Category: Twitter

A Peek Inside Twitter’s Prospective Platform Health “Cures”

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey has stated publicly over the last several months that the next great frontier for the platform is establishing what he vaguely referred to as “platform health.” Such promises are common among tech founders, and can often feel like lip service to those still challenged by the toxic environment that these platforms maintain even as progress is being made. But some of Twitter’s latest moves seem to hold the key to, if not a cure, at least some substantive treatment for what ails them.

Crackdowns on API Abuse

Starting June 19th, Twitter will be conducting an audit of any third-party apps that meet a certain threshold of access, ensuring that their use of the site’s APIs is safe and legitimate. The goal, according to Twitter’s head of site integrity Yoel Roth, is “ensuring that out platform is safe and promoting the privacy and safety of our users, and providing a level playing field commercially.” Developers using it for legitimate consumer use or for research will be largely unaffected by the review’s results. Those using these touches in a B2B capacity will be asked to enter into a commercial licensing agreement. And those using it in a manner that breaks policy will be booted from the program; 162,000 users were removed in late 2018, so there’s no reason to doubt how seriously the company is taking this new initiative.

The magic number of touches: 100,000 requests per day. When asked why 100,000, Roth (along with senior product developer Rob Johnson) responded, “Because this limit allows us to make concrete progress to combat inappropriate use of our developer platform, while isolating the impact to the developers using these endpoints the most” – and, I would imagine, in a legitimate fashion.

While the company didn’t frame it this way, TechCrunch was frank in attributing the move to a desire to avoid its own “Cambridge Analytica moment.” And indeed, the crackdown could make the site more attractive to developers than Facebook, whose recent string of challenges have made it a less trustworthy option. The safety this move provides is about more than trust; the lead time is designed to help developers get their proverbial houses in order before their audits; prior API policy changes were deployed too fast, resulting in service outages for developers…and accompanying frustration. Stronger relationships with these developers will hopefully serve as one major component of making Twitter a safer and “healthier” place to be online.

Conversations

“It’s no secret that, as great as Twitter is at connecting you with people across the world, it’s also great at connecting you with bots, trolls, and spam,” Engadget’s Edgar Alvarez shared in a recent piece about Twitter’s aspirations toward platform health. “Unsurprisingly, Twitter wants that to end.” Alvarez correctly points out that these conversations are the biggest indicator of a platform’s health (or, in this case, sickness). He, along with TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez, have spent some time with Twitter’s latest attempt at a cure – the prototype twttr – and feel hopeful about its impact on what ails the site.

twttr’s prototypical methodology allows users to sign up to experiment with new features for the site, ahead of their large-scale deployment on the main app. Its features are more sparse than the typical app (Alvarez lamented this version’s lack of the recently upgraded camera capability), but differs in ways that could change the face of the full site as we know it. Currently, it exists to explore new ways of displaying and denoting conversations. Among the changes, according to TechCrunch’s Perez:

Hidden engagement stats: to see a tweet’s likes or retweets, you have to click on the post directly

  • Reply threads: more reminiscent of a message board, replies are indented and replies coming from people you follow appear with a blue line (making them easier to find if a tweet goes viral or is otherwise cluttered with replies)
  • A “show more” option: not all replies will be displayed. Instead, high quality or otherwise preferable responses will migrate toward the top, and others can be displayed when clicking “show more.”
  • Feedback on the proposed changes can be easily shared from the menu bar, giving users the opportunity to share their likes and dislikes efficiently with Twitter engineers.

“It’s too early to tell whether these experimental features will manage to successfully filter bots, trolls, or spammers completely out of your mentions, Alvarez conceded. I personally wonder about the opinions and results of those who find themselves targeted with higher frequency, namely those from marginalized communities or those with large profiles and therefore larger targets on their proverbial backs. But as it happens, Twitter is trying to be more transparent in how it brings these individuals into their ranks- another possible factor on their path to health.

Diversity

There are features, experiences, and processes on Twitter that can have disproportionate impact on certain populations- as an example, I can see the recently discovered “subscribe to conversations” feature’s potential for abuse fairly clearly. The company, recognizing its blind spots in a number of areas, is committing to bringing on individuals who can ask these questions.

Their recently released diversity report included a rise in female, Black, and Latinx employees, in areas including overall leadership and technical roles. But attrition numbers were also high among those populations, and the company voiced a dedication to exploring and eventually reducing that. They also voiced an aspiration to be at 5% Black and 5% Latinx employees overall, as well as better numbers on gender identification, sexual orientation, disability, and military status- goals that will contribute to their larger wish for platform health.

With better representation in all of these areas, consulting on major advances in third party access and how conversations are structured and prioritized, they’ll have better feedback and more voices in the room about how proposed features contribute to platform “illness” for underrepresented communities- and, in turn, for Twitter’s community of users as a whole.

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Shop Now: Your Guide to Native Ecommerce on Social Media

As brands like Instagram and Pinterest have learned, it doesn’t take much to drive a customer from inspiration to purchase. And their growth has depended, in part, on making that purchase part effortless. Instagram took the latest step toward its transformation into your personal digital mall with Instagram Checkout. The feature will allow aspiring shoppers to make purchases without leaving the app. Over time, more brands will be added and new companies will be able to take advantage of this seamless shopping experience.

In honor of this announcement, we figured we’d provide a roundup of the many existing ecommerce options available on some of your favorite social media platforms.

Instagram

In addition to the forthcoming Checkout feature, brands have had the ability to “tag” products on Business accounts since 2017, with these tags serving as links to the product on an external site for purchase. Brands not selected for the Checkout feature will continue to have the “tag” option to fuel their own ecommerce, though it will direct users away from the app to make purchases.

Pro: For selected brands, Checkout will afford an opportunity to connect users to your brand without pulling them away from the Instagram app- keeping your feed in their sights through it all.

Con: At least for the time being, this immersive shopping opportunity isn’t available for all brands in equal measure.

Facebook

Businesses wishing to sell physical items on Facebook can set up shops on their business Pages. There is no minimum transaction amount to host this online store, and all transactions are conducted inside Facebook- so no worries about directing buyers away from your Page. And as with other features of the platform, there is ample support and guidance on how to run a successful shop- so be sure to take advantage of these resources, should you choose to host an online store here.

Pro: For small businesses, Shop for Pages provides a low-cost method to expose your products to a dedicated audience.

Con: For businesses with a more expansive inventory, it could become unwieldy or time-consuming to offer it all in this type of environment.

LinkedIn

Given the considerable bias toward physical products for ecommerce, it shouldn’t surprise you that LinkedIn doesn’t have a presence in this market at the moment. Their only sellable product, educational materials through the Learning collaboration with Lynda, can’t be sold a la carte, instead requiring a monthly fee which provides access to their full library of courses.

Pro: For organizations aiming to offer their teams training in an affordable and accessible fashion, LinkedIn for Learning is an affordable option.

Con: Obviously, it’s not an effective commerce option for anything else.

Pinterest

Prior to Instagram’s meteoric rise as a brand-booster, Pinterest wore this crown with bombast. And ahead of its IPO, it’s still hoping to maintain its hold on shoppers who so often use the platform for inspiration. Its latest shopping tools, announced earlier this month, utilize “product pins” to allow shoppers to buy many of the items inspiring their aesthetic. These product pins join their buyable pins (originally introduced in 2015), as well as the capability for all businesses to post Shopping Ads. For visually inspired shoppers, Pinterest is a natural destination that brands should take advantage of.

Pro: The platform is well suited to help “pinspired” shoppers complete their vision.

Con: While product pins allow seamless in-app purchases, buyable pins and Shopping Ads would pull shoppers away from the platform.

Tumblr and Twitter

While other platforms seem to be leaning toward making in-app purchases simpler, Twitter is leaning away.

Previously developed and deployed products like “Buy Now” buttons for individual tweets, Product Pages that would collate product-oriented tweets into an easily shoppable page, and Twitter Cards, have all been discontinued. The result? The rise of third-party tools like Shopify, which have stepped in to make shopping options on the platform more straightforward.

Tumblr is another platform that, while promising as a space to generate leads for niche products, has also declined to develop native ecommerce tools. Third party tools like Shopify and BlkDot have stepped in to fill in the void.

