Four Twitter Misconceptions – Tips for Business Strategy
Since its inception in mid-2006, adoption of Twitter has skyrocketed. With 302 million active users, publishing an average of 58 million tweets per day, the implications for marketers are clear. How do you then avoid some of the pitfalls common to both individuals and companies when they join the platform? In today’s blog, Social Strategy1 takes you through some of the most common Twitter misconceptions and misuses, and tips for how to prevent this in your business.
1. All Twitter users are tweeting:
Given that it’s a social network, many assume that “talking” in the form of participating in Twitter conversations is the only form of engagement. In reality however, there are a variety of ways people engage with the platform as a news source, information gathering tool, e-commerce platform and more – and some of these individuals choose to never publish a tweet themselves. In fact, according to research from March 2015, 40% of Twitter users “don’t tweet but watch other people tweet”. At Social Strategy1, we call this the “onlooker effect”, and it’s an important consideration to take into account. Just because someone isn’t talking doesn’t mean they’re not receiving your brand messages – a common misconception!
2. The more hashtags the better!
The evidence regarding hashtags is clear – a carefully placed hashtag can expand the reach of your tweet beyond just those who follow you, to those interested in the word or phrase you have hashtagged. With research from Buddy Media showing that tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement than tweets without, there’s a clear imperative for businesses to include them in their content.
Engagement does not, however, continue to increase the more hashtags you include. In fact, using too many of them in the same post will firstly, make your post hard to read and secondly, actually reduce the effectiveness of that post and its likelihood to be shared. We urge our clients to resist the urge to fill their tweets with multiple hashtags, and instead focus on making them memorable, relevant and unique to your business.
3. Everyone can see all my conversations with other users in their Twitter feed
One of the most common questions we encounter when talking to brands about messaging at scale via Twitter is, “Hang on, how do I ensure I don’t annoy my followers sending out all these messages?” The answer lies in Twitter’s unique publishing format, and how it displays content on a timeline. When you publish a tweet, by default, all of your Twitter followers will see it published in their timeline – or be able to see if they visit your Twitter profile.
When you start a tweet with an “@” sign at the beginning however, the only people who will see this tweet appear in their feed are the person who you’re sending it to originally, and any followers who also happen to follow the person you are directing the @ reply towards. The only way a 3rd party can see this public tweet from you to another person is if they visit your Twitter profile. On a desktop, they need to click ‘Tweets and Replies’ to see this message. On the mobile Twitter app, it defaults to show ‘Tweets and Replies’ to someone visiting your profile.
Therefore, even if you are engaging with a vast number of customers or new prospects on Twitter, if you are careful to ensure you include the @ sign at the beginning of your tweets, you can rest easy knowing you are not risking “clogging up your feed”!
4. I can just cross-post my company’s Facebook updates to Twitter
Sadly, the misconception that updating your Twitter account is as simple as auto-posting your Facebook posts is prevalent, even among companies that possess an otherwise sophisticated digital strategy. Social networks each have their own requirements and practices, including tone, length, tagging and syntax. To cross-post one from social site to another means you are not taking advantage of the unique ways these networks engage communities and allow you to publish content. You even risk alienating your existing followers by posting messages that are truncated, irrelevant and potentially annoying. For visual examples, be sure to check out Matt McGee’s guide as to why this practice is detrimental to your brand.
Don’t have the bandwidth to develop a dedicated Twitter strategy to engage your customers and find prospects? Contact Social Strategy1 to find out how we can help your business.
Katherine is the Social Engagement Manager at Social Strategy1. Leading a team of Strategy Analysts, Katherine works with clients to help them connect with their customers, as well as prospects, to deliver brand awareness, lead generation and customer care via the social web.