something we can probably all relate to: The Bubble. It's the cozy protective layer of positivity and optimism about your brand or company that exists within your walls. People like bubbles because they feel good. No one likes being criticized, and no one wants to be the one person in the room to shoot down an idea everyone's excited about.

The thing is, someone needs to do that.

This is where a PR agency like Curator can help. We love the work our clients do, but we don't exist in their bubbles. In fact, it's our job to stay out of them. We do this by being impartial, and brutally interrogating every single idea before it goes public. That may sound bleak, but go look at what's being posted to that hashtag: Would you rather have that happen to your brand in full view of the public, or in the privacy of the Curator conference room?

For the NYPD, they'll spend the next couple weeks doing damage control instead of telling the story they wanted to tell. Their campaign is over, and it didn't even make it out of the gate. All because of The Bubble.

Photo credit: Jeff Kubina / Flickr

Four Reasons Your Office Should Love the New Twitter Redesign

With a new social media redesign comes a flurry of social media posts complaining of the change. This happened most recently on Tuesday when Twitter announced a profile redesign. Twitter received lots of negative feedback for their changes but I’m here to give you reasons why you should rejoice! channingtatum_profile2

1. The design team will owe you coffee Did you notice that with the new header photo your Twitter background disappeared? Yes, that background you sat with the design team for hours determining the correct spacing to display messaging on the left-hand side. No more hours wasted on your custom background that no one saw on mobile. Congrats, your design team will celebrate when you send them the new Twitter header photo dimensions. Profile photo = 400x400 px // Header = 1500x500 px by the way!

2. It hasn't rolled out on mobile… yet Large header photo, pinned tweets and best tweets are the trifecta that make up Twitter’s new profile redesign. Does your team know what you’ll pin first? How do you utilize the extra header space? Don’t panic, you have time to figure it out. With no news from Twitter yet on when these features will roll out on mobile, you have time to adjust and test these new features.

3. Takes away hours of scrolling When you go on Twitter where do you spend 90% of your time? Chances are you're in the Twitter feed or curated lists. When you click on specific account, what information are you looking for? With Twitter’s new features, pinned and best tweets are created to provide you everything you'll need to know. No more scrolling through days of tweets, asking yourself 'what does their audience engage with?' Now you'll know before moving into business with them.

4. It serves as inspiration  If you roll your eyes over a change in social media, you're in the wrong business. The number of times that social media platforms have modified or redesigned is endless. Don’t be frustrated but instead, send Twitter a thank you. This is the wake up call you needed to adjust your social media strategy. As community managers, strategists, content developers and analysts we should always be evaluating and taking notes to ensure we’re taking advantage of all opportunities on social media. Let Twitter’s redesign serve as inspiration for you to adjust your plan and get out of your regular, 5-tweets-a-day rut!

The Selfie Obsession

Yup, it’s official. It’s a selfie world, and we’re all just living in it. The evolution of the selfie in popular culture over the last year particularly has been a whirlwind. First, the word “selfie” became Oxford Dictionary's 2013 Word of the Year, allowing duck-face experts everywhere to rejoice in the official addition of the word to the English language. (By the way, if you haven’t caught on by now, selfie is defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media.”)

Next, there was the #SELFIE song, cooked up by the NYC DJ duo The Chainsmokers as an homage to the present Era of Instagram. It has been invading the airwaves, perfectly capturing the self-centered social media-obsessed society we live in these days. You can read more about the song here.

And then there was the selfie heard ‘round the world. On the eve of the 2014 Oscars earlier this month, host Ellen DeGeneres orchestrated the most epic selfie of all with a group of A-list actors including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts and more. The super-sized selfie, which Ellen shared via Twitter, reportedly “broke” the social media platform, becoming the most retweeted post of all time, with more than 3 million retweets to-date.

Photo Credit: @TheEllenShow


The Oscars selfie ploy garnered some coveted airtime for Samsung, a major sponsor of the 86th annual Academy Awards. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 was featured prominently on camera as Bradley Cooper, seen in the foreground, was filmed holding the phone as the stars huddled in for the shot.

But Samsung (which also had another successful selfie moment in their #TogetherWeRise campaign) is not the only brand getting in on the selfie train. Companies like Target, AXE and GoPro have all gotten into the mix with some kind of selfie campaign that still stays true to their brand identity, while plugging into the word of the hour. When a cultural phenomenon like the selfie aligns with a brand’s core image and can offer fans a compelling way to engage, that’s when the conversation clicks.

