Last month Twitter celebrated its 10th birthday. Since the little blue bird flew into the world ten years ago in March 2006, the Internet and mobile culture has changed a lot. In 2006, the mobile landscape was singing to the tunes of the Palm OS, Pocket PC 2000 (Windows Mobile) and the release of Windows Vista. Apple’s iPhone made its debut in 2007 and native apps for the iPhone didn’t arrive until late 2008. Its 140-character limit, SMS-based service soared into the clouds above even the likes of Facebook at the time, which for the most part was only web based; flip-keyboard cell phones were the perfect match. You could say that Twitter was “happy as a bird eating french fries” if it was real bird. Then, the Internet changed.
The Internet became more app eccentric, video savvy, social, narcissistic and with the exponential increase of broadband and a promise of more Google Fiber, it also became faster. It is the creative inspiration of Generation-X, the future of Generation-Z and currently the look-at-me-look-at-me mindset of the Millennials.
Somewhere in the last half of 2014, Twitter flew into a newly shined window, and Facebook, which once moved like a Sloth in social media time, made some swooping changes to their web-based social platform wooing many Millennials and other generations away from the iconic blue bird, leaving around 308 million Tweeter’s wondering if it is still worth tweeting.
The answer is #Yes
Twitter is great at having brief, public conversations with just about anybody else on the social network in an organized, straight-forward, chronological (you can still reset this from the new relevant order in settings) layout. Its current, most valuable life-lines are customer service, branding and news; as well as, fading uniqueness.
Using Twitter for Customer Service isn’t anything knew. Mashable published an article in 2009 about how to do it and 7 years later customers and brands are finally discovering a synergy that is working for both. As a customer it will improve your consumer experience by quickly solving a problem or voicing a complaint, or reporting a software bug, and as a company it has helped transform those negative experiences, promote positive ones, strengthen their brand and build goodwill.
A few companies we have found using Twitter for customer service include @UPSHelp, @AmazonHelp, @JaybirdSport, @lostitsupport, @spotifysupport and most recently Apple Computer, @applesupport. Our experiences with each of those companies Twitter support accounts provided a faster resolution to our problem than email or phone support. It’s a win-win and a great reason you shouldn’t abandon your account quite yet.
Another reason not to abandon the nest is that Twitter is also really good at building and promoting awareness for your brand, personal or for business. Sure, over the past year the social network has lost 100 million users, but of the remaining 308 million, it’s quite effective for a push-pull marketing strategy. Plus, according to a 2014 article in AdWeek, Twitter followers are more loyal.
Just 13 percent of respondents to the GlobalWebIndex Brand report say that they have unfollowed a brand on Twitter, compared to 30 percent who have un-Liked a brand Page on Facebook. That last figure climbs to 38 percent amongst the key 16-24 demographic.”
Whether your brand is personal or business, the most important tip to building a strong following is joining the conversation. Interacting with followers by posting your original tweets, replying to their tweets and retweeting them will almost always gain you expertise in your subject, more people visiting your profile and looking for new tweets. Be consistent in how frequently you tweet, but also mindful of creating time-line spam. Tweets can be anything, as long as they are short and sweet. Tech or cooking tips, contesst, questions or contributions to answer, news announcements, or just something interesting that you read about pertaining to your brand is tweet worthy. Whether you’re trying to build a personal brand as an expert in a specific field or a corporate brand, the most important part of building a solid following is remembering the heart of Twitter is the conversation, which usually starts by something worth reading. Also feel no shame in asking friends and coworkers to retweet you because everyone is a social-influencer.
Outside of companies pushing their brands and people pushing their personal soapboxes on anything from what they had for dinner last night or how their hotel neighbors were too loud, this social network, unlike any other, is built for distributing and consuming short snippets of news. It’s a timely place for local news network news affiliates or national affiliates like @cnn or @foxnews, and at times these news tweeters provide a real value to have notifying your smartphone.
The little blue bird would probably be soaring higher in numbers right now if it just tried less to be like all of the other social networks and more like what everyone remembers it as: small, simple and fast. We heart you too Twitter, just be yourself.
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