Why content marketing companies need to focus on Twitter

When companies are putting together their social media strategy, Twitter can sometimes end up as an after-thought. Managers may hatch big plans for Facebook, be keen to explore the potential of Google + and want to experiment with Pinterest. But Twitter is sometimes taken for granted, largely because it has been around for a long time and is perhaps perceived (unfairly) by some as the least creative of the social media platforms. There is however a case for arguing that of all the social media opportunities the one that brands need to take the most seriously is Twitter for the following reasons.

1. It is key source of social proof - As anyone who knows the social media basics can tell you the number of followers a brand or a person has on Twitter isn't the entire story. There are short cuts to amassing thousands of followers (like Fiverr), incidentally many of whom will be utterly useless to your brand. However the number of followers, the level of tweets and how active a brand is on Twitter is a very useful way of delivering social proof that a brand understands not just social media but how to share and distribute content too. Whether we like it or not most people will also gauge how successful, and indeed influential, an article is by the number of times it has been shared. In order to get those shares you need an active account that tweets and then retweets as others plug your links.

2. You can learn from the people you follow -  Occasionally brands make the mistake of setting up an account, following a few influentials and then largely automating their Twitter output so it just links to their content.  If this sounds like your brand's Twitter account you are missing out on part of the reason why Twitter is so useful for brands. You need to follow the key people in your niche on the social media platform. This means you have access to the minds of some of the brightest and most influential people in your market sector. Monitor what they say as it may inspire you, change your opinions and crucially keep you up to date with the news. If you have writer's block and need inspiration there is no better place to head to than Twitter.

3. You can build important relationships for your brand - It is actually quite simple to start a business relationship with someone on Twitter. You follow them and occasionally comment on what they are saying or retweet their insights. It might sound simple but it is astonishing how many relationships brand social media and content managers have made with key influentials, like journalists or marketing professionals, in this way.

4. There are SEO benefits too - Over the past few years Google's search strategy has shifted. Whereas once it was the number of links to a page or a website that determined how they fared in Google's search rankings, these days the number of times a piece of content has been shared on social media is equally (and some would say more) important. The more shares the better the search ranking. So it is essential to kick off that process by sharing your own content and encouraging, in the nicest, most subtle way, others to share it too.

5. Twitter will continue to evolve - It is hard to predict exactly where Twitter will go next. A great deal could be determined by its upcoming IPO. However it is very likely that the company will expand what the users can do within a tweet thereby creating many new opportunities for brands. Joel Luenfeld, Twitter's VP of global brand strategy recently told Mashable:

‘The other big thing you'll start to see more of is our Card technology, the building blocks for doing more inside a tweet. It started with 140 characters, and then pictures and videos, summaries of articles and so forth. The building blocks of doing more within a tweet is going to continue to expand, and you can imagine things like commerce directly from a tweet at the product level or reservations, voting or polling.'

Ultimately social media strategy needs to be optimised to suit the needs and the audience of the brand. However for almost every company Twitter should be a priority. Social media strategy should start here.

Posted by: The CMA

Posted in CMA blog
5thNov 2013

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