For example, AXE’s #AXESelfie Challenge campaign encouraged user-generated content by prompting fans to take a funny selfie with an AXE product and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #AXESelfie for a chance to win a year’s worth of AXE goods. According to an inforgraphic for the Shorty Awards, of the brand’s seven social media campaigns in 2013, the #AXESelfie Challenge garnered the most engagement.

Purina’s Beggin’ Strips brand of dog treats even got furry friends into the selfie craze with the #BegginSelfie campaign, encouraging pet owners to share photos of their dog’s selfies to be featured in their #SelfieSunday roundup on Twitter.

Photo Credit: @Beggin


Here at Curator, integrating our brands naturally into social conversation in ways that are authentic to their brand identity is important.

Here are some quick tips for brands that want to dabble in the selfie space:

-- Display your brand’s strong points but don’t exaggerate or misrepresent them. Customers will find out and call you out on it. -- Don’t take jabs at the competition. No one likes a hater. -- Focus on the “insta” in Instagram. Provide content as you go and avoid too many #latergrams. The beauty of social media is sharing a message in real-time. -- Use social media dashboards to direct social media traffic back to your website. -- Dare to be different to stand out above competing messages, but don’t stray too far from your brand’s true voice. -- Keep photos of actual people in your selfies relevant to your brand and your brand’s mission. -- Don’t over-post. Like that annoying friend in your Instagram feed that ONLY posts photos of herself, too many selfies can alienate your followers.

We’d love to help incorporate your brands into this cultural phenomenon, but first, let us take a selfie…


Curator News Feed: August 9, 2013

We've got a little bit of everything this week--from shark attack suits to the latest Mumford and Sons music video, plus some new social media news that we're kind of geeking out about (what else is new?). Happy Friday, all!

Credit: Fast Company

Facebook Rolls Out New Story ‘Bumping’ FeaturePR Daily. We’ve seen Facebook struggle to remain relevant in the midst of new social platforms coming into play now more than ever before. According to PR Daily, one way to appeal to their audience is to update what users see in their newsfeed. This week’s latest Facebook announcement shares that now Facebook will be “bumping” old content to the top of news feeds. The change could have a fairly dramatic impact on sponsored posts if it means that non-sponsored posts will actually gain more visibility. The remedy for this from PR Daily? Keep producing quality content and it will always beat out the rest of the Facebook noise. -- Annie

Mumford and Sons stand in performers, Mashable. What do you get when you combine great music with great comedy? This music video. I won’t spoil the surprise by going into detail here, but suffice it to say, if you like Mumford and Sons and SNL (and what’s wrong with you if you don’t?), this music video will make your day. -- Matthew

Twitter Partners with Datalogix to Track When Tweets Lead to Offline Sales, TechCrunch. Quantifying fast and hard ROI from a single Tweet or Facebook post is a constant stumbling block for a lot of brands on social media. Finally, we may have the answers we've been looking for. My favorite fact from this article: "Brands’ organic tweets drive sales. There was an 8 percent sales lift among users who saw a brand’s organic (i.e. unpaid) tweets versus those who didn’t, and the lift was three times greater if they saw five or more organic tweets." -- Megan

Announcing Instagram 4.1, Instagram Blog. Instagram announced big news this week with an app changing feature for allowing media uploads for video. This change opens up endless possibilities for existing users and brands to utilize video more. Some concerns might be is to whether this will turn Instagram into just a media outlet rather than a place of creativity? Or better yet, what feature do you think Vine will come out with next to compete? -- Brooke

Can this Surf Gear Prevent Shark Attacks?, Co.Design. Besides deterring Jaws, I think these wetsuit and surf boards designs are pretty cool. I wonder if wearing one while watching Shark Week from my couch will make me less scared. -- Maria

Why Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Bought the Washington Post, The Week.  I have long revered the Washington Post. Growing up, Katharine Graham, Bob Woodward and Carl Berstein were heroes in my eyes. This week, I was completely surprised to read the news that Jeff Bezos purchased the D.C. institution. I’ve read almost everything I can get my hands on to understand what the heck is going on. This was a great article sharing five credible theories behind the buy. Based on the letter Bezos wrote to Washington Post employees, I think big things are on the horizon. He writes, “Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about – government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports – and working backwards from there.” -- Ann Marie

