Twitter is a formidable tool in the social networking landscape. According to one study, Twitter is among the top three referrers of web traffic, along with Facebook and Pinterest.
Most small business owners who have used Twitter to market their brand are familiar with basic Twitter strategies, such as following those who have positively mentioned your brand, creating Twitter contests or campaigns, and using cultural events as opportunities to engage your Twitter audience. But a deeper, more in-depth review of Twitter has revealed some rare and invaluable tips regarding this social media titan that can give small business owners/marketers a decided edge.
Thanks to the astute reporting of Kevan Lee, we’ve harvested three uncommon statistical gems related to Twitter that can enhance and strengthen your social media marketing strategy.
1) Businesses Have Less Than an Hour to Respond on Twitter
Customers have high expectations for a quick response. According to a study commissioned by Lithium Technologies, 53 percent who expect a brand to respond to their Tweet demand that response comes in less than an hour. The implications of failing to respond quickly on Twitter are serious and the majority of users will escalate their negativity — from closing their wallets to publicly shaming the brand on social media.
In fact, 74 percent of customers who take to social media to shame brands believe it leads to better service. What’s more, even consumers who are initially positive can quickly turn negative if brands fail to respond to their Tweets in a timely manner. Brands that recognize and seize the opportunity to meet consumers’ rising expectations can achieve serious results.
The study also revealed that when brands provide customers with timely responses:
* 34 percent are likely to buy more from that company
* 43 percent are likely to encourage friends and family to buy their products
* 38 percent are more receptive to their advertisements
* 42 percent are willing to praise or recommend the brand through social media
2) Best Time For Retweets?
TrackMaven analyzed over 1.7 million tweets and found that the best time of day to tweet for a retweet is after-hours, between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. ET. Track Maven also found that Sundays are the best day of the week to get retweets and that tweeting with the word “Retweet” or with all caps or exclamation points leads to more retweets.
3) Twitter Has 6 Unique Network Crowds
This Pew Research article notes that conversations on Twitter create networks with identifiable contours as people reply to and mention one another in their tweets. These conversational structures differ, depending on the subject and the people driving the conversation.
“Six structures are regularly observed: divided, unified, fragmented, clustered, and inward and outward hub and spoke structures. These are created as individuals choose whom to reply to or mention in their Twitter messages and the structures tell a story about the nature of the conversation.”
Based on a report that analyzed thousands of Twitter conversations, these are the six distinct communication networks.
Polarized Crowd: Polarized discussions feature two big and dense groups that have little connection between them. The topics being discussed are often highly divisive and heated political subjects. In fact, there is usually little conversation between these groups despite the fact that they are focused on the same topic. Polarized Crowds on Twitter are not arguing. They are ignoring one another while pointing to different web resources and using different hashtags.
Why this matters: It shows that partisan Twitter users rely on different information sources. While liberals link to many mainstream news sources, conservatives link to a different set of websites.
Tight Crowd: These discussions are characterized by highly interconnected people with few isolated participants. Many conferences, professional topics, hobby groups, and other subjects that attract communities take this Tight Crowd form.
Why this matters: These structures show how networked learning communities function and how sharing and mutual support can be facilitated by social media.
Brand Clusters: When well-known products or services or popular subjects like celebrities are discussed in Twitter, there is often commentary from many disconnected participants: These “isolates” participating in a conversation cluster are on the left side of the picture on the left). Well-known brands and other popular subjects can attract large fragmented Twitter populations who tweet about it but not to each other. The larger the population talking about a brand, the less likely it is that participants are connected to one another. Brand-mentioning participants focus on a topic, but tend not to connect to each other.
Why this matters: There are still institutions and topics that command mass interest. Often times, the Twitter chatter about these institutions and their messages is not among people connecting with each other. Rather, they are relaying or passing along the message of the institution or person and there is no extra exchange of ideas.
Community Clusters: Some popular topics may develop multiple smaller groups, which often form around a few hubs each with its own audience, influencers, and sources of information. These Community Clusters conversations look like bazaars with multiple centers of activity. Global news stories often attract coverage from many news outlets, each with its own following. That creates a collection of medium-sized groups—and a fair number of isolates (the left side of the picture above).
Why this matters: Some information sources and subjects ignite multiple conversations, each cultivating its own audience and community. These can illustrate diverse angles on a subject based on its relevance to different audiences, revealing a diversity of opinion and perspective on a social media topic.
Broadcast Network: Twitter commentary around breaking news stories and the output of well-known media outlets and pundits has a distinctive hub and spoke structure in which many people repeat what prominent news and media organizations tweet. The members of the Broadcast Network audience are often connected only to the hub news source, without connecting to one another. In some cases there are smaller subgroups of densely connected people— think of them as subject groupies—who do discuss the news with one another.
Why this matters: There are still powerful agenda setters and conversation starters in the new social media world. Enterprises and personalities with loyal followings can still have a large impact on the conversation.
Support Network: Customer complaints for a major business are often handled by a Twitter service account that attempts to resolve and manage customer issues around their products and services. This produces a hub and spoke structure that is different from the Broadcast Network pattern. In the Support Network structure, the hub account replies to many otherwise disconnected users, creating outward spokes. In contrast, in the Broadcast pattern, the hub gets replied to or retweeted by many disconnected people, creating inward spokes.
Why this matters: As government, businesses, and groups increasingly provide services and support via social media, support network structures become an important benchmark for evaluating the performance of these institutions. Customer support streams of advice and feedback can be measured in terms of efficiency and reach using social media network maps.
As Lee points out, tight crowds and community clusters are suitable groupings for brands interested in increasing engagement levels, and adds that support networks can also be a good type of communication network for brands, especially if you are doing customer support on Twitter. Obviously, the goal here is to determine your place in these Twitter networks, and to find out if you need to change your strategy to mix with a different group.
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