I stopped being able to beat my sister at checkers when she was 7 and I was 18. I just was not born with the analytical, think-ten-steps-ahead gene. But SocialBro makes that okay.

I love Twitter; it’s my main social media platform. Still, it’s going by me at a million miles a second, and I want to know what I’m missing. So I downloaded SocialBro yesterday. It’s not a new tool, but it offers more now than it did when I first heard of it last year. It has more Twitter numbers than I could possibly wish for–even more than I knew mattered, honestly. But it’s more than just a stats tracker. A brief overview of its main tools:

Real-Time Analytics. I downloaded the free version, which only allows monitoring of the activity for 100 tweeps at a time, refreshing every 10 seconds. For someone with a larger community than mine, that might not be enough, but I’ve got plenty of growing room. You see not only the number of tweeps, but the avatar of each tweep online that second, also refreshing every 10 seconds. Keep this screen up all day and you’ll get a good picture not just of how many people are tweeting at a particular time, but which people at what time of day, who’s regular, who’s never online, and who’s a prime candidate for conversation. Then just tweak your tweets accordingly.*

You can also see which languages are being spoken by your community during any specific 10-second interval, which is also useful for deciding when you should be online and whether those extra languages are significant enough that you should cater to them.

Sync influence data. I don’t condone the idea of measuring social influence. The numbers are based on activity, sharing and retweeting, follower growth, and reputation. Basically, they’re not measuring influence, they’re measuring popularity. And sometimes, not even that. But when you view people in terms of popularity rather than their power to influence activity or points of view among your followers, it’s easier to know how to interact with them: the same way you did in high school. Or not.

Best time to tweet. Tweriod provides a free graphic report on the best time to tweet based on the number of people on Twitter for any given day of the week. But searching through all the line graphs wasn’t very enlightening. SocialBro spells it out with when to tweet tomorrow, this coming week, what your followers are talking about, and what people liked talking to you about on Twitter. That’s besides the graphic hourly, daily and weekly data on when the most people are online, when you get the most retweets and replies, and some tag clouds you might find useful.

Insights. Besides the obvious data about your following, you get pie charts on time zones and languages, bar graphs on influence and number of users per follower and activity, and more. I felt like I my whole Twitterverse was represented on one screen–no small feat, and one I’d never seen a free app accomplish before. Looking at it, I could quickly decide whether to follow back some followers, whether I should start tweeting earlier or later, and who to check in on via direct message before unfollowing. If you want to change your Twitterverse for the better, this is the best screen to look at and decide what action to take. Then take action and come back to this screen and see how it’s changed.

Analyze your competitors. Pick a competitor’s Twitter handle or a Twitter list (you know, the ones you’ve been building obsessively since the day you started tweeting… yeah, the ones I don’t have, either). Put it in. Get the same data dashboard you get for your own profile. Note what competitors are tweeting about, when, and to whom. Proceed accordingly (give me a break, I just write the copy!).

Analyze your lists. This was a new one for me, and though I don’t have a bunch of organized lists I can see how this can be useful for making sure the people in a list stay on your radar, and keeping it “clean” by eliminating tweeps who no longer fit into the list’s tagcloud.

I seek numbers to give me the answers, not the other way ’round. Granted, all these tools probably exist elsewhere, separately. But why download 10 or 15 different apps when one will give you nearly infinite combinations of data, presented digestibly, with related data displayed all on the same page rather than making you connect the dots. I think this is the beginning of a great relationship.

*By this I don’t mean scheduling tweets or auto-tweeting. Although this can be a helpful part of your marketing outreach efforts, I’d advise (from my own experience!) that you do it sparingly and with caution. So what did I mean? Adjusting your own social activity and the topics you tweet about is smart if you want to cater to a certain crowd of people, I’d say.

Disclaimer: I don’t have the chops visibility or influence-wise to get asked to review SocialBro–I saw it in a list of apps reviewed by the Social Media Examiner, and among all the apps listed, this is the only one I downloaded. [Inhale]: Can I highly, highly recommend it now?

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