Twitter Unintimidated and Unmitigated

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Twitter is looking for a new leader. Snoop Dog has just announced his desires to run the mothership of social media himself and others have shown interest, though with far less celebrity status. Maybe before tomorrow is through we’ll get as many running for title of Chief of Twitter as we do Republican Presidential nominees. But forget who’s running it for a while and focus on the society itself. Are you among them? Do you know the Twitter-count in your region? Or do you even know what you’re doing with that little blue bird?

Twitter has over 970 million existing accounts, according to findings reported in the Wall Street Journal earlier this spring. Oddly enough, most Twitter-ers are readers, not tweeters. About 44% of all people signed on as Twitter members have never sent out a tweet before. Much like politics or high school, it turns out that most of the noise is created by a small group who do a darn fine job of celebrating it themselves. And we’re all along for the readable ride. See more here

In our findings as a marketing firm, Twitter is like fashion in this country in that it works inward, starting like The Wave at an Astros game from the east and west coasts slowly rippling inward to middle America. We’ve been told, we’ve been shown stats, and we’ve experienced it ourselves that most folks from our neck of the woods in Texas prefer Facebook and Instagram over Twitter, unlike states further east and west. The comfort factor is huge. Facebook is often reported as more user-friendly. You see the images, you see the comments, you see the friendly LIKE button…even the least interested, casual passersby can get their head around that and feel OK about browsing through feeds and clicking a few things.

Twitter is a little further outside the comfort zone. There’s that pesky character limit. Not all the images are shown up front, dangling in front your eager little eyes in the feed. And in our region, we’ve found that the most common answer for not using Twitter is this: “Well, none of my friends use Twitter…we use Facebook.” This makes sense to us. Why would you go to a party where you didn’t know any friends? Why would you join a club that you know little about wherein few of your friends participate? The same goes for Twitter. A year ago, there was a stat showing that less than 25% of adults use Twitter. Though that stat has surely grown, it may surprise you as much as it did us.

The thing we try to remind customers, friends, families and even enemies is that Twitter doesn’t replace Facebook, or at least it doesn’t have to. Twitter and Facebook can coexist in your daily life. It does in ours, and they are only two of the many at our dinner table. It’s about approach and mentality. We urge people to join Twitter and dig in for marketing because it is wildly popular, especially with two palettes – news and education. Twitter is often cited as the vehicle for companies to send out information, tips, advice, or news over Facebook. At a recent Texas educational conference in Austin this spring, companies aligned with scholastic groups and school district encouraged educators to use Twitter for trends, tips and access to contests for winning prizes and more. Journalists from sports to politics to art and movie critics use Twitter for casting out articles and headlines. Why? From what we see, there is an added simplicity in professionalism with Twitter that Facebook doesn’t carry for one reason or another. Twitter’s character rule forces us to all become headline writers and creative title-makers. It forces tweeters to get to the point, don’t waste the audience’s time, and to make it interesting – otherwise, there is a world of competition for our entertainment.

To use Twitter and Facebook, we apply the social vs. educational methodological approach, practiced by our very own Lance LaRue. We suggest that you think of Facebook as your family, friends and enemies. Keep tabs on folks, post your vacation photos and scrapbook material. See who’s dating your old high school flame. See who said what about the Confederate Flag while cheating on their CrossFit regimen. Those two things aren’t related – and that’s what Facebook is great for: unrelated entertainment and opinions. After you’ve played on Facebook and judged enough of your friends for taking their children to the front row of the Chicago Cubs game or wearing too short of skirts and whatnot, head over to Twitter for some helpful quick resources. If you’re a sports fan, follow a few of your favorite sports writers like Tom Verducci or Chris Mannix. They’ll bring more sports headlines direct to your smartphone than you’ll ever find hunting out there on your own. See gifs of top plays and quotes from athletes directly. If you like the movies, follow a cinema company or magazine; follow a columnist like Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post or follow HuffPo; these sources will routinely list out topics for your attention, amusement and education rather than you scrolling and scrolling for content.

Moms use Twitter for comfort, for tips, for motivation and peace. Imagine a stay at home mom with two kids under 4 years old. How much time does she have to read her Parenting Magazine and reports for advice or a good block of the day to sift through Psalms for serenity? With Twitter, she can get all the choice help she needs delivered to her feed – in between naps and car seat struggles. No wonder that 72% of moms log on to Twitter to lift their spirits and 55% just to connect with other moms (as noted from this stat).

Twitter users like us use it for marketing for brands, people and events for clients of course. But there’s a selfish use for it, too. Trends, topics, resources, freelancers and other helpful advice in an ever-changing field is brought in a formatted, quick, easy, bite-size bundle that we can scroll through easily. The hippest design trends for responsive web designs have research just waiting behind it, saving us from costly workshops out of town. And then there’s monitoring. Ever think to yourself that your small business is too small to do what the big guys do? Watch and learn. Follow the big guys like Best Buy, Starbucks, Panera and Xbox. See how often the Houston Rockets tweet something regretful or how often frequent Whole Foods promotes organic bell peppers. See what they tweet about, see who they follow and see how often they dig in with followers’ comments. See how they handle negative press and learn from their mistakes as well as their successes. It’s like a peephole into their media room. Twitter gives an insight to those who approach it the right way with the right funneling process. News, weather, industry resources and more can make work fun and make for fun work.

The tides may be turning for our friends locally with Twitter. We think it’s a good thing for marketing, for play, for education and for our business. We think it’s beneficial for your business or organization. For our money, our advice is to those who are scared of Twitter to rethink social media. It’s not about you. It’s for you. It’s not as narcissistic as you think and you don’t have to tweet anything clever to enjoy it and learn from it. Use Facebook for play, use Twitter for pay. Use one to learn about your neighbors, use the other one to learn about how to deal with your neighbors. All in all, walk unafraid and let your fingers do the talking. Let your conscience be your guide. And for some help along the way, let Americom steer your audience your way as well. Our experience and our networks can help navigate you through any Twitter fritters and frays to boost your social and professional prowess.

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