While is runs a somewhat distant second to Facebook, Twitter has become one of the world’s most popular social media networks, and those who marketed products or services online have been devising methods to drive user engagement and to reach out to a larger audience. However, some have questioned whether Twitter is worth the effort. The network differs from Facebook, and classic methods of engaging Facebook users might not be effective. Since its userbase is smaller, some argue that the time spent targeting the network is time that could be better spent on other activities.
However, there are a number of reasons why you may find using Twitter to be worthwhile, and those who develop effective methods will find the time investment to be worthwhile. Here are a few ways to determine if targeting Twitter can help you meet your online goals.
What Makes Twitter Unique?
In the early days of Twitter, many commented that the site would eventually have to allow users to post longer messages. The 140-character limit was viewed as a downside, and it was originally implemented to allow messages to be sent through SMS services. However, Twitter’s operators stuck by their choice, and the limit remains in place today.
This limit forces users to avoid large posts, and it is believed to encourage people to read more. Instead of having to read full paragraphs, users can only read short blurbs. While this makes Twitter an inappropriate platform for certain types of content, it also makes it easy to browse. Few now argue that Twitter should abandon its 140-character limit, and online marketers should expect it to remain in place for the foreseeable future.
How Does it Differ from Facebook?
Facebook allows large posts, and users post a wide variety of content on it. While it is sometimes used for posting short, Twitter-like messages, it is more often used for posting long entries. As a result, Facebook has become popular among people who wish to communicate with those they know in real life. Twitter, on the other hand, encourages people to make digital contacts.
Facebook has become, in many ways, a business card of sorts. While LinkedIn is viewed as the professional social media site, Facebook’s popularity ensures that business contacts will often meet on it. This encourages many to give their Facebook pages a professional look. Twitter users, on the other hand, tend to feel a bit less restrained.
Targeting Twitter 101
The 140-character limit imposed by Twitter is often viewed as a negative for marketers, but it also carries with it a significant benefit: It encourages users to click links. Since there is not enough space to post full messages on Twitter, users have become accustomed to clicking on links to read more. While Facebook users tend to ignore links, Twitter users click on them regularly. If you’re able to entice users to click on a particular link, you can encourage them to visit a landing page or other online resource.
This does not, however, mean that Twitter users blindly click on whatever links they see, and avoiding “Twitter spam” is essential for engaging users. Your link descriptions should be accurate, and you shouldn’t post them too frequently. Make sure you’re honest when posting messages, and keep the content fresh and engaging. You also might want to create individual landing pages instead of continually posting the same one.
Reaching out to Users
Those who run Facebook pages rarely follow users, and some are forbidden from doing so. The only way to get new followers is to have your content shared by your followers. This strategy can be effective, but it’s also slow, and it will take some time to build a substantial base of followers.
On Twitter, users frequently follow those who follow them, and the administrators allow users to follow and unfollow a large number of users per day. The exact number of people you can follow and unfollow is unknown, so tread lightly, but make following people a priority. Twitter also makes it easy to find people who might be interested in what you’re marketing. Find accounts target users are likely to follow and find out who is following these accounts. You can also use Twitter’s hashtags to find users posting about topics related to what you offer.
Twitter users are more likely to search for what others are posting than Facebook users. Most Twitter users share all of their posts; few Facebook users do. Hashtags are an essential part of Twitter; Facebook hashtags are rarely used. When you use hashtags to mark your posts, you can reach out to a larger base of users, and some may follow your account if your Tweets are informative or entertaining.
However, it is important to avoid using too many hashtags. Twitter recommends using only two hashtags at most, and it’s important that your hashtags are related to your post. Twitter users are savvy, and they know spam when they see it. Don’t try to abuse the system or perform any actions that appear spammy. Twitter’s algorithms are getting better all the time, and they regularly ban accounts who tread too close to the border between acceptable posting and spamming.
Is it Worth it?
Part of the reason why so many believe that Twitter isn’t worth the effort is due to the fact that it differs so much from Facebook. There is another reasons, however: Twitter can demand a significant amount of time to use. If you simply can’t squeeze in a few minutes here and there, it may be best to focus on other marketing venues. If you find Twitter enjoyable, on the other hand, you may want to make it a part of your online outreach effort.
Even if you’re using it purely for marketing purposes, Twitter can be an enjoyable platform. You’ll want to retweet great content, so you’ll spend some time look around the network. You’ll also engage with users who send you posts, and these conversations can lead to clicks. Try Twitter out; it might become an enjoyable part of your workday.
A Word on Automation
There are a number of tools to automate tasks, and these tools can help cut back on time you spend following and unfollowing users. These tools can also let you write a day’s worth of posts and send them out throughout the day. These tools can be valuable, but don’t get greedy. If you push your luck too much, you might find your account banned or blocked.
In the early days, use these tools to follow users, and try to build a substantial base of followers. If you generate enough interest, you’ll eventually be able to reach out to new users through followers’ retweet. Patience is important, so be persistent.
While Twitter might never overtake Facebook, it’s a valuable platform for those who know how to target is effectively, and its popularity continues to rise. By spending a bit of time each day learning how to use it and reaching out to users, you might find it to be more powerful that experts would have you believe. However, you’ll need to realize that Twitter is unique, so don’t treat as a variation of Facebook. Embrace Twitter for what it is.