Looking for ways to improve your social media marketing performance in 2023?
Over the first few weeks of the year, we’re publishing a series of tips and notes on how to maximize your efforts, including pointers on new tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E, and how these evolving apps can assist in your content planning process.
We’ve already covered the following elements:
- Defining your brand and content mission
- Researching keywords and queries among your target market
- Analyzing your competitors and their approaches
- Discovering where to reach your audience
The next step is platform-specific tips, and how you can use each app to best effect.
We’ve already covered Facebook posting tips, now we move on to the next app – Twitter.
Which, of course, has been going through a massive internal shift of late. Here are some tips on how you can use Twitter to best effect in 2023.
First off, some notes on Twitter’s most recent changes, and their potential impacts – because whether you like Elon Musk or not, whether you believe in his direction for Twitter or don’t, as a brand, he has added some new considerations for your Twitter strategy, which you need to factor into your approach.
- Twitter hasn’t officially changed its rules around what is and is not acceptable to post on the app. But it has removed its COVID misinformation policy, a topic that Musk has strong opinions on, while Musk has also overseen the reinstatement of tens of thousands of accounts that had previously been banned from the app for sharing harmful content, as measured by the previous regime. Some reports have also indicated that these accounts have gone right back to sharing the same harmful content, and they’re not being banned - so while Twitter hasn’t changed its rules, it is interpreting them in a different way, which could be seen as a risk for brand placement and unintended association.
- Twitter has cut thousands of staff, which has to have some impact on its capacity to deal with issues, and even remain in operational capacity at times. There are signs of degradation and increased error rates, and that could also relate to ad placement, performance, issues resolution, etc. Twitter has also, more recently, cut a lot of its international staff, and shut down local offices, which will impact local knowledge and connection to regional markets. Twitter is still up and running right now, and the external impacts have been relatively limited. But it’s another consideration for brands looking to put more time and effort into the app.
- Twitter may, at some stage, limit the reach of brand that don’t pay to subscribe to its coming ‘Verification for Organizations’ package. Like its $8 verification Twitter Blue plan, Twitter’s also looking to charge brands for their own gold verification tick, along with other benefits. There’s not a lot to go on at this stage, but Twitter has already flagged that Blue subscribers will eventually be given priority placement in reply chains. That could also mean that brands will get the same benefit, as a means to push more businesses to pay to use the app. Depending on the cost (which Twitter also hasn’t shared yet), brands will need to weigh the benefits of this upcoming push.
Again, none of these are definitive deal-breakers, as such, but they are elements for brands to factor into their consideration.
How you view each will come down to your personal perspective.
One of the key changes on Twitter over the last few years has been the de-prioritization of hashtags, at least as recommended by Twitter’s own team.
Twitter has, in some circumstances, been advising brands against the use of hashtags, as it can distract from your focus goal - i.e. getting people to click on your links.
This, for example, comes from Twitter, in relation to tweet ads:
“Whenever possible, keep your ad free of #hashtags and @mentions. We know that it’s tempting, but they’re distracting, clickable opportunities that drive people off your ad and away from your content. Provide only one exit point, whether that’s clicking through to your website or your app, to keep your message laser-focused.”
That’s not definitive, but it is a consideration – but if you want to include tags, I would suggest that you research the most relevant and focused tags for your niche.
Apps like Hashtagify can help in this respect, providing insight on hashtag popularity and usage. Also, when using hashtags, you should use camel-case capital letters for clarity (e.g. #WednesdayWisdom). This also ensures that screen readers can better communicate the relevant tags for vision-impaired users.
Hashtags have traditionally had more power on Twitter, because Twitter’s algorithm is less sophisticated, and influential, than, say, the News Feed algorithm on Facebook. Twitter’s generally been able to lean on users to be more overt in their audience targeting through hashtags - though Twitter is now looking to evolve, most notably by inserting more and more tweets from profiles that you don’t follow into the main feed.
Twitter also recently added in a ‘Following’ feed that’s just a side-swipe away, so you can get away from these recommendations if you want. But over time, Twitter’s hoping that it’ll be able to refine its algorithms to the point that people will find these inserted tweets beneficial, leading to broader discovery and engagement.
