Too Much Facebook Lately? Let’s Talk About Twitter!
Three trends on Twitter, discourse, language and engagement that are worth taking a look at. Here goes:
Trend 1: Brand Hijacking of Trending Topics
When a topic is talked about by lots of people on Twitter, it is called a “Trending Topic.” Sometimes, this trend can be one word and have a “Hashtag” or pound sign in front of it.
Oftentimes, these Trending Topics can be rather risque. Sometimes, they can be in poor taste.
TODAY: the number one “un-sponsored” Trending Topic is this phrase:
So, no matter where you stand on this particular topic – whether you think it’s promoting violence or you think it’s all in good fun – you can choose to ignore it if you would like.
You don’t have to be part of the conversation if you don’t want to. You can stay far, far away from it.
In fact, if you’re a brand marketer, we’re going to recommend that you stay away. You don’t want to be associated with the types of discussions that might be happening on Twitter right now around this topic.
Then there’s Radio Shack.
If you’re a brand with money to spend, you can pay to “promote” your tweet – so that anyone who clicks on the term and searches for the latest commentary on that topic can see your message.
What’s the Takeaway? The brand is out of your hands. So think twice before “hijacking” a sponsored topic that could get you in trouble.
Trend 2: Blue Language and Twitter
I like to point fingers at glass houses, so why not use myself as an example here?
Fact: When checking keywords during a recent Twitter session – search.twitter.com is HIGHLY recommended – I decided to say that the assertion that a certain site (Klout) sending gifts to people was not, contrary to a tweeter’s belief, evidence that “Social Media Works.” I used the word “bull—-” which may or may not fit your definition of “Blue Language.” However, I was admonished:
Rather than this becoming Twitter War Three, I was able to have some polite off-line discussions with the person offended, and, yes, I apologized for using that term. Then I started following her on Twitter.
What’s the takeaway? You’re not going to make everyone happy anywhere you go on the web. What’s okay to you is over the line to others. You can’t win every time.
BUT: Should You Clean It Up?
Here’s where authenticity is key. I would only use that sort of language in a public forum in rare occasions – giving a speech, it depends on the audience, and it’s not “part of my act.” Some writers, bloggers, consultants and speakers CAN get away with this: Danny Brown, Erika Napoletano and Jason Falls all come to mind.
The question you need to ask yourself is this: if you’re the kind of person for whom Blue Language is part of the fabric, great. For me, upon further review, it’s not, and I’m much better sticking to my “nice guy, no potty mouth” persona.
Trend 3: Being Okay with Automation
If you want to have a lively discussion about the use of Twitter, talk about “Automation.” In some worlds, it’s completely bogus. In other worlds, it’s completely necessary.
In my world, it’s (to borrow from above) part of the fabric. And it’s also tough to tell where it’s actually happening these days:
Looking at the above snapshot of Shelly Kramer’s Twitter stream from over the weekend – you can’t totally tell. The “via”, the “twrt.me” links, any and all of it could be part of an automation program, or NONE of it could be part of an automation program.
These are four sample tweets – do these four mean she doesn’t engage with people? (NO, she DOES.) Is she always engaging with people? Does she have a team of interns? Is she up at all hours?
What’s the Takeaway? There are uber-tweeters with 100,000-plus followers and absolutely no automation. There are others who automate some, and still others who can’t be bothered with tweeting themselves but have a team doing it for them.
You need to make your own decision, and you don’t have to make an absolute decision. It might make total sense, or no sense at all.
As long as you’re actually having conversations with people, you’re on your way to real engagement.
Coming Full Circle: Can You Still Be “Lively” on Twitter?
I’ll admit to falling a little off the wagon of late when it comes to Twitter: I used to spend all hours on the site, then I was down to a few minutes a day “checking in.” I’m back a little more because it is in line with my business objectives – and I’m in a “Relationship Business,” so building relationships on Twitter is of strategic importance.
You need to make the decisions based on what’s right for your business – and choose the style and tone that makes the most sense.
Want to hear more “thinking” like this? Check out our Holistic Social Media Lesson – part of the 12 Minute Marketing series. It’s free to watch that, and four other sample lessons, using this link. And no “opt-in” necessary…ah, that’s a subject for another post.