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Planning for 2023: Twitter Posting Tips



Planning for 2023: Twitter Posting Tips

Looking for ways to improve your social media marketing performance in 2023?

Over the first few weeks of the year, we’re publishing a series of tips and notes on how to maximize your efforts, including pointers on new tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E, and how these evolving apps can assist in your content planning process.

We’ve already covered the following elements:

The next step is platform-specific tips, and how you can use each app to best effect.

We’ve already covered Facebook posting tips, now we move on to the next app – Twitter.

Which, of course, has been going through a massive internal shift of late. Here are some tips on how you can use Twitter to best effect in 2023.

Key considerations

First off, some notes on Twitter’s most recent changes, and their potential impacts – because whether you like Elon Musk or not, whether you believe in his direction for Twitter or don’t, as a brand, he has added some new considerations for your Twitter strategy, which you need to factor into your approach.

  • Twitter hasn’t officially changed its rules around what is and is not acceptable to post on the app. But it has removed its COVID misinformation policy, a topic that Musk has strong opinions on, while Musk has also overseen the reinstatement of tens of thousands of accounts that had previously been banned from the app for sharing harmful content, as measured by the previous regime. Some reports have also indicated that these accounts have gone right back to sharing the same harmful content, and they’re not being banned – so while Twitter hasn’t changed its rules, it is interpreting them in a different way, which could be seen as a risk for brand placement and unintended association. 
  • Twitter has cut thousands of staff, which has to have some impact on its capacity to deal with issues, and even remain in operational capacity at times. There are signs of degradation and increased error rates, and that could also relate to ad placement, performance, issues resolution, etc. Twitter has also, more recently, cut a lot of its international staff, and shut down local offices, which will impact local knowledge and connection to regional markets. Twitter is still up and running right now, and the external impacts have been relatively limited. But it’s another consideration for brands looking to put more time and effort into the app.
  • Twitter may, at some stage, limit the reach of brand that don’t pay to subscribe to its coming ‘Verification for Organizations’ package. Like its $8 verification Twitter Blue plan, Twitter’s also looking to charge brands for their own gold verification tick, along with other benefits. There’s not a lot to go on at this stage, but Twitter has already flagged that Blue subscribers will eventually be given priority placement in reply chains. That could also mean that brands will get the same benefit, as a means to push more businesses to pay to use the app. Depending on the cost (which Twitter also hasn’t shared yet), brands will need to weigh the benefits of this upcoming push.

Again, none of these are definitive deal-breakers, as such, but they are elements for brands to factor into their consideration.

How you view each will come down to your personal perspective.

Tweeting tips

One of the key changes on Twitter over the last few years has been the de-prioritization of hashtags, at least as recommended by Twitter’s own team.

Twitter has, in some circumstances, been advising brands against the use of hashtags, as it can distract from your focus goal – i.e. getting people to click on your links.

This, for example, comes from Twitter, in relation to tweet ads:

“Whenever possible, keep your ad free of #hashtags and @mentions. We know that it’s tempting, but they’re distracting, clickable opportunities that drive people off your ad and away from your content. Provide only one exit point, whether that’s clicking through to your website or your app, to keep your message laser-focused.

That’s not definitive, but it is a consideration – but if you want to include tags, I would suggest that you research the most relevant and focused tags for your niche.

Apps like Hashtagify can help in this respect, providing insight on hashtag popularity and usage. Also, when using hashtags, you should use camel-case capital letters for clarity (e.g. #WednesdayWisdom). This also ensures that screen readers can better communicate the relevant tags for vision-impaired users.

Hashtags have traditionally had more power on Twitter, because Twitter’s algorithm is less sophisticated, and influential, than, say, the News Feed algorithm on Facebook. Twitter’s generally been able to lean on users to be more overt in their audience targeting through hashtags – though Twitter is now looking to evolve, most notably by inserting more and more tweets from profiles that you don’t follow into the main feed.

