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8 Brands Using Twitter Effectively

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8 Brands Using Twitter Effectively

Twitter has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 2006 as a 140-character microblogging site.

Today, more than 436 million people use the social media site every month to follow the news, interact with celebrities, and share information.

It was initially a platform for individuals to share thoughts, opinions, and ideas with the world. Enterprising marketing strategists soon realized it was the perfect app for engaging with consumers and initiating conversations about brands.

That’s not to say there weren’t several missteps along the way.

In the early days of social media, which was sometimes called “new media,” so-called “experts” didn’t know much more than your average early tech adopter.

Without much data to back up their strategies, they often made things up as they went along. And this sometimes had disastrous results (remember when DiGiorno coopted a trending hashtag without realizing it was about domestic abuse?)

But as is usually the case, as Twitter became a regular part of global culture, savvy marketers began to understand how to use the platform effectively.

But like no two businesses are alike, no two tweet strategies will be identical.

Let’s take a look at some brands that are top performers on Twitter and discuss what it is about them that makes them so successful.

The Fan Interaction Master

Few fanbases are as rabid as gamers.

From sharing gameplay footage to discussing the latest release rumors, video games are a consistently popular topic on social media platforms.

And in the Twitterverse, no one is more popular than PlayStation.

At the time of writing, the primary account for the Sony gaming console had 26.6 million followers. Used to promote games via trailers, advertise sales on the PlayStation store, and tease new content, nearly every post receives hundreds of retweets and thousands of likes.

And this is just one of the accounts under the PS brand.

In addition to the main account mentioned earlier, they also have a dedicated support account to help users resolve hardware issues and bugs, an account dedicated to Vita (its handheld gaming system), and different accounts for different global regions.

Working together under one umbrella, PlayStation provides remarkable brand consistency and offers everything from technical support to game recommendations.

But what separates PlayStation from lesser brands is the responsiveness with which its accounts are managed.

From resolving hardware issues and bugs to recommending games for purchase, the account is known for being approachable and seeking to help the gaming community in any way it can.

They’re not stingy with the retweets, and fans have rewarded them with engagement.

What you can learn from PlayStation’s Twitter: Social media is all about conversations. Whereas traditional media like television or outdoor are a one-way street where brands speak at their targets, Twitter allows you actually to hold a conversation. Engage with your audience for maximum results.

The Entertainer

Once known as the fast-food place with the square burgers, Wendy’s has lapped the competition through social media.

And the main reason for that is how the account is run. With 3.9 million followers, Wendy’s outperforms the bigger burger joints in interaction and engagement.

This may be because, unlike most companies, Wendy’s doesn’t play it safe on Twitter.

Looking for a way to stand out (circa 2017), it went all-in on hilarious takedowns of the competition and savage clap backs on consumers. And people love it.

In 2018, Wendy’s launched National Roast Day with its hashtag.

This social media holiday quickly became a can’t-miss event for the platform, with the fast-food brand pulling no punches and showing no mercy in short and insulting tweets aimed at competitors and customers alike.

And every year, people and companies of all types lined up for their roast, hoping to snag a little bit of Wendy’s social media clout.

What makes Wendy’s Twitter so successful? It’s the consistency, creativity, and wit with which it is run. Wendy’s has created a brand voice that is unique and authentic, adding to conversations in a humorous manner that resonates with audiences.

In an era where many brands are afraid of taking chances, lest they fall afoul of public opinion, Wendy’s is unabashedly outspoken. Their content is relevant and on-topic with current events, insulting without verging into the offensive. It’s a fine line to walk, but Wendy’s has mastered it.

What you can learn from Wendy’s Twitter: Funny will get you a long way. Your Twitter account doesn’t have to be run by an insult comedian, but developing humorous content will generate a lot more follows and shares that boring vanilla “look how great we are” or “this is our new product” posts.

The Account With Humanity

Flying is stressful. Just ask anyone who has run through a terminal to catch a connecting flight or remove their belt, shoes, and jacket, only to set off the metal detector at security.

And in this high-stress, often the uncomfortable environment, one brand manages to stand out on Twitter: JetBlue.

On an all-too-often impersonal platform, JetBlue has found a way to convey authenticity and personality while demonstrating an exceptional level of customer service.

Unafraid to tackle complicated customer service issues or address negative feedback, this account provides unexpected responsiveness from a corporation this size – or any size, for that matter.

JetBlue’s dedicated customer service team seeks to respond to every Tweet directed their way. From helping travelers change reservations to tracking down lost luggage, their Twitter account shows a remarkable amount of compassion and self-awareness.

And on top of this, the airline has a clearly defined brand persona that is warm, inviting, and above all, human.

