Leveraging Twitter, Part 1: Understanding Twitter Tutorial

1.2 Introduction

Hi, I'm Jennifer Evans Cario, the President of SugarSpun Marketing, author of Pinterest Marketing: An Hour a Day, and the Social Media Faculty Chair at Market Motive. Thanks for joining me for part one in this series on leveraging Twitter.

1.3 What is Twitter?

When people ask the question, what is Twitter? Probably the easiest way to describe the change in what Twitter originally started as, versus what is has grown into, is to look at the question that Twitter asks itself. Is it prompt for conversation? So back when Twitter first started, when you logged onto the screen what it would end up asking you is what are you doing, and that's what people tended to post. What they were doing, where they were going, what they were experiencing. All within the limits of 140 characters designed to make Twitter the home of brief, and to-the-point conversation. Now these days, we see a big change in Twitter, and Twitter has sort of shared that change based on switching from asking people what are you doing to what's happening? Because the change that has happened with Twitter is that we've gone from talking really about ourselves, and sort of our day to day lives, and the conversation of our day to day lives, and we have seen Twitter grow into a place where there's much more conversation about what's actually going on in the world around you. So where as Twitter back in the day was a place of conversation. A place where people connected with other people and really had a lot of conversation and chatter. These days, Twitter has become more of the home of hashtags and of news updates. So what was once a stream of conversation has instead become a content stream.

1.4 Twitter Then & Now

Now, when we look at back how Twitter originally started, and keep in mind that Twitter started and grew before Facebook had really taken hold. So for many years Twitter was the place that people went to engage and have dialogue with other people who had similar interests. People connected with others in the same industry, they connected around likes and conversations. In fact that's part of how hashtags were born, was giving people the ability to tie some of those conversations together. But what we've seen happen with Twitter over the last several years is that it has really grown and matured into a place whose primary purpose has become broadcasting news and thought with a little bit of dialogue mixed in. That's not to say that there are not occasionally people having back and forth conversation, but generally that conversation is a lot more purposeful. Someone may have a direct conversation or dialogue with a brand. Or maybe with someone who wrote an article. Or because they've asked a specific question. It's a little more purposeful and a little less free flowing. As we've seen that type of conversation migrate over into the world of Facebook.

1.5 Popularity in the USA

Now, when we look at Twitter in terms of user base, it's interesting to note that Twitter is one of the older social networks out there. In fact, Twitter had a much stronger presence earlier on than sites like Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram. And we look at the year over year growth, we see that Twitter still has solid growth each year. But we also see that, as time has passed, it has not only been passed by Facebook, but also by LinkedIn, and by Pinterest, and by Instagram in terms of overall user base. Now, that's not to say that Twitter does not still present a very viable marketing option to the greatest majority of businesses. It's understanding that when you look at how much time and effort you put into different areas, and when you're looking at things like broader adoption rate, it's important to understand that areas like Pintrest and Instagram and LinkedIn have reached a level where they have an equal level or even greater level of user base than Twitter. And thus, it bears looking at Twitter from that broader perspective.

1.6 Popularity Internationally

Now even when we're looking at Twitter on the international front, we find that when we do country by country breakdowns. And when we sort of aggregate all the data together, Twitter is the 10th most popular platform worldwide. Now, it's important to keep in mind that of those top ten, five of them are basically messenger, chat, or voice over IP apps like Skype, and WeChat, and WhatsApp. So, when we look at it from a pure social network, it still ranks in the top five social networks. Again, fairly consistently across the board. Now, depending on which market you might be looking at internationally, you're going to see a little bit of change in terms of adoption rates of Twitter and how often people use it. For example, if you're looking in Argentina, Twitter is the 6th most popular platform. If you're looking in Brazil, it's also the 6th most popular platform, each hovering somewhere around 11 and 15% user rates. Now if we look at a country like Japan, we find that Twitter is actually the most popular platform that's being used. Now it's still only has 16% of the population using it, but it is the most popular platform in Japan. Now, it's important to note that while Japan has a very high tech rate, only 19% of the population as a whole, uses any form of social media. So, the lower level of adoption rates there do make a decent amount of sense. When we look at someplace like India, we find that Twitter drops back down to the 6th most popular platform similar to where it plays in South and Central America. Now in South Korea, it becomes the 4th most popular platform, with about 13% of social media users actively using Twitter. And here it's a place worth noting that while 90% of the population of South Korea is online, only 30% are using social media. So there's a lot of real growth in several of these countries, both within Twitter and within social media as a whole. because again, we don't see social media adoption rates quite matching up with overall online usage adoption rates. In a country like the Philippines, it's currently ranking fifth most popular, with 13% of the users. In the United Arab Emirates, it's very interesting to note that while Twitter is the 6th most popular platform, it has a 27% adoption rate. And when we look at the overall adoption rates in the UAE, we see that 92% of the population is online and over half of them are using social media. So, again, a lot of base there to work with. And a lot of potential for growth coming in down the road. Looking across the pond at our neighbors in the United Kingdom, Twitter is very popular. 3rd most popular platform, almost to 20% adoption rate taking place over there.

