Tag Archive for: twitter

Why Social Media Stories Matter

15 Feb
February 15, 2017

Storytelling is very the core of good social and content strategy. It allows us to build a narrative and connect on a deeper level with friends, customers and connections. Nearly all social platforms recognise this and now have their own iteration of tools for telling social media stories.

Facebook Stories (currently testing in Ireland) is the latest in a list that includes Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories, Messenger Day and Twitter Moments to name a few.

While people tend to focus on platforms copying the feature from each other, what is important is for all platforms to have this functionality. When I spoke with Adam Fraser on the EchoJunction podcast late last year, we talked about this. While all may have it to varying degrees, whoever gives users the best tools to tell stories will win, which the data seems to be supporting.

Social Media Stories over Social Media Posts

Social media has always been about snapshots, those moments in time we have captured and shared with our friends.

Personal timelines go some way toward organising these, but the news feed remains the place where people keep up to date.

This means algorithms come into play, which have a tendency to kill a narrative. Elements of the story appear out of order, which is fine if you’re Tarantino, but not if you’re an individual or a brand.

While you would expect that if we reacted to one thing we found interesting, we might see more of it. But there’s no guarantee that this will happen in order, if at all. Stories fix these challenges by stringing together the narrative and keeping it moving.

Ease of Use and Access are Key

Recent research shows that Instagram stories slowed the growth of Snapchat’s play after it launched, largely in part to both it’s scale of users already familiar with the platform, and it’s ease of use by comparison to Snapchat.

Similarly, Twitter’s much-hyped Moments feature has just been removed from the main navigation in their app. I believe to be symptomatic of them keeping it out of the hands of users for too long. By the time they had the ability to create moments, most were finding better ways to do it elsewhere. That said, it remains an important tool in curating relevance from the noise.

Facebook has scale already, which is where Instagram also had an advantage. All platforms have their own demographic and user behaviors that will influence the type of stories that will be told and how the tools will work. The important part is making it easy to put it all together, because stories and narrative matter.

 

5 Features That Would Make Twitter Polls Truly Useful

30 Nov
November 30, 2015

Twitter polls were a welcome addition to the platform when they became widely available a couple of months ago in a very basic form. I’ve dabbled a few times with some questions with really mixed reaction, so while early days, I see a lot of room for improvement in the product.

While they’ve added the ability to have up to four options, there are still five features they need to add for it to be a truly useful as a survey tool on the platform.

Shorter Timeframes

Currently the only time option for running Twitter polls using the native function is 24 hours (noting some people have custom card implementations that work differently), which is too long. If your target audience has a small number of infrequent tweeters they follow then you may hold people’s interest and increase votes, but consider how many other people your followers are connected with, and understand how much other content is competing for air time with your poll.

It also allows you to be more reactive to live events and maintain relevance.

Ability To Retweet

Asuming we are stuck with the 24 hour timeframe, the ability to tweet the same poll again would be useful. Given the tweet with your poll slips further and further down feeds during that day long period, the visibility decreases.

By being able to push it into your feed again (either manually or automatically) would ensure visibility and increase responses.

Targeting

The broad nature of Twitter means that your audience will be made up of many different. Good polling is generally targeted in nature, taking a pulse amongst a group of people with similar interests.

The ability to set a target audience, outside of Twitter ads for promotion of the poll, would help increase interaction and respondents.

Analytics

Currently the only numbers supporting your poll are the votes, and if you dip into analytics, the number of people who saw the poll. From this you can measure a response rate, but that’s it.

Ideally you want to be able to dig deeper in to understand the people who responded – where are they, who are they, are they your target audience, and what can you then draw from that data as far as insights go?

Image and Video Support

The stats on the performance of visuals and video on Twitter show that there is a clear increase in engagement with tweets that contain them over those that don’t. By adding images to polls, they become a quick reference for the options presented.

Video would also present an interesting angle, allowing people to consume a piece of content and then feedback on it through a poll.

All five of these things tie together quite nicely as ways of increasing and measuring end-to-end engagement, and if they were implemented polls would become a truly engaging piece of the platform.

What about you? Any other features you’d like to see from polls?

Automated Twitter DM, and Why It Needs To Stop

23 Nov
November 23, 2015

I make a point each day of trying to find more interesting people to follow on Twitter (more on how I curate an interesting feed here), however lately this practice has been marred by an increasing number of automated direct messages.

Although nothing new and almost universally derided amongst Twitter users, it seems recently that the dial has been turned up to 11.

