In most social media marketing presentations and publications, Twitter plays an important role in online communication. Especially since Twitter was announced, paid tweets (so-called sponsored tweets, Twitter cards) have also been offered as an advertising method to offer advertisers an opportunity to place advertising messages in the infinite stream of tweets.
However, all these specialists assume that the target group either already uses Twitter as an online communication and information channel or will do so in the future. This knowledge should serve as a basis for integrating Twitter as a possible new marketing method as part of the communication strategy. What questions or approaches are there now if the decision has been made to use Twitter positively as a communication tool?
There are two different ways of using Twitter for companies: Either the company is registered on Twitter or an individual employee assumes this role. Registering as a company is a good idea if, as part of the communication strategy, company news, products (news), services and/or information from the company blog are to be communicated via Twitter (goal: expanding the reach within the target groups). The registration of a single person who communicates for a company or for himself via Twitter creates close and sometimes even friendly relationships with a target group that perceives the person as a brand (personal branding). Both methods appear to be suitable for companies in the first step, but here one overlooks which communication networks have existed within Twitter since the start of this service. Personalities who disseminate information with added value and their own reputation are perceived, commented on and forwarded.
The development of followers within Twitter must be planned. Over time, Twitter has introduced methods that prevent the purchase of pseudo followers and the automated collection of followers. This must be taken into account when starting communication in Twitter. The quality of the content, the type of networked communication (retweets, favorites, direct messages, images, videos, etc.) and your own reputation as a brand in the Twitter universe are crucial for the development of followers, as is finding the topics that interest the desired target group. Pure advertising tweets do not enjoy attention, news or small stories about the brand or person already.
Twitter limits the amount of information to a maximum of 280 characters (previously only 140 characters). You have to bear this in mind when setting up an editorial office. The focus is on interaction with your own followers and the provision of high-quality information on one or more topics for the target group(s). Many companies think much too narrowly here. A one-sided product-oriented communication is quickly put aside within Twitter and the number of followers drops. You should always ask yourself: Do I want to receive the same information every day or do I want to broaden my horizons, explore peripheral areas and perhaps get new ideas from such a mixed flow of information? Twitter can also be seen as a very large innovation idea network, which makes it possible – also via the integrated search function – to discover new things for oneself and one’s company. A mere reduction to the number of clicks from Twitter to one’s own website is far too short-sighted.
Twitter offers the unique opportunity to confront an enormously knowledge-hungry audience with its own information and ideas and to receive feedback. Reach and authenticity is everything in Twitter. Only then does it become a marketing instrument – also and especially for companies.