Last Updated on July 4, 2018 by David Bryan
What are the benefits of Twitter for business in 2018? How will its growth and usage in the near future determine the effectiveness of a marketing campaign for business? How can a company optimise Twitter for SEO? These are just examples of some of the questions businesses may ask before they proceed with a campaign involving Twitter in 2018. In this article, we answer these questions you may have, so please read on to learn more about using this social media channel for business!
What is Twitter?
Twitter is, in its simplest form an online news and social networking microblogging service. Users broadcast through short messages, tweets, which are restricted to 280 characters. Through the follow feature, users can keep up-to-date with other users, whose tweets will show on their home feed. Users also have their own personal Twitter feed, whereby their own tweets are uploaded in a timeline format.
The rise of Twitter
From its inception in 2006 until 2011, Twitter’s growth was rather exponential. The site had 1,000 unique users in 2006, rising to 33 million in 2008, and 135 million in 2011. However, Twitter’s huge growth in the early years has appeared to stagnate, with the social media channel now having over 700 million annual users. While still a great user base, it hasn’t followed the same pattern of massive growth as in recent years.
Reports show that the social media channel had 328 million unique active users in the second quarter of 2017, approximately half of the total figure of its annual users.
However, a recent report from Forbes has stated that the company’s share prices have rocketed by 8.3%, with quarterly earnings and user growth in 2017 beating estimations by analysts. Although Twitter’s growth in recent years has perhaps not been as successful as expected, growth rates in 2017 imply Twitter may see a resurgence in 2018 and the coming years.
Reports suggest this recent growth is mainly attributed to the resurrection of dormant Twitter users, rather than people making new accounts. This is coupled with a surge in users following political news in the United States – this is perhaps partly thanks to Donald Trump, who is more active on the social media channel than any other politician, let alone the U.S. president, before him!
Twitter Business Case: The good, the bad and the ugly of Twitter for business in 2018
Although perhaps not as popular in terms of monthly active users as other major social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is still an extremely beneficial marketing tool for business in 2018. However, the difficulty of establishing a Twitter reputation in an increasingly competitive market can be tough, and a page needs to be maintained in order to keep its followers interested. Below we discuss some of the various benefits and drawbacks of Twitter for business in 2018.
Twitter positives for business
Firstly, Twitter is a great way to keep your followers up-to-date with your business and keep them in the loop through succinct, to-the-point tweets which can be sent out immediately to the masses. This allows for businesses to connect and engage with their customers and tailor tweets specifically for these customers. This is coupled with the fact that Twitter has zero marketing costs – although Twitter advertising, or the use of advanced tools, do cost the user, the actual tweet is free.
Secondly, the ability to send personal messages also means a business can provide helpful customer service, adding a further personal touch to the social media channel. Larger businesses have utilised this effective communication tool through the creation of Twitter accounts specifically for support teams, which offer real-time technical support and aim to maintain customer satisfaction. One such company making use of this is GoDaddy, whose Twitter account GoDaddy Help posts regular updates regarding the service status of its site, as well as replies to any questions customers may have.
Because of the hashtag and trending features, Twitter is possibly the best social media platform in 2018 for users to view a large array of opinions, reviews, news and updates regarding a certain topic. These are integral features of Twitter and allow for information to spread worldwide quickly. Referring to the growth of the social media channel in 2017, Twitter was the one platform people felt they could turn to for quick, easy communication after Donald Trump won the presidential election.
This is why, the morning after the election, Twitter’s stock was the only mainstream tech stock to increase. It provides real-time access to an audience and therefore shows why Twitter is useful for business in 2018.
Twitter can also be a beneficial marketing tool for businesses whose target market are those ranging from the ages of 21-50, because 30% of online adults under the age of 50 are active on the social media channel. This is coupled with the fact that user engagement and consumption on Twitter is extremely high – content consumption rose a massive 25% from 2014 to 2016!
Findings conducted in a survey from Constant Contact found that 60% of a brand’s followers were more likely to either purchase or recommend a service or product after following the brand on Twitter. This evidences the high user engagement and content consumption associated with the social media platform in 2018 and is, therefore, a positive of using this social media channel for business.
A Twitter success story
Marks and Spencer, the British multinational retailer, centred its 2016 Christmas campaign around woman aged 45-plus after it was found to be losing relevance among women in this age bracket. Marks and Spencer’s Christmas campaign was based on Mrs Claus and primarily took this campaign to Twitter, calling it #LoveMrsClaus. The day after the advert was broadcast, #LoveMrsClaus topped the trending topics list, showing how successful the Twitter campaign was for business. As a result, there was a 12% increase in favourability and an 11-37% increase in recall among women in the 45-plus age bracket.
