Midterm Project: Twitter


Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar-Selfie is the most retweeted tweet of all time with 3,338,397 retweets, according to Guardian.

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What is a tweet? “A Tweet is an expression of a moment or idea. It can contain text, photos, and videos. Millions of tweets are shared in real time, every day.”(source)

What type of channel is this: 

Twitter can be described as a social community. In the text Social Media Marketing, Tracy Tuten and Michael Soloman describe a social community as, “channels of social media that focus upon relationships and the common activities people participate in with others who share the same interest or identification.”

To further subcategorize, Twitter would be identified as a “microsharing vehicle.” Social Media Marketing describes a “microshare” as “a sentence, sentence fragment, embedded video or link to content residing on another site.” This aligns with the 140 character limit that Twitter imposes on its users.

History of Twitter:

Twitter was created by three individuals: Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone. Their intent was to create a web platform that resembled text messaging. On March 21, 2006 the first tweet was sent out that read, “just setting up my twttr,” from user Jack Dorsey. This idea tied into the name’s origin of Twitter, which means “a short burst of inconsequential information” or a “series of chirps from birds.” Twitter, perfectly suited the application’s intent of sharing ideas in short, concise thoughts. Interestingly enough, other names that were considered included “Friendstalker” and “Dodgeball.” (Socialnomics, The History of Twitter)

How Does It Work?

Mashable’s “The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter” does an excellent job at breaking down how to get started.

Key Terms:

  • Tweet: “A 140 character message”
  • Retweet: “Resharing or giving credit to someone else’s tweet.”
  • Feed: “The stream of tweets you see on your homepage.”
  • Handle: A personal account name.
  • Mention (@): “A way to reference another user by his username in a tweet.”
  • Direct Message (DM): “A private, 140 character message between two people.”
  • Hashtag (#): “A way to denote a topic of conversation or participate in a larger linked discussion. A hashtag is a discovery tool that allows others to find our tweets, based on topics.”

Steps on how to create a Twitter:

  1. Signing up. In the initial sign up process, users can create a handle. A handle should identify with the brand name. In this step users should create a profile picture that is consistent with the brand logo. This should help consumers identify the official platform of the brand.
  2. Create a biography: This biography should include a brief summary of company information. Links should also be provided to the company’s primary website.
  3. Find users to follow: When acquiring a friends list, a company should follow other businesses, interests, or individuals that relate directly to the brand. This could include colleagues, competitors, or market industry experts. Mashable notes that, “Twitter will give you better follow suggestions based on the industry/fields associated with your interests.”
  4. Join in on the conversation. A company can start the 140 character tweet based on a topic of interest in hopes of initiating a conversation. However, Mashable suggests that @mention tweets might be a greater tool in joining the Twitter world and establishing presence. Mention tweets increase the likelihood of engagement and increase the chances for tweets to be recognized.
  5. According to Mashable, retweeting should be “thought of as quoting someone or citing a source.” Brands should only retweet posts that align with their identity and aid in spreading a message of interest.
    1. A retweet can be sent from simply hitting the “retweet” button on a user’s tweet.
    2. Or: “Simply click to expand the tweet, copy and paste its text, and then create a new tweet by clicking the compose icon in the top-right of your profile page. Be sure to include the letters ‘RT’ and the handle of the person who originally tweeted the information.” This option gives a user the opportunity to comment on a post before retweeting it.
  6. Hashtags should be utilized in tweets to identify your message with a greater subject matter or conversation. This not only increases the visibility of a tweet, but further categorizes it.
  7. Direct messages allow two users to directly engage in conversation. Although this is private conversation, it is important to remember that direct messages can always be shared with the public. Direct messages can aid in customer service to further discuss a detailed matter that users may not wish to share fully in a public forum.

What Are Its Features?

Twitter has many helpful features that aid in narrowing down target markets and promoting advertisement.

The “Who To Follow” feature offers suggestions of other users that a company may be interested in following. Companies can use this information to find like-minded customers who may align with the brand or offer suggested competitors to follow. Furthermore, Twitter also offers the “Find Friends” tab that accesses email accounts and even Linkedin. Social media managers should strive to connect with all colleagues through this feature. It is even possible to link Twitter with consumers who are subscribed to a company’s email server.

Twitter also offers a “Twitter for Business” section that promotes suggestions on how businesses will succeed on Twitter. Through this weblink, users will be guided through tips on how to gain website traffic, gain relevant followers, and drive application downloads for mobile devices. Furthermore, Twitter offers tutorials, webinars, blogs, success stories, and a Twitter for small business account that offers unlimited ideas.

On Twitter, promoting advertisement is key. Options can range from promoted tweets, promoted trends, and promoted accounts. Those new to the Twitter world should begin with the “start advertising” feature that allows businesses to develop advertisement based on location and budget.

Twitter offers a wonderful “search” feature. Businesses can search keywords, business names, trending topics, categories, and tweets in a certain geographic location.

The “Lists” feature is a useful tool in breaking through clutter. At times, the amount of accounts that are followed can become overwhelming. The lists feature enables a user to select which accounts will always be seen in their live feed. For example, a business like Hooters would select Tilted Kilt, Twin Peaks, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Kerr’s Wing House to always stay in tune with their competitors information.

Don’t forget about analytics! Twitter offers a wide range of analytics and advanced search engines that are completely free to use for subscribers. However, there are other sites that offer both free and paid services that break down analytics, followers, and catalogue tweet history. These sites include: Topsy, Tame, HootsuiteRadian 6, We Follow, Social Mention, and TwXplorer.

