The Water Hub project is a pro bono communications and digital support team focused on telling more human and accessible stories within the water movement. Twitter is our main social platform for raising awareness around water justice issues. Our target audiences being community-based organizations, communications staff, and journalists means our top priority is breaking down information so that it’s not only easier to find but quick to digest for their rollout.
After some scanning and number crunching, we found some interesting trends both in our own data, as well as overarching themes we hope will help inform water communicators as they plan for the year. Here are some key takeaways on how we used Twitter for water communications in 2021. For an even deeper dive, read our full report here or Hubspot’s “How-To” guide to Twitter Analytics here.
2021 topline Water Hub Twitter key performance indicators (KPIs):
- 23% average audience growth rate per quarter
- Over 14,000 total engagements and over 69,000 total impressions
- Engagement rate of 2.2% which is above the industry average at 1.6%
- Half of our top posts (most engagement) were about infrastructure!
Measuring audience behavior is important for understanding audience interests. Some top key metrics we monitor are: impressions which refers to the number of times a tweet appears on someone’s timeline whether it was engaged with or not. Engagements refers to how many times a tweet was liked, commented on, clicked, or shared. Finally, engagement rate is the percentage of people who see your content and engage with it–– having people see your content (see also: impressions) is one thing, but to take action to learn more is often a more challenging hurdle.
Impressions are a helpful KPI to track general awareness as a goal–– it’s a measurement of how far your content is spread. For example, that could translate to track how well a news article saturated people’s feeds, or a grasp of how much brand exposure you’re earning based on how much your content is seen.
We like to look at engagements and engagement rate to gauge how our content is resonating. If a post is gripping enough to get someone to stop scrolling to like, click, or share, that’s an indication that the content is powerful enough for people to take the next step on their journey to learn more, take action, sign up, and more.
Keeping a pulse on which topics are resonating with our audience allows us to better tailor our information sharing to the audience we serve. As mentioned above, we noticed the tweets that revolved around infrastructure, whether it be an infographic showcasing the decline in water infrastructure investment from 1980-now or success stories like these nature-based projects as a resilient solution to water woes, the topic of infrastructure rose to the top in 2021.
For example, updates on water policy, especially related to infrastructure investments, was a key topic within the water movement. Events, people to follow, polling results, and successful water solutions stories show that people want results and to be aware of what’s happening in the water world. Here are some of the top themes we saw on our channels this year.
- Water policy: legislation updates and investments, infrastructure
- Events: drought briefings, infrastructure spending implementation, water cultural talks
- Advocacy: elevating water affordability/access/safety disparities, and other BIPOC community-driven leadership
- Solutions: at both community and government level from green infrastructure projects like wastewater recycling plants to tapping traditional Indigenous knowledge
- Research: voter polling, data visualization
After some deep listening, we learned that content that discussed the current political climate and infrastructure negotiations did well along with water affordability topics earning notable author retweets. This information informs us to stay in the flow of conversation of current events. Keeping our finger on the pulse is a good way to walk the talk as practitioners, grow credibility, and keep our audience in the know as people in the water movement.
We approached our Twitter with curiosity, allowing ourselves to experiment until we learned some tried-and-true content formats that received high engagement. How that showed up included posts that incorporated threads, infographics, quote cards, and partner highlights.
Additional formats we experimented with that landed in our top posts of the year were remixing popular memes adjusted to reflect water topics. The biggest surge in followers and engagement came in quarter two when we launched our Water at Work campaign and increased content highlighting Indigenous leadership. Keep in mind the inclusion of applicable hashtags, external links, and tagged Twitter handles increases impressions and engagement numbers.
With each passing year, we try to reflect on strategies and tactics that are working and those that don’t. As ways to engage with people and issues evolve, communicators must stay afloat to learn how to develop thoughtful connections with audiences to build trust and community. We hope this breakdown of what worked for us helps you in your water communications online in 2022!