How is Twitter Different

Exhibit 15.1   Impactful tweets from prominent tweeters like Obama, who has 110.5 million followers, can quickly go viral.

The defining characteristic, which also contributes to Twitter’s success, is that it is short and simple. Tweets are short, and the platform is simple and easy to use.

To develop an effective Twitter strategy, it is important to appreciate these characteristics and other features that distinguish it among social platforms.

Here is a summary of the platform’s key features:

  • 280-Character Limit: Brevity is a virtue in a time-starved era. Since the character limit was increased, about 12% of tweets exceed the original 140-character limit. Of course, interested users can still read more by clicking on the hyperlinks that take them where the tweeter wants them to go.
  • From a marketer’s perspective, tweeting is more about taglines than descriptions.
  • Anyone can Follow (almost) Anyone: Twitter is not a two-way communication platform like most other social networks such as Facebook. Tweets are public by default; anyone can view and interact with anyone else’s tweets. However, should a tweeter choose to protect her tweets, she can do so through her account settings.
  • Public tweets are visible to anyone, whether or not they have a Twitter account. These unfiltered voices on the net are a valuable source of information on trends and any subject of relevance to marketers. They connect with potential customers by following their target segments.
  • No Filters: Every tweet arrives at every follower’s feed, unlike Facebook which is filtered.
  • Viral: Tweets can spread with great speed because they are unfiltered, and because retweeting generates momentum. Not suprisingly, impactful tweets from prominent tweeters like Obama, quickly go viral.
  • From a marketing standpoint, you need to remain alert. If they spread, tweets could yield big gains or cause severe damage. You need to track any contagious content that impacts your brands, and respond promptly.
  • Lists: Users can organize followers into lists e.g. customers, prospects, with each list on a separate timeline. This helps marketers segregate their audience into groups according to their characteristics.
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