Twitter has 330 million monthly active users, 80% of which access the site via mobile devices. Because of the ‘noise’ associated with the site, utilising the social network for business – especially if you’re a small to medium business running your social media and digital marketing in-house – can be daunting. Despite criticism of the site, Twitter isn’t all bad, and if used correctly, is an excellent platform to use as a business. Twitter has lots of unique features that other sites, such as Facebook, don’t, and these features can be used by businesses to market smarter, engage more and build a better brand reputation.
Twitter’s relatively new feature addition is known as ‘tweetstorm’. Because of the 280 character limit (formerly 140), many create threads of tweets strung together on Twitter in order to talk about a topic in length. Creating these threads has been made easier with the addition of an ‘add another tweet’ icon that can found when tweets are still being written. This feature means you can publish multiple 280 character-length tweets at once, already in a thread format. Businesses can use this to expand on information given in the first tweet, provide further links or context, tag more people or add more images for more context, all while making the process easy and allowing the user to format each tweet in a way that makes sense in relation to the tweet before it in the thread.
Alt-text is an important part of the user experience for visually impaired internet users, as it gives descriptions for images, meaning they don’t miss out on any context or information the image affords sighted internet users. Facebook’s alt-text tool generates descriptions automatically, even suggesting people who are in the image, even if said person isn’t tagged in the photograph. Twitter’s alt-text feature isn’t as sophisticated and has to be opted-into. To add descriptions to images for partially sighted and visually impaired users, Twitter users must go into their Settings and Privacy, then the Accessibility section of the General options. Within Accessibility, there are five subsections: VoiceOver, Interaction, Vision, Motion and Web Browser. Most of these options are for users to customise their own experience based on their needs, to turn on ‘Add description’, turn on ‘Compose image descriptions’ under the Vision subsection on Accessibility. Accessibility on social media is important, as restricting the experience of, or accidentally alienating users who require websites and social media to be accessible both loses you followers/potential customers or clients, and means that search engines are less likely to favour your website and social media profile, which can impact your search engine rating and harm your site and profile traffic.
Currently, Twitter is the only main social media platform that seems to not have embraced stories. However, Twitter has one feature that no other competitors have – Moments. Twitter moments allow anyone to collect tweets from across the social network, reorder them and compile them in a swipe-through gallery. Twitter regularly creates moments of top tweets based on a trending topic to give users an easy but comprehensive breakdown of why a topic is trending and what the general consensus of said topic is. For businesses, you can create moments showcasing your products, products features, all of your tweets and pictures from a particular event, or to tell your business’ story in one easy to create and easy to consume place.
Facebook has polls, as does the Facebook-owned Instagram, which lets users run polls through their Instagram stories. Despite the fact that polls are more commonplace on social media sites than not, their potential in Twitter cannot be overlooked. Polls are easy for users to interact with, and one of the best ways businesses can use them (especially those with smaller followings or less active followers) is to choose a trending topic and craft a question based on the topic, being sure to use the correct hashtags and/or keywords, and run a poll asking for people’s opinions. The use of a trending topic means the tweets will get more exposure, that combined with the ability to interact with the tweet so easily and quickly, means that tweets such as these often get lots of engagement and boosts your impressions and overall analytics.
Twitter activity shows the user a breakdown of the attention their tweets have garnered. Tweet activity on individual tweets can be checked by clicking the furthest right lower icon at the bottom of a tweet. When opened, it will show you how many impressions (meaning how many people saw it) your tweet has, how many media views (if an image or gif is attached), total engagements (meaning how many people actually interacted with the tweet), how many link clicks, profile clicks, replies, likes, retweets and media engagements (meaning how many people clicked on the media and not just viewed it your tweet has gotten overall. On desktop, your Tweet activity is summarised on your profile, telling you how many impressions your tweets have garnered over the past 24 hours, with a chart showing your impressions over the last 7 days. Also on desktop, you can access your full Twitter Activity report, which displays your top tweets, how many impressions you’ve earned over the past month, what that equates to per day, your engagement rate, link clicks, retweets, replies and likes, all of which are also broken down into a per-day average. Twitter Activity is important for businesses, as it helps them understand which tweets are more successful than others, and therefore how they can improve on their less successful tweets to bring up their activity stats and grow a larger and more engaged audience. If you’re worried about competitors being able to view how many impressions and engagements you’ve gotten, then don’t worry – only you can see the Twitter Activity analytics of the profile(s) you run.
Every business should utilise Twitter, but it’s important to remember that just having an online presence isn’t enough to ensure your effort online translates into actual brand awareness, sales and meaningful business connections. To make the most of Twitter, take advantage of the features and tools it has on offer, and be sure to get in touch with us at +24 to see how we can help your business progress on social media whether it’s through our training opportunities or social media management services!