Pro: It’s not strictly impossible to sell on either of these platforms, and they are fertile for finding passionate and dedicated consumers.

Con: The methods to set up viable commerce experiences can be less intuitive with the help of a third party than they might be with a native tool.

A strong ecommerce presence on social media helps to grow your audience and build strong relationships with customers. Which ones are you using? Which ones have you not yet considered for your brand?

Mastering your presence is essential in a crowded marketplace, and we hope to help you do it at Social Media Week New York. Passes are still available, so register to join us today!

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10 New Social Media Products and Platform Updates Marketers Need to Know About

1. LinkedIn Video For Business

Get 5x more engagement on your videos

By one study, videos are being interacted with on LinkedIn twenty times more than other types of content on user feeds. To meet that demand, and to adapt to the form in a way that other platforms haven’t, LinkedIn has gone all-in on video as a key part of their strategy for business and company pages.

The strategy seems to be working: according to their beta testers, Company Page video is 5x more likely than other types of content to start a conversation among members.

2. WhatsApp for Business

New features specifically designed for business users

Just over a year after its official launch, WhatsApp for Business has topped 5 million monthly users. The differentiated platform, at times described as a Facebook Page-like business hub on WhatsApp, “helps companies better connect with their customers and establish an official presence on WhatsApp’s service.

Its Quick Reply, auto-reply, and away messages make it easier for business owners to manage communications with curious customers or leads.

3. TikTok Ads

Ads are now on TikTok. Are you?

TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez wants you to pay attention to TikTok. Given their meteoric rise and unique interface, we’re inclined to agree. And if you’re a brand who is aiming to grab the attention of Generation Z, you’d be wise to listen. Ad “units” are being introduced to a subset of users, with an ad placed by Grubhub appearing for the first time in late January.

The type of engagement it cultivates by allowing users to work together to create content, is highly attractive for advertisers aiming to target younger social groups. And given its dominance in an app ranking that’s otherwise flooded by Facebook-owned products, the ability to effectively bring in advertisers will allow it to stay competitive in the popularity contest it’s currently in…and improbably holding its own.

4. Instagram Stories Editor

Design, beyond the platform basics.

Instagram Stories have skyrocketed in popularity, quickly surpassing its inspiration Snapchat and now reportedly twice as popular. With that spike, apps are proliferating to allow creators to develop standout stories and polish content for the fast-moving space.

Our favorites include InShot (designed to help you format content for the vertical medium) and Hype Type (which can handle some of your more rudimentary video captioning needs). Check out these roundups from Later and Refinery29 for even more ways to help your content stand out in this highly trafficked space.

5. Instagram Stories Direct Links

Spread your stories far and wide.

Instagram is rolling out a “Share Link to Entire Story” feature, allowing accounts to share direct links to full stories. In this way, self-contained features like user takeovers or Q&As can live a life beyond Instagram Stories alone. This feature can also be boosted with their “Promote” feature, which allows users to follow a CTA to the account’s website, profile, or Direct Messages. If stories-style sharing truly is the future of social media, this ability to spread its influence will become more common…and more essential to success.

6. LinkedIn Ads

Coming soon to a feed near you…ads for movies, products, and more.

Speaking of spreading influence, look for LinkedIn to take advantage of this trend in ways you might not expect. The platform, often thought of as the “professional” social network, is expanding its view on the type of ads that can appear on its platform. Users can be targeted in their professional areas of interest, like “arts and entertainment,” “marketing and advertising,” “and “business and management.” The result? Ask users who saw ads for the Paramount Pictures’ film What Men Want on their feed, an example that previously would have felt out of place on the platform.

7. Reddit Cost-Per-Click Ads

Don’t sleep on Reddit as a home for your ads.

LinkedIn isn’t the only platform looking to rethink their ad strategy. Reddit is gradually introducing cost-per-click ads to its advertisers, and is already seeing their utility through companies like Wayfair and Hired. Though the cost-per-click model is far from new, it is new to Reddit, where ad revenue previously came from a combination of reach, video view, traffic and conversion-based ads. Ad revenue has grown five times over the past three years and sales have more than doubled year-over-year. With this affordable option now in Reddit’s arsenal, that growth seems likely to continue.

8. Facebook Petitions

Bringing people together for a common cause.

Facebook remains in favor as a means of gathering people, a fact that likely informed the company’s recent move to connect Stories to Facebook Events. Another way Facebook plans to capitalize on its people-gathering power? Its recently deployed Petitions feature. Designed to help people reach out to elected officials, Petitions will allow users to rally around a cause, engage in discussion around the issues at hand, and will be connected to Events and Fundraisers for even more involvement potential.

9. Twitter Morning News Catchup

Recaps and reviews to catch you up.

After a brief but unpopular foray into algorithmic feeds, Twitter now understands the appeal of its real-time setup. With that misstep in mind, it wants to make absolutely sure you won’t miss anything newsworthy…and is doing so by testing a Morning News Catchup.

This differs from their “while you were away” feature, in that it focuses on current events rather than popular site content. For brands aiming to capitalize on the news of the day, this feature is a welcome one to ensure that your prospective consumers are as informed as you are.

10. Twitter Auto-Response

Make it easy for them to come back for more.

As you look for new and different ways to engage with your followers and fans on Twitter, we hope you haven’t overlooked the Auto-Response feature. Launched last year by the platform, it allows users to opt into additional contact from an account for a very specific purpose. For example, Netflix’s Stranger Things allowed its Twitter followers to opt in for a “trick” or “treat” from the account- they need only indicate their preference with an emoji. The tool is a fun one for engaging with followers in an unexpected way, and provides the kind of surprise and delight that can feel rare in our often predictable world of social media.

There you have it: 10 new features (and, for some, platforms) to experiment with, in pursuit of growing your brand’s presence online. We can’t wait to hear the amazing things you’ll do with these tools…they’re waiting for you to test them out!

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Twitter Says Its Health Is Improving While a Second Opinion Paints a More Grim Picture

If Twitter’s latest financial reports are to be believed, the company’s prognosis is good.

The latest reports released show $909 million in revenue and a $225 million net profit, a surge in profitability that is being attributed in part to a 16% decrease in abuse reports. This measure is an essential one to gauging Twitter’s “platform health” metric. The company has pledged to focus on this measure in the new year, cracking down on abusive accounts and pledging to “reduce the burden on victims of abuse” to report their experiences, as well as “taking action before abuse is reported.”

To that last goal, however, a University of Iowa study has identified major deficits in Twitter’s ability to effectively take action in a timely manner. Computer science professor Zubair Shafiq, along with graduate student Shehroze Farooqi, built a tool to automate and identify the causes of problematic tweets, Engadget reported. Although many of Twitter’s public efforts to improve platform etiquette and public discourse has centered around removing accounts created by bad-faith actors, Shafiq and Farooqi found vulnerabilities in a different method of account abuse: scamming and spamming done through third parties using the platform’s API.

How big of a problem did they uncover? By one count the pair took, 167,000 apps accessing the API have been used to “spread disinformation, spam, and malware.”

In one of the study’s most startling findings, Shafiq and Farooqi were able to identify an account’s potential to be abusive on a large scale, from its first seven tweets. By comparison, Twitter’s standard protocol looks into an account’s patterns of abuse after it has tweeted 100 times. “[A]ll sorts of nefarious activity remain undetected by Twitter’s fraud-detection algorithms, sometimes for months, and they do a lot of damage before Twitter eventually finds and removes them,” Shafiq said specifically of the abuse that was being amplified by spam accounts.

As you might expect, Twitter takes issue with the findings. “Research based solely on publicly available information about accounts and tweets on Twitter often cannot paint an accurate or complete picture of the steps we take to enforce our developer policies,” a spokesperson shared with WIRED when confronted with the findings. And while the company has looked deeper into the apps with access to its API and is purging those using it with malicious intent, the University of Iowa pair insists it isn’t enough. The process takes too long, is too shortsighted, and victims of abuse are left with little protection.

For many of these victims, abandoning their accounts could be a more attractive option than waiting for Twitter to help defuse the situation. This departure may be why Twitter often shares massaged stats like monetizable daily active users (mDAU), which reportedly rose from 124 million to 127 million from Q3 to Q4 of 2018. Comparatively, monthly active users, a more representative number of who’s using Twitter on a regular basis, dropped from 336 million to 321 million in the same time frame.