5 Startup Founders Reveal Their Best Company Culture Tips, Mashable. Here at Curator we understand the importance of having a strong and thriving culture. Ours is much like a family, with established traditions and shared values that we all contribute to. As we continue to grow and evolve in our work, that brings opportunity to reflect on where we've been and reevaluate where we'd like to keep heading. I really enjoyed reading this article because I think we can always learn from others' experiences and I love that some of our cultural foundation is shared with other brads and companies that we admire. What's your favorite takeaway from these culture tips? -- Chelsey

The Channel Is Where You Make It

Curator PR

We’ve talked for years about the “changing media landscape.”  The question in my mind is whether that shift has become so pronounced as to declare traditional news channels irrelevant? 

In the last few days, President Obama has appeared on "The Tonight Show," and conducted online chats with and audiences.  Compare that with a stat I heard this morning on NPR that the president has only given one interview to the New York Times in the last three years and hasn’t sat down to give a one-on-one to the Washington Post in four years.  Clearly the president’s communication team believes they can reach more of an audience—and have a more unfiltered conversation—through these new “news” channels. 

When was the last time you caught the 5 p.m. TV news?  When was the last time you checked your Facebook feed?

Is it more relevant to you that a house burned down 25 miles from yours and a reporter is showing it from four angles or that your friend on Twitter shared news about a new bakery in your neighborhood?

What do you care about? At Curator one of the questions we ask ourselves as we ideate is whether or not a consumer will really care about the idea – how will it make them look to their social media audience if they “like” a post and what that says about their personal brand.  Do you care about what traditional news channels report in large measure?  From a marketing standpoint our concern has to be where the audience is and if traditional news channels are not providing the type of content that maintains the attention of a group of consumers we have to look elsewhere.  So when the president wanted to talk about housing in America his communication team choose Zillow to reach an audience focused on buying or selling a home. Makes sense.

Last week we purchased an old Seattle P.I. newspaper box from a store in SoDo called Second Use.  They had pallets of them. It’s a striking image of the decline of traditional news media.

We’re going to put an iPad in the box window and show our reel – we like the "old media meets new" metaphor. 


The New York Times isn’t going away and neither is local news or the Washington Post (We’re very interested to see what Bezos does with the Post.) There is definitely a place for traditional news – even in this new environment, and we’d be foolish as communication professionals to dismiss them.

So the question I ask myself is how we prioritize these channels as it relates to marketing.  As we talk about the new media landscape the options to reach and interact with a consumer expand even beyond social media channels and bloggers.  The “channels” are endless. and Zillow became channels.  A channel today can live anywhere your consumer is – anywhere.  This is liberating news for creative communication companies. All that matters is that we make a connection.  What are some of the channels you’re using to do this for your clients?

Buffer: A Great Way To Manage Multiple Twitter Accounts

A photo of kittens in a cardboard box

Let’s face it: It can be hard enough to keep up with one Twitter account throughout the day, much less several. Between posting, replying, monitoring and everything else you have going on during your day, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Luckily, there’s a tool out there that can help you chop the workload in half and stay productive: Buffer.

Buffer works by queuing up all your tweets and publishing them at times of the day and week that you select. This allows you to tweet during optimal times, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, so you can focus on what you need to.

A couple disclaimers before we dive into the good stuff:

Buffer is not a “set it and forget it” tool. Maintaining your social media presence is like maintaining your yard: If your goal is to make it look kempt with as little effort as possible, you can go ahead and fill it in with a bunch of rocks – but people are going to notice. Buffer works best as a time-saver, not a way to cut corners.

Decide if scheduling is right for you. To schedule or not schedule social media posts is a whole other (hotly debated) topic itself. If you’ve decided it makes sense for you, read on; if not, you may want to consider other options.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s how Buffer can help you get a handle on your accounts:

1. Set your times

One of the big advantages of Buffer is that it allows you to set specific times of day to update your accounts. You can come into work in the morning, load a bunch of posts into Buffer and rest assured knowing that those posts will publish at the best possible times.

You can also pick which days of the week you want it to post, so if your tweets tend to be less effective on, say, Saturdays and Sundays, you can strip those days out altogether.

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 12.01.56 PM

Need help figuring out which times to set? Check out our post on How To Use Twitter Analytics To Find Your Best Times To Tweet.