Twitter also recently added in a ‘Following’ feed that’s just a side-swipe away, so you can get away from these recommendations if you want. But over time, Twitter’s hoping that it’ll be able to refine its algorithms to the point that people will find these inserted tweets beneficial, leading to broader discovery and engagement.

Which could help to generate more exposure for your brand content, by highlighting your tweets to more interested users. It’s not there yet, but it could be an element to note, and to keep tabs on exactly which tweets Twitter’s looking to insert into user feeds.

In terms of your tweet content, Twitter advises that brands should adhere to a ‘three C’s’ approach for optimal tweeting:

  • Concise
  • Clear
  • Conversational

What does concise mean in tweet terms, where you’ve only got 280 characters to work with anyway?

As per Twitter:

“The best performing Tweets are only 50-100 characters”

Brevity has always been the central tenet of tweet engagement – which is why many users are opposed to longer tweets, which are also in development.

And as you can see, the best performers are significantly shorter than the max tweet length, while prompting discussion – the ‘conversational’ element listed above, is also key to sparking engagement, and building community around your presence.

It’s not always easy, but the best tweets are short, to the point, and engaging.

One tool that could be of benefit here is ChatGPT, which is able to come up with tweets based on either text or request prompts.

For example, you can enter in all or part of a blog post, then ask ChatGPT to summarize it into a tweet.

You can also enter in tweets that have done well, maybe from your competitors or based on general Twitter search, and ask ChatGPT to give you similar ideas based on those templates.

For example, you can use Twitter’s advanced search tools to uncover the top-performing tweets using your target keywords, and list them based on engagement (likes, comments, retweets). Entering ‘basketball shoes min_faves:100’ into Twitter search, for example, will show you all the tweets that mention ‘basketball shoes’ and have at least 100 likes.

That’ll give you some idea of the top tweet conversations in your product/service segment. Put the best examples into a list, feed them into ChatGPT, and see what comes out.

That could be a good way to spark more engagement, and align with the relevant Twitter community.

In terms of content formats, tweets with video see the most engagement, followed by tweets with GIFs, photos, then plain text.

Twitter Spaces can also provide a different approach to community engagement, and could work as an alternative to, say, Twitter chats, which facilitate broader discussion.

On best times to post, according to analysis conducted by Sprout Social last year, the best times to tweet to reach the broadest audience, in general, are Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 9 am, in your local time zone.

Sprout Best Times to Post Report 2022

As you can see, according to Sprout’s insights, that morning block between 9am and 12pm is when people are more actively consuming tweets, which could help guide your thinking.

In regards to how often you should tweet, the tweet stream moves fast, so you can get away with posting more regularly, as you’re unlikely to overwhelm your followers. Once per day should be the baseline, then building from there based on your own analysis and audience response data.

Professional Accounts

Another consideration on Twitter is its ‘Professional Accounts’ option, which enables brands to convert their Twitter profile to a business account to access additional features.

Twitter Professional Profiles

Those features include:

  • Additional analytics Professional accounts can access a dedicated dashboard of analytics tools to track performance
  • Professional Category – Pro accounts can signify what their business is on their profile, which could help to highlight your business to relevant users
  • Profile Spotlights – Twitter’s also added a range of ‘Spotlight’ options for professional profiles, which enable you to showcase your products, location, contact info and more in a dedicated profile section. The current Spotlights available are: location, shopping, mobile app link, CTA link
  • Twitter Shopping – Pro accounts can also access Twitter’s evolving shopping features – though hard to tell how much emphasis Twitter will be putting on shopping as part of its ‘Twitter 2.0’ revamp, at least at this stage

These additional elements could be of benefit for your business, while as noted, Twitter’s also developing its ‘Verification for Organizations’ subscription element, through which, business users will be able to apply for a gold checkmark, and additional features.

Some of these Professional Account tools could be built into this offering, but it’s all in flux at present – though it’ll be worth keeping tabs on how this evolves, and how Twitter looks to develop its pitch to business users.