The platform gives itself a clean bill of health; an independent observer says it’s sicker than we might expect. Who’s correct? While the platform has come a long way from its “bottom” in 2016, when advertisers were steering far away from Twitter’s reported toxicity, it still has some healing to do. With any luck, this latest wake-up call will galvanize the platform to action in continued pursuit of a “healthier” online space.

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Will Tagging Original Tweeters Help Twitter’s Quest for Platform Health?

For some time now, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has spoken about aims to improve the vague and hard-to-measure metric of “platform health.” While it was unclear on how the company would seek to make progress, one method currently in testing may make a dent.

A small number of Twitter users on iOS and Android devices have recently noticed an “Original Tweeter” tag on their posts. This tag is assigned to the individual who starts a conversation on the platform, and appears again when they reply, according to AdWeek. Similar features have popped up quietly on LinkedIn conversation threads and in Facebook Groups, but they could serve a different and more vital purpose on Twitter.

“Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation,” Twitter’s Director of Project Management Sara Heider shared in a statement that accompanied this announcement. “As part of this work, we’re exploring adding more context to discussions by highlighting relevant replies – like those from the original Tweeter.” This tag appears underneath the tweeter’s username and stands in stark enough contrast to the surrounding text as to make it unmistakeable who started the conversation. In early tests, users have expressed concerns about it being “too big” and “too intrusive,” but it stands to serve a purpose if deployed correctly.

Social Media Today notes the similarity of the tag to the microphone tag that appears on Reddit threads, and cites their usefulness for AMAs and other conversations that yield a lot of replies. “if a celebrity or well-known person is engaging in a discussion, it can be especially interesting to see what exactly they’ve chosen to reply to, which, if rolled out, you’d be able to do much faster, saving you the effort of scanning through the subsequent reply thread in detail,” they note.

To that end, it could also do the opposite: inform you when a fraudulent account, and not a verified individual, is seeking to sow discord in response to a message. The recent misrepresentation of Washington’s converging protests is being pointed to as an example of one tweet serving to play an outsized role in the online dialogue. The user whose misleading tweet sparked the firestorm has since been suspended, but the conversation continues on how to track the dissemination of willfully inaccurate information. Clearly identifying the initiator is one viable way to do this.

At this year’s CES, Twitter upheld its affirmation to conversations on the platform this year, echoing Dorsey’s promise to make the space a healthier one to inhabit. Making it clear “who started it” in a space often noted for its toxicity, is a small but significant step toward the shedding of that reputation.

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The post Will Tagging Original Tweeters Help Twitter’s Quest for Platform Health? appeared first on Social Media Week.

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Twitter shares fall after Dorsey discusses harassment, Nazis and white nationalists on the site

Twitter shares fall after Dorsey discusses harassment, Nazis and white nationalists on the site

https://malvaniainternational.wordpress.com/2019/01/23/twitter-shares-fall-after-dorsey-discusses-harassment-nazis-and-white-nationalists-on-the-site/
— Read on malvaniainternational.wordpress.com/2019/01/23/twitter-shares-fall-after-dorsey-discusses-harassment-nazis-and-white-nationalists-on-the-site/

https://mikearmstrongnews.wordpress.com/2019/01/24/twitter-shares-fall-after-dorsey-discusses-harassment-nazis-and-white-nationalists-on-the-site/

Top 3 Twitter Tips…

Top 3 Twitter Tips…

https://matrainingwales.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/top-3-twitter-tips/
— Read on matrainingwales.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/top-3-twitter-tips/

https://mikearmstrongnews.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/top-3-twitter-tips/

What We Learned from 2018’s Worst Brand Marketing Decisions

It’s the time of the year to look back and reflect on what we’ve achieved, or what we have done wrong.

In 2018, we’ve seen some of the biggest marketing fallouts from brands across all industries. Below is a list of what some of those, and what marketers can learn from them.

Addressing controversies like race and gender

In January this year, H&M underwent a serious reputation crisis for tolerating racism, because of a modeling photo featuring an African-American boy wearing a green hoodie with “COOLEST MONKEY IN THE JUNGLE” on it. It was made trending on Twitter by blogger Stephanie Yeboah, who tweeted “Whose idea was it at @hm to have this little sweet black boy wear a jumper that says ‘coolest monkey in the jungle? I mean. What.’”

In response, H&M issued an apology saying “We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues.” The media relations team told PR News that the item would no longer be for sale, and that the incident happened because internal procedures weren’t followed accordingly.

Another aspect that can get just as complicated as race is gender. This year on International Women’s Day, McDonald’s flipped its signature yellow “M” upside down on social media profiles and even in 100 restaurants across the country. With “W” standing for women, McDonald’s was expecting some applause from the public recognizing their effort in celebrating women. However, the campaign was faced with criticism as a misstep.

People expressed outrage on social media, condemning the brand for focusing onleft-wingan initiating real change to support women, especially in equal pay. The Guardian reported that Momentum, a British left wing group, posted a video about how McDonald’s low wages endangered women workers who face poverty and homelessness.

“This empty McFeminism has nothing to do with women’s liberation and everything to do with McDonald’s attempt to sanitise its image,” Laura Parker, Momentum’s national coordinator, told The Guardian.

Consumers nowadays don’t buy into empty pledges or stunts anymore, and they expect consistency from a brand. For H&M, similar crises will almost for sure pop up again in the future if they don’t make an effort to ensure that important policies and values are followed in every step of carrying out a campaign or producing a product. And for McDonald’s, the Women’s Day gesture came from a good place, but they needed to make sure controversial issues that bear any relevance to a campaign like this were addressed beforehand.

Backfire of influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is such a hot topic that all brands want to give it a shot, however, when not executed properly, influencers can be the ones that initiate a loss of value and controversy, but not popularity.

After Snap integrated its redesign this February, Kylie Jenner, one of the internet’s most popular influencers who has a 25 million following, tweeted out something that Snap found quite hard to take, financially.

Following this tweet, Snap’s market value drop $1.3 billion overnight. Though her tweet might not be the only reason causing the drop, it most definitely had something to do with it.

In cases like this, it’s hard to predict which influencers won’t be happy about your brand’s new design or campaigns. It then becomes important to follow up with influencers, discuss in-depth what they want, and work out a plan to offset negative impacts.

Behaviors and words from top figures

A company’s CEOs nowadays are important public figures, sometimes even a bit like celebrities, to the public. And for big companies like Papa John’s, it’s hard to keep the secret in when something inappropriate happens. Back in July, Forbes reported that Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter made racial slurs and used the N-word during a conference call. Following the report, Schnatter had resigned as chairman of the board, though this incident has caused some serious reputational damage to the pizza chain.

It’s sad news for Papa John, especially since Schnatter has been very attached to the branding and stories of the chain. And for brands like Dolce & Gabbana, lead figures like designers can also cause huge marketing chaos.

Just last month, screenshots of an Instagram messages exchange between Dolce & Gabbana’s co-founder, Stefano Gabbana and an Instagram user, model Michele Tranovo, caused huge outrage in China. In these messages, Michele accused the brand of running a racially inappropriate ad featuring a Chinese model having difficulty eating Italian food with chopsticks. The designer seemed to not be happy about it and started fighting back by accusing the model of dog-eating habits, a stereotype against Chinese.

The exchange soon went viral and has led directly to the cancellation of the brand’s fashion show in Shanghai as celebrities originally signed onto the show canceled their attendance last minute and expressed extreme anger online. It’s for sure not to smart move for one of the brand’s top two designers to have irritated its biggest market.

The marketing nightmare didn’t end there. The designer later posted “NOT ME” on his Instagram trying to shed off the responsibility by saying his account has been hacked.

Top figures of a brand can sometimes be as influential to the company’s reputation as an influencer. A simple word said wrong can cause huge catastrophe, which is why everything they say should be carefully looked through and managed.

Managing data breaches

Facebook came under fire this March when it was revealed that the data company, Cambridge Analytica, had collected personal information of more than 50 million Facebook users through an app that scrapes data.

This damaging breach adds even more heat to the platform, especially at a time when it has already been constantly accused of not doing enough to protect users privacy.