From vacation ideas to silly puns to employee photos, JetBlue posts various original content that doesn’t feel like mechanical branding delivered by mindless marketing drones.

What you can learn from JetBlue’s Twitter: Be authentic, own up to your mistakes, and show a bit of personality. Stiff and robotic Twitter accounts are a dime a dozen and easily forgettable. Show your audience that there is a real person behind yours, and they’ll respond positively.

The Content King

If there’s one thing baseball fans love, it’s statistics.

From basic numbers like batting average to complex stats like wins above replacement, the numbers tell a story you can’t find in most other sports. And no one knows this better than Major League Baseball.

But there’s also so much more to the game than just data. There are also diving catches, clutch extra-base hits, and tense squeeze play scenarios.

So, how does a major sporting league deal with this diversity? With segmentation, of course.

MLB’s main account is chock full of numbers for the stats geeks. Infographics give baseball fans appealing visuals about things like Albert Pujols’ on-base and slugging percentages over the last ten games.

Are you looking for something with more flash? MLB utilizes the full power of GIFs with a Twitter account dedicated to them, MLBgifs.

And for the fans still upset about an umpire’s call or those who want to brush up on the nuances of the rulebook, MLBReplays gives them another look at close and controversial plays.

Major League Baseball does a wonderful job of creating and posting the type of content its fans want for a league sometimes accused of losing touch with its fanbase.

What you can learn from MLB’s Twitter: Content reigns supreme over everything else. Give your followers the kind of content that only you can deliver.

And don’t be afraid to branch out. If your content is too diverse for a single account, create another – make sure you’re dedicating the resources to make that one successful, too.

The One Who Speaks Up

A lot is going on in the world right now, and it can sometimes feel like we’ve reached an unprecedented level of polarization. And nowhere is this more evident than on Twitter.

This is partly due to the platform’s algorithm, which promotes content similar to what a person has already interacted with. The anonymity provides for trolls and other bad actors.

In this climate, it’s no surprise many brands are afraid to take a hard stance on anything. After all, changing political winds could lead to calls for a boycott ala Keurig or Chick-fil-a.

However, one brand isn’t afraid to buck this trend and stand up for its values: Ben & Jerry’s.

From working with controversial NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to develop a new flavor to speaking out against the gender pay gap, the Vermont-based ice cream company has demonstrated a willingness to risk social backlash in the name of its principles.

And while this strategy may cost them some sales from people who oppose them ideologically, Ben & Jerry’s places its ability to influence the world above its corporate profits.

What you can learn from Ben & Jerry’s Twitter: Don’t be a milquetoast brand. You risk alienating a portion of your target audience by taking a stand, but you also boldly display your company’s values. And this may benefit you more in the long run.

The Thought Leader

The technology Twitter-sphere is filled with all sorts of companies run by all kinds of people.

And while some do a great job at sharing their organization’s vision of the future with the world, too many are only interested in telling you about their latest product.

And then there’s General Electric. Look at its bio: “Every minute of every day, GE rises to the challenge of building a world that works.”

GE isn’t using its Twitter account to sell you lightbulbs or washing machines.

Instead, it’s being used to establish the company as an expert in the tech industry. From green energy and healthcare to the NFL draft, GE effectively explains complex concepts within the character limit.

It uses the platform to highlight GE’s commitment to innovation while simultaneously maintaining a commitment to accessibility and personality.

Much like your favorite high school science teacher, they’ve found a way to showcase their excitement about new technologies without boring you with the minute details.

What you can learn from GE’s Twitter: Own your expertise and share your passion. It comes through with unmistakable authenticity when someone is legitimately enthusiastic about a topic. And it’s contagious. Use your Twitter account to promote what it is that excites you.

The Interesting One

Do you know that one person at a party who is incredibly captivating and is surrounded by a crowd the entire time? On Twitter, that’s Forrester.

If right now, you’re saying, “Wait, who?” don’t feel bad. Forrester isn’t a major consumer brand, unlike the other brands on this list.

If your job doesn’t regularly require you to seek out business reports and analysis, there’s a good chance you may never have come across it.

But there’s a good reason it belongs on this list: Nearly every Tweet posted by this research company is packed with links to interesting and valuable information.

For example, suppose inclusivity is integral to your customer acquisition and retention strategy (and it should be). In that case, Forrester has a Tweet and related blog post on the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) language.

Many of Forrester’s tweets include tips, statistics, or infographics that interest their target audience (primarily business professionals). It’s good at pulling out a key statistic, then linking to one of its studies after your interest is piqued.

