Understanding Twitter as a Marketing Platform 

Understanding Twitter as a Marketing Platform - #TwitterSmarter chat with Marshall Kirkpatrick on January 23, 2020

Marketing is all about communicating with others, making industry connections, and identifying when and where you can help to improve people’s lives. Sure, it also involves a little bit of sneaky selling, but for the most part, you’re spending time engaging in meaningful relationships.

That’s where Twitter comes in. As a social channel so perfectly designed to help with your marketing and communications efforts, there’s a ton of cool ways you can use the platform. We asked Marshall Kirkpatrick, VP of analyst and influencer relations at Sprinklr, to share some insights on using Twitter for marketing. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Marshall Kirkpatrick

Topic: Understanding Twitter as a Marketing Platform 

Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What did you expect when you signed up for Twitter?

Most of us had no idea what to expect when we signed up for Twitter. It seemed like a basic way to text with people across the world, but aside from that, few had any specific plans for it.

For instance, our guest, Marshall, was a journalist back then and was hoping to find trending news and conversations on Twitter. Even today, it’s the ideal platform to find out what’s happening around you. And of course, perhaps you too thought you’d pop in for a while and delete your account to avoid being distracted. But Twitter doesn’t let you go that easily, does it?

Lisa, on the other hand, was more sneaky. She got to Twitter to see what her children were up to. In fact, social media was once popular amongst parents for this exact reason. Now, though, Lisa knows the power of real-time engagement.

Most of our chat members said that they’ve stuck to Twitter because they found community. Even though they were unsure at first, like Gene was, over time, people have experienced the positive and welcoming nature of conversations on this platform.

Some others, like our friends on Sked Social, hoped for ground-breaking success, overnight. It’s natural reaction, too. One of the reasons people fail to make Twitter work for them is because they have unrealistic expectations.

Q2: How has your content evolved with Twitter over the years?

This is an important point to think about. Many of us would’ve started off just the way Rachel from Express Writers did: by sharing random, even irrelevant updates like everyday life incidents, thoughts we consider epiphanies, and jokes and memes that make sense to no one but ourselves.

Like she said, it takes time and persistent effort to understand who our audience is, what they want, and how best to target them.

Marshall told us about his evolution as well. As a journalist, he started off by trying to connect with people he wanted to interview. He then moved on to sharing articles he resonated with as a marketer, slowly introducing topics that he personally cared about. Now he’s mostly an advocate for the company he works for, posting customer stories and how they found success with Sprinklr, his employer.

So many others in our community talked about consuming content in the beginning, for quite a while, before they started creating and sharing their own content. And once they did, they’ve grown from text-based tweets to more visual copy, including images, videos, and GIFs. The underline here is, you have to continuously evolve on a platform like Twitter. 

Q3: What excites you most about Twitter now?

Everything, right?

Until recently, brands used Twitter primarily as a way to manage crises like customer complaints and support. Now, though, people are using it more—as a listening tool, to identify audience emotion, and target them better.

This has given rise to community and mutual learning. That’s what most of our members were excited about—Twitter chats and the sense of being involved and welcomed into an ongoing conversation.

One of Marshall’s favourite features of Twitter is Lists and the ability to curate great content from people in various industries and countries. He also shared a great tip on using IFTTT (If This Then That). You can set it up so that whenever you like a tweet, it automatically saves the link in that tweet to Pocket, so that you can look it up afterwards, when you have the time.

Emily told us that being able to connect with influential people like politicians and global leaders excites her the most. Not only does Twitter make it possible for you to directly communicate with public figures but it’s also transparent and gives people a better way to create content.

Q4: Share some tips on how to deal with spam and abuse on Twitter.

The best way to deal with abusive and offensive content on Twitter is to avoid feeding the other person. Marshall suggested responding with dignity so that people can still see how you responded, without it affecting your reputation. 

Be wary, though, some spam accounts only want to provoke you. When you come across such a situation, use Twitter’s features to block or report them. Twitter is highly responsive to any complaints and will take immediate action against abuse. And as Chris said, rise above such pettiness. Know that you’re better off without them.

Q5: What’s your favorite Twitter feature and why?

We all love chats, don’t we? It’s such a versatile capability and people all over the world use chats to bring critical questions to the table. Aside from that, Brianne’s favorite is polls. It’s amazing how you can run polls for particular durations and close them whenever you want. They’re also a great way to get people’s ideas and opinions about your campaigns, content, and basically anything. Since they appear different to the regular tweet, they also stand out quite well on a busy feed.

Marshall likes the API. If you’re a techie, you’ll know how much you can extend Twitter’s capabilities by using its API to integrate with other products you use. For example, you can use it to search and analyze through data so minute and beyond the default analytics that Twitter provides.

Of course, we all bicker constantly about the lack of an edit button on Twitter. However, like our friends from Twenty Two Kittens demonstrated, that’s the beauty and also the curse of Twitter. 

Q6: Share some lead generation ideas for Twitter.

So much of Twitter is about relationship building and networking. Unless you’re genuinely interested in someone and what they do, it’s hard for you to sustain on Twitter. Like our guest said, focus on developing conversations with individuals. That’s your first step to generating and converting proper leads on Twitter.

Vítor suggested sharing a webpage with gated content can help you keep track of the leads you generate through Twitter.

Here’re a few more ideas our community members shared: 

  • Use a branded hashtag in your niche to spread the word and quantify your reach.
  • Identify people who use your industry hashtags and engage with them.
  • Participate in Twitter chats your ideal customers participate in.
  • Include a URL to your website on your Twitter bio. 
  • Maintain relationships you make through chats and other interactions.
  • If using paid promotion, personalize your ads and choose proper targeting options.
  • Add calls to action (CTAs) on your images and videos using the Media Studio to increase click throughs.

Q7: How do you deal with Twitter burnout?

Let’s face it: Twitter is time and energy consuming. It’s only too easy to feel drained and burned out. When that happens, consider doing what Marshall does.

Take a step back from everything that’s clouding your mind, and look at Twitter as if for the first time. Browse through your feed and see what stands out to you. Then respond to that tweet from a beginner’s perspective and you’ll notice your conversations broadening. 

Like Hannah pointed out, it’s essential to take a break. Don’t feel guilty for taking the weekend off and spending time with your family. That downtime can give you all the energy you need to come back into the game stronger than before. 

You can also block off time in your day for social media. That way, you’ll have a healthy mix of things to do and not overwork yourself.

Q8: What do you think is the future of Twitter?

Twitter has had a lot of ups and downs lately. However, with countless, useful features coming out every year, it seems like the company is on the right track. 

Like Jim pointed out, there’re no shortage of challenges for Twitter. If they can continue to observe competition, listen to users, and concisely offer value, they’ll have a bright future.

Jonni made an excellent point. For a long time now, one of the biggest problems for Twitter has been the sheer volume of fake profiles and spam bots. They’ve started taking stricter measures to curb these behaviours, but there’s still a long way for them to go to make it a truly trustworthy source for activities and news from the world over.

Well folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about these questions, feel free to tweet out to Madalyn or myself. And if you’ve got some time to spare on Thursday, join us at 1pm ET for our next #TwitterSmarter chat.


About me, Narmadhaa:

I’m a writer of all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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