Look, there’s a lot going on at Twitter right now, and some people will be opposed to brands even considering putting more focus on the app, given the various changes being implemented by Musk and his team, as detailed above.

But Twitter is still a key driver of news and opinion, and at 238 million daily actives, it remains an important consideration for brand outreach.  

Some will view Twitter as getting back on the right track, others will say that it’s falling off. But there may be opportunities within that, and it may still be a great platform for connecting with a broader audience and building brand awareness.

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Snapchat Adds 12 Million Users in Q4, Posts Lower Than Expected Revenue Result



Snapchat Adds 12 Million Users in Q4, Posts Lower Than Expected Revenue Result

Snapchat added 12 million more active users in Q4 2022, and Snapchat+ subscriptions continue to rise, but company revenue missed market estimates, in another mixed result for the private social app.

First off, on users – as noted, Snap added 12 million more actives, taking it to 375 million DAU.

As you can see, North American user growth is still flat, while European users saw a slight uptick. But it’s the ‘Rest of the World’, specifically India, which is driving Snap growth.

Which is helping to boost the overall usage numbers, and expand opportunity. But on the revenue side, it’s not pushing things forward in a significant way.

Snap Q4 2022

As you can see in this chart, Snapchat’s revenue has increased, but a key problem here is that it’s still reliant on the US and Canada for the majority of that spend, with other markets trailing well behind on the revenue front.

Snap Q4 2022

In this chart, you can see that Snap’s Revenue Per User has actually declined year-on-year – so while it is growing, it’s not bringing in revenue at equivalent scale, and it’s even going backwards in some respects.

Which is why its stagnant growth in North America is a problem – though Snap has also seen take-up of its Snapchat+ subscription service increase.

“In Q4, our subscription service Snapchat+ reached over 2.0 million paying subscribers. Snapchat+ offers exclusive, experimental, and pre-release features, and in Q4 we launched new features such as Custom Story Expiration and Custom Notification Sounds, providing subscribers with over 12 exclusive features.”

That’s a handy additional revenue stream, but as with all social media subscription services (including Twitter Blue), take-up is generally limited, and at 2 million subscribers, that’s still only 0.5% of Snapchat’s active user base that’s been willing to pay extra for these add-on elements.

Snap has also faced challenges in rebuilding its ad business, in the wake of Apple’s iOS 14 update, which has impacted data collection, and Snap CEO Evan Spiegel says they still have some way to go on this yet:

“We continue to face significant headwinds as we look to accelerate revenue growth, and we are making progress driving improved return on investment for advertisers and innovating to deepen the engagement of our community.”

Snap has seen improvement in its commerce integrations, which includes digital items for Bitmoji avatars which Snap is eventually looking to translate into real-world item sales as well. Snap also says that it’s facilitated over than 161 million product trials by over 35 million Snapchatters for Walmart, leveraging its Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses at-scale.

Snapchat AR shopping

Those point to bigger opportunities, but right now, amid the broader economic downturn, and restrictions on data collection and targeting, Snapchat is in a tough spot, and will be for some time yet.

Essentially, then, you’re banking on Snap’s future, and its advanced tools that could help it better align with expanded AR and VR use. And Snap is seemingly in a good position on this front – though again, the impacts of the last year, which also forced Snap into lay-offs, will also have some effect.

Really, then, the results here are relative to your perspective.

For advertisers, more Snap users means more potential reach – but most of Snap’s growth is coming from outside the US. More advanced AR activations could become a bigger deal in future, but it depends on how you’re looking to connect, and product fit.

Investors won’t be overly happy with the numbers, but there are positive signs on the horizon. It’s just that the horizon, in this respect, remains well in the distance at this stage.