Twitter negatives for business
Firstly, the reputation of a business is established quickly on Twitter and will most likely change if followers feel a business page is posting spammy tweets. If a user’s tweets become excessive and are focussed around trying to sell a product, rather than trying to engage with a potential customer, the user may lose followers. With this in mind, it becomes clear that creating a popular and successful business page which the community can engage with, in 2018 is an arduous task. It may not always be worth it for businesses, because this time and effort could perhaps be put into something more beneficial.
Furthermore, the extremely public and immediate nature of Twitter, allowing for tweets to be sent out to the masses, can also be negative for business. Businesses are able to quickly engage with their customers and tailor tweets specific to these customers as a result of the immediacy of sharing via the social media channel. However, this also means that customers are able to publicly voice complaints they may have regarding a product or service. A common analogy often made about Twitter is that it’s like two people are talking loudly in a bar, so loudly in fact that everyone else can overhear their conversation!
Twitter is one of the only social networks that are “open”, meaning once a user broadcasts a tweet, if his/her account is not private, it can be seen by anyone and everyone who is active on the social media channel in 2018. A user must be sure to take careful consideration over what they are posting to avoid criticism, as this could be bad for business in 2018. Furthermore, there is no way to edit a tweet once it has been posted by a user. This means that harsh or malicious comments towards a business cannot be hidden from other users in 2018.
Lastly, the very nature of Twitter is to broadcast short, succinct and to-the-point pieces of information which are restricted to 280 characters or less. It can, however, be difficult for businesses to express a point, advertise a product or service, or engage with customers in such few words.
B2B and B2C marketing on Twitter
Twitter’s ability to broadcast information to the masses quickly and efficiently has attracted the attention of both B2B and B2C companies, and you will find that both are active on the social media channel in 2018. B2C companies can utilise this platform to post fun, entertaining pieces of information to drive user engagement and virality. Of course, Twitter is one of the best social networks for virality as it is a completely “open” social network, and once a tweet is sent out by users, everyone active on the site is able to see it. This is true except for the ability of users to create a private account; whereby only accepted users have the ability to view that user’s tweets; of course, this should not be an option for social media marketers in 2018!
For B2C businesses, publishing content in the form of contests or conversations, which is specific to a business’s target audience, will drive user engagement and may potentially create sales leads. B2B companies can also use the platform to their advantage in 2018, through the sharing of content which educates clients, or through the provision of customer service, which the social media channel greatly facilitates for.
A recent survey from The Marketing Journal conducted in 2017 found that 95% of B2B marketers and 87% of B2C marketers were active on Twitter. However, these similar statistics for business usage were vastly different from how successful social media marketers felt Twitter was for business. While 68% of B2C companies found Twitter to be successful in helping them achieve their aims, only 47% of B2B companies found it to be effective for business.
So, while there are proportionally more B2B companies active on the social media channel, the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns in 2018 are in fact statistically worse than the campaigns from B2C companies. However, it has previously been explained that Twitter can be an effective marketing tool for both B2B and B2C companies. It, therefore, may be true that B2B companies are not utilising the platform’s features for the effective marketing for business in 2018.
Integrating Twitter with other social media channels
In an increasingly competitive market, a business must have a presence on multiple social media channels. A multi-channel social media strategy is crucial for businesses wishing to diversify their fan-base in 2018. Integrating Twitter with Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube are easy for business, with methods being discussed below.
Integrating Twitter and Facebook
Facebook is the social media channel with access to the most people worldwide in 2018 – approximately 1.13 billion people use the site daily. It is therefore within a company’s best interest to integrate these two social media channels. This is more so the case for B2C companies because both Facebook and Twitter were found to be more successful in helping B2C companies rather than B2B companies achieve their aims in 2018.
Connecting both social media channels is extremely easy and is done by accessing your Settings menu’s Apps tab and clicking Connect to Facebook. When logging into Facebook, a user will receive a prompt explaining Twitter will receive certain information from your Facebook account. Clicking “Okay” will complete the process and tweets and retweets will be posted to your Facebook profile thereafter. Connecting a Twitter account to a Facebook page requires a few extra steps which are explained here, on the Twitter website.
Integrating Twitter and Instagram
Currently owned by Facebook after the social media channel acquired it for $1 billion in 2012, Instagram now has a staggering 800 million monthly active users in 2018. When a photo is taken on Instagram, the user will have the ability to share this post to other social media networks through Linked Accounts. From here, by logging in to other social media networks and linking the accounts, content can be automatically shared across the platforms.
Integrating Twitter and YouTube
Connecting a YouTube account to a Twitter account in 2018 can help to promote a business through automatically tweeting any YouTube videos onto a Twitter account. Furthermore, integrating these channels can help to increase a user’s following on Twitter, because people visiting a YouTube channel can click on the Twitter button, which allows them to view a user’s tweets. Integrating both these social media channels can be done by using the social media integration tools on the Settings tab on YouTube. Have a read of this handy article by Adrian Grahams, explaining step-by-step what needs to be done!
