Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian have mastered Twitter. The rest of us are still struggling to use Twitter effectively to achieve marketing or business objectives.
Part news ticker, part party line, and part celebrity cage match, with 330 million active users in its 12th year of operation, Twitter offers reach, immediacy, virility and considerable secondary press attention.
Its skyrocketing awareness, intense exchanges, time sensitive use patterns and regular intrusion into the global news cycle keep us checking our feeds. Twitter works like talk radio. A minority drives the conversation while a majority watches and listens but don’t actively participate. Twitter embodies a basic human voyeuristic curiosity -- FOMO. Millions don’t want to miss what’s happening.
New research from Mention suggests that the conventional wisdom and well-known tactics for using Twitter as a marketing vehicle may be wrong. Common Twitter tactics, like retweeting, using hashtags, including emojis and crafting bios seem to be falling short in driving engagement. This is significant since attracting and engaging customers and prospects is the platform’s primary value proposition.
The hashtag convention (#subject), Twitter’s unique contribution to social technology and culture, makes it easy to find and participate in any conversation. Hashtags have become a cultural meme; radar blips for monitoring conversations, scouting trends and policing brand reputations. Hashtags make it easy to follow or participate in broad public conversations on a block, neighborhood, local, national or global scale. According to Mention, hashtags have little impact on engagement. Just 40 percent of the 200 million tweets per day contain a hashtag.
Retweets are generally considered as a vehicle for extending reach and engagement. Generally retweets constitute 10 percent of Twitter content. The average post has 1690 retweets. But there is no statistical evidence that they provoke higher engagement. The same holds true for tweets tagging individuals or brands, another conventional tactic now in question.
New tactics seem to work better. User experience research and eye tracking studies, conducted by Manchester Metropolitan University, found that longer tweets of 280 characters that include moving images get twice as much attention as copy-only tweets with 140 characters. This supports the Mention conclusion that video tweets average 38% greater engagement, though the attention span, in both cases, is rapid – 1.2 seconds for 140 copy tweets versus 2.4 seconds for 280 video tweets.
Media Mix studies of four clients in three markets over two years, conducted with Carat, found that Promoted Video on Twitter delivered three times the ROI of the average media placement. Promoted video, especially product focused messages, was up to 20% better at driving sales than other Twitter ad units.
The research indicates that attention spans and engagement are short and fleeting on Twitter. With a cadence like a news ticker and an average shelf life per post measured In hours, getting viewed is a creative challenge. Using the full extended character count and presenting video content just might be the strongest new engagement tactic.
Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.
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