What you can learn from Forrester’s Twitter: People love to learn. Use your Twitter account to share your knowledge. This will not only paint you as an expert but also garner interest from your target audience.

The One Who Is Unabashedly Itself

Whether or not you’re a coffee drinker, you probably have strong feelings about Starbucks.

From the controversy around the design of its holiday cups to accusations of union-busting, the Seattle-based coffee giant has been a lightning rod for controversy.

And yet, through it all, the brand has thrived, with a Twitter account with more than 11 million followers.

How has it done this? Simply by being itself.

Starbucks embraces its role on the social media platform by creatively employing different types of media.

Everything posted, from clever headlines to GIFs of the latest drink creation, shares a certain joie de vivre while maintaining a bit of the Pacific Northwest quirkiness for which the brand is known.

For such a massive corporation, Starbucks’ Twitter account does a remarkable job of coming across as friendly and approachable.

And it probably doesn’t hurt that the account is well-known for its fan interactions. It responds to mentions with a joyfulness that is often lost in the digital sphere.

The Starbucks’ social media account team is highly skilled at portraying the brand’s confidence without venturing into arrogance.

Product images tempt Twitter users scrolling through their feeds, while witty banter keeps the brand engaging.

What you can learn from Starbucks’ Twitter: Don’t be afraid to show the Twitter world what your brand is all about. Rather than seeking to conform, celebrate your differences from the competition. Project confidence and joy, and people will love interacting with you.

Find Your Own Voice

As you’ve probably already ascertained, there’s no magic bullet to Twitter success.

Each brand must determine what works best for them and its audience. And while it may take you some time to do that, it’s well worth the effort.

According to a Hootsuite study, the average Twitter user spends more than five hours per month on the site, nearly double that of Snapchat or Messenger.

That’s a lot of opportunity for exposure, especially when you consider many people use the platform to conduct brand research.

For some brands, a successful Twitter strategy may only require posting original content twice daily.

For others, it may mean round-the-clock social listening and rapid response to questions and concerns.

Your Twitter persona may be serious or silly – make sure it matches your overall brand voice. You may be informative or inquisitive. It all depends on your industry and your audience.

But one thing you may have noticed all the brands listed above have in common: They’re all authentic. None of the examples provided give you the impression that they’re putting on a façade or attempting to portray something false.

Instead, they all find ways to find or create value in their vertical while building relationships with followers. Exactly how you do, that is up to you and will probably require some experimentation.

But one thing is sure: Twitter is only increasing in popularity, and you may miss out every day. You may not use it effectively.

So, get started today. Sit down with your team for a brainstorming session, and identify your goals, values, and voice. Then develop your strategy and then get Tweeting.

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AI Content In Search Results

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AI Content In Search Results

Google has released a statement regarding its approach to AI-generated content in search results.

The company has a long-standing policy of rewarding high-quality content, regardless of whether humans or machines produce it.

Above all, Google’s ranking systems aim to identify content that demonstrates expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).

Google advises creators looking to succeed in search results to produce original, high-quality, people-first content that demonstrates E-E-A-T.

The company has updated its “Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content” help page with guidance on evaluating content in terms of “Who, How, and Why.”

Here’s how AI-generated content fits into Google’s approach to ranking high-quality content in search results.

Quality Over Production Method

Focusing on the quality of content rather than the production method has been a cornerstone of Google’s approach to ranking search results for many years.

A decade ago, there were concerns about the rise in mass-produced human-generated content.

Rather than banning all human-generated content, Google improved its systems to reward quality content.

Google’s focus on rewarding quality content, regardless of production method, continues to this day through its ranking systems and helpful content system introduced last year.

Automation & AI-Generated Content

Using automation, including AI, to generate content with the primary purpose of manipulating ranking in search results violates Google’s spam policies.

Google’s spam-fighting efforts, including its SpamBrain system, will continue to combat such practices.

However, Google realizes not all use of automation and AI-generated content is spam.

For example, publishers automate helpful content such as sports scores, weather forecasts, and transcripts.

Google says it will continue to take a responsible approach toward AI-generated content while maintaining a high bar for information quality and helpfulness in search results.

Google’s Advice For Publishers

For creators considering AI-generated content, here’s what Google advises.

Google’s concept of E-E-A-T is outlined in the “Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content” help page, which has been updated with additional guidance.

The updated help page asks publishers to think about “Who, How, and Why” concerning how content is produced.

“Who” refers to the person who created the content, and it’s important to make this clear by providing a byline or background information about the author.

“How” relates to the method used to create the content, and it’s helpful to readers to know if automation or AI was involved. If AI was involved in the content production process, Google wants you to be transparent and explain why it was used.

“Why” refers to the purpose of creating content, which should be to help people rather than to manipulate search rankings.