2. Add some posts

When you start adding posts to Buffer, you’ll notice that at a certain point, they roll over to the next day. Buffer lets you set times throughout the day to queue posts, and once you’ve exceeded all those times, it will roll over to the next day or date that you’ve set it to post.

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 12.04.32 PM

3. Monitor, monitor, monitor

Remember how we said Buffer isn’t a “set it and forget it” tool? Just because you’ve scheduled posts to publish to your Twitter account(s) doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. To maintain a healthy Twitter account, you’ll need to remember to check those posts to see what kind of feedback they’re getting, and to respond to comments when necessary. (Also: Be aware of what’s going on in the world. If you have a policy to not tweet during times of national tragedies or disasters, be ready to clear your Buffer queue.)

So there’s still work to do, but -- and this is the key point -- what Buffer has done is free you up to focus on monitoring and responses – the parts of your social presence that require a human being to be active and engaged.

4. Analyze and adjust

The last thing to note is that Buffer keeps track of interaction on your tweets: retweets, favorites, clicks, @ replies and potential reach. It’ll flag “top tweets” for you to call out which of your tweets have received the most interactions. That can be helpful when planning for future content. 

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 12.06.12 PM

Optional: Add other accounts

Buffer also supports Facebook and LinkedIn, and if you think scheduling might be right for those networks, experiment with posting to them, too. (Note: Be aware of the potential for third-party apps to decrease your Facebook reach.)

Questions? Feel free to leave a comment, or find us any time on Facebook and Twitter.

Curator News Feed: July 12, 2013

Curator has been quite busy this week: Ann Marie and Chelsey were back and forth from California for client events and meetings. Noelle is currently exploring the grounds of another client, Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto with journalists in Mexico. And back at the homestead, the office has been setting its sights on not only back to school, but holiday initiatives for our wonderful clients. Phew! Amongst all the productivity, we still found time to produce some pretty interesting links. So without further ado: the Curator News Feed for July 12th.

"#Fireworks don't fly. (On planes)" via TSA's Instagram account

Marketing Agencies Will Disappear in 10 Years Study Says, PR Daily. Shocking headline. Interesting content. Glad we’re already doing the content marketing and “PR thinking” thing… – Dan

How To Become More Unstoppable Every Day, Fast Company. This is a feel good story about a girl who pushed outside what she thought her limits were and went for it, not to break some crazy world record or become the best at it, but for her own happiness. Her most recent project was to learn to dance in a year, all while holding a full-time job. My favorite line from her is on her site, here: "This isn't a story about dancing, though. It's about having a dream and not knowing how to get there—but starting anyway. Maybe you're a musician dreaming of writing an original song. You;re an entrepreneur dying to start your first venture. You're an athlete but you just haven't left the chair yet." – Maria

TSA's Gun Policy: Confiscate It, Instagram ItCNN Money. It's the reason we arrive at the airport hours before our flight even boards. We all dread it: TSA security. Well, now you can follow your favorite airport gatekeepers on Instagram. The account already has 40,000+ followers with only 11 pictures posted since it joined June 27. No doubt these pictures are alarming--a stun gun disguised as a cigarette holder, grenades, throwing knives, loaded pistols. Reading some of the comments, the account is already pretty controversial. What do you think; does TSA's Instragram account make you feel more safe in the air, or otherwise?  – Megan

32 Tricks You Can Do With Wolfram Alpha…, BusinessInsider. Wolfram Alpha, if you're not familiar, is kind of a nerdy Google that came out a few years ago. Whereas Google is almost entirely focused on searching for links, Wolfram Alpha is a search engine that's focused on answers. Take the first tip on this list: You can input the names of Subway sandwiches and the toppings you want to include on those sandwiches, and instantly find out an approximation of how many calories will end up in the sandwich you build. Crazy. – Paul

The Number Facebook Doesn't Want You To See, BuzzFeed. Here's an uncomfortable truth: None of your Facebook friends care about your updates. Oh, they see them; they just don't care. That's the gist of this article by BuzzFeed, which points out that while most Facebook posts "reach" hundreds or thousands of people, that reach doesn't often translate into interaction. I've found a lot more success posting in Groups and Lists with fewer people, but a narrower focus. That way, my friends who like social media, for instance, see my social-media-news updates, and those posts get a lot more feedback. – Paul