Social platforms are easy targets for hackers as being great data sources. And the aftermath of this crisis spreads further than just the data spectrum. Leadership like Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg are under constant scrutiny; the public is experiencing a trust crisis with the platform and some of them even choose to leave forever; not to mention that the platform continues to struggle with user engagement and market performance.

It’s time for brands to think more carefully about the era of great data we are living in, and what are the steps to take when data breaches and privacy issues like this occur.

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The post What We Learned from 2018’s Worst Brand Marketing Decisions appeared first on Social Media Week.

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Can Twitter Threads Increase Reach, Engagement, and Referral Traffic? An Experiment

How can you increase Twitter reach and engagement?

That’s something that many marketers are thinking about, including Rand Fishkin, the founder of SparkToro, who has been wondering if Twitter gives tweets with a link less visibility than tweets without a link. And recently I’d been wondering the same.

Then I heard about Aytekin Tank’s 17-million-impression tweet.

Just a few months ago, Aytekin, the founder of Jotform, repurposed one of his popular Medium posts into a Twitter thread. He also promoted it with Twitter ads to see if he could increase the reach of his Twitter thread — and the engagement rate was as high as 20 percent!

So he continued to promote the Twitter thread. Eventually, it received 17 million impressions and the original Medium post (linked in the thread) got more than 35,000 visits.

When I learned about this story, I started wondering how Twitter threads could help marketers.  Could this be the new way to reach more people, drive more engagement, and get more referral traffic? Could Twitter threads be effective without ad promotion?

We ran a small experiment to find out.

A Twitter Thread Experiment

A Twitter thread experiment

What is a Twitter thread?

According to Twitter, “A thread on Twitter is a series of connected Tweets from one person. With a thread you can provide additional context, an update, or an extended point by connecting multiple Tweets together.”

Below is an example of a Twitter thread. If you click on the tweet, you’ll see the additional tweets connected to it.

The plan

The objective of the experiment was to test if repurposing our blog posts into Twitter threads can 1. increase our Twitter reach and engagement, and 2. drive more traffic to our blog than tweets with a link.

Our plan of execution was very straightforward:

  1. For each blog post, publish a Twitter thread and a simple link tweet (ideally at the same time, a few days apart).
  2. Record the stats after one to three days

The next step was to draft out the threads and publish them. For this, I worked with our amazing social media manager, Bonnie Porter. I repurposed 10 blog posts into threads while she published them at our best times to tweet.

Here’s what our collaboration document looked like:

Twitter threads experiment document

So how did the experiment go?

The result

I think there’s an evidence that Twitter threads perform better than tweets with a link!

Twitter thread experiment data

A quick explanation of the data

For the Twitter threads, I looked at only the number of impressions and engagements of the first tweet and the number of link clicks of the tweets with the link (usually the last tweet of the thread). The actual total number of impressions and engagements of the threads (i.e. a summation of the impressions and engagement of each tweet in the thread) is much higher.

But as the impressions and engagements are likely from the same followers, and to simplify our analysis, I considered only the impressions and engagements of the first tweet and the link clicks of the tweets with the link.

Here are the patterns I see from our results:

1. Twitter threads tend to get more impressions

The number of impressions was higher for all the first tweet of the Twitter threads than for the tweet with a link. On average, the threads received 63 percent more impressions.

Perhaps Rand Fishkin is right in that Twitter gives more prominence to tweets without a link. He found that “Tweets without URLs definitely correlate to more engagement+amplification (but this could be a result of user behavior, not intentional network design)”.

The respective link was not included in the first tweet of the Twitter threads but mostly in the last tweet of the threads. Threads could be a good way to increase your reach on Twitter while still sharing a link.

2. Twitter threads tend to get more engagements

The number of engagements was mostly higher for the first tweet of the Twitter threads than for the tweet with a link. On average, the threads received 54 percent more engagements.

An interesting pattern I spotted is that engagement tends to be the highest for the first tweet of the threads and would decrease until the last tweet, where there would be a spike in engagement. My hunch is that most people only engage with the tweets when they first saw the thread (i.e. the first tweet) and when they finish reading the thread (i.e. the last tweet), and not when they are reading the thread.

The higher number of engagement could have also caused the Twitter algorithm to surface the threads to more people, and hence, more impressions.

3. Twitter threads tend to get fewer link clicks

This is where the experiment didn’t go as expected.

While the Twitter threads, on average, received eight percent more link clicks than the tweets with a link, most of the threads received fewer clicks. (If you were to look at our data, you can see that the average was skewed by two threads that received much more link clicks than the respective link tweet.)

Here’s my guess: For the Twitter threads, the link was attached to the last tweet or in the middle. Our followers don’t see the link immediately and have to scroll through the whole thread before seeing the link. This might have caused the lower link click number.

But as Twitter threads seem to get more impressions than a link tweet, it might be possible that Twitter threads would get more link clicks. More data is needed to verify this.

4. Overall, Twitter threads seem to perform better than link tweets

On average, the Twitter threads received more impressions, engagements, and clicks than the respective tweet with a link.

While this is true based on our data, our sample size is tiny and the number of clicks fluctuated quite a bit. I wouldn’t say it’s conclusive that Twitter threads always perform better than tweets with a link in all aspect. But it seems fairly plausible that Twitter threads get more impressions and engagements.

Limitations of the experiment

  • While the blog post for each set of Twitter thread and link tweet was the same, the content of the thread and link tweet was different. This might have a bigger influence on the result than the content format. (More on this below.)
  • As it was challenging to run a large-scale version of this experiment (think thousands of blog posts) with just one brand account, we decided to test only 10 blog posts. As this is a tiny sample size, the results might not be replicable all the time (i.e. Twitter threads might not always perform better than link tweets).
  • The sequence of the two tweets could influence the results. People might be less responsive to the link tweet if they have seen the Twitter thread. But the effect of this should be minimal as we have already shared those blog posts before.
  • The day and time of the tweets could also influence the results. We tried to publish the Twitter thread and the respective link tweet at about the same time of the day to minimize the influence of this factor.

Lessons from our Twitter threads experiment

1. Experiment with different content formats

Does this mean you should post only Twitter threads from now? Not quite.

One of the key takeaways for me is the importance of experimenting with different or new content formats. While it’s the easiest to share a link, it might not always be the best way to get results. Twitter threads are one of the many things you could test. Others include images, videos, live videos, GIFs, and retweets.

For example, we recently found that retweeting our top tweets is an easy way to extend the lifespan of the tweet and increase its performance.

Buffer retweeting experiment data

2. Content is key

We found that it takes much more effort to publish Twitter threads than simple link tweets. You have to craft multiple tweets rather than just one. You have to manually tweet the threads while you can schedule link tweets.

But I think that might be why Twitter threads seem to perform better.

I believe that the content itself plays a big part in determining whether a tweet/thread does well. Crafting Twitter threads forces me to narrate a story over several tweets, and that might have encouraged me to write better tweets. On the other hand, I’m so used to sharing a link tweet that it’s easier for me to unintentionally craft a less-than-perfect tweet.

From her experience, Bonnie found it helpful to have the Twitter threads plan out in advance in a document. It makes publishing threads less of a hassle when you have everything ready to go.

3. People prefer native content

Brian Peters, our Strategic Partnerships Marketer, once said how social media platforms should be viewed as the destination for your content rather than the means to get to your content.

How does your audience want to consume your content? Do they prefer getting all the information they want through your social media posts, or do they want to click on a link and be directed to another page before they can find the information?

It depends on the content but my hunch is most prefer the former.

That might be why native content (e.g. Twitter threads, videos) tends to perform better than social media posts with links. People want the easiest way to consume content, and social media posts like Twitter threads and videos make it much easier than for them. They can get more information through the native content before deciding if the link will be relevant and valuable enough for them.

Over to you

Will you experiment with Twitter threads?

If you will or if you have, share your best-performing Twitter thread in the comments section below. It’ll be great to learn from one another’s experience. Thanks!

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Twitter Crackdown on Hate Speech Finally Includes Misgendering and Deadnaming

Twitter users have long decried the platform’s ineffectual means of handling abuse, hate speech, and other factors that have contributed to disintegrating discourse. But in its latest overhaul of its hateful conduct policy, the company seems to have finally gotten the message about how their inaction has decayed discourse on the platform…and as a result has acted on behalf of its most vulnerable users.

