Using social media for your business: Twitter

Following the previous post where I started talking about the roles of social media, and Facebook in particular, it is now time to discuss its all-time rival: Twitter. Image

Twitter stands for quick, interested audience and real-time reactions

Twitter differs from Facebook in that it’s focused much more on interests than friendships. By this I mean that people can follow the updates of someone/a company they are interested in without being followed back. Also, Twitter is mostly based on text and links to articles or photos and the text is reduced to a maximum of 140 characters. But perhaps the most important is the use of hashtags, which groups together tweets with the same topic.

This is where companies can really benefit from Twitter as they can measure sentiment around the brand by the type of hashtags used in tweets related to it, but also identify more easily which tweets are saying something about the brand. Taking it a step further, companies can relate themselves to certain events or other brands by integrating hashtags in their own tweets. To give an example, a hotel in Edinburgh can tweet about the film festival and thus associate itself with the event and suggest to customers that they should stay there. Another very popular term in this case is real-time marketing, explained in more detail here. By using Twitter, companies can react much quicker to events in the real world than through any other social media channels, a famous and brilliant example being that of Oreos in the 2013 SuperBowl blackout. 

Where there are ups…

Another aspect that is most relevant to consider is that if customers want to complain about something, they will most likely do it on Twitter. As I said above, sentiment is very easily shared to large audiences using hashtags. And it appears that companies are now taking it seriously and employing people specifically to deal with complaints on this channel. As Lisa Bachelor so nicely puts it in this article, in this day and age 140 characters are worth 1000 words.

Using social media for your business: Facebook

ImageOne of my recent thoughts revolved around the different use of social media in a marketing context. While each website/agency/blogger offer their own guide as to what you should use when, I’ll add from my research and point to the best reasons suggested by others as well. Now, this is a topic worthy of a whole book, but I’ll try to keep it simple, short and sweet. For this, I’ll publish a series of posts, starting with Facebook in this one. 

A few things which you should be aware of beforehand are engagement and purpose. One of the words most used when talking about social media is ‘engagement’ which could be roughly equated with a reaction from the reader. A high rate of engagement is obviously something to strive for. During my research, a very interesting aspect has been pointed out: the 1-9-90 rule. This rule states that 1% of your readers/followers will actually create content for you, 9% will comment or share and the rest  of 90% are only lurking around pulling content without any immediate reaction. Secondly, a very interesting theory from the Head of Media at RAPP explained that traditional advertising and online paid advertising are the factors that draw the attention of customers, after which they react by conducting own research in the social space before making the decision to purchase or not. How many times haven’t you heard about a new product and then checked with your friends if it’s any good? 

Facebook stands for leisure, fun and many-to-many

As most of us use Facebook as a procrastination tool to see Lizzy’s new baby photos or to track David in his post-university Euro-trip, the content companies publish on Facebook should be fun, easy to read (no elaborate substances to discussed) and involve some sort of emotion or provoke a reaction. But companies should be aware that Facebook is very difficult control and that once you’ve provoked a reaction, it can go either way as customers voice their opinions. You should always be ready to reply whatever that reaction is. If you’d like to read more about the types of customers on social platforms, click here.

I would also call it a many-to-many tool, more so than others, not by virtue of its easy sharing capabilities but because comments can turn into full-blown conversations and irrespective of the company’s desire to interfere, the sheer amount of comments sometimes give the conversation its own turn.

The type of content published can be explained in more words, but it should include a catchy picture or video to invoke immediate action from the viewer. A link to a different site would also work quite well in this case.

In terms of the social research stage pointed above, customers can get opinions and reviews directly from their social community but this is limited to the number of friends one has. Of course, there is the alternative of going on a specific product page on Facebook, but considering the people who engage there are the ones who have previously ‘liked’ the product, the information you get will tend to be biased.

For a brief explanation of twitter, follow this space for the next post.