From humble beginnings the little blue bird has grown to represent one of the most powerful sites on the ‘net…
It could be argued that Twitter has become the most significant social media platform. While Facebook has more users and Instagram enjoys greater traction with young people, Twitter has become a default choice for personal and corporate interaction. The hashtag has gone from coding shorthand to a key communication tool, while the condensed nature of tweets makes them ideal for today’s high-speed culture. Who’s got time to wait around reading a lengthy Facebook post anyway?
For the surely miniscule portion of our readership unfamiliar with this platform, Twitter is a microblogging service where people can send each other pictures and website links along with short messages. The strict 140-character limit ensures individual messages can’t be any longer than this sentence, so every word has to be chosen carefully. Adding web links or addressing the tweet to a particular individual also shortens the available message space, although there’s no need to be connected to a person before sending them a message. If you can find a Twitter address (always preceded by the @ symbol), you can send it a tweet. Personal messages perform a similar role with added privacy.
Registering a Twitter account is a two-minute job, after which comes the (addictive) task of finding companies or people to follow. Persuading them to follow you back – the measure of any Twitter account’s popularity – depends on the quality and frequency of your own output. Without any followers, a hashtag-less tweet won’t befound unless someone stumbles across it by accident.
A good way to build followers is by using hashtags, which enable people to quickly filter messages containing content of interest to them. Hashtags often spring up in response to current events or a widely-discussed topic, with #ipad popular among Apple users and #selfie providing a platform for users to share their self portraiture.
Twitter may be better known as a place where fans can follow their favorite celebrities, but it’s also hugely valuable to companies. Some brands have millions of followers, which is an impressive reach considering these accounts are primarily used for online marketing. The new Apple Music platform has its own Twitter account boasting an impressive 7.4 million followerd!
Some companies use humor to engage with their audience, while others simply pump out incentives and news blasts. The ability to send a concise and curated message to thousands of customers at once – for free – is a hugely powerful tool when deployed correctly. It can also be used to offer incentives, or drive traffic to a particular website with clickable weblinks.
The best corporate use for Twitter involves customer communications. Firms increasingly list their Twitter account alongside their contact details and you should too, since it provides an immediate method of feedback and two-way communication. If a comment or complaint is responded to quickly and sincerely, it can even turn a customer’s negative experience into a positive by showing a human side to your company, a side willing to react immediately with apologies, empathy and hopefully a resolution.
All communications both positive and negative will also be noted by everyone following the company and/or the customer; each Twitter user’s ability to retweet an interesting message enables a simple back-and-forth conversation to spread like wildfire across thousands of accounts. Little wonder that the role of social media manager has become highly significant for many firms, particularly with increasing numbers of companies hosting separate customer service and marketing Twitter accounts. These both require constant monitoring and content generation.
A strong Twitter presence is particularly valuable to IT or technology companies, who are expected to embrace digital communications nowadays. A cloud storage company might be bombarded with tweets in the event of access problems or a failed migration, while a PC repair shop can provide real-time updates on product repairs to customers whose only method of communication is their smartphone. Twitter’s complete portability and its simple-to-use mobile apps ensure communications can take place anywhere, at any time. In that respect, it’s a perfect tool for the always-on nature of the internet and the technology industry.
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