Evaluating your content in this way, regardless of whether AI-generated or not, will help you stay in line with what Google’s systems reward.


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Seven tips to optimize page speed in 2023

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Tips-to-optimize-page-speed-in-2023

30-second summary:

  • There has been a gradual increase in Google’s impact of page load time on website rankings
  • Google has introduced the three Core Web Vitals metrics as ranking factors to measure user experience
  • The following steps can help you get a better idea of the performance of your website through multiple tests

A fast website not only delivers a better experience but can also increase conversion rates and improve your search engine rankings. Google has introduced the three Core Web Vitals metrics to measure user experience and is using them as a ranking factor.

Let’s take a look at what you can do to test and optimize the performance of your website.

Start in Google Search Console

Want to know if optimizing Core Web Vitals is something you should be thinking about? Use the page experience report in Google Search Console to check if any of the pages on your website are loading too slowly.

Search Console shows data that Google collects from real users in Chrome, and this is also the data that’s used as a ranking signal. You can see exactly what page URLs need to be optimized.

Optimize-to-Start-in-Google-Search-Console

Run a website speed test

Google’s real user data will tell you how fast your website is, but it won’t provide an analysis that explains why your website is slow.

Run a free website speed test to find out. Simply enter the URL of the page you want to test. You’ll get a detailed performance report for your website, including recommendations on how to optimize it.

Run-a-website-speed-test-for-optimization

Use priority hints to optimize the Largest Contentful Paint

Priority Hints are a new browser feature that came out in 2022. It allows website owners to indicate how important an image or other resource is on the page.

This is especially important when optimizing the Largest Contentful Paint, one of the three Core Web Vitals metrics. It measures how long it takes for the main page content to appear after opening the page.

By default, browsers assume that all images are low priority until the page starts rendering and the browser knows which images are visible to the user. That way bandwidth isn’t wasted on low-priority images near the bottom of the page or in the footer. But it also slows down important images at the top of the page.

Adding a fetchpriority=”high” attribute to the img element that’s responsible for the Largest Contentful Paint ensures that it’s downloaded quickly.

Use native image lazy loading for optimization

Image lazy loading means only loading images when they become visible to the user. It’s a great way to help the browser focus on the most important content first.

However, image lazy loading can also slow cause images to take longer to load, especially when using a JavaScript lazy loading library. In that case, the browser first needs to load the JavaScript library before starting to load images. This long request chain means that it takes a while for the browser to load the image.

Use-native-image-lazy-loading-for-optimization

Today browsers support native lazy loading with the loading=”lazy” attribute for images. That way you can get the benefits of lazy loading without incurring the cost of having to download a JavaScript library first.

Remove and optimize render-blocking resources

Render-blocking resources are network requests that the browser needs to make before it can show any page content to the user. They include the HTML document, CSS stylesheets, as well as some JavaScript files.

Since these resources have such a big impact on page load time you should check each one to see if it’s truly necessary. The async keyword on the HTML script tag lets you load JavaScript code without blocking rendering.

If a resource has to block rendering check if you can optimize the request to load the resource more quickly, for example by improving compression or loading the file from your main web server instead of from a third party.

Remove-and-optimize-render-blocking-resources

Optimize with the new interaction to Next Paint metric

Google has announced a new metric called Interaction to Next Paint. This metric measures how quickly your site responds to user input and is likely to become one of the Core Web Vitals in the future.

You can already see how your website is doing on this metric using tools like PageSpeed Insights.

Optimize-with-new-Interaction-to-Next-Paint-metric

Continuously monitor your site performance

One-off site speed tests can identify performance issues on your website, but they don’t make it easy to keep track of your test results and confirm that your optimizations are working.

DebugBear continuously monitors your website to check and alerts you when there’s a problem. The tool also makes it easy to show off the impact of your work to clients and share test results with your team.

Try DebugBear with a free 14-day trial.

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What Is User Experience? How Design Matters To SEO

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What Is User Experience? How Design Matters To SEO

User experience is the foundation of a site’s usability, and it’s an aspect of on-page SEO that many people overlook.

If your site lacks the positive user experience and ease of use that end users require to navigate your site, you’ll push visitors to your competitors.

In this guide, you’ll learn what user experience (UX) entails, the types of experiences, the difference between UI and UX, and why it matters to SEO.

What Is User Experience (UX)?

UX is how people interact with your website.

You’ll also find this term used for products, but we’re focusing strictly on websites at the moment.

If you have a, intuitive user interface design, users will have an easier time navigating your site and finding the information they want.

If you do have a digital product, such as a SaaS solution, this interaction will also occur on your digital product.