Among the most prominent changes to its Hateful Conduct policy is the explicit prohibition of misgendering or “deadnaming” (using the former name of) trans* individuals. PinkNews explains the danger of these practices by saying, “These offensive techniques—which involve using the wrong gender to refer to a trans person or a trans person’s old name—are often used on Twitter to insult and erase trans people’s identities and right to exist.”

This now-explicit rule (Twitter claims these practices were previously a violation of their policies) is part of a larger section banning “repeated and/or non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes, or other content that degrades someone.” Such behavior went unaddressed in the platform’s previous Hateful Conduct policy.

Whereas the prior edition of the policy seemed to treat all forms of hateful conduct and speech as equal, this latest edition makes the distinct step of acknowledging some users are more likely to experience hate and harassment:

We recognise that if people experience abuse on Twitter, it can jeopardize their ability to express themselves. Research has shown that some groups of people are disproportionately targeted with abuse online. This includes; women, people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual individuals, marginalized and historically underrepresented communities. For those who identity with multiple underrepresented groups, abuse may be more common, more severe in nature and have a higher impact on those targeted.

The latest edition of the policy also leads with language expressly condemning hate against other users “on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.” It also explicitly names other actions that previously fell through the cracks of Twitter’s safety enforcement including “media that depicts victims of the Holocaust,” “media that depicts lynching,” and “images depicting others as less than human, or altered to include hateful symbols, e.g. altering images of individuals to include animalistic features.”

This more nuanced understanding of the nature of, and motivation for, hateful conduct is new for Twitter, and demonstrates a kind of learning on the part of the platform’s leadership. And indeed, much of the feedback about the new policy recognizes the shift—while also acknowledging that such a change was considerably overdue.

With that said, how these rules will be enforced is still unclear. In the case of deadnaming or misgendering, The Verge’s Adi Robertson notes, “the rule could theoretically refer to mentioning well-known pre-transition names of celebrities (like Caitlyn Jenner) without clear malice. Or Twitter could reserve it for users who maliciously publicize old names in a way that’s designed to hurt specific trans users, which seems to be the intent of the policy.” In time, we’ll see how having these new and nuanced rules on the books affects action (and reactions) on the platform, and what it does to help improve the “health” of the platform that CEO Jack Dorsey and his colleagues have repeatedly claimed to be prioritizing for Twitter’s future.

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Twitter’s Latest iOS Update Allegedly Downplays Follower Counts

If you’ve opened Twitter on iOS lately, you may notice a slightly different look to your feed. Key profile details have been reduced in size: locations, birthdays, join dates, and follower count. It is this last metric, one that may be key in measuring your brand’s social strength, that has received the most vocal pushback from Twitter execs, and the company’s latest professed goal is to make it less prominent.

At a fireside chat in New Delhi, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey expressed remorse for how the company “put all the emphasis, not intending to, on that number of how many people follow me. So if that number is big and bold, what do people want to do with it? They want to make it go up.” Founding Twitter executive Ev Williams has similarly expressed that the original prominence of the number was short-sighted. “I think showing follower counts was probably ultimately detrimental. It really put in your face that the game was popularity,” he said at the Web Summit earlier this month.

The Follower-Climate Connection

This online popularity contest, which Dorsey and Williams believe to be fueled in many ways by the Twitter interface, is proving detrimental to our mental health as a society, some researchers say. In their deep dive on the topic, Time magazine noted that “while such features are no doubt rewarding, for users as well as Twitter’s bottom line, experts say they may also be contributing to a culture of mindless outrage and making people more susceptible to manipulation.”

The Verge reported similarly, saying “by emphasizing an account’s number of followers, Dorsey believes it incentivizes individuals to post more polarizing content that has the potential to go viral and attract more followers, creating a more divisive and toxic discourse on the platform.” Users with greater follower counts are listened to with more authority, and this number, therefore, has a disproportionate, if at times subconscious, impact on the direction and quality of discourse on the app.

A Tale of Two Fixes

And yet, it cannot go without mentioning that the widely-reported on change to the interface is…underwhelming in practice. The latest iOS update claims to de-emphasize this number, but when the change is compared side by side with its original source, the difference strikes some as laughable. This slight change is compounded by the fact that these changes have not taken hold with similar consistency on the Android version of the app. To have a large-scale impact on the health of the site, shouldn’t these changes in emphasis be standardized across the app interfaces as well as the desktop experience (which hasn’t come up in these discussions at all)?

This partially executed change’s questionable impact is compounded by Instagram’s recently announced crackdown on accounts that generate fake likes, comments, and follows. TechCrunch reports that these efforts, like Twitter’s follower count size reduction, are aimed at improving users’ experience on the site:

If no one can believe those counts are accurate, it throws Instagram’s legitimacy into question. And every time you get a notification about a fake follow or Like, it distracts you from real life, dilutes the quality of conversation on Instagram and makes people less likely to stick with the app. – Josh Constine, TechCrunch

But unlike Twitter, this strategy aims to not just minimize the number of followers one has but to interrogate their cause and source. The apps’ challenges may differ, but one action goes further to neutralize platform health (and, for that matter, user health) than the other.

Finding a Better Fix

Infrequent but notable and controversial Twitter user Kanye West actually proposed an interesting alternative solution: allowing users to toggle the display of follower counts and/or likes. “Just like how we can turn off the comments,” he tweeted in September 2018, “we should be able to turn off the display of followers.” Still another proposed method to incentivize meaningful conversation, as Dorsey has stated is his goal, is to create a holistic measure that looks at the tone of conversation a tweet generates- something machine learning is far from being able to do accurately.

But through all these additional suggestions, one thing is certain. If the current long-term goal for Twitter is, as Dorsey told Congress, “improving the health of the site,” these changes will need to be more than merely cosmetic—or, if solely cosmetic, more substantial than this latest set of tweaks.

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Why Twitter is Thinking of Killing Off Their Like Button

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey hinted at a Twitter event last week that the final day of the heart-shaped “like” button will be arriving soon.

According to The Telegraph, it’s wasn’t the first time he admitted that he doesn’t want it anymore — he talked about his frustration with the button weeks ago at the Wired25 summit.

“We have a big ‘like’ button with a heart on it and we’re incentivizing people to want it to go up. Is that the right thing? Versus contributing to the public conversation or a healthy conversation? How do we incentivize healthy conversation,” Dorsey said at the event.ote>

Twitter has long been accused of fostering hate crimes by failing to curb violent and extreme content, as well as creating a space for Russian bots to swing public opinion. So when the rumor of canceling the button comes, Twitter users have mixed feelings.

Some think they will be losing an important metric to demonstrate public support, some think that the platform’s biggest feature of being a civil place for debates will be cut short, and some think Twitter’s simply failing, again, to take care of the public’s concerns on hate crimes.

“Really though, if you had to ask any average user what were the main things leading to a bad “quality of debate” on this bad website, the tiny little heart symbols would not exactly be at the top of most people’s lists” – Josh Butler.

It’s uncertain, though, when this thought of the CEO will be executed. Following Telegraph’s report, Twitter’s Communications team tweeted that “We are in the early stages of the work and have no plans to share right now.”

Taylor Lorenz wrote in The Atlantic that, instead of getting rid of like button, retweet should be their target.

Retweets, not likes, are Twitter’s most powerful method of reward,” wrote Lorenz. “The quest to accrue retweets regularly drives users to tweet outlandish comments, extremist opinions, fake news, or worse. If Twitter really wants to control the out-of-control rewards mechanisms it has created, the retweet button should be the first to go.

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Social Media Marketing Video from MA Consultancy

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Social Media Marketing Video from MA Consultancy

If you are looking for Social Media Marketing Consultancy, Training & Services including Graphic Design for Social Media & Video Presentation Production for Social Media, all for prices starting at just £50 pm, please get in touch:

Call: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com .

Twitter Seeks Transparency In Its Latest Safety Efforts

“You don’t want to see a Tweet you’ve reported, but you do want to know we’ve done something about it. And all those Tweets that break our rules? You should know we’ve done something about them too.”

On October 17th, Twitter Safety announced the latest changes to its reporting measures with the above tweet. The “report” function, designed to cull offensive content and harassment, has repeatedly come under fire by the platform’s users. This latest change aims to address two challenges inherent in prior iterations of the process. One, a user who reports a tweet is rarely informed of a claim’s outcome; two, the objected-to content was visible as Twitter made its ruling.