The Pixar TheoryJon Negroni. Ever thought Pixar movies were connected? You were right. This article will blow your mind. Special thanks to former Curator, Lisa Kennelly, for sharing this on her Facebook page and possibly changing my life. – Chelsey

The 7 Types of Hashtag Abusers, NY Mag. Hashtags are everywhere and they're a great tool, but it's also important to keep your hashtag usage in check. Don't be afraid to admit, are you one of these hashtag users? – Brooke

3D Printing, As 3d printing has become more accessible, it's still remained a bit out of reach for people who just want to tinker and not drop a few grand in equipment. I ran across a great writeup on the new eBay app that lets you print stuff called Exact, which looked rather interesting, yet seems to be more about customizing existing models. Then in the comments ran across the really interesting site which lets you actually upload your designs, both 2d or 3d if you have the know-how, and get models printed and shipped to your door. Check it out if you've been kicking around a product idea or two, it looks really well polished with a solid community around it. – Shawn

The World's Most Active Twitter City? You Won't Guess It, Forbes. A fun article in Forbes this week that revealed the results of which city in the world is the most active on Twitter. Think the no. one spot would go to New York, Tokyo, or maybe London? Well, guess again. Read the article to find out which city ranked at the top. Funny enough, San Francisco (where Twitter is headquartered) was not even ranked amongst the top 20 most active Twitter cities. – Annie

Wax Dummy for Coupons, Design Taxi. We’ve all seen business beat the street with a stack of coupons to bring in customers, but I’ve never seen a company mix the coupon offer with their service in quite so clever (yet slightly disgusting) of a way. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so I’ll just tell you the business is a waxing studio and the person handing out the coupons was wearing them. It’s proof that nothing gets people’s attention like a good mix of curiosity and schadenfreude. – Matthew

How To Use Twitter Analytics To Find Best Times To Tweet

Image of a clock

People like to talk with us about the strategy and creative vision around large-scale consumer lifestyle campaigns, but behind every great campaign is a scientific attention to detail.

One of those details involves social timing. Every social account has times of the day and week that work best for it -- times when it's more likely to be liked, retweeted, shared and so on. To find those times, we need data, and so we were very excited last week when Twitter rolled out its Analytics engine to all users. The raw data now provided by Twitter is a veritable sandbox from which to organize data and gain new insights about how accounts can be optimized.

In the spirit of being open with data, we thought we'd share a quick guide that explains how we mashed together some of Twitter's new data to reveal one of our accounts' best times to tweet. Follow us into the weeds, and let's talk timing....

Best Times to Tweet Report

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 5-10 minutes

What you'll need: A Twitter account, Twitter Analytics and Excel, or something like it. (Note: I'm using Excel 2011 for Mac, so if the functions I describe here don't match up with what's on your system, just do a Google search for the buttons you need to find.)

Step 1

Log in to Twitter Analytics and make sure you're looking at the Timeline Activity view. In the upper right, click Download CSV. Make sure you download the CSV file and NOT the Excel file -- this is crucial. Also, since more data leads to greater accuracy, pick the report for the last 90 days of tweets. You can add to it later to ensure even greater accuracy.

Step 2

Highlight Column B ("time") and copy it. Now highlight Column C, right click and click Insert copied cells. Rename Column B so it says "Days of Week," and rename Column C so it says "Times of Day."


Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 8.24.42 PM

Step 3

It's possible that you're looking at a bunch of hashmarks (######) in your Days of Week and Times of Day column. We're gonna fix that in this step. Highlight the Days of Week column, right click and click Format Cells. This'll pop open a system dialog box with a nav bar on the left. Click Date, and select the option that lists days of the week. Now click OK. You should see the days of the week appear in your column. If you don't, make the column wider and they should appear.

Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 1.49.46 PM

Now highlight the Times of Day column and click Format Cells, but this time in the nav, click Time. Select the option that's formatted as 1:30 PM, and click OK. Stretch out your column if you need to.

Step 4

OK, confession time: I'm not an Excel wizard by any stretch, so these next couple steps might seem a little janky. Bear with me, because at least they're easy.