User experience elicits a couple of things:

In short, user experience can provide a positive experience with your website – or it can lead to frustration among users.

Note: Usability is not UX design. It’s a component of UX that works with design to create the experience your users desire.

What Are The Types Of User Experience?

User experience evaluation must look at the three types of UX design to best understand the needs of the end user.

The three types of UX include:

  • Information: One aspect of a content strategy that goes overlooked is information architecture. Time must be spent on how information on a site is organized and presented. User flows and navigation must be considered for all forms of information you present.
  • Interaction: Your site has an interaction design pattern – or a certain way that users interact with the site. Components of a site that fall under the interaction UX type include buttons, interfaces, and menus.
  • Visual design: Look and feel matter for the end user. You want your website to have cohesion between its color, typography, and images. User interface (UI) will fall under this type of UX, but it’s important to note that UI is not interchangeable with UX.

What Is The Difference Between UI & UX?

Speaking of UX and UI, it’s important to have a firm understanding of the difference between the two to better understand user experience.

User Interface

UI design is your site’s visual elements, including:

Visual elements on your site are part of the user interface.

UI definitely overlaps with UX to an extent, but they’re not the same.

Steve Krug also has a great book on usability, titled “Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.” It was first published in 2000, and the book is a #1 bestseller today.

Steve’s insight from over 20 years ago (although we’re now on the 3rd edition of the book) provides guidelines on usability that include:

  • Desktop.
  • Mobile.
  • Ease of use.
  • Layouts.
  • Everything UX.

If there’s one thing this book will teach you about usability, it’s to focus on intuitive navigation. Frustrating website users is the exact opposite of a good user experience.

User Experience

UX works on UI and how the user will:

  • Interact with your site.
  • Feel during the interaction.

Think of Google for a moment.

A simple landing page that is visually appealing, but Spartan in nature, is the face of the Internet. In terms of UX, Google is one of the best sites in the world, although it lacks a spectacular UI.

In fact, the UI needs to be functional and appealing, but the UX is what will stand out the most.

Imagine if you tried performing a search on Google and it displayed the wrong results or took one minute for a query to run. In this case, even the nicest UI would not compensate for the poor UX.

Peter Morville’s user experience honeycomb is one of the prime examples of how to move beyond simple usability and focus on UX in new, exciting ways.

The honeycomb includes multiple points that are all combined to maximize the user experience. These facets are:

  • Accessible.
  • Credible.
  • Desirable.
  • Findable.
  • Usable.
  • Useful.
  • Valuable.

When you focus on all of these elements, you’ll improve the user experience dramatically.

Why User Experience Matters To SEO

By this point, you understand that UX is very important to your site’s visitors and audience.

A lot of time, analysis, and refinement must go into UX design. However, there’s another reason to redirect your attention to user experience: SEO.

Google Page Experience Update

When Google’s Page Experience Update was fully rolled out, it had an impact on websites that offered a poor user experience.

The page experience update is now slowly rolling out for desktop. It will be complete by the end of March 2022. Learn more about the update: https://t.co/FQvMx3Ymaf

— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) February 22, 2022

Multiple aspects of UX are part of the ranking factors of the update, including:

  • Intrusive adverts.
  • Core Web Vitals.
  • HTTPS Security.

You can run a Core Web Vitals report here and make corrections to meet these requirements. Additionally, you should know whether your site has intrusive ads that irritate users, and if your site lacks HTTPS.

Page performance works to improve your SEO. Google’s research shows that focusing on UX can:

  • Reduce site abandonment by as much as 24%.
  • Improve web conversions.
  • Increase the average page views per session by as much as 15%.
  • Boost advertising revenue by 18% or more.

When you spend time improving your site’s UX, you benefit from higher rankings, lower page abandonment, improved conversions, and even more revenue.

Plus, many of the practices to improve UX are also crucial components of a site’s on-page SEO, such as:

  • Proper header usage.
  • Adding lists to your content.
  • Making use of images.
  • Optimizing images for faster loading times.
  • Filling content gaps with useful information.
  • Reducing “content fluff.”
  • Using graphs.
  • Testing usability across devices.

When you improve UX, you create a positive experience for users, while also improving many of the on-page SEO foundations of your website.

Final Comments

Customer experience must go beyond simple responsive web design.

Hick’s law dictates that when you present more choices to users, it takes longer to reach a decision. You’ve likely seen this yourself when shopping online and finding hundreds of options.

When people land on your site, they’re looking for answers or knowledge – not confusion.

User research, usability testing, and revisiting user experience design often will help you inch closer to satisfying the SEO requirements of design while keeping your visitors (or customers) happier.

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