It’s not that we expected any different. It’s just good to know that it’s still alive and well.
The two second choices in their respective niches have continued their firehose relationship to help Bing keep an advantage over Google and to give Twitter the added exposure and additional search filtering. It has been a symbiotic relationship for four years despite Bing’s relationship with Twitter. Google had a similar relationship with Twitter at one point before going all in on their Google+ network.
Let’s state this for the record. I am not convinced that using the new image features on Twitter is the best way to go when it comes to marketing your business. It still smells too much like spam and if it’s not handled properly it could do more harm than good.
With that said, there are definitely instances when it could do VERY well, particularly when it comes to gaining exposure and picking up more Twitter followers. The key is making sure you’re keeping a 2:1 ratio aspect ration for your images.
They are displaying that way regardless of the size or shape of the image when seen in the screen. They can be enlarged, of course, but that’s so old school. With the new Twitter feed displaying them inline without a click and the fact that they’ve added the engagement actions under each post across all of the platforms, it makes sense prevent people from having to click to see the whole picture.
Look at the example below, a tale of two Tweets. As you can see, the top image that I just posted fits perfectly into the frame that Twitter gives us. The one below it forces you to click through to see it. It doesn’t matter how compelling the message is, only a handful of people will click to find out what the punchline was. They’re much more likely to skip right past it, particularly if they’re like the majority who check Twitter on mobile.
If your images are twice as wide as they are tall or close to that ratio, you’ll be able to get the most impact out of your Twitter image marketing. Don’t go out and make a bunch of ads at that ratio. Again, this can be abused and you’ll turn more people off than ever before if you spam the system (and feeds). Keep it legit and everything will be just fine.
In an ideal world, you’re the social media and content manager for your company. You spend eight hours a day harnessing the power of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ while developing content for your blog and YouTube channels. It’s tough, but you’re making it happen.
In the real world, you’re probably responsible for a ton of different things and social media was tossed onto your pile of work. How can you cope? Is it possible to have a strong social media presence without devoting a ton of time to it? Yes and no. Yes, you can have a pretty decent one, but 30-minutes as detailed below is the bare minimum to be considered truly active. I’ve seen people do it in about 2 hours a day and have a super strong presence.
For those of you who are having to hold it together until help (or more time) arrives, here’s a great infographic that can work as a daily checklist of activities that you need to accomplish to maintain the minimum level of social media power, courtesy of Pardot.
Here’s the thing. You should never post anything to social media that could get you in trouble. It doesn’t matter if you delete them immediately. They likely appeared in someone’s stream and you’re probably going to be reported to the cops.
Such is the case for Robert Metzinger, 30, from St. Louis. As his Cardinals were preparing to lose the World Series to the Boston Red Sox, Metzinger made references to the Boston Marathon Bombing and insinuated jokingly that the same thing may happen during game 6 of the World Series in Boston.
It wasn’t random people who reported him. In this case, it was his former employers who saw the Tweets and rang the alarm bell.
He was released on $11,000 bond, ordered to undergo a mental evaluation, and charged with a misdemeanor.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson released this statement:
“Our Department worked diligently to ensure that Cardinals fans and visitors had a safe and enjoyable Word Series experience in our city. When we learned of the threats on social media, we took immediate action to take the suspect into custody. At no time during our investigation were fans and visitors in the region at risk of harm. While we are always cautious about the safety of citizens and visitors, our attention was heightened in this incident due to the World Series. Because of the hard work and dedication of our officers Cardinals fans and visitors were able to safely enjoy the three-game series in St. Louis.”
It doesn’t matter how big of a fan you are. The circumstances are irrelevant. There’s nothing funny about making light of a tragedy and to threaten to repeat the event is going to get you in trouble.
We are seeing the “Facebookification” of Twitter happening before our eyes. No longer will we see a nice, minimized feed of Tweets presented to us on our smartphones or computers with several Tweets lining top to bottom on the screen. We’ll see pictures, ads, and videos taking up more space by themselves than three Tweets presented the old way.
We will see Facebook. Rather than comment, we will be able to reply. Rather than share, we will be able to retweet. Rather than like, we’ll be able to favorite. These are not new interactions that you can have with your Twitter feed – they’ve been available all along. The difference is that now they’re present in the stream under each new post, just like Facebook.
Any change like this will have good and bad associated with it. The good is that some, particularly those who have a properly vetted and tightly pruned list of people they follow, may find that this change makes it easier to experience Twitter, particularly on a smartphone. The need to push the little picture link in the Tweet has been replaced by the need to scroll further to see more. The need to open up a Tweet in order to interact with it has been put inline within the feed, again making for fewer Tweets per screen but an easier path to engagement.
The bad is that this will utterly destroy the Twitter feeds of anyone with a poor list of accounts they follow. Businesses are going to fall into a trap thanks to this new expansive Twitter feed. It’s possible that things you would never want to see on Twitter are now exposed rather than hidden safely behind the wall of a necessary click.
Overall, this is a great move from Twitter’s perspective pre-IPO. They will be catering now to the people checking out the service for the first time before investing rather than the experienced Twitter user who knows how to play the game. It makes sense – the old users will adapt and the new users will be able to figure it all out more easily. If they’ve been on Facebook, they’ll probably recognize many of the functionalities that are now common between the two networks.
Now, about that business trap…
Don’t Flood the System
I’m already starting to see it. Businesses and marketers are seeing things in their feed and realizing that they can get their visual message out to people more readily. They don’t have to click to see images, so why not put the messages in the images themselves, right?
