I’m pretty active on my personal twitter account, which I manage differently an influencer or brand, or even my own blog’s associated account. I’ve been a user for years and recently revived my old, previously private account, that I’d only log on to post blog links (in case it isn’t obvious, not a good strategy). Never totally sure of how involved I wanted to be on twitter, I’ve fully admitted to myself: I love this platform. And having a personal account actually allowed me to experiment and use that when strategizing for business + brand accounts. Years after, I’ve found myself thinking—why IS twitter still such a good idea for both personal and business use? What have I learned that’s kept my twitter obsession strong, when other social media relationships aren’t quite so secure (like, say, Facebook with its recent big shift)? Well, answers below…
1. Today twitter is a visual place. People are more likely to engage with (and clink on links of) tweets with images. Sound like more work for such a fast-moving feed? The good news is that as long as it’s cropped appropriately for the platform, it doesn’t have to be a filtered, styled photo like it would on Instagram. It really can be impulsive and unedited. Twitter is laidback like that.
2. It’s less about the ‘likes’. Favoriting tweets, which is essentially bookmarking, is a subtle way of saying “Hey, that was clever!” or “Thanks for bringing that up!” to someone without having to commit to actual sharing. In my opinion, that makes a hell of a lot more sense than the likes you see on other platforms, which let’s be honest, are all popularity contests and nothing more.
3. Frequency is encouraged, not looked down upon. Everyone knows the three-hour rule for Facebook, and no one wants to see five Instagram photos by the same user clogging up their feeds in an hour (or even a day). But tweets? The more the merrier. The kicker is that although frequency is encouraged, you still need to be quick-witted and insanely timely. This isn’t an excuse to compromise the quality of your social media updates, but it does give you freedom to do more. And FYI, to be active on twitter, you really do need to tweet frequently. Twitter is a live news feed that’s being updated every second, so if you aren’t promoting (and re-promoting when appropriate) content, it will be buried, fast.
4. Your brand needs personality. Or it will remain in twitter obscurity for all eternity. Here’s the thing. If each of your tweets read like your banner ads, your business is not going to be appreciated. Brands that inject personality not only get noticed, but go viral. Remember that whole Arby’s-Pharrell-Grammy-twitter-exchange? How many people didn’t even remember Arby’s existed before that? There are many examples, but that one gets me every time.
5. One tweet can send your followers running. There’s less loyalty than other platforms, but maybe it’s because it’s impersonal, and unfollowing is so easy. Send out a politically fueled tweet and you’ll know what I mean. For business it means you must think before you tweet.
6. Clicks ain’t what they used to be. Some digital businesses don’t think of twitter as a major traffic source any longer—back in the day all you needed were a few words and a shortened link to send people to your website—but it’s still a great way to increase brand awareness and provide updates to fans or customers. Plus, all major media is incredibly active on twitter, so if you receive press it’s still worth it to have a twitter handle and a link to provide.
7. Your personal twitter may actually work for your brand. When we got Funk Digital up and running, we were thinking of creating a specific twitter for the brand instead of maintaining Crista’s personal account. But why would we do that when she had an account where 90% of her tweets were related to the industry anyway? There’s no need to create more work or a divide where it’s not needed. Because of two of my points above—personality and frequency—it’s actually nice to have a blend of the two, if it makes sense for your brand.
8. You need the app. I do a lot of social media from the computer (I know, get with the times), so I didn’t use the app for the longest time. But the beauty of twitter is live-tweeting anything from clever commentary about the pretentious baristas serving your morning coffee to the incredible seats you snagged at the latest show. This is one thing you really want with you on the go.
9. …Even though everything is so Hootsuite. Is anything live anymore? Whenever a big news story breaks out, like the recent terrible college shooting, for example, I log on to twitter to see the haps. I’ve grown extremely frustrated because I have to actively search for a story rather than scroll through my feed. Why? Because not even the New York Times seems to live tweet. It’s obvious that these power users schedule 90% of their tweets when something like this hits the media. In my humble opinion, users should have their social media managers reschedule and tweet something timely instead during times like these. The takeaway: Strike a balance. Schedule content when you’re promoting blog posts, but log on occasionally in order to stay in the loop.
10. The world comes together on twitter. Good or bad, the people of twitter are ON IT. Despite #9, twitter is the place to get real, unfiltered news. I love that when legislature is passed (the marriage equality was quite the party, let me tell you) or something pop culture-related gets big, the great people of the digital age take to the network. I even get my local news faster on twitter than I would watching the news (shout out to the Los Angeles local news for that one!)
11. Spoiler alert. Lastly, west coast, don’t go on twitter during premieres or finales! How many times have I mindlessly scrolled through twitter to see spoilers of shows before they air? But if you’re in fashion, media, or film—you definitely want to be live tweeting during awards shows and big moments in entertainment, even if it means logging hours on a Sunday evening.
What’s your fave/least favorite thing about twitter?