Social media is here to stay – good luck finding someone who will argue otherwise. But, marketers are off the mark if they are waiting for one platform to reign supreme, hedging their bets in correlation with user count. Digital consumers use an array of platforms to accomplish significantly different digital goals.
I am 24 years old. I made my first social media account at 12. Social Media has been a part of my world for half of my life. I turn to different networks to serve as means to different ends. I’m going to tell you something you might not expect to hear: the way that I use Twitter should matter most to marketers.
My relationships with various social media platforms have grown, shrank, shifted and been repurposed with time. To connect with friends and family, I turn to Facebook and Instagram. Snapchat allows conversational fluidity and brings comic relief. When it comes to growing my career and developing my professional network, I use LinkedIn. The variety of platforms enable me to connect with the digital personal network I have been cultivating for half of my life.
Twitter is different. It’s the first place I looked on Election day, and it’s where I consult when I hit a traffic jam on my way to work. It is fired up by my side during the SuperBowl and the Oscars. It enriches my viewing of Game of Thrones and connects me with others cheering for the same team. It’s where I connect with the worldwide tech community and react to the latest Apple release. Twitter is the platform I use to connect with the digital world beyond my personal network in real time.
Where my Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat networks are composed of the people I know, my Twitter network is a reflection of what I find interesting and relevant. Twitter enables me to connect with like-minded communities. Until that changes, and another platform emerges in the ungated live-social space, marketers miss out by ignoring consumer insights from Twitter’s vast and raw set of social data.
Here are three reasons why marketers should be investing in Twitter data:
Twitter is alive. It is the world as it is, unfettered and (mostly) unfiltered by smart algorithms. It is an in-the-moment track of what’s happening. Andrew Hutchinson, Head of Content and Social Media at Social Media Today, wrote that “Twitter remains our best indicator of the wider pulse of the world and what’s happening within it.”
Because of the live nature of how users leverage this particular network, Twitter data can predict shifts in consumer behaviour before these shifts are evident on any other social network.
320 million active users are on Twitter. A by-the-numbers comparison to Facebook’s user base misses Twitter’s unique value. Twitter’s users engage with what they have deemed to be interesting, useful, and relevant. This usage isn’t about a conversation with their Grandma, nor is it about self-deprecating humour conveniently shared with their best friend. Time on Twitter is more utilitarian than personal. Twitter is a big, beautiful, and unbiased map of live human interest. Twitter’s 320 million active users provide enough data to generate indicative data on almost any trend or shift . It is the equivalent to a massive focus group, volunteering opinions and preferences on any and every topic.
This is where marketers can really capitalize. The nature of Twitter data lends itself well to advanced network analysis. This is because, on Twitter, information sharing is structurally one-way (when I follow someone, they don’t have to accept my request or follow me back). This means any user can communicate with an infinite number of people, topics, or trends.
The structure of Twitter data lets us go leaps and bounds beyond social listening, tracking, and measurement. The Twitter interest network gives us the ability to understand the nature and composition of a social audience. Using machine learning, we can look at the connections between individuals, elevate them, and reason about them in aggregate. With advanced analysis of Twitter data, we can transform a 2-dimensional list of people into a many-dimensional interest graph. This approach reveals how a group of users organically segments into like-minded communities, united by their shared interests, behaviours, and sense of relevancy.
The interest-graph segmented into interest-based communities is a tool every marketer should have in their arsenal. It is the foundation for creating data-driven buyer personas, empowering content strategy, identifying relevant influencers, partners and media placements, and ultimately gaining competitive intelligence.
The world still needs Twitter; therefore Twitter data is still relevant. The live nature, scope, and structure of the data is optimal, and marketers who ignore Twitter data can miss the realities of the world as it changes in real time.