Do you know WHY you are posting to certain social media platforms? Are you even posting to the right platforms to find your target audience?
Our blog series is here to help you answer those questions! We’re continuing to dive into the major social media platforms to help you make better decisions about which ones to use and why you should use them. We’ll even talk about why you might not want to use them.
This week, we’re exploring Twitter.
The Basics About Twitter
Twitter flew into the social media scene in mid-2006. It was known for its short form posts, often referred to as “microblogging.” At launch, users could post single tweets in 140 characters or less. Users can now post tweets in 280 characters or less.
Twitter now boasts about 192 million daily active users, with about 28% of them located in the U.S.
Twitter is also best known for turning the pound sign on phones into the word “hashtag” to help create and find conversations on social media.
Twitter’s Platform Features
One thing that has remained consistent with Twitter is that no matter what is changed or tested on the platform, you can put together a quick, simple message to your audience in a Tweet. But what is a tweet? We’re here to help you understand that lingo:
- Tweet: The message you post and send out to your followers in 280 characters or less. You can also add a photo or video to your message that does not impact your character usage. Links will count as 23 characters no matter how long or short your URL is.
- Retweet: The action someone takes to post their message to their followers. There is a simple retweet button on Twitter and third party apps to do this in a matter of seconds.
- Quote Tweet: This is a retweet with an added comment that allows users to add their own take on the retweet while still giving the original post exposure.
- Mention: This is also known as “tagging.” It is, quite simply, when someone tags your profile name in a post. You’ll receive a notification when someone does this.
- DM: This is short for “Direct Message,” when someone sends you a private message.
- Hashtag: This is a keyword or phrase that is preceded by a pound (#) sign. These are hyperlinked so you can see what others are saying about the particular topic.
Twitter has numerous other functions and terms, but the above are the basics that you need to know if you’re getting started. Twitter has a helpful Glossary on its website to explore more.
Why You Should Consider Twitter
- Like all other social media platforms, it’s free to join.
- You can maintain the message – if something bad happens to your company or rumors spread like wildfire, you can quickly get your message across here. Think of it as instant customer service.
- It’s a great place to have fun and show your voice beyond standard posts. For example, you can find Twitter chats about dozens of topics at any time throughout the week. That’s one way to find brand ambassadors and new followers. You can also have just plain old fun, like Wendy’s does every day.
- It’s a “legacy” platform – it’s been around for more than a decade and has no signs of going anywhere. While its features may change, you can still put out simple messages here without damaging your brand.
- It’s easy to find “your people.” You very likely have brand loyalists on Twitter. If you search for certain terms about your brand or products on the platform, you can find them immediately. Give them a follow and reach out to them via a direct message to see if you can partner on a campaign.
- If you are attending a conference or hosting a large event, Twitter is perfect for live events. You can encourage live tweeting by using a certain hashtag, or join the conversation. For example, South By Southwest, a large festival highlighting the music, technology and film industries uses the #SXSW hashtag for attendees to use. Check it out to see thousands of tweets about the event. You’ll see sponsors also joining in the conversation.
- Twitter makes it easy to let people you trust tweet on your behalf without even sharing a password. A great way to have people tweet multiple viewpoints at events or host “takeovers” with influencers is using Twitter Teams.
- Twitter can increase your visibility in search engines. This is NOT the case for other social media platforms. This means that Tweets show up in relevant Google searches. See the example below when searching for Richmond, Virginia.
Some of the Pitfalls
- Twitter takes time – and often a lot of it – to gain a following. Unless you have key influencers in your community with a big following, starting from scratch is difficult.
- When it comes to active, everyday conversations, you may find it difficult to find your voice and have an impact outside of your immediate following. You don’t want to get yourself involved in daily conversations about politics, breaking news or sports – all of which are always popular on the platform.
- In a somewhat combination of the first two points, you need someone who can check in on Twitter at least once a day (ideally two-three) to watch for mentions or out of control conversations about your brand. A social media agency can help monitor these items for you.
More From this Series
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