In a compromise, Twitter addressed the latter with a shield to hide the post—unless the user requests to see it. “Before, Twitter had experimented with both showing or hiding the tweet you reported, but users told the company they sometimes needed to refer back to the tweet – like when they’re trying to report it to law enforcement, for example,” TechCrunch reported. “Now, Twitter says it will hide the tweet behind an informational notice, but allow you to tap the notice to view the tweet again.”

In regards to the former, updates on the timeline will distinguish between a post removed by Twitter for violation of the site’s guidelines, and a post removed by a user. If the post is a violation, “[Twitter] will display a notice that states the tweet is unavailable because it violated the Twitter Rules. This will also include a link to those rules and an article that provides details on how Twitter enforces its rules.”

These measures are the most significant Twitter has taken to date in cracking down on the harassment culture. Even after a wave of reforms was announced in December 2017, hate speech, violence, and user targeting persists, much of it allegedly still falling within the company’s user guidelines. While these latest changes are a step in the right direction, many have argued that other features (Moments, circular avatars, character limits and live programming) have wrongfully taken precedence over their vital need to make the space safer for users.

Even as these changes take hold, the burden remains largely on the victim of objectionable content to report it to Twitter. Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey claimed naiveté more than once as the issue grew, but former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao has another theory: there’s no incentive for him to care. “[S]ocial media companies and the leaders who run them are rewarded for focusing on reach and engagement, not for positive impact or for protecting subsets of users from harm,” Pao wrote for WIRED earlier this month. “If they don’t need to monitor their platforms, they don’t need to come up with real policies—and avoid paying for all the people and tools required to implement them.”

Now that voices of hate and harassment are hurting Twitter’s bottom line, it’ll be interesting to watch how change is received and what additional measures Twitter will take to satisfy the concerns of critics and their most vulnerable users.

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Do Twitter Ads Really Work? A Surprising Experiment: 17.2 Million Views From a Single Twitter Thread

As the New Year approaches, many of us find ourselves in a reflective mood. And that’s exactly how JotForm founder, Aytekin ‏Tank, felt as 2017 was drawing to a close.

As he walked along the Embarcadero, one of the liveliest and most scenic areas in San Francisco, looking back on the year, he was a little zoned out to everything happening around him. Meditative. Introspective. Contemplative.

He had many things to celebrate: JotForm had grown to a team of more than 130 people across the globe, it had more than 3.2 million users and its revenues continued to climb every month. It’s also worth noting that all of this happened without taking a dollar in outside funding — a not-so-common story in Silicon Valley these days.

But despite all the good news, there was something that didn’t quite sit right with him.

“Our competitors were super loud on the internet and their user numbers weren’t even close to ours,” he explained to me. “They were announcing one investment round after another, ending up on top of TechCrunch, and we were just quietly going about our business.”

During these moments of reflection, Aytekin realized that, like his competitors, he also had a story to tell.

So he decided to do just that — share his story. But in his own unique way.

Building a brand through stories

The first order of business for Aytekin was simple:

Write stories to share the JotForm journey.

With autonomous teams around him , he was able to dedicate his time to whatever tasks he felt would impact the business the most, so going all-in on content was an easy decision for him.

His first post — How NOT following my dreams enabled me to build a startup with 3.2 million users — was published in a popular Medium Publication, The Startup, and reached over +50K pageviews almost overnight.

His second post — Time off or the top of TechCrunch? — was equally as successful.

“I published these stories on December 18th and 26th respectively”, he explained. “Given their traction and how they resonated with a huge audience, I made my mind up. I was going to get serious about writing in 2018.”

Aytekin had found his niche.

His authentic, honest stories resonated with startup enthusiasts and he decided to write at least two posts per week throughout 2018 to share his journey as founder and CEO of JotForm.

Embracing Twitter: A $24,098 Twitter ads experiment

After his initial success on Medium, Aytekin was keen to share JotForm’s story across multiple channels in order to reach new audiences.

In July 2018, he decided to experiment with Twitter. Specifically, he was curious:

  1. If Twitter could be a great platform to repurpose content
  2. How Twitter ads could help him amplify his content.

After all, Twitter and blogging aren’t really too different:

“Apart from its character limit, Twitter isn’t any different when it comes to sharing your authentic voice,” he explained. “It’s blogging in 280 characters.”

As a platform, Twitter may not have changed too much since over the years — except increasing the character limit from 140 to 280 characters.

But what has changed significantly is the way people use the platform.

Twitter used to feel almost like an RSS feed, full of people sharing links and hashtags, trying to hijack every ounce of attention possible. But now, as Nathan Bashaw pointed out, things are changing:

Some of the best performing tweets nowadays are those that tell authentic stories.

For example, Rodolphe Dutel’s recent tweet about workplace culture really resonated with his audience (and beyond), picking up 31,265 retweets and 134,655 likes.

Would it have been as successful if Rodolphe had simply shared an article link and headline? Probably not.

Kicking off the experiment

Having seen various tweets and threads succeed like Rodolphe’s, Aytekin set out to reverse engineer a “viral” tweet of his own.

The plan was simple:

Repurpose a successful Medium post into a Twitter thread and boost it with Twitter ads to test the limits of Twitter as a platform to spread Aytekin and JotForm’s message. 

In order to craft the Twitter thread, Aytekin used his Medium analytics for inspiration:

With this data, he was able to see which articles had resonated most with his audience and tell a story that he was sure would connect with people on Twitter.

He chose to create a Twitter thread based on his post entitled: ‘Don’t listen to those productivity gurus: why waking up at 6am won’t make you successful’.

Here’s a link to the thread:

The results: 17 million impressions

The aim of this experiment was to test the limits of the Twitter algorithm, and the power of Twitter ads, so Aytekin decided to spend as much as possible on this ad: $24,098 in total.

The tweet generated 17,177,432 impressions on Twitter.

Here are the results in full:

Aytekin didn’t jump right in and spend $24,000 overnight. In fact, when the experiment started, the plan was to spend a maximum of $5,000.

But as the tweet began to take off, the budget was raised accordingly.

“We started this experiment by saying we wouldn’t exceed $5K in spend,” he explained. “But we kept a close eye on the Cost Per Engagement and Impressions, and raised budget accordingly.”

As the advert was seeing super high engagement rates (over 20 percent at times):

And low Cost Per Engagement:

Aytekin continued to ramp up the spend until results started to diminish. In the end, the experiment ran for over a month in total (between July 15 – August 24).

Due to the high engagement, the thread also received plenty of organic reach on Twitter.

Out of 17 million impressions, 4.7 million were organic — so in other words, 27.4 percent of reach was free vs 72.6 percent paid.

Some key takeaways from this experiment follow…

Lessons learned from this Twitter experiment

1. Twitter is a great place to repurpose content

If you’re creating content of any form: videos, blog posts, podcasts, etc, repurposing it across multiple channels is a great way to get the most bang for your buck.

But repurposing doesn’t just mean copying and pasting a link over to Twitter.

If you want to be successful, you need to think about how you can tell each story natively to the platform you’re publishing on.

For this experiment, Aytekin could have simply shared a tweet linking to his blog post and boosted it, but I’m sure that wouldn’t have performed anywhere near as well as the Twitter thread.

By using a format native to Twitter, Aytekin was able to share his story in a way that Twitter users would respond to and be happy to engage with.

2. A Twitter thread can help you to achieve multiple goals at the same time

Impressions and engagement are awesome — especially when you’re quite new to the content marketing game.

But when you use a Twitter thread, you’re able to feature multiple types of content within your tweets and achieve various goals.

For example, in the fifth tweet in the thread Aytekin included a link back to the original article on Medium:

This tweet received more than 1.1 million impressions and over 35,000 clicks, helping to drive traffic back to the original post on Medium.

The sixth tweet in the thread mentioned @JotForm and 4,346 people clicked from this tweet to JotForm’s profile to learn more about the business:

Aytekin also picked up 5,752 followers from this thread.

When it comes to planning an experiment like this of your own, try to think about the goals you’d like to achieve:

  • If it’s all about impressions and engagement, you could tell the whole story on Twitter.
  • If you want to drive traffic, add a link back to your website.
  • To increase your following, @ mention your profile.

