It’s likely that you’ve had a Twitter count, either personally or professionally, for some years now. As one of the first ever social networks, Twitter boasts a huge user base, many of whom have been on the platform for a decade or more.
But over the years the best way to use Twitter has changed and morphed as the platform itself has changed and morphed. Where Twitter was once seen as the perfect loudspeaker for your business, broadcasting to anyone who cared to subscribe to you, it now requires more nuance in order to be effective.
So what do business owners need to know about Twitter? Let’s take a look at a few of the basics.
A more complex algorithm
For years Twitter stoically held onto its reverse chronological news feed display. The system was incredibly simple – the most recent tweets from followed accounts were displayed at the top, with the tweets getting older and older as you scrolled down. This ensured that every tweet was given an equal chance of making it big, and the reach of any given tweet at that time was incredibly high.
But these days Twitter has adopted a more complex algorithm, following the likes of Facebook and Instagram. Posts are now ordered by how much a user is likely to care about them and thus engage with them. This has had a negative effect on a tweet’s reach, with many users saying that their tweets reach less than 4% of their followers.
But rather than bemoan the change, your small business should view it as an opportunity. It’s time for you to see Twitter less as a loudspeaker and more as a way to get specific messages across. Your tweets will only ever be seen by a slice of your followers, so if you make them engaging to specific sections of your audience you’re more likely to successfully get your message across.
A machine gun approach
How many tweets are too many tweets? Since Twitter’s current algorithm doesn’t offer fantastic organic reach, the answer to this question is likely far higher than you might’ve guessed. It’s certainly higher than what would be recommended for Instagram and Facebook.
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, for example, tweets every five minutes, yet boasts 1.5 million followers. Because most people follow hundreds if not thousands of accounts, and the algorithm will only show a small snapshot of your tweets to your followers, not many will notice if you’re tweeting every half an hour. The answer to this question is you should tweet as much as you can while still providing value to your followers.
Due to the low organic reach, there’s also no harm in posting things multiple times. If you’ve got a freshly baked blog post that you’d like to share, don’t do it just once. Post it 3-4 times in a week in order to hit the maximum number of eyes.
Rich video content is seen as the future by all major social platforms, and Twitter is no different. It’s the most efficient way for your business to deliver a message, and also generates more engagement when compared to text or image.
Native video – that which is uploaded specifically to Twitter, rather than through third party services like YouTube – is far more effective. When compared to third party video you’ll enjoy 1.9x the favorites, 2.8x the retweets and 2.5x the replies with Twitter video.
Using the right tools
Because Twitter’s algorithms now reward an ultra-active strategy, it’s important that you use the right tools to allow you to implement this plan efficiently and effectively. The likes of Hootsuite and Sprout Social allow you to schedule posts, quickly reply to comments and messages, and analyze your performance in a far more efficient way than if you just use the basic toolset offered by Twitter.
While Twitter itself may have changed, its importance to your business’ social media strategy has not. And if your business is prepared to be pragmatic and adaptable with its Twitter strategy, the platform will continue to provide you value for years to come.