16 April 2015 By Northern Lights
The race to remain popular in the fickle world of social media is relentless and it fuels a constant tidal wave of updates and new features across every platform. However, Twitter have outdone most with eight updates and new features this year – four of which have landed this week!
Twitter is a giant of social media. It cuddles up to every platform as a symbiotic partner, helping to share whatever gem you have posted to Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. Unlike the other platforms which have a clear focus – eg. personal, business, lifestyle, etc – Twitter is all things to all men.
It attracts a wide audience and the instant 140-character updates have become a normal part of everyday life. Whether you’re promoting a new deal, business offer or blog – or simply telling the world why you secretly hate bobble hats – Twitter is an ideal platform for distributing content, sharing opinions and commenting on events and ideas.
Having said that, it’s not perfect. Searching for people and specific content is onerous, tracking conversations or crafting pithy replies can be tricky with only 140-characters to go at and content creation within the platform is limited.
However, Twitter has gone into overdrive and through a series of new developments or acquisitions is working hard to make it the number one social media platform. Here, I look at the latest updates and consider how the new Twitter features will benefit your business.
Retweet with comment
Perhaps the most popular development we’ve seen in the first quarter of 2015 for Twitter came this week. The appearance of “retweet with comment” has already caused a flurry of comments and raised eyebrows, but has clear benefits for everyone using the platform.
Now, instead of having to crowbar a clever response into just a few characters when you retweet someone else’s update, you have the option to comment. This means you can write a 140-character response and the original tweet then appears below.
This has clear benefits for anyone aiming to build engagement with key targets on Twitter. By freeing up people to make full use of the 140-character count, it enables you to include keywords for search, share opinions and even include links to useful content.
Video content on Twitter
Periscope is Twitter’s new live video streaming app and it was launched at the end of last month. It’s already making waves and I shared my thoughts on this revolutionary new offer in an earlier blog.
The other new video option for Twitter is one that allows you to record and edit directly in the Twitter app. For some reason you can only upload and record slow-motion videos – I have no idea why this is the only option and I’d appreciate your thoughts – but it adds more ways for businesses to engage and excite their key audiences.
This is really going to be about fun content – ie politician accidentally makes rude gesture at old lady on campaign trail – but it gives businesses the opportunity to be more creative with their content and means you can share direct rather than relying on other platforms like Instagram or Vine.
Trends, top tweets and direct messages on Twitter
Another new development this week has been the decision to scrap the #Discover tab which allows you to look at suggested content based around your interests. Going forward you will now get to see the top topics when you enter your search page.
This feature will show you the top trending hashtags and – most importantly – will also explain the meaning behind them and just how popular they are in terms of mentions and tweets etc. For businesses this means you can now instantly identify top trends that relate to your offer and act.
Another new feature introduced earlier in the year is the ability to send direct messages to groups of people rather than individuals – giving clear benefits for communicating with target audiences. Twitter is also now tinkering with your timeline and, if you’ve been logged out, will deliver the most relevant tweets rather than the standard chronological approach.
The “While You Were Away” approach has clear benefits if you do dare to turn away from the Twitter treadmill.
What next for Twitter?
The next developments in the pipeline are already being tested. I appear to be one of the fortunate(?) few who are getting a new advanced search feature. For too long Twitter searches have been difficult and cumbersome. Under the new option, you have more tabs and it feels far simpler to get at what you need. Expect to see that coming to you in the next few weeks.
Finally, a recent acquisition by Twitter is also raising some expectations. The online giant scooped up a company called Niche which connects advertisers with online content creators. Nothing has been said yet, but there are clear benefits for those who are looking to advertise on Twitter and want a pool of experts to make sure their content hits home. Watch this space.