Twitter strategies that no longer work

As the platform matures—and finally turns a profit—smart communicators are leaving some old strategies in the dust. Here are some tactics that social media marketers should avoid.

Twitter has never had great numbers.

In Q1 of 2017, the social network had 323 million monthly active users. By Q3, the number grew to 330 million, which is sluggish for a social media giant. Twitter routinely overstated its number of active users since 2014—and while Twitter’s stock price rose in the last couple of months of 2017, it was mostly due to the company announcing the possibility of turning a profit for the first time, as well as a vote of confidence from JPMorgan.

However, the numbers were never Twitter’s biggest draw. Marketers know that Twitter’s main advantages are more about quality than quantity. They also know that it’s the best social network when they need to contact a media outlet, protect their organization’s reputation, offer customer service, or drive engagement with a promotion.

With that in mind, here are some of the least successful ways for marketers to use Twitter in 2018:

1. You keep it short and simple.

One of Twitter’s defining characteristics was the 140-character limit. However, after years of rumors and speculations and a couple of months of testing, Twitter finally expanded its character limit to 280 per tweet. The company backed the decision with data, including the information that longer tweets increase engagement.

The social media marketing community started testing the claim as soon as the limit was expanded, and it proved true—longer tweets indeed get more likes and retweets.

They also give more room for marketers to provide useful information, use more effective language and provide context to their tweets, and that’s without mentioning the possibilities offered by “threads.” Deciding to not adapt to the new norm is likely to backfire.

2. You’re stuck in the millennial demographic.

Millennials are still in their heyday as the most sought-after demographic for marketing, however those who are interested in marketing to different age groups shouldn’t put all their eggs into one basket.

Gen X-ers are more active on social media than millennials and 36 percent of Twitter users are between 18 and 29 years of age, which makes them the biggest demographic group using the social network. There are also signs that Gen Z is starting to dominate the social media landscape. In the UK, the younger generation is more interested than millennials in most social media platforms. Only Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest are more popular among the millennials.

3. You’re heavily automated.

Automation is a cross-industry trend that’s predicted to change the nature of work as much as the original industrial revolution did. From self-driving cars to chatbots, automation is changing the way many things are done, including marketing.

Automation has its place in email marketing, and is useful in social media marketing, as well. However, Twitter is another story.

Twitter is a social platform where users expect to engage with actual people who work for actual companies. They expect an answer when they ask questions, and automated tools might not be able to give them. Plus, Twitter is a social network that’s uncannily good at creating PR nightmares with badly timed or tasteless tweets.

Some automation might be okay, but relying too heavily on it is not the way forward for Twitter users—at least not yet.

4. You’re giving up on paid advertising on Twitter.

Completely giving up on Twitter advertising might not be the best strategy for 2018, even though Twitter’s losses of ad revenue suggest that some marketers are doing it. There are several indicators that paid advertising might improve. Advertising metrics in Q3 2017 show a 99 percent year-over-year increase in total ad engagement, as well as a cost per engagement decrease of 54 percent year-over-year. Twitter also introduced the paid Promote Mode, which can come in handy, especially when building an audience.

In 2017, Twitter grew its user base while losing money from advertisers. It’s implemented algorithm changes, rolled out new products and changed one of its defining features.

It’s still not certain whether these changes will be enough to finally push the company towards profitability. What we know is that, as far as engagement goes, Twitter has been improving. sticking around with Twitter for a little longer would be a good bet after all.

Donna Moores is a content marketer and manager at HandMadeWritings.

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