My reaction is simple – instantly unfollow.

We all know the social media metaphor of the bar, and that you wouldn’t just walk up to a stranger and try to sell something. Yet this is exactly what the auto DM is.

So what is it that annoys most people?

We’ve Not Yet Established Trust or Value

A follow on Twitter is not an instant indication of trust. It’s an indication that I have found your last few things reasonably interesting and think I want to see more. Twitter is one of the lowest touch networks when it comes to connecting with people you know and trust, and in most cases the strength of a connection, especially at this embryonic stage, is tenuous.

By sending me an automated message straight away – inviting me to connect on LinkedIn / Facebook, try your product that’s in beta, visit your website or download your eBook – assumes that the value you offer has been firmly established and that all connections are created equal.

It demonstrates the value you place on the connections you make. Even by automating even something as simple as gratitude for a new follower instantly shows that you don’t care enough to take the time.

These networks have always been about establishing trust, an automation of your 1:1 interactions flies in the face of this.

Don't Be This Person

Can Automated Direct Messages Work At All?

I’ve been part of Twitter for nearly 7 years, and can count on the one hand useful direct messages I have received. The most useful I ever received was a pay-it-forward kind of message, telling me three more interesting people I should follow.

If you’re serious about leveraging a network of connections like Twitter, avoid automation of direct messaging. It presumes that everyone follows you for the same reason, and that you need to interact with every single one of them. You don’t.

Let me be clear here – direct messaging is still of value. When you take the time, personalise it, and mean it. Spend the time, understand the value you provide, and use that to deepen your connections.

This provision of value is the new currency. and done right can pay greater dividends than trying to sell them something.

Customer Service Is The Winner in Twitter's New DM Changes

12 Jun
June 12, 2015

UPDATE – These changes have been rolled out globally. 

Buried under the news this morning of their CEO’s decision to step down, another big announcement from the Twitter saw users now able to write direct messages with no character limit from July.

As other articles have alluded to, this seems to be the first step towards creating a competitor to things like Facebook Messenger, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the functionality grow quickly.

What it signals more to me though is that Twitter seems to be putting an equal focus on themselves as an efficient customer service channel.

Customers Are the Real Winners

A few months ago, they removed the requirement for someone to be following you in order to send you a direct message, and this was certainly a big step forward.

One of the big bug bears of users was that while they may not necessarily want to follow what a brand has to say on channel, they want easy customer service. Connecting with the brand in a manner beyond that interaction ma have been a roadblock.

With the removal of character limits on DMs, the customer service experience becomes almost frictionless, at least as far as the platform goes.

I’m not saying that it’s been impossible or difficult in the past, but for those of us who have used the platform for customer service before, you will know how challenging the character limit has made it to convey issues in a speedy fashion.

We’re talking here about efficiency. Customers not only want their issues resolved accurately, but also quickly. By allowing more characters, it provides the opportunity to communicate a depth of detail quickly, and potentially deliver a solution in less time. The customer can move on and not labour over the issues they have.

There are still the issues of customer sensitive data, and any business with an effective social service policy will have a process in place for moving these conversations offline if required, but for resolution in channel, this is a big step forward.

For brands who maintain one channel for general content as well as support, it also means that they can begin to parse out the two functions into distinct areas and provide better experiences in both.

Last Week's Top Social and Content Posts

20 Apr
April 20, 2015

Last week I started publishing a summary of what was most popular amongst the content I shared. This week, data and visual social media were the most popular themes from the content I curated.

So what were people looking at last week?

5 Social Media Image Size Hacks for Quick Visual Content

Top of the pile was a great post from Donna Moritz (@sociallysorted), on some hacks to build quick visual assets for your social media. Donna’s content is always great, and recommend following her.

Twitter Cuts off Data For Third Party Sellers

One of the bigger stories of the last week was Twitter, as they move into their own big data business through their Gnip acquisition.

10 Reasons Why Data Must Drive Your Content Strategy

I shared a similar post last week, and it’s obvious from the interactions I see with it that data and content strategy and hot topics. This post has 10 points that need consideration.

The Evolution of Advertising on Twitter, and What’s Next

I found this more retrospective, very light on the “what’s next” but it is an interesting read nonetheless.

Turn UGC Into Glorious Content

UGC was one of those things that marketers thought would be awesome in the early days of social media, then got a bad name because of the unreliable quality. But there is a way to do it right and turn it into something awesome.