Integrating Twitter and LinkedIn
Twitter and LinkedIn are great social media platforms which allow for people to network among professionals. Increasing visibility across these social media platforms is now easier than ever for business and can be done by linking a user’s Twitter account to a LinkedIn profile. This allows users who are not members of LinkedIn to view a business’s activity on the site, allowing them to keep up-to-date with the company. Step-by-step instructions on integrating these two social media platforms can be found here, through the LinkedIn website.
Optimising Twitter with SEO
There are various ways for businesses to optimise Twitter for SEO in 2018, some of which are discussed below.
- Post regularly – tweets can be indexed by search engines, which can be extremely useful for business in terms of search engine optimisation. Therefore, be sure to post regular updates about your business to both keep followers in the loop, and to increase the ranking of your page on search engines. However, try to post regular updates without appearing too spammy as your followers may not enjoy being bombarded with content!
- Use relevant keywords and hashtags where possible – Keyword optimisation is arguably the most important and best SEO technique for business in 2018, as search engines are attracted to keywords. Add keywords naturally to your Twitter bio as well as your tweets to have your page and tweets indexed by search engines.
- Create engaging content – One of the simplest SEO strategies for business, but arguably one of the hardest is creating content that users respond to, like or retweet. This enhances the importance and relevance of your tweets in the eyes of search engines, so be sure to post quality content that encourages user engagement. One popular way in which to do this in 2018 is through retweet competitions, which can be effective in increasing SEO and building followers.
ROI potential of Twitter
Although ROI can be difficult to assess in terms of traffic generation and user engagement, social media channels often have a high potential ROI for business, and Twitter is no different in 2018. The fact the social media channel is extremely open means your business has the potential to broadcast to every active user on Twitter.
If users retweet one of your posts, this post will show up on the Home Feed of people that follow this user, therefore introducing your business to a wider array of people, some of which may begin to follow your page. This is coupled with the fact that recommendations from friends is statistically the most credible form of advertising in 2018, as 83% of online respondents from 60 countries trusted recommendations, over 70% who trusted advertising on websites. This shows the huge potential ROI of Twitter for business in 2018 – if followers of your page like or retweet your posts, they are helping to both market and recommend your product or service to a wider array of people.
Referral traffic is a huge ROI of social media for business in 2018, and one that can be utilised well through Twitter. Linking an external site to your Twitter page or within your posts will help in introducing your site to a more varied audience in the hope of driving user engagement and creating sales leads. However, be sure to post engaging, interesting pieces of information rather than posts which are blatantly trying to sell a product – a user may become uninterested in your page if your posts become too spammy.
For businesses using the analytics feature available on Twitter, they are able to understand their customers and tailor their posts to these customers. This allows a user to measure when a page is most active, the demographics of a user’s followers, as well as the engagements and impressions relating to each individual tweet. With this in mind, the user is then able to tailor tweets to a specific demographic or post tweets at a specific time. This could potentially be more appealing to this target demographic, driving user engagement and creating potential sales leads.
Opace Twitter case studies
Here at Opace, we took the time to compare the traffic generation from different social media channels to the websites of both our B2B and B2C clients. More often than not, we found that the companies who incorporated Twitter into their marketing strategy received a large proportion of their traffic to their website from this social media channel. Twitter was consistently in the top five social media channels for traffic generation and found itself in the top three social media channels for traffic generation for twelve out of fourteen clients we surveyed. On a number of occasions, both B2B and B2C clients found Twitter to be more effective in generating traffic than other social media channels, showing it can be integrating into both a B2B and a B2C’s marketing strategy in 2018.
Our data disagrees with earlier findings that found that just 47% of B2B companies and 68% of B2C companies, were satisfied with the effectiveness of Twitter in allowing them to achieve their aims. Our findings further example the successes that both B2C and B2B companies are finding through Twitter and will continue to find in 2018. They show that, if a campaign involving Twitter has good strategy and the right backing, can be successful for business in terms of traffic generation.
Twitter an ideal tool to use in marketing campaigns
The only major “open” social media network, Twitter currently has access to approximately 328 million people worldwide in 2017. It is an extremely useful marketing tool for broadcasting succinct pieces of information to the masses quickly and efficiently, and because of this, does argue a convincing business case in 2018. However, this fundamental feature of Twitter which allows it to be so current and up-to-date can also be a drawback for businesses who feel they are unable to express a point in as little as 280 words.
Data suggests that while both B2B and B2C companies are active on the platform, B2B companies are in fact displeased with their performance on Twitter. On the contrary, our findings show that both our B2B and B2C clients are having successes in terms of traffic generation. Despite the disparity between data and the drawbacks of Twitter, ultimately it is an easy-to-use platform that has a huge audience and has been a successful marketing tool for businesses worldwide. Because of this, both B2B and B2C companies should be sure to incorporate Twitter into their marketing strategy in 2018, and into the future.
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