Remember: It’s important to tell a great story in a native format, so ensure you use your first few tweets to get people hooked into your narrative before including any links.

3. Twitter is a great place to start a conversation

With any highly shared tweet, you’ll always get a few trolls pop up here and there, but if you look past this, you’ll realize that Twitter is still an incredible place to start a conversation and build relationships.

Following Aytekin’s thread, he received plenty of questions about JotForm and how the business operates. This enabled him to build new relationships with people he previously wouldn’t have reached.

So, do Twitter ads really work?

This experiment was designed to test the limits of Twitter ads and the results speak for themselves:

  • Over 17 million impressions
  • 35,000 visits to the original article
  • 5,752 followers for Aytekin
  • 4,346 profile views for @JotForm

But that’s not to say everything was perfect.

Due to the way Twitter ads work there’s no real way to tell exactly how many unique people saw the ad and many people reached out to Aytekin to say they’d seen the ad multiple times.

And for every great conversation started by this thread, there was another slightly negative reaction. It seems that some Twitter users don’t quite accept ads in their feed like they do on Facebook or Instagram, where ads are more ingrained within the platforms.

Overall though, Aytekin sees the experiment as worthwhile:

“Even though the initial cost was high, the 5,000 followers we gained from this experiment are permanent,” he explained.

“Every time I publish a new post, I get clicks, likes, retweets and comments from these followers. So the results are compounding over time. I can’t be sure if they will become long-term, highly-engaged audience members, but they seem to stick around for now.”

And the great thing is that you can replicate this experiment yourself with a budget of any size.

Simply take a piece of content that’s been successful for you on another channel:

  • A highly-viewed Facebook video.
  • One of your top podcast episodes.
  • Your #1 blog post.
  • A copy of your email newsletter.

And repurpose that content into a succinct story on Twitter.

Even if you don’t want to invest any budget in it, repurposing content to Twitter is a great way to connect with your audience and share your stories to another platform.

Have you used Twitter ads? Do you repurpose content from other platforms to Twitter? I’d love to chat about your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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Do Twitter Ads Really Work? A Surprising Experiment: 17.2 Million Views From a Single Twitter Thread

As the New Year approaches, many of us find ourselves in a reflective mood. And that’s exactly how JotForm founder, Aytekin ‏Tank, felt as 2017 was drawing to a close.

As he walked along the Embarcadero, one of the liveliest and most scenic areas in San Francisco, looking back on the year, he was a little zoned out to everything happening around him. Meditative. Introspective. Contemplative.

He had many things to celebrate: JotForm had grown to a team of more than 130 people across the globe, it had more than 3.2 million users and its revenues continued to climb every month. It’s also worth noting that all of this happened without taking a dollar in outside funding — a not-so-common story in Silicon Valley these days.

But despite all the good news, there was something that didn’t quite sit right with him.

“Our competitors were super loud on the internet and their user numbers weren’t even close to ours,” he explained to me. “They were announcing one investment round after another, ending up on top of TechCrunch, and we were just quietly going about our business.”

During these moments of reflection, Aytekin realized that, like his competitors, he also had a story to tell.

So he decided to do just that — share his story. But in his own unique way.

Building a brand through stories

The first order of business for Aytekin was simple:

Write stories to share the JotForm journey.

With autonomous teams around him , he was able to dedicate his time to whatever tasks he felt would impact the business the most, so going all-in on content was an easy decision for him.

His first post — How NOT following my dreams enabled me to build a startup with 3.2 million users — was published in a popular Medium Publication, The Startup, and reached over +50K pageviews almost overnight.

His second post — Time off or the top of TechCrunch? — was equally as successful.

“I published these stories on December 18th and 26th respectively”, he explained. “Given their traction and how they resonated with a huge audience, I made my mind up. I was going to get serious about writing in 2018.”

Aytekin had found his niche.

His authentic, honest stories resonated with startup enthusiasts and he decided to write at least two posts per week throughout 2018 to share his journey as founder and CEO of JotForm.

Embracing Twitter: A $24,098 Twitter ads experiment

After his initial success on Medium, Aytekin was keen to share JotForm’s story across multiple channels in order to reach new audiences.

In July 2018, he decided to experiment with Twitter. Specifically, he was curious:

  1. If Twitter could be a great platform to repurpose content
  2. How Twitter ads could help him amplify his content.

After all, Twitter and blogging aren’t really too different:

“Apart from its character limit, Twitter isn’t any different when it comes to sharing your authentic voice,” he explained. “It’s blogging in 280 characters.”

As a platform, Twitter may not have changed too much since over the years — except increasing the character limit from 140 to 280 characters.

But what has changed significantly is the way people use the platform.

Twitter used to feel almost like an RSS feed, full of people sharing links and hashtags, trying to hijack every ounce of attention possible. But now, as Nathan Bashaw pointed out, things are changing:

Some of the best performing tweets nowadays are those that tell authentic stories.

For example, Rodolphe Dutel’s recent tweet about workplace culture really resonated with his audience (and beyond), picking up 31,265 retweets and 134,655 likes.

Would it have been as successful if Rodolphe had simply shared an article link and headline? Probably not.

Kicking off the experiment

Having seen various tweets and threads succeed like Rodolphe’s, Aytekin set out to reverse engineer a “viral” tweet of his own.

The plan was simple:

Repurpose a successful Medium post into a Twitter thread and boost it with Twitter ads to test the limits of Twitter as a platform to spread Aytekin and JotForm’s message. 

In order to craft the Twitter thread, Aytekin used his Medium analytics for inspiration:

With this data, he was able to see which articles had resonated most with his audience and tell a story that he was sure would connect with people on Twitter.

He chose to create a Twitter thread based on his post entitled: ‘Don’t listen to those productivity gurus: why waking up at 6am won’t make you successful’.

Here’s a link to the thread:

The results: 17 million impressions

The aim of this experiment was to test the limits of the Twitter algorithm, and the power of Twitter ads, so Aytekin decided to spend as much as possible on this ad: $24,098 in total.

The tweet generated 17,177,432 impressions on Twitter.

Here are the results in full:

Aytekin didn’t jump right in and spend $24,000 overnight. In fact, when the experiment started, the plan was to spend a maximum of $5,000.

But as the tweet began to take off, the budget was raised accordingly.

“We started this experiment by saying we wouldn’t exceed $5K in spend,” he explained. “But we kept a close eye on the Cost Per Engagement and Impressions, and raised budget accordingly.”

As the advert was seeing super high engagement rates (over 20 percent at times):

And low Cost Per Engagement:

Aytekin continued to ramp up the spend until results started to diminish. In the end, the experiment ran for over a month in total (between July 15 – August 24).

Due to the high engagement, the thread also received plenty of organic reach on Twitter.

Out of 17 million impressions, 4.7 million were organic — so in other words, 27.4 percent of reach was free vs 72.6 percent paid.

Some key takeaways from this experiment follow…

Lessons learned from this Twitter experiment

1. Twitter is a great place to repurpose content

If you’re creating content of any form: videos, blog posts, podcasts, etc, repurposing it across multiple channels is a great way to get the most bang for your buck.

But repurposing doesn’t just mean copying and pasting a link over to Twitter.

If you want to be successful, you need to think about how you can tell each story natively to the platform you’re publishing on.

For this experiment, Aytekin could have simply shared a tweet linking to his blog post and boosted it, but I’m sure that wouldn’t have performed anywhere near as well as the Twitter thread.

By using a format native to Twitter, Aytekin was able to share his story in a way that Twitter users would respond to and be happy to engage with.

2. A Twitter thread can help you to achieve multiple goals at the same time

Impressions and engagement are awesome — especially when you’re quite new to the content marketing game.

But when you use a Twitter thread, you’re able to feature multiple types of content within your tweets and achieve various goals.

For example, in the fifth tweet in the thread Aytekin included a link back to the original article on Medium:

This tweet received more than 1.1 million impressions and over 35,000 clicks, helping to drive traffic back to the original post on Medium.

The sixth tweet in the thread mentioned @JotForm and 4,346 people clicked from this tweet to JotForm’s profile to learn more about the business:

Aytekin also picked up 5,752 followers from this thread.