Which could help to generate more exposure for your brand content, by highlighting your tweets to more interested users. It’s not there yet, but it could be an element to note, and to keep tabs on exactly which tweets Twitter’s looking to insert into user feeds.
In terms of your tweet content, Twitter advises that brands should adhere to a ‘three C’s’ approach for optimal tweeting:
What does concise mean in tweet terms, where you’ve only got 280 characters to work with anyway?
As per Twitter:
“The best performing Tweets are only 50-100 characters”
Brevity has always been the central tenet of tweet engagement – which is why many users are opposed to longer tweets, which are also in development.
And as you can see, the best performers are significantly shorter than the max tweet length, while prompting discussion – the ‘conversational’ element listed above, is also key to sparking engagement, and building community around your presence.
It’s not always easy, but the best tweets are short, to the point, and engaging.
One tool that could be of benefit here is ChatGPT, which is able to come up with tweets based on either text or request prompts.
For example, you can enter in all or part of a blog post, then ask ChatGPT to summarize it into a tweet.
You can also enter in tweets that have done well, maybe from your competitors or based on general Twitter search, and ask ChatGPT to give you similar ideas based on those templates.
For example, you can use Twitter’s advanced search tools to uncover the top-performing tweets using your target keywords, and list them based on engagement (likes, comments, retweets). Entering ‘basketball shoes min_faves:100’ into Twitter search, for example, will show you all the tweets that mention ‘basketball shoes’ and have at least 100 likes.
That’ll give you some idea of the top tweet conversations in your product/service segment. Put the best examples into a list, feed them into ChatGPT, and see what comes out.
That could be a good way to spark more engagement, and align with the relevant Twitter community.
In terms of content formats, tweets with video see the most engagement, followed by tweets with GIFs, photos, then plain text.
Twitter Spaces can also provide a different approach to community engagement, and could work as an alternative to, say, Twitter chats, which facilitate broader discussion.
On best times to post, according to analysis conducted by Sprout Social last year, the best times to tweet to reach the broadest audience, in general, are Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 9 am, in your local time zone.
As you can see, according to Sprout’s insights, that morning block between 9am and 12pm is when people are more actively consuming tweets, which could help guide your thinking.
In regards to how often you should tweet, the tweet stream moves fast, so you can get away with posting more regularly, as you’re unlikely to overwhelm your followers. Once per day should be the baseline, then building from there based on your own analysis and audience response data.
Another consideration on Twitter is its ‘Professional Accounts’ option, which enables brands to convert their Twitter profile to a business account to access additional features.
Those features include:
- Additional analytics – Professional accounts can access a dedicated dashboard of analytics tools to track performance
- Professional Category – Pro accounts can signify what their business is on their profile, which could help to highlight your business to relevant users
- Profile Spotlights – Twitter’s also added a range of ‘Spotlight’ options for professional profiles, which enable you to showcase your products, location, contact info and more in a dedicated profile section. The current Spotlights available are: location, shopping, mobile app link, CTA link
- Twitter Shopping – Pro accounts can also access Twitter’s evolving shopping features – though hard to tell how much emphasis Twitter will be putting on shopping as part of its ‘Twitter 2.0’ revamp, at least at this stage
These additional elements could be of benefit for your business, while as noted, Twitter’s also developing its ‘Verification for Organizations’ subscription element, through which, business users will be able to apply for a gold checkmark, and additional features.
Some of these Professional Account tools could be built into this offering, but it’s all in flux at present - though it’ll be worth keeping tabs on how this evolves, and how Twitter looks to develop its pitch to business users.
Look, there’s a lot going on at Twitter right now, and some people will be opposed to brands even considering putting more focus on the app, given the various changes being implemented by Musk and his team, as detailed above.
But Twitter is still a key driver of news and opinion, and at 238 million daily actives, it remains an important consideration for brand outreach.
Some will view Twitter as getting back on the right track, others will say that it’s falling off. But there may be opportunities within that, and it may still be a great platform for connecting with a broader audience and building brand awareness.