Lastly, is a list of keyboard shortcuts.

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Information sourced from Gigaom Research, “10 Twitter Features You Might Be Missing.”

Who is the Target Audience?

According to a Pew Research Study, 24% of men and 21% of women are Twitter members. Among diversity, 27% of the black race and 25% of the hispanic race have a Twitter account. Twitter captures a younger market with the highest rates among 18-29 year olds (37%) and 30-49 year olds at (25%).

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.45.52 PM(Source)

In relation to businesses, Twitter captures the younger market, both male and female. According to the We Are Social Media article, “Most Twitter accounts are outside of the U.S. but in the U.S. itself, users tend to live in urban areas and suburban areas mainly. Twitter is also made up of mainly college graduates. Compared to Facebook, more users on Twitter make more than $75k or $50k -$74.9k.”

User Numbers?

Twitters’ website promotes that Twitter has 316 million monthly active users, 500 million tweets sent per day, and 77% of accounts are located outside of the United States.


In recent years, Twitter user-growth has actually decelerated. According to Bloomberg, “For the fourth quarter, monthly active users increased 20 percent from a year ago to 288 million, compared with 23 percent growth in the prior period. The company said the introduction of a new mobile operating system from Apple Inc. and integration issues cost it 4 million new users.”

As demonstrated in the Tech Crunch Infographic, “Here’s Twitter’s Slowing Growth In One Chart,” the numbers are veering dangerously low to zero growth. The four million bump increased the total monthly follower count up from 284 million to 288 million from the third to fourth quarter.

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Integration with other channels?

Twitter evoked the evolution of “citizen journalism.” It has become commonplace for individuals to learn of news or current events through Twitter. This has created a power shift. Often times, news is reported before news organizations are aware. This causes journalists to rely on social media for leads, follow ups, and often sources. This has led many news sites and journalists to develop personal Twitter handles to stay in tune. (Socialnomics, The History of Twitter)

According to a Gigaom article, Twitter can be easily integrated through other channels using Twitter widgets, a “follow me” button, or the tweet button. Twitter widgets allow for a live stream to be displayed in a company website or blogging site. Another option is to include a “follow me” button on a website or blog if there is limited room or a live feed does not wish to be displayed. This may also be appropriate under a profile section.

The Tweet button is utilized for sharing information. Consumers should be able to directly tweet articles, advertisement, coupons, specials, or relevant information that they feel is beneficial to their network.

Mobile friendly?

According to Twitter, 80% of active users access their Twitter accounts from a mobile device.

The Twitter application is available on both IOS and Android devices. The Twitter applications on both devices allow users to connect with the interface in real-time. This is important as most information shared through Twitter involves events that happen outside of the home.

Who is using it effectively?

In order to be proficient and effective in Twitter, a business must market based on creativity and engagement. With only 140 characters, a point must be made quickly and clearly in order to capture further attention.

According to Twitaholic, the top five users on Twitter are as follows:

  1. Katy Perry with 76,302,101 followers
  2. Justin Bieber with 68,248,118 followers
  3. Barack Obama with 64,747,349 followers
  4. Taylor Swift with 64,195,315 followers
  5. YouTube with 55,508,509 followers

In Forbe’s “10 Lessons From The Top 25 Companies On Twitter,” Mark Fidelman breaks down the success behind each company.

  1. Brenden Hampton, CEO of @Notebook, said “‘Because we understand how to create engagement in our niche categories, we have a fitness page that is more engaged than Nike.”
  2. Lila King, Senior Director at Social News @CNN, said “‘Instead of State of the Union, we created a ‘Tweet of the Union and built a database of members from the House and Senate.'” “This clever social media campaign connected brand CNN with the country’s most influential politicians and created a lot of buzz and Twitter engagement.'”
  3. Perkins Miller, EVP of @WWE, “‘We’re in the business of telling stories, 52 weeks a year. When our talents get out there and our fans watch their stories, they just flock to Twitter to continue the conversation.'”
  4. Robert Michael Murray, VP @NatGeo, “has learned that Twitter can be used to create a community around important scientific discoveries and causes.”
  5. John Yembrick, Social Media Manager @Nasa, frequently engages with industry influencers in entertainment communities because they “can have a dramatic impact on your engagement levels.”
  6. Richard Clarke, Managing Editor @Arsenal, “It’s all about connecting fans to the teams and players.”
  7. Tom Fishman, Director of Social Media @MTV, “We have a huge content machine around celebrity news, music and shows and Twitter is a great way to broadcast and follow up in an engaging way.”
  8. Fishman continues to “Tell a great story and bring your partners along for the ride.” This he defines as strategic partnering.
  9. Patrick Starzan, VP of Marketing @funnyordie, “Giving people access helps them feel more a part of the Funny or Die community – with behind the scenes pictures and etc.”
  10. Melissa Rosenthal Brenner, Senior VP Marketing @NBA, “It’s all about the fans and the players, ‘we want to include them in almost everything we do online.'” This is demonstrated through NBA’s awards that are fan-voted through social media.

The full infographic can be viewed on Mashable here.

Twitter’s success is contingent upon engagement. Businesses will benefit from engaging in open dialogue and contributing to content. Companies should have a voice in the opinion and perception of their brands. At the end of the day, the companies that are most engaged and involved with their consumers will build the greatest brand loyalty, recognition, and following.

To learn more please visit the following Prezi presentation


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