When it comes to planning an experiment like this of your own, try to think about the goals you’d like to achieve:

  • If it’s all about impressions and engagement, you could tell the whole story on Twitter.
  • If you want to drive traffic, add a link back to your website.
  • To increase your following, @ mention your profile.

Remember: It’s important to tell a great story in a native format, so ensure you use your first few tweets to get people hooked into your narrative before including any links.

3. Twitter is a great place to start a conversation

With any highly shared tweet, you’ll always get a few trolls pop up here and there, but if you look past this, you’ll realize that Twitter is still an incredible place to start a conversation and build relationships.

Following Aytekin’s thread, he received plenty of questions about JotForm and how the business operates. This enabled him to build new relationships with people he previously wouldn’t have reached.

So, do Twitter ads really work?

This experiment was designed to test the limits of Twitter ads and the results speak for themselves:

  • Over 17 million impressions
  • 35,000 visits to the original article
  • 5,752 followers for Aytekin
  • 4,346 profile views for @JotForm

But that’s not to say everything was perfect.

Due to the way Twitter ads work there’s no real way to tell exactly how many unique people saw the ad and many people reached out to Aytekin to say they’d seen the ad multiple times.

And for every great conversation started by this thread, there was another slightly negative reaction. It seems that some Twitter users don’t quite accept ads in their feed like they do on Facebook or Instagram, where ads are more ingrained within the platforms.

Overall though, Aytekin sees the experiment as worthwhile:

“Even though the initial cost was high, the 5,000 followers we gained from this experiment are permanent,” he explained.

“Every time I publish a new post, I get clicks, likes, retweets and comments from these followers. So the results are compounding over time. I can’t be sure if they will become long-term, highly-engaged audience members, but they seem to stick around for now.”

And the great thing is that you can replicate this experiment yourself with a budget of any size.

Simply take a piece of content that’s been successful for you on another channel:

  • A highly-viewed Facebook video.
  • One of your top podcast episodes.
  • Your #1 blog post.
  • A copy of your email newsletter.

And repurpose that content into a succinct story on Twitter.

Even if you don’t want to invest any budget in it, repurposing content to Twitter is a great way to connect with your audience and share your stories to another platform.

Have you used Twitter ads? Do you repurpose content from other platforms to Twitter? I’d love to chat about your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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How Apple Dominated Twitter Without Tweeting

This past week, Apple has conducted a master class in how to take over Twitter—and they did it without a single organic tweet.

If you visit @Apple on Twitter, you’ll notice that despite over 2.2 million followers, the company has not tweeted even once.

And yet during the #AppleEvent, when the company unveiled their new line of products, including the iPhone XS and Apple Watch 4, not only were people’s timelines packed with updates from journalists and thought leaders dishing and delving into the devices, but the company spent what some call “a significant amount” on ads.

Why would a company that doesn’t deign to tweet from its own account spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on paid posts?

Well, they’re trillion-dollar Apple—they can do whatever they want. But there’s more to it than that.

Here’s how Apple dominated Twitter for the #AppleEvent

Digiday had a rundown of the prices Apple likely paid for all their advertising on Sept. 12, including:

  • A promoted trend: $200,000/day
  • A custom “like for reminder” build: $250,000 for several days
  • Promoted tweets in 12+ languages (ranging from $0.50 to $8)
  • A “hashflag” (custom Twitter emoji) and a livestream of the event (likely free)

And indeed, no matter where you went on Twitter on Sept. 12, you couldn’t avoid the #AppleEvent hashtag and hashflag. The feed was flooded with tweets about what Apple was unveiling, which was the product of both Apple’s paid efforts and tweets from writers and journalists (more on that in a second).

Apple wasn’t running any ads on Facebook. Why is that? Isn’t Facebook the biggest social media platform, with the most reach? How could Apple avoid it on Apple Event day?

Twitter is where conversations start

Perhaps the biggest draw of Twitter is that it’s built to get conversations started. Journalists, early adopters, and other people who make a living covering and have a passion for Apple products know that Twitter is better for breaking news than Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other major platform.

Apple recognizes this. By meeting users on Twitter—supplying them with a livestream (that’s where this writer watched the event), creating a rare “like for reminder” tweet that helped users remember when the event would take place, and tweeting in languages used all around the world—Apple was actively encouraging and helping those users to have more informed and productive conversations about their products.

For whatever reason, tweeting doesn’t fit Apple’s brand. Tweets from other people do, however. So by pouring money into the platform at the right moment, Apple found a way to boost those tweets, to make them more visible and engaging. Again, that’s without sending a single tweet from their own account.

While Apple has plenty of money, they’re not in the business of wasting it. This was a showcase in how to pick your spots on social media and use each platform—even platforms you don’t engage in yourself—to maximize value.

Images via Apple

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5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy Fake Followers

Big follower numbers on social media look impressive. To achieve that goal, many people turn to fake followers, which are imprecisely referred to as bots.

If you’re growing frustrated with a client who only cares about followers and likes, you may be tempted to pay for fake followers. After all, even if you actively fight against bots and report them, there’s no way to remove every fake account that follows you. Why not take advantage of this inherent flaw for your advantage?

Actively courting fake followers may give you a hollow short-term gain, but it’s one that means nothing to those who know not to rely on an easily manipulated metric.

Theoretically, having tons of followers means that people are interested in your brand and having a massive following will make your following grow event bigger by giving your page more exposure.

In reality, that may have been the case at one point, but it hasn’t been the case for a long time. It’s been said a million times, but it’s worth repeating: organic reach is almost non-existent, especially for those who don’t already follow your brand. Additionally, the fact that followers can be bought isn’t a secret.

Consumers are getting savvier. While it may make sense for Wendy’s to have over 2.7 million Twitter followers and over 8.5 million likes on Facebook, it would be suspicious for a small mom-and-pop restaurant to get anywhere near those numbers under almost all circumstances.

Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t invest in fake followers.

1. Your followers are a reflection on your content quality.

Many social media users will go through your followers to see who you attract and make sure your account is legitimate. If you aren’t one to follow many accounts, this may be the starting point for your followers find other businesses and people who provide similar or complementary content to what you provide.

Those who are interested in your brand and go through your followers will become suspicious if you have too many accounts that look sketchy or are obviously bots set up for the sole purpose of sharing other people’s content.

While you may gamble on the fact that not many people care about your followers, word gets around on the internet and you will be watched.

2. Buying fake followers will get you banned.

Is temporary success worth the risk of permanent expulsion from your chosen social media platforms?

Purchasing fake followers is the digital media equivalent of an athlete taking steroids. You may get caught in hindsight, but when your shady practices catch up with you there will be significant blowback.

As of May 2018, Facebook had closed 583 million fake profiles. In July 2018, The Washington Post reported Twitter had suspended 70 million suspected fakes. It’s only a matter of time before the social media platforms more aggressively pursue those who have an unusually large number of fake followers.

Citing the fact that this practice is widespread or that “everyone else is doing it” will only make things worse. It didn’t work with your mother, it doesn’t work when someone breaks the law, and it won’t win you any fans.

3. Followers/Likes matter less than they used to.

We all love the validation that seeing a new follower gives, but the harsh reality is that a simple follow means nothing. Engagement is what we need to focus on. It’s more important to have 100 engaged followers than 500,000 that you purchased from a click farm.

4. It dilutes the accuracy of your analytics.

If you bought a million followers, but only 1,000 are legitimate and respond to your posts, you have an engagement rate of 0.1 percent. That’s significantly less impressive and shows the pointlessness in bragging about following size.

In contrast, a company that has 1,000 followers and has 200 engaged users has an engagement rate of 20 percent. While these numbers would be extremely low for an international or national brand, they are actually pretty good numbers for a local business.

5. It’s a waste of money.

You’re better of spending potential bot money elsewhere. Sure, there are websites that lure you with promises of thousands of followers for a small fee. However, are you willing to use a perfectly good 20 dollars for an imaginary temporary victory?

There’s no good reason to buy fake followers. You may get a dopamine rush from your increasing follower count, but fake followers are nothing more than buying an award to show off because you didn’t want to take the time or effort to earn it yourself. It may take a while for people to catch on, but once they find out you will lose all credibility and end up digging yourself out of a hole of your own making.

 

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Best & Worst times to post on Social Media – #SocialMedia #Infographic

Here are the best and worst times to post on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Welsh Business News

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