1.7 Twitter Demographics

Now gathering global Twitter demographics is a little bit difficult to do. But there is a lot of research and information available if you narrow it down to simply the US marketplace. So looking at the latest data that's come out from the Pew Research Center, we see that across the board in almost all areas Twitter is experiencing year over year growth among almost all demographics. So we see an increase in the number of men and the number of women that are signing on. White non-Hispanics and Hispanics have seen a significant increase, though we've actually seen a drop in the percentage of black non-Hispanics that are using the site. The younger age range is definitely still coming on at a very strong number. But it's important to note that that 65+ category has gone from 5% of that category using Twitter up to 10%. So we've seen a really significant increase there. We've seen a drop in lower level education users and an increase in those who have some college or college, so Twitter's becoming more educated over time. And we've also seen a stronger increase in the more affluent users on Twitter as opposed to those of a lower income. So overall Twitter still is sort of ruled by the young, well educated, urban dwellers. There's more men than women, and there's a very strong minority presence. So, depending on who you're trying to reach and what you're trying to get out in front of them, there are definitely some things that make Twitter unique and different as opposed to some of the other more popular social media channels. Now when we look on that global front again, we are able to get the age breakdown that's happening globally. Pew does release that. And we can see across the board that that younger age set really, really heavily dominates Twitter when we're looking on a global scale. So whether you're talking high school, college, young professional, that they really account for the greatest majority of who's actually getting out there and using Twitter. And this is really important to consider when you're looking at how you approach Twitter and what you want to put out there. Understanding that there's very high mobile usage, that there's very high tech savvy and tech knowledge makes it much easier to start incorporating some of the call to action and some of the Twitter cards and conversion options that we're going to talk about a little bit later in the series.

1.8 Marketing Impact

Now laying the foundation for what we are going to be talking about during this Twitter module. I want to sort of walk you through the four key areas that we really see Twitter having an impact on the marketing front. And the first one of those is brand building. And this is really about shaping how people view your brand based on the content you're putting out there. And when we look at a world where hashtag conversations, and direct conversations, and articles, and media all come into play, there's a lot of opportunity to really sort of massage and set up and prep what it is that people see and views being related to your company. Now there's also the opportunity to have a credibility boost because Twitter gives you the perfect platform to share things like original content and curated content, to be pushing out Links and images and conversations and chats and to really give people an idea of why they might engage with you. >> And it also opens the door to a lot of opportunity in the realm of reputation management. There's a lot search potential and tracking potential that really lets you keep tabs not on just what people are saying about you but also what they have to say about your competitors. It also gives you a really great way to come in and be part of that conversation. Especially on the customer service side of things. And then finally, we're also seeing a really strong push towards using Twitter in terms of driving direct conversions. Again, we're going to talk a little bit later about things like Twitter cards and call to actions. But really making use of that to not just increase exposure and sort of the credibility and the brand building, but actually to generate traffic and video views, to drive subscriptions and to even drive direct sales.

1.9 Coming Up

But coming up in the next part of this series, we're going to start working our way through some of Twitter's foundational marketing features, the things that are sort of native to the system. We're going to talk a little bit about the ways that you can make use of image and video on Twitter. We're also going to dive into the concept of hashtags a little bit, understanding them, leveraging, knowing how to use them, and when to use them. Thanks so much for joining me for part one in this series on Twitter marketing.

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