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Recap of Twitter: Leveraging Twitter as Marketers

If you’re in any way familiar with social media (or affiliated with our club, for that matter), odds are that you’ve heard of Twitter. It’s one of the most important platforms on the internet for making your own voice, or your brand’s voice, “heard” by the masses in the form of 140-character messages. Everyone from politicians and actors to your 12-year old cousin is on Twitter.

In other words, Twitter is kind of a big deal.

So when Brian Hagen and Lauran Driver, the two Twitter representatives for Texas (who work with large marketing partners in the southwestern US, such as American Airlines, Pizza Hut, Dell, and more) came to Four Day Weekend to talk to us about how to leverage Twitter for marketing, we were all listening attentively and taking copious notes…mostly in the form of tweeting their words of wisdom. Brian and Lauran work with brands who do a great job building up their Twitter following, but are unsure what to do next…Brian and Lauran help these brands take their Twitter marketing strategy to the next step.

According to Brian, Twitter began as a sketch in Jack Doney’s notebook in 2001. Jack used to listen to taxi cab dispatches and really liked hearing these snippets of conversation that let him know what was going on, in tiny informative statements, all over New York City. The Twitter interface was soon developed, although it didn’t start out as the platform we all know today. (For example, the first version of Twitter didn’t use vowels.)

To illustrate how much Twitter has grown since its modest beginnings: it originally took Twitter 3 years, 2 months, and 1 day to reach its first billion tweets; now 1 billion tweets are generated every two and a half days. To say that everybody uses Twitter is not much of an overstatement: according to statistics, 100% of political candidates, 90% of NBA players, 90% of Billboard Top 100 Artists, and 100% of Nielsen-rated television shows are on Twitter.

To re-state: Twitter is kind of a big deal.

Brian was quick to point out that, although many people are familiar with Twitter, the platform remains “a very nebulous thing to a lot of people.” However, the important thing to know about Twitter is that its power lies in its stories. As an example, Brian showed us how Twitter connected Kevin Durant, who happened to be in the area with some energy to kill, with the captain of a flag football team at Oklahoma State University. Durant ended up driving to Stillwater, picking his Twitter friend up from his house, driving to the game and participating.

That being said, Twitter only works as well, and is only as successful as the people that you follow. Of everyone who possesses a Twitter account, 60% actually produce new content while 40% are considered “listeners”. And then there’s the way that people interact with brands on Twitter: 87% of people keep up with preferred brands for fun / entertainment purposes, while others also keep up with brands for updates on timely events, tips and tricks affiliated with their product, to do social good, or to win free stuff.

Brian explained the different ways that Twitter utilizes ads. First, there are display ads, which aren’t ideal because they’re not optimized for mobile yet (and Twitter is definitely a mobile-driven platform). Second, there are promoted accounts, which are basically accounts that Twitter suggests you follow based upon your interest in similar people or brands, but promoted accounts aren’t small-business friendly yet. There are also promoted trends, which allows brands to pay to be at the top of the trending topic lists, and finally, promotional tweets. Also, in the near future, Twitter will be rolling out a new look for their profile page, which will include a cover photo option.

While planning their Twitter strategy, Lauran said, brands should take advantage of “real time”. Brian was quick to note that “if it happens somewhere in the world, odds are that it’s also happening somewhere on Twitter”. Several companies have used “real time” to their advantage, whether it was the Wheat Thins “Crunch is Calling” campaign, or Jello’s Pudding Face which gave free pudding to followers when the overall “mood” of Twitter was sad (based on the frequency of happy / sad emoticons being used by people tweeting.) Additionally, television shows have been quick to utilize “real time”, as studies show that 86% of mobile internet users are using their device while watching TV, and mentions of a TV show generally spike while that show is on.

Other fun and/or interesting facts that we learned from the evening:

– Be careful what you post when it comes to your automated tweets. People want authenticity, and if your information sounds rehearsed or pre-planned, it probably won’t go over very well.

– Ever wonder why the character limit on a tweet is 140? Because a tweet is based on a text message. Back when texting was new, the original international SMS limit for a text message was 160 characters (after which, any remaining characters would be split up from the rest of the message and sent in a second follow-up text.) Twitter allows 20 characters for your handle, which leaves 140 characters for your actual message. And, according to Brian, Twitter has no plans to change that 140 limit.

– Twitter now has “cash tags”, or hashtags organized by stock symbols. It’s an easy, financially relevant way to consume content, and is a literal stock ticker for those on Twitter.

Big thanks again to Four Day Weekend and to Brian and Lauran for such a fantastic presentation…even in spite of the untimely fire alarm!




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