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Climate disinfo surges in denial, conspiracy comeback



Climate disinfo surges in denial, conspiracy comeback

Activists of Extinction Rebellion hold a ‘die-in’ for climate action in Boston in July 2022 – Copyright AFP/File Joseph Prezioso


False information about climate change flourished online over the past year, researchers say, with denialist social media posts and conspiracy theories surging after US environmental reforms and Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover.

“What really surprised us this year was to see a resurgence in language that is reminiscent of the 1980s: phrases like ‘climate hoax’ and ‘climate scam’ that deny the phenomenon of climate change,” said Jennie King, head of civic action at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based digital research group.

Popular topics included the false claims that CO2 does not cause climate change or that global warming is not caused by human activity, said Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD), a coalition of campaigners, in a report.

“Let me expose what the climate scam is actually all about,” read one of the most-shared tweets, cited in another survey by US non-profit Advance Democracy, Inc (ADI).

“It is a wealth transfer from you — to the global elite.”

– Twitter disinfo surge –

An analysis of Twitter messages — carried out for AFP by two computational social scientists at City, University of London — counted 1.1 million tweets or retweets using strong climate-sceptic terms in 2022.

Watchdogs are urging social media platforms to tackle climate disinformation – Copyright AFP Robyn Beck

That was nearly twice the figure for 2021, said researchers Max Falkenberg and Andrea Baronchelli. They found climate denial posts peaked in December, the month after Tesla billionaire Musk took over the platform.

Use of the denialist hashtag #ClimateScam surged on Twitter from July, according to analyses by CAAD and the US-based campaign group Center For Countering Digital Hate (CCDH).

For weeks it was the top suggested search term on the site for users typing “climate”.

CAAD said the reason for that was “unclear”, though one major user of the term appeared to be an automated account, possibly indicating that a malignant bot was churning it out.

ADI noted that July saw US President Joe Biden secure support for a major climate spending bill — subject of numerous “climate scam” tweets — plus a heatwave in the United States and Europe.

Climate denial posts also peaked during the COP27 climate summit in November.

– Blue-tick deniers –

A quarter of all the strongly climate-sceptic tweets came from just 10 accounts, including Canadian right-wing populist party leader Maxime Bernier and Paul Joseph Watson, editor of conspiracy-theory website InfoWars, the City research showed.

CCDH pointed the finger at Musk, who reinstated numerous banned Twitter accounts and allowed users to pay for a blue tick — a mark previously reserved for accredited “verified” users in the public eye.

“Elon Musk’s decision to open up his platform for hate and disinformation has led to an explosion in climate disinformation on the platform,” said Callum Hood, CCDH’s head of research.

Musk himself tweeted in August 2022: “I do think global warming is a major risk.”

Musk has also created a $100 million dollar prize for technology innovations shown to be effective in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

But prolific climate change contrarians -– such as blogger Tony Heller and former coal executive Steve Milloy — have hailed him in their tweets.

– Conspiracy theories –

An analysis by Advance Democracy seen by AFP found the number of Twitter posts “using climate change denialism terms” more than tripled from 2021 to 2022, reaching over 900,000.

On TikTok, views of videos using hashtags associated with climate change denialism increased by 4.9 million, it said.

On YouTube, climate change denial videos got hundreds of thousands of views, with searches for them bringing up adverts for climate-denial products.

YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez told AFP that in response to the claim, certain climate-denial ads had been taken down.

TikTok and Twitter did not respond to requests for comment.

On Facebook, meanwhile, ADI found the number of such posts decreased compared to 2021, in line with overall climate change claims.

– Culture wars –

The CAAD report said climate content regularly features alongside other misleading claims on “electoral fraud, vaccinations, the COVID-19 pandemic, migration, and child trafficking rings run by so-called ‘elites’.”

Jennie King of ISD said: “We are definitely seeing a rise of out-and-out conspiracism. Climate is the latest vector in the culture wars.”

Given the reports by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showing that human carbon emissions are heating the planet, raising the risk of floods, droughts and heatwaves, CCDH’s Hood emphasised