Busting Popular Twitter Myths

Busting popular Twitter Myths - #TwitterSmarter chat with Anita Kirkbride - April 9, 2020

No matter how long you’ve been an avid Twitter user, sometimes you trip. It happens to the best of us. There are so many statements and rumors circulating nowadays, telling us what to do and what not to do about our own social media activities. So how do we differentiations the facts from the myths?

We invited social media coach and consultant Anita Kirkbride to help us debunk some of the popular myths about social media, particularly, Twitter. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Anita Kirkbride
Topic: Busting Popular Twitter Myths
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1. Myth: My audience is not using Twitter

Ah, but the numbers state otherwise. As our guest pointed out, almost 64% of Twitter users are between the ages of 18 and 49. That’s the largest group of consumers in today’s world.

If you drill down further, you’ll realize that millennials make up of about 80% of the user population of Twitter. And that means, even if not all of your audience is on Twitter, there’s certainly large chunk of them.

Think of it this way: even if only some of your audience is on Twitter, as our friend said, this is a great opportunity for you to get more of your audience into your Twitter community. And the best part is that you don’t have to convince them to sign up—since all of Twitter is public, you can still get your audience to consume and share your content.

But hey, if you still think your audience isn’t on Twitter, you might not be thinking broadly enough. Like Gigi pointed out, there are a lot of people on Twitter who don’t actively engage but still like observing and listening. Just because they’re not vocal doesn’t mean they’re not valuable.

Q2. Myth: You have to be on Twitter all day to be successful

Sure, that’s what it feels like. Truth be told, however, you don’t have to spend all day on Twitter to get the most out of it.

Besides, being on Twitter all day can be mentally exhausting. Instead, schedule some of your evergreen content so you don’t have to constantly post new material. Use Twitter Lists to effectively categorize your community and keep up with conversations that are most relevant to you.

And most importantly, make a list of tasks you need to complete every day. Like Alexandria added, be strategic about your time—allot specific periods in your day to check in on your community’s interactions on Twitter and get work done efficiently.

It’s good to note though, that even though you don’t have to be on it all day, you have to be consistent.

That means not expecting overnight results, and coming back every day to engage with your audience, to remind people that you’re there to help. Like Sonia said, find your own time—it may not be the same time as your competitor, and that’s ok.

Plus, to even think that you have to spend long hours on Twitter is, as Boyd said, similar to knocking on your potential leads’ doors at midnight because you want to close the deal before the end of the week. It’s just not cool.

Q3. Myth: Hashtags are complicated

Only if you make them so. Hashtags are like folders in your computer—you use them to group together people with similar ideas and interests. Grouping conversations with a common hashtag lets people find relevant topics easily and engage.

One of the biggest problems with hashtags is that brands get excited and go overboard. Don’t do that. Not only does it make your tweet hard to read, but it also appears spammy, and shows how little you know about using Twitter. The best way to get around this, as Rita pointed out, is to research hashtags that relate to your business and industry, and dedicate proper brand hashtags that you can use consistently.

So the next time you’re planning on using a hashtag, remember, they’re flexible. From regular events like the #TwitterSmarter weekly chat or conferences like #CMWorld, to industry-based ones like #SMM for social media marketing and job-based #CopyWriting for content creation, to emotions, and trending topics—your hashtag can be anything as long as you’re making sense.

Another crucial element to keep in mind when you’re creating hashtags is that you should use common and understandable words, like Debora suggested. Highly subjective and personal phrases don’t matter as much to others as they do to you and you’ll have a low adoption rate.

For some more great information on how best to use hashtags to get the optimum results for you brand, check out this article on Madalyn’s blog. Take it from her, guys, Madalyn’s entire business revolves around the #TwitterSmarter hashtag—the weekly chat, podcast, and the online course.

Q4. Myth: You can save time by autolinking other platforms to Twitter

Of course it saves you the time of creating separate content and images for each social channel. Of course it’s easy. But also, if it’s easy, it ain’t worth it.

