Twitter may not be like the other social media platforms out there. I'm looking at you Instagram and Facebook. But there are still ways your brand or business can benefit from it. It's a good idea to look at Twitter this way: the world's most popular micro-blog. Even if it isn't as small as it used to be. Most importantly, Twitter saw a lot of growth back in 2017 in terms of engagement, active users, and time spent on the platform. And with that growth, they are working on improving their key metrics. Which means, it's on the right track.
Which means that marketers and brands alike should start to pay attention. While Twitter might not have the potential reach like other platforms, it still offers some key advantages. Like it's open, public nature. Basically because whatever you share on Twitter, is available for everyone to see. Which is why Twitter is us it as a way for users to highlight their experiences with brands. For example, if you posted this type of content on Facebook, only your friends would see it. So whenever there's a complaint to be made, Twitter is the best choice. And that fact alone provides awesome advantages for businesses.
How To Maximize Your Business With Twitter
1. The Age of Algorithm
After Facebook showed that potential of algorithms for social networks, all the other networks took note. Naturally, there are issues with this algorithm-based approach... you show people only what they want to see. But the engagement benefits are quite significant. Seriously, there's a reason Facebook has 2 billion monthly users.
So when Twitter created their own algorithm almost two years ago, they claimed that users would 'ever miss an important tweet'. However, their algorithm received more criticism than praise. But here's the thing, the performance date speaks much louder than commentary from users.
Twitter users are more engaged and more often. This is a huge positive in terms of their algorithm-driven approach. Which is why it's very important to understand exactly how the algorithm works so brands can take advantage of it.
This first thing you need to know is that it ISN'T as advanced as the one that Facebook uses. You can read about Facebook's News Feed algorithm here. Facebook's version is a lot more refined, but it's only because they have thousands of data points that they can use. Twitter has a lot less to reference, but their system isn't as complex. So it means that it's a little easier to influence.
For example, if you start to see tweets in your feed that are liked by someone you follow you have the option to no longer see them. All you have to do is click the drop-down menu in the top right of the tweet and select 'I don't like this tweet'. Done and done! That simple action will COMPLETELY eliminate tweets liked by that users from showing up in your feed. Naturally, you have to do this for every user who's liked tweets you want to remove. It might be somewhat of a hassle, but it goes to show how much input users actually have on their feed.
This is why brands should really consider how the following factors can boost their Tweets, with the algorithm in mind:
- Engage more often with responses to your tweets and mentions. These can really boost your exposure. If you like a tweet, there's a higher chance it gets shown to more users. The algorithm works in your favor and posts these liked tweets into your followers' feeds.
- Like and re-tweet your own tweets. I know it sounds weird to like a re-tweet your own stuff, but Twitter uses like and re-likes as a way to determine popularity. Which means that you can actually increase your exposure to your own content. Because more engagement means more opportunity.
2. Take Advantage of Longer Tweets
Who else was excited when Twitter raised their character limit to 280? I know I was! And from a marketing perspective, it was definitely a win. Here's the thing: longer tweets look more professional. Plus with 280 characters, you don't need to limit your creativity or put together grammatically questionable tweets. Surprisingly most people just tweet as normal, but the added length has been great for simplifying the process.
So the question becomes, how can you use the 280 character limit to your benefit? For the most part, this offers you a lot more freedom in terms of creation. If longer tweets generate more likes and more likes equate to more reach (thanks to the algorithm) you should see what you can do. It doesn't hurt to experiment. If you expand your message and your analytics look good, a longer tweet is the way to go.
You could use expanded texts as a way to lead into a blog post. Or you could use extra lines between the text. There isn't really any data if this is super effective, but it doesn't hurt to try it out. Just take note of how your audience responds and make the necessary adjustments.
3. Advanced Search
While there are newer features to explore, one of Twitter's best feature is its advanced search tools.
Twitter marketing expert Mark Schaefer illustrated this well in a recent Social Media Examiner podcast:
“To demonstrate, Mark did an experiment with a local pizza place, which had tried Facebook ads without any success. Mark suggested the owner use advanced Twitter search - Mark showed him how to set up a stream with every conversation that was within five miles of the zip code that mentioned the words “pizza,” “restaurant,” “dining out,” or anything like that.
On average, someone in the area mentioned pizza every 20 minutes. The tweets might have been silly things like, “Oh, I can’t believe how stupid I am. I just dropped my pizza face-down on the floor.” Mark suggested tweeting the person back, “We’re going to deliver you a new pizza.” It doesn’t matter if the customer didn’t buy the dropped pizza from you. You become a legend. Another person complained about slow delivery from a competitor. Mark suggested the pizza place owner respond with, “Next time, try us.”
It's great that Twitter's advanced search lets you identify opportunities. Granted not every subject will be as popular as pizza, but there are a lot of brand-relevant conversations. Ones that are bound to happen a good amount of the time. And because they are all public, you can easily find them. But the trick is to act on them with minimal effort.
You can set up advanced search streams in Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or most of the other social management platforms. This will allow you to stay on top of relevant mentions. It's not new, but it really is one of your best strategies on Twitter. The thing to remember is that the more engagement the better. Especially with Twitter's algorithm, which rewards such interaction. The advanced search tools can help you find new opportunities and boost exposure.
Twitter's new ‘Threads’ feature is essentially simplified Tweetstorms. This enables you to string together a series of tweets on any given topic. In conjunction with 280 character tweets, Threads gives you a lot more room to add context. But it is definitely something that brands should use wisely.
One of the key benefits of Threads is that they are native to the Twitter feed. That means they're only present on the platform where people are already active. Unlike Moments or a link back to your website. Because of this, you can add more context. Since the full thread is hidden behind a 'See more' prompt, they are less intrusive and you can add more without overwhelming your followers.
So how can you use Threads to your advantage? You could use it as a way to offer more details, step-by-step instructions, or more in-depth messages. You don't have to worry about them getting lost either because the tweets are linked. This feature also makes it easier for users to understand without seeing a simple part of the wider message in their stream.
5. Videos, please.
Videos are always the best route to take, regardless of the social media platform. If you aren't already using video, it's really time to incorporate into your Twitter strategy. Video really is the best route to take and there's proof in the numbers.
However, it will be hard for Twitter to generate optimal momentum for the video efforts. Especially with Facebook, Google, and Amazon expanding their own TV-like pushes. But we're hoping that they'll find new ways to showcase their video content with additional prompts and promos. This could lead to more opportunities for video publishers on the platform. As Twitter's algorithm evolves, it will be able to recommend related video content. Which means that yours could be highlighted to more users.
Visuals, in general, are the best way to improve your brand's performance on Twitter. Video, in particular, is even more important. But the goal is to go for shorter videos. Those will definitely be the most effective on Twitter. You should stick to videos that are 15-30 seconds long.
With Twitter's broader narrative, there are significant opportunities in store for brands. Both in terms of research and engagement. Don't overlook the potential to combine public commentary and expanded communication options. These are definitely the best way a brand can succeed. Just don't forget to track your analytics to make sure efforts are worth it. How do you use Twitter to maximize your brand? Are you excited about the new algorithm? Let us know in the comments below, so we can discuss!