We all know Facebook commands the attention and inspiration behind most social network headlines. Twitter may merit more attention from time to time, but we can only focus on so much – and we accept the light blue as quietly lingering in the dark blue’s shadow.
Add LinkedIn, YouTube, and search to the discussion and we start running into the modern marketer’s problem: how to keep up with it all. Despite discussions that compare the effectiveness of social networks for marketing – or, on the flip side, speak to how they are leveraged holistically – it’s beneficial to take the time to focus on a single network… to catch up, if you will.
Given the growth and recent activity, there are good reasons today’s topic is Twitter. I like to ask myself the following kinds of questions when narrowing focus on any social network:
- What does the growth of this network look like relative to the last several months and/or year?
- How is the network being used from a user engagement perspective? How is it providing value?
- How is it evolving or demonstrating it will continue to be relevant?
- Am I confident I know what I should know about this network to use it in the most effective way I can?
- What can I do today that will help make a positive difference?
The power of Twitter from an engagement and measurement perspective is all about the links that get clicked within tweets.
For example, Ryan Sarver (Twitter’s head of platform) recently cited a Quora stat stating “every tweet going out from their service results in an average of 30 clicks back to Quora.” Twitter’s President of Global Revenue, Adam Bain, says 80 percent of Twitter user engagement is clicking on a link inside the tweet.
The Quick Facts
Aside from the pure click value, or the stats provided below that prove the network is still significantly growing, we should also be looking at the big picture in terms of where the Internet is going: mobile.
- Pew Internet’s May 2011 survey shows 13 percent of online adults are now on Twitter, and 54 percent of users with a cell phone access Twitter via mobile. Usage of 30-49 year olds has doubled since November 2010.
- At the end of Q1 2011, Twitter reported a 182 percent increase in the number of mobile users over the past year, and an average number of 460,000 new accounts created per day over the prior month.
- The average number of total tweets sent per day (February-March 2011) was 140 million, compared to 50 million per day one year ago. Note: There are approximately 200 million Twitter accounts, total.
Twitter’s Push in The Mobile Evolution
Earlier this week, mobile data from Flurry demonstrated that consumers spent an average of 9 percent more time on mobile apps than the web (a 91 percent annual increase of time spent on mobile).
Categorically, this translates to 32 percent of mobile app consumption on social networking and 47 percent on games. While Facebook is ramping up its Project Spartan to potentially compete with Apple by distributing its own mobile applications through the browsers loaded on iPhones and Androids (via HTML5) – Twitter has instead partnered directly with Apple, effectively enabling a “Twitter Connect” into Apple’s new operating system (iOS 5).
You can get the details and a better understanding of this new development via this post on how Apple has handed Twitter the keys to the iOS kingdom, but the bottom line is Twitter is now well positioned to continue growing (while being extremely relevant) through the immediate future of the Internet.
Next Steps: Start Growing Your Twitter Presence for the Future
Now that we’ve acknowledged some key elements to Twitter’s growth, engagement habits and future in mobile, it’s time to get motivated.
There’s certainly no shortage of tips, tactics, and tools to leverage Twitter strategies. Brandon Whalen’s post on Twitter growth strategies is the most recent and comprehensive I’ve seen, with the 20-page Slideshare presentation encompassing most of the content.
Here's a summary of the areas you’ll want to address, along with the content this presentation covers below:
- Steps on building trust: Listen, actively respond, and be interesting.
- Twitter dos and don’ts: Guidelines and references on rules.
- Twitter SEO: Make your account easy to find.
- Audience targeting: Find influencers and understand your audience.
- Management methodology and monitoring tools: Tasks, messaging, and tools.
- Twitter gaming applications: Game types, benefits, and platforms.
- Promotion and content strategies: Cross promotion and brand touch points.
- Paid advertising options: Promoted tweets and third-party ad products.