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Is Twitter Really a Numbers Game?

Hashtag message on speech bubble

Twitter has recently taken over LinkedIn as the social network for salespeople. And with the launch of Periscope, It is now in the process of reinventing itself as a more visual platform.

But despite Twitter becoming integrated within an organisation’s marketing as a highly effective communication tool, there are still a common misconception that more followers equals a more successful campaign.

In truth, followers can be brought, and will in reality have no significance to your campaign. Twitter is not a numbers game; neither is it a competition to get more followers than your competitors.

Back to Basics
Before going into detail, let’s take a look at some current facts about Twitter:
• 80% of Twitter uses access the site via their mobile devices, such as smartphone or tablet
• As of May 2015, Twitter has more than 500 million users, out of which more than 302 million are active users
• 15 million users in the UK have a Twitter account, and it has the power to influence everything from Britain’s Got Talent to the General Election 2015.

There is the argument that the more followers, the more people to influence and the more to engage with – but can you realistically engage with tens of thousands in a way that is really useful for you both?

Understand the real aims of Twitter. It’s desire is to create 140 characters to communicate and stay connected with your target audience. And that is appealing. But taking the time to learn how to engage with them in the right way is what’s important.

All About Engagement
Engagement in the Twittosphere is defined as, “The total number of times a user has interacted with a tweet. This includes any clicks anywhere on the tweet. These include hashtags, links, username and Tweet expansion. Retweets, replies, follows and favorites”.

The increasing significance of visual is why Twitter is changing in line with attention spans. Whilst only 2-6% of organic updates may be viewed at any one time, use of an image results in the following:
• 18% more click throughs
• 89% more favourites
• 150% more retweets

And just to make the point:

• Average engagement for tweets without images: 31
• Average engagement for tweets with images: 211
(Source: jeff bullas)

Twitter Engagement
So, Twitter if used correctly is not about numbers, but about engagement. To work, the channel relies on four key aspects:
• Communication – provide engaging and relevant information, ask questions and providing solutions to stimulate
• Collaboration – seek to stimulate greater collaboration with potential partners
• Entertain – your brand needs to have a personality and Twitter provides an opportunity to tease and have some fun.
• Educate/Inform – share latest news from across your industry sector, position yourself as a thought leader

Indeed, each social media channel has its own language and tone to influence an audience. It’s important to learn the language to make a difference.

Jack Dorsey, founder is the first to admit that this takes him by surprise – launching the channel as Twitter (or Twitr originally) for a stream of ‘inconsequential babble.’ There’s no going away from the fact it still exists, but perhaps the emphasis on adding personality to a company, to make it more ‘human’ makes it more acceptable.

Ultimately Twitter is a fast paced two way communication – where the emphasis on the content (hence the need for visual) is an instant reactive decision based on ‘what’s in it for me?’

If the answer is nothing then followers will soon unfollow. So see it as a numbers game, and your doomed to fail right from the start on its true potential.

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