At this point, you have a whole bunch of individual times and dates, and that's gonna mess you up if you try to make a chart because Excel will view them as unique data points. You're trying to figure out data for all 11 a.m.'s and Tuesday's, for instance, so you need to generalize the data. Here's my duct-tape way of doing that: Highlight the Days of Week column and copy it. Now pop open a plain-text editor -- on the Mac, TextEdit will work perfectly -- and make sure the text type is set to plain text (you might have to Google how to do this). Once that's done, paste in your column, click Edit > Select All and copy the text again (at this point, the text you pasted is in plain text format). Now go back to Excel and paste the copied text into the Days of Week column. Nothing will change visually, except maybe the left-right justification, but Excel will now recognize that data as plain text, which will make generalizing the data way easier. Follow this same process for the Times of Day column and move on to the next step.

Step 5

We've got a little bit more formatting to do, and then we can actually start doing stuff. Select all the data in your spreadsheet by clicking in the upper-left corner (or you can hit APPLE + A / Edit > Select All), and then in the menu at the top, click Data > Sort. In the dialog box that pops up, make sure you've got the box in the upper right, that says "My list has headers," is checked. Tell it you want to sort your data by Days of the Week, on Values, from A to Z. Click OK. Now all the Fridays in the spreadsheet are bunched together, as are Saturdays and so on. Now, more duct tape: The spreadsheet is still looking at all these data points as individual dates (e.g. Friday, April 21) and we need it to think of them as all the same thing (e.g. Fridays). So just rename them all. Type "Friday" into the first Days of the Week box, copy it, highlight all the other Fridays and hit paste. When you're done, it should look like this:


Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 2.19.59 PM


Now go do the same thing for all the other days of the week.


And we're back. We need to do the same thing for times, so highlight all your data, and go to Data > Sort. Make sure you've got "My list has headers" checked, and that you're sorting by Time of Day and sorting on Values. This time, it's going to make more sense to order things "Smallest to Largest," because what that's going to do is order your times of day from earliest to latest. Hit OK, and you'll see all the times lined up neatly. As with the Days of Week list, these times are still all being recognized by Excel as unique, so you want to rename them for the hour they exist in (e.g. 6:02 AM = 6:00 AM; 6:56 AM = 6:00 AM). Make sure you type in the appropriate AM/PM designations because Excel isn't gonna figure that out for you.

*Note: This is one area where you can easily customize your report. I've chosen to look at tweets by hour, but you can easily analyze them by half hour, quarter hour and so on. All you'd do is double the data sets each time and name them appropriately. If you were segmenting by the half hour, for example, anything between 4:00 PM and 4:29 PM would be 4:00 PM, and anything between 4:30 PM and 4:59 PM would be 4:30 PM. It takes a little bit longer, but it's also more precise. Once you're done with this step, we're ready to rock....

Step 6

Select all your data and click Data > PivotTable. I like to put mine in a separate worksheet; you can do what you want. From here, you should have something like the picture below, and we can start organizing data:


Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 3.30.09 PM



The first thing you'll want to do is set the X and the Y axes. I like to have Times on the Y and Days on the X. To do that, click and drag "Days of the Week" in the black PivotTable Builder above to the "Column Labels" field and "Times of Day" to the "Row Labels" field. It'll look like this:


Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 8.08.13 PM

Next, you'll want to populate the Values field -- this is where you'll see your best times to tweet. From the PivotTable Builder, drag your retweets and/or mentions and/or favorites down into the Values field. Right away, you should notice values start to populate themselves in the main body of the table.

You're not done yet, though. You need to make sure you're getting averages and not just totals. Totals can be misleading because if you got, say, 15 retweets at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday one time, the data will make it seem like that's a great time to tweet, when really, on average, that's a terrible time to tweet. To get that average, we're going to click the little "i" next to each variable in the Values field:


Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 8.13.52 PM


That'll pop up yet another dialog box where you can rename each variable and average the values:


Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 8.16.45 PM


(Note: You'll probably also want to click that button toward the lower right that says Number... and tell it to count to zero decimal places so you don't get a bunch of overly complicated numbers.)

After you've done that, it's really just a matter of cleaning up the table to look the way to want -- maybe highlight the times with big numbers in them, maybe resize the columns -- and parsing over the data.

You're done!

Keep in mind, this chart can be saved and added to as you go. You could update it each month and pretty quickly have a veritable mountain of data.

If you run into any trouble along the way, feel free to contact me through Curator's Twitter and Facebook pages, or email me at paul [dot] balcerak [at] curatorpr [dot] com.

Note: This post originally appeared on Paul's personal site.