Wrong. For some reason, the old ways of thinking with captive audience marketing have never been abandoned in free audience marketing. You can load people up with all of the ads and business messages that you want on television, print, or radio, but the moment you post something to social media that might turn the audience off, they can easily turn YOU off by unfollowing you. Some would say that the remote control and the car radio tuner have the same basic effect, but it’s not true. They might turn the channel during commercials, but they will likely return to the station and give you a second, third, fourth, or tenth chance to reach them with a different commercial later, but in social media, when they “change the channel” by turning you off, you will likely never have another opportunity to reach them.
Businesses, this is a tremendous opportunity to truly participate within the Twitter community in ways that have eluded you since the beginning, but that’s not a license to flood people’s feeds with material that won’t resonate with them. The example above isn’t that bad. It’s just an announcement that someone had joined the team, but it’s enough to make me want to unfollow them. No offense to the person who joined the team but I don’t want those things popping up on my smartphone.
Thankfully, I don’t follow those who blatantly spam all the time, but I’ve seen other feeds with marketing messages embedded into images that will clearly turn people off.
Twitter is in a constant state of flux and this latest change is going to be embraced by some, panned by others, but eventually accepted as the norm for all. We’ve transitioned from the click to the scroll as the general method for seeing more. It was described best in the best article I’ve ever read on Buzzfeed:
What this Twitter update does, in that context, is lower the barriers for interacting with tweets, which in turn reduces the threshold for sharing and for virality. It turns Twitter into a more unstable, interactive, sensitive, and potentially explosive ecosystem, a place where you feel like you at least have a chance of breaking through.
Update: With rumors swirling that the starting price may go up, we have changed our opinion and now believe that you should not buy Twitter in the beginning.
I don’t own stock. I will never own stock. I don’t read the Wall Street Journal and I didn’t take a single business course in college. With that said, you should listen to me when I say that you should buy Twitter if you can.
They are doing two things very right. First, they are pricing themselves low enough to avoid the painful entry that Facebook had before hitting a strong streak. Second, they’re focusing on building a revenue stream that will make them worthy of the $11 billion potential company value that many are anticipating. This combination means that you don’t need to be Gordon Gekko to recognize the upside that this stock will have.
While Facebook shot too high, Twitter is shooting too low. While Facebook is a mammoth operation, Twitter is streamlined. While Facebook has political risks attached to it, Twitter has been relatively clean over the years.
People complain about Facebook. They do so on Twitter.
The numbers themselves are pretty compelling, as can be seen in this article from ReadWrite:
Twitter seeks to raise $1.4 billion by selling 70 million shares for between $17 and $20 per share when the company goes public next month, the company revealed today. At $20 per share, it would be worth just under $11 billion.
Since the beginning, Facebook has been a place where people share what they’re doing. They post pictures, videos, and status updates that let their friends and family know what’s going on in their lives at that very moment. Some use it to post thoughts on things that are happening at that moment. Others simply share the latest joke they heard. For the most part, Facebook has not been successful at driving traffic to websites relative to its size.
That has changed in the last year. People are more open and willing to open links from Facebook. They are willing to use it to see interesting posts on blogs and news websites. This can be most easily seen from sites like Buzzfeed that saw a 855% increase in traffic year over year compared to a “mere” 208% for news site TIME.
The one thing they haven’t mastered is in real-time news. That’s Twitter’s wheelhouse. Despite the shared real-time nature that the sites share, the simplicity and chronological order of posts on Twitter make it a faster way to see the current links of immediate stories. Publications can post much more often to Twitter without losing followers than they can on Facebook where over-publishing can force them to lose fans. Facebook’s new publishing tool hopes to change that.
With the new tool, publishers will be able to see what stories they have on their website that have not been published to Facebook. They’ll also be able to see which ones they should post to Facebook based upon its success in being posted by other users. The immediate goal for Facebook is to encourage publishers to post more often. The end goal is to get them to spend money promoting their posts because of the attention that they’re able to get.
Facebook is already the highest traffic-sending social media site out there, but those numbers are misleading. Relative to their size, they’re actually not sending nearly as much traffic as they could. If they could get more publishers to share more content (something they’ve tried and failed at in the past) then their chances of turning that into additional ad revenue increases.
This is a problem for Twitter. They are banking on major media outlets to pay them for more exposure. Facebook is already making tremendous strides in the business world through their advertising program. If they can take dollars from publishers, television, and other media outlets, it could hurt Twitter in their bread and butter business. Twitter needs publishers to want to promote their posts because they are more effective at the news than at direct business engagement.
Facebook owns business marketing. If they can take over media promotions as well, Twitter might be left with a big chunk of their advertising dollars (as well as their hopes for the future) heading to their nemesis.
What would you do if you received a thousand retweets for one of your tweets on Twitter? Would you run on a baseball field and wave to the crowds? Would you run naked in a stadium or poke a ravenous tiger with a stick? Some people would give a resounding “YES!!!” just to get a good laugh, while the rest of us might think long and hard about the consequences that we might be faced with afterwards. Putting our prefrontal lobes to good use!
This morning around 10:20am, the New England Patriots announce that they had released TE Aaron Hernandez. Rather than more conventional means of communication in the sports world, such as a press conference or posting it on the team’s website, the Patriots conveyed their message in less than 140 words via their Twitter account.
There have been valid business reasons to use hashtags for years. Twitter started it off. Pinterest added to it. Google+ mastered it in many ways. Instagram, Tumblr… the list of social sites on which hashtags are relevant is long. Facebook was the last major holdout. Now that they’ve joined the bandwagon, it’s go time.