What Did you Just Step Into?
Have you ever accidentally walked into the wrong room? In my undergrad years, I would randomly end up in the wrong room. I attended a small, private university in which my classrooms consisted of anywhere from 3 students to 20 students. So, as far as campuses go, it was definitely on the smaller side. Still, I would be coming back from the ladies room to a conversation about accounts receivable when I expected to hear a presentation on the state of the global economy.
Based on an array of factors, I could very well observe that I was in the wrong place— I didn’t recognize some of the confused faces looking my way and I remembered I only see that professor on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Similarly, in social media, you may be in the wrong room, and it is much harder to tell virtually. This is the first installation into a run down of the major social media platforms your company is in or are planning to enter.
Knowing the Limitations
Twitter, in my opinion, is the most volatile social media platform. We must remember the manner in which “tweets” originated. A tweet is generally a short fleeting thought, a short statement or a witty comment on any subject you choose to speak on. The technical logistics of the platform are there as your hints as to what is appropriate; just take the character limit and the even lower ideal length of a tweet. Twitter is not a place for a dissertation-level piece on a very serious topic. If you speak on a serious topic, perhaps have a catchy headline with a link to additional resources and information for the user to read.
Have you seen those official apologies that people write on their notes application on their phone that is then posted on twitter as a set of images. Is this ideal? Well, Twitter culture certainly demands answers and accountability, so perhaps a personal apology is what they require. However, let’s take a step back from whatever scandal may be at hand to get a better look at Twitter as a whole. Twitter was not made and has not been updated to host such lengthy content; links are your friend!
Have you seen those threads on the platform that are solely the initial poster adding to the tweet? This is done to add more information to the original tweet and any potential updates. I could see this being useful to promote an upcoming event, follow up with a unique, trackable link to purchase tickets at the early bird rate, followed up by the next link to purchase tickets, followed by a tweet to get excited for tomorrow’s event. Even following up with a special thank you to sponsors and partners, attendees and a nod at a fun moment from the event the following day makes sense. Is this visually appealing? Maybe not; it could be taken as cluttered and almost erratic or a thread of afterthoughts. The bigger question is: Does it even have to be visually appealing? Asking and exploring these questions for your organization will help your team save time and focus your efforts on what is necessary to survive on the platform.
Having a Real Presence
A lot of companies and organizations will enter every major platform and practically copy and paste the same text and graphic to each of them, resulting in a bland feed of ill-fitting images, unfinished copy and minimal positive impact on a potential buyer or user. Twitter, in my opinion, is not the place for afterthoughts just to “have something up there.”
When I think of Twitter, I think of the amazing small-town news story with a short video that ends up going viral for all the good feels. A short, official statement to enlighten your audience, highlight a consistent sponsor or appease stakeholders belongs on Twitter. An update on an ongoing situation such as a pop-up in the city, a sale that is for the next 24 hours only and an achievement of your organization and its team members is appropriate for the platform.
A song of a bird is short and will most likely elicit some sort of emotion. Are the types of tweets you currently post meant to make the audience feel good, ask probing questions, sign up for something or to keep the conversation going?
Stagnancy is Not an Option
As technology advances and the mission and purpose of each platform change (and that of their stakeholders and advertisers), one can never become stagnant. And if Twitter shows us anything, it is that stagnant water (or stagnant companies) only attract mold, risks and pests.