Friday, July 10, 2015

Why Twitter is the Social Media Choice for Today & Tomorrow

In last week's post, "Five Steps for the Social Media Newbie," we listed Facebook as the de-facto social media choice for most brands. After all, of the top social media sites, Facebook refers, by far, the most traffic to other sites.

There is, however, one caveat with this distinction. A "Page", which Facebook defines as "businesses, brands and organizations [that] share their stories and connect with people," does not  necessarily show up in its fans News Feed.

To make a Page show up in the News Feed, a fan has to manually go to the Page, hover over the "Liked" button and choose "Show in News Feed."

As a social media manager for your brand, then, you must figure out some way to let your fans know about this--say, by email (if, of course, you have access to relevant emails).

Another option, is to create a personal profile, and to serve as a brand ambassador from your personal page. In other words, promote your business from your profile.

In the context of your immediate social network, this might alienate certain friends and family.On the other hand, we believe you can attract attention for your brand with minimal annoyance, if you follow the two simple rules we noted last week:
  1. Be an active member of the community. Engage. If you're a sincere individual (or brand) who understands social media, you know that engagement is everything. 
  2. Create quality content. This is so obvious it scarcely needs to be mentioned. Yet each day we log onto Facebook, we're stunned by the apparent disregard for truly quality content.

With apologies for the language, here is a tweet that expresses the second of the first of the two simple rules--rules that apply to all social media. More on Twitter on below...

Yet another option is to venture elsewhere in the social media universe.

Despite the recent Shareaholic report that listed Pinterest as the site that refers the second most traffic--a whopping five times more than Twitter--we believe a good Twitter presence will be more available today and tomorrow for emerging brands.

First, for today: we admit that the Shareaholic numbers are quite hard to ignore, yet they don't speak to the true value of Twitter, which is its unique culture, stronger than all other social media networks. It is this culture, too, which might explain why the social media network refers less traffic.

One of Twitter's strengths is its insularity. Tweeps, as they're sometimes called (not by us; only this one time), engage in conversation more often than users of any other social media network. Indeed, when we speak about "the national conversation," inspired by such events as Ferguson, a lot of that talk originates on Twitter--and decidedly not on Facebook.

This conversation, however, often stays within the realms of Twitter--thus, less outbound traffic. "Less outbound traffic" might just be a misnomer, though. Tweets are often mentioned in the news; and many people visit Twitter first to follow national events.

Even then, you might be wondering how an insular conversation can be helpful for a small business trying to promote its brand.

Take a look at these numbers from social media strategist, Jay Baer:

"In addition to following brands, Twitter users research and engage with companies. 42% learn about products and services via Twitter. 41% provide opinions about products/services. 19% seek customer support."

As Baer notes: "I maintain that as Facebook continues to tie together the real-time Web with the open graph, Twitter usage will inexorably shift from person to person connectivity, to customer to company connectivity. I believe Twitter will ultimately be the way that we interact with brands, and will power the social CRM movement..."

We happen to agree with this assessment--to a point. To our view, Twitter will grow as both a network for personal communication as well as customer to company connectivity. Even now, Twitter is much more brand-friendly than Facebook.

Second, however, is Twitter's potential to become an even more visited source for news, information, and knowledge. This potential is seen most readily in the deal (announced earlier this year) between Google and Twitter.

Since February, Google has been indexing tweets for the purpose of enhancing its own search results. And just this week, Search Engine Land noted a 466% increase in this indexing.

Again, though, engagement is key. Google does not necessarily preference accounts with the most followers: "it may not be all about follower count, and there is a correlation between those with higher engagement levels and overall 'authority' and indexation."

Are you on Twitter? Do you engage with your "followers"? How? Let us know in the comments below.

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