Here’s why: each social media channel requires different things from you. Instagram is all about telling a visual story and amplifying it with relevant hashtags. On Twitter, though, that many hashtags will make you look like a crazy spammer. Facebook images will get cropped on Twitter because they’re not the same size, and chances are, your LinkedIn content will be cut off because you ran out of characters on Twitter.

What’s more, if you’re sharing your Instagram content on Twitter, you’re losing the valuable links you could be sharing where users are accustomed to and prefer content with links.

A lot of people often follow their favourite brands on more than one social channel. Imagine how annoying it’d be for them to see the same content across Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Like Don mentioned, once a while is acceptable, but don’t make it a habit.

Helpfully, our guest has a blog post dedicated to this exact topic. Take a look at Anita’s blog about why autolinking Facebook to Twitter can hurt your business.

Q5. Myth: Only spammers use the DMs

Direct Messages, often called DMs, have a bad reputation on Twitter. Not without reason too—as a proponent of #DownWithDMs, even I’ve ranted about how some brands abuse the feature to be salesy and annoying.

However, all that’s gradually changing. More people nowadays are taking to DMs to have sincere and direct conversations that lead to business transactions. Direct Messages have a special place in social media management and communication. It just depends on whether or not you do it correctly.

Direct Messages can be an excellent way for you to communicate with your customers personally. As Rachel shared with us, so many customer support questions are handled on Twitter DMs because they’re quicker than traditional email and phone calls.

Even though a lot of people share way too much of their life on social media, when it comes to Twitter, a lot more people have adopted what Anita called “dark social”—the practice of keeping private matters private. Not all conversations have to be public, and direct messages are great to cater to such needs.

Q6. Myth: You have to follow celebrities

For the fun of it—yes. After all, even Twitter suggests you follow the most popular celebrities when you sign up. And even though it can be interesting to see what your favorite celebrity is having for breakfast or for how long they exercise in a day, take a moment to think: are you seriously going to engage with that person? And even if you do, will they care, and will it make a difference to your business? No, no, and no.

What would be more useful is to follow people in your industry, those who do the same business as you, people who understand your trials and who can benefit from your services. In other words, find your clan.

As Joana summed up, follow people who make you laugh, who inspire you, who add value to your day and feed, who offer different perspectives, and who are relevant to your business.

Q7. Myth: Just putting your sales messages out there is enough

Remember y’all. Twitter isn’t television. If all you’re doing is sending out advertisement-like content talking about how great you and your business are, you’re wasting time and money, and ensuring you’re tuning out your audience. If you need a guideline as to how much you should promote yourself, consider Anita’s advice: you can have 1 out of every 10 tweets as a call to action.

Amanda pointed out how valuable it is for your audience to receive engagement from you. A reply, like, or retweet goes a long way. It makes your audience feel like they’re heard and that you’re doing your best to be their champion. That’s what makes them come back for more.

The only exception to all this, as Ron rightly said, is if you’re selling toilet paper. Or pasta. In that case, all we want to hear from you is all about you.

If you’re not selling either of those, dial down the crazy self-talk.

Q8. Myth: You need millions of followers to be successful on Twitter

Millions of followers does sound nice. But can you engage with all of them without stressing yourself out?

Some people can, and that’s great. As our guest said, success is subjective. If you have people coming to you for help and if you can help them all well, then that’s success. Whether you have a few hundred or thousand followers, what matters most is how you serve your audience.

The more interest you garner from your Twitter following, the better off you are. Sometimes even a million followers don’t show as much enthusiasm as a few hundred loyal followers.

As Avery said, quality beats quantity, anytime.

That’s all from me this week. For more insight from our chat with Anita, take a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. If you have some time on Thursday, join us for the next #TwitterSmarter chat at 1pm ET.

I hope you’re all staying safe and vigilant. These are difficult times, indeed, and if you ever feel like you need someone to talk to our vent, hit me up anytime.

Cheers, folks.

About me, Narmadhaa:

I write 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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