Category Archives: Twitter

Twitter Goes 280

Blaise Pascal would not be impressed by Twitter’s latest action.

In 1657, the eminent French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian wrote a letter apologising for his lack of brevity: “I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”

Winston Churchill expressed similar sentiments.

Twitter, however, thinks otherwise. It’s decided that longer is better.

Apparently, 9% of us have been bumping up against the micro-social network’s long-standing 140-character limit, according to Twitter’s own data. So in September this year, Twitter doubled the number of characters for selected tweeters.

Here’s what happened.

twitter-280

Twitter reported on the results:

During the first few days of the test many people Tweeted the full 280 limit because it was new and novel, but soon after behaviour normalized. We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they Tweeted more easily and more often. But importantly, people Tweeted below 140 most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained.

So Twitter is now rolling out 280-character limits globally (except for Japanese, Korean and Chinese, which will continue to have 140 characters because, says Twitter, cramming is not an issue in these languages).

Predictably, the Twitterati are unhappy. This Chicago Tribune opinion piece sums up their mood:

For too long, I’ve been forced to respond to a friend’s humorous tweet with a mere: “LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL.”

Now I can craft an appropriate response, like: “LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL.”

(The 35 extra LOLs really nail the sentiment I’ve been after.)

Of course this social media sea change isn’t just about me. It’s about everyone who wrongly thinks they have something important to say and will now be able to say twice as much of it at once.

And what about the internet trolls? The added character space will surely enhance the richness and depth of tweets coming from people who heretofore have had to call me “a idiot” in 140 characters or less.

Now they’ll be able to expound on my horrid looks and overall stupidity in detail that was previously impossible. They can even veer into insulting my mother while still having space to home in on how uniquely untalented I am.

And generically hateful tweets won’t abruptly end with a disappointingly derivative: “DIE!” There will be room for exposition detailing the desired manner of death, undoubtedly enhancing my nagging feelings of existential dread.

Implications for marketers?

Nothing much, really, except that we won’t have to try so hard to squeeze our headlines and calls to action into a tweet.

Oh, and we’ll be tempted to add in lots more content, diluting our messages, simply because we can. A bit like this:

 

Our advice: use the extra characters wisely, if at all. To mangle the old acronym, K.I.S.S. (“Keep It Short & Simple”).

 

20 Ways to Engage More in 2012

If you’re a typical marketer, your tendency will be to use Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus for a one-way stream of information about yourself and your products. #socialmediafail

Umm — they’re called “social networks” for a reason. The idea is for you to ENGAGE with your connections, not simply pour out your own thoughts and ignore them.

In fact, Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm — which determines how visible your postings are to those who say they “like” you — gives priority to posts that are two-way in nature. In other words, the more engaging your content — the more your posts turn into conversations — the more visible they are to your fans and followers.

So, what can you do to engage more effectively through social networks in 2012?

Apart from the obvious — LISTEN to what your connections are saying and RESPOND in a timely manner — here are 20 ways for you to engage more, by constructing relevant, valuable, remarkable content designed to cater to the needs, wants and interests of your audience. Your aim is to add value to your followers, including outbound links to areas that could help them with their goals and purposes.

These are the criteria you need to use to shape the content:

  1. Your message needs to be relevant to your audience — and to their audiences as well, if you want the content to be shared beyond the initial recipients
  2. It needs to be fresh — stale news won’t get past the Delete key
  3. Your news needs to be worth buzzing about
  4. It needs to be exclusive — those potentially sharing the information want to be seen as ’in the know’, ahead of the pack
  5. There needs to be an element of scarcity involved to drive urgency (’only 150 made’, ’only until [date]’)
  6. It needs to come from a credible source
  7. Your product or service needs to be the right stuff (inherently valuable)
  8. Helpful – Does your content help solve problems? “Always be helping” is the new “always be closing.”
  9. Timely – Can your target audience relate to it?
  10. Targeted – Is the content intended to inform those “just looking”, “close to buying” or in the post-purchase phase?
  11. Interruptive – Is there a captivating element that grabs and sustains attention?
  12. Entertaining – Is there a novel or enjoyable aspect that is well-conceived and engaging?
  13. Illuminating – will it lead to “A Ha!” moments for recipients?
  14. Shareable – Does it have a viral quality? Would an influencer want to forward it, or post it?
  15. Progressive – Is there a call to action or “next-steps”?
  16. Versatile – Can it be leveraged across media channels?
  17. Crowd-sourced – Does it involve customers or partners in the spirit of cooperation?
  18. Efficient – Is it concise, perhaps in an effective list format, to offset diminished attention spans online?
  19. Attractive – is it graphically interesting and will it stand out?
  20. Integrated – Does it fit with your existing or upcoming marketing pieces?

You should also regularly ask questions of your constituents, seeking their opinion or input (and responding to them if they give it).

Don’t just treat social media like advertising, you won’t like the results.

PS If you need guidance in how to engage, may we direct you to our social media courses, all of which include a healthy focus on tools of engagement.

On The Electoral Campaign Social Trail 1

A completely non-random selection of recent tweets and posts about the NZ Election Campaign, to show the dangers of social media in the wrong hands:

Lin Nah (@lin_nah) on consistency:

Journalists Jessica Mutch (@mutchjessica) and Claire Trevett (@ctrevettNZH) on Winston Peters:

Ben Dominkovich (@bendom) channelling John Minto:

Jeremy Elwood (@jeremyelwood) and Craig Ranapia (@cmranapia) demonstrate the power of the simile:

Bridget Williams (@DawnMaiden) on near-misses: