Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Organization – A Beginner’s Guide to Twitter

12 Sep Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Organization – A Beginner’s Guide to Twitter

In my last blog post I stated that I was going to spend some time looking at several of the most popular social media platforms and break down just who is using them, how they are being used, and how a company should or could use them. I’ll also add my own color commentary on pros and cons and final thoughts on each platform.

I started with a beginner’s guide to LinkedIn last month, and this time I’m going to focus on Twitter.

The basics: Twitter is a social networking and microblogging platform used to convey messages, links, and images in no more than 140 characters.

Demographics: The most up-to-date demographic information comes from Pew Research. It shows that as of January 2014, 74 percent of online adults use social media. Of that 74 percent, 19 percent use Twitter.

Access: Twitter can be accessed directly through twitter.com, via a third party social media aggregator such as TweetDeck or Sprinklr, or through its mobile app. Interestingly, a Compete study from 2013 shows that sixty percent of Twitter’s users engage with the service via a mobile device.

How it’s being used:  From its own description, “Twitter helps you create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” Twitter is used both by individuals and companies. In fact, a July 2013 study found that 77 percent of Fortune 500 companies have active Twitter accounts.

Twitter’s platform is designed to allow users to informally share information and interact with a host of audiences. For businesses, some of the key audiences on Twitter include customers, prospective customers, media and bloggers, industry analysts, and current or potential corporate or technology partners.

One thing to really keep in mind with Twitter is that it’s built for engagement – meaning you should be having conversations with people. Don’t just consistently push your own company news and never venture from that. Follow users who make up the audiences that are important to your organization, retweet the news others put out, and respond to the people who tweet at you.

Analytics: Twitter recently launched a new analytics tool; my coworker Kathryn was kind enough to write all about it already. Her post provides some thoughtful perspective.

Pros: Twitter is a great platform for sharing your organization’s news with the masses, even news that might be considered a lower priority. While I still obviously work with reporters every day and share client news with them, not everything is press release or pitch worthy. Twitter allows you to share even the smallest news items with your audience.

Cons: Unless you’re paying constant attention to the newsfeed it’s easy to miss something that others put out, or for your audience to miss your news. There are a lot of people using Twitter and sometimes it can be difficult to be heard over all the noise. Effectively running a social media account like Twitter can take a significant amount of time and isn’t something that should only be looked at by your most junior staff member every few days.

Final thoughts: Twitter is another social media platform that I would encourage almost all companies join and participate in. With the proper strategy and plan in place it can be an incredibly effective tool for reaching your audience and sharing your news. However, Twitter moves fast and a lot of misinformation is spread. Whether you are a company or an individual, always check the facts of what you’re putting out – whether it’s your own original content or a retweet.

Jennifer Edgerly
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