The Problem With Twitter: Marketers Don\’t Get It

The Problem With Twitter: Marketers Don\’t Get It

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Lately, there\’s been a lot of discussion around the fact that there\’s a problem with Twitter. Marketers believe that it\’s undergoing algorithm changes similar to what Facebook has implemented and that soon marketers won\’t enjoy Twitter the way they used to. Another common problem that they feel with Twitter is that it\’s crowded, and it\’s hard to be seen.

Strategists aren\’t convinced that Twitter\’s ad platform is robust enough to allow them to get the right ROI or value from it, and on the whole – even though Twitter is a massive platform, it continues to fall behind the \”lure\” of Facebook for businesses. So what\’s the problem with Twitter?

I caught up with Krisoffer Howes, CEO of Weal Media, an international PR firm. Kris is as an expert on the Social Marketer\’s Quiz that we\’re running, and a well known social media expert on Google+ who frequents the Social Media Strategy community on Google+.

1. Heading up a digital PR firm today is fairly challenging. Do you have to spend a lot of time educating your clients on the benefits of digital? Or have brands and companies now started to \”get it\”?

Given that Weal Media is an international PR firm, we get exposure to a number of different geographical and cultural areas. In doing so, we have noticed that some regions are more receptive to digital strategies and are recognizing and embracing the shift from traditional media. Surprisingly, when compared to their neighbors to the South (United States) and East (Asia,) Canada has been significantly slower in adopting digital marketing strategies.

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The challenge for most business owners and executives who resist the move to Internet marketing is to identify and measure the value in their contributions, whether they be time or money. This in turn becomes a challenge for digital marketers to provide metrics that can translate things like relationship-building and post views, into a language that speaks dollars and cents.

2. While Twitter has a huge number of \”registered\” users, a very small percentage of them are actually active on a weekly or even monthly basis. What do you feel Twitter needs to do to change this?

I do not think that it is something that Twitter needs to change, as much as I believe that marketers should re-assess the methods in which they communicate with their Twitter audience and build an active following on the platform.

To begin with I think that, by virtue of Twitter\’s 140 character limitation, marketers should already expect that their visitors will have a short attention span. That said, this highlights the need to focus on providing content that captures attention in a busy social stream and inspires consistent and meaningful engagement, particularly from active members and brand advocates. Ultimately, marketers should aspire to motivate the audience to seek-out their branded message, rather than produce a multitude of redundant posts that are left alone to desperately search for an audience of their own.

In Twitter\’s last update, the social network provided some important updates that can be used to identify a business\’ or brand\’s content that inspires engagement with the audience and also offers features to showcase the things the audience loves most.

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3. Only 21% of marketers who took the quiz know that it\’s possible to schedule a tweet on Twitter without using a third party tool. I remember discussing this with you when we were formulating the questions! How surprising is this stat for you?

This does not surprise me in the least. In fact, I am much more surprised that number of people actually knew. I myself was surprised to learn that it was possible to schedule Tweets inside Twitter\’s \”Ads\” panel, easily and at no charge. As you called it, \”a hidden gem.\” Another is Twitter\’s number of allowable lists. Would you believe that Twitter affords us up to 1,000 lists?

4. Did any particular questions in the quiz stand out for you as being incredibly interesting or useful?

I was stunned by your results for calculating Bounce Rate. This as a fundamental metric in the online marketing industry. Internet marketers use this measurement quasi-religiously to determine and improve a webpage/website\’s performance. The fact that your quiz was able to identify this area as deeply problematic is a testament to its value and effectiveness in educating marketers.

5. Different brands and companies need to be on different networks, depending on who their target audience is and what kind of content they produce. However, if from all the big networks of the world, we had to do away with one – based purely on the fact that it doesn\’t add much business value to brands in terms of engagement, sales and interaction – which would you choose to do away with?

At the moment, and without much hesitation, I would say Facebook. Over time, the leading social network has intentionally reduced business\’ and brands\’ exposure to their fans. And, to make matters worse, Facebook offers their own paid methods of exposure as (pretty much) the only viable alternative. The other option is for businesses/brands to build REAL and meaningful relationships with consumers, and consistently deliver content that entices fans and friends to independently seek-out the company\’s updates and information, even when it is not immediately visible in their news feed. Regrettably this is something too few social media marketers have done in the past, particularly on Facebook.

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On the other hand, the platform\’s competitors like Google+ and Twitter are introducing features that contribute to marketing efforts and help businesses and brands improve and maintain their exposure and engagement with fans, friends and followers. In fact, even Tumblr and Reddit are providing services that benefit businesses and appeal to marketers.

You can add Kristoffer to your circles on Google+, or interact with him on one the various communities of SMHangout! And if you haven\’t yet, you should really take the Social Marketer\’s Quiz!

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About Avtar Ram Singh

Avtar Ram Singh is the Chief Editor of Beta21 and an experienced social media and digital marketer. He helps other marketers get the most out of their social and digital presence. He's an EDM and Sci-Fi fan, and is often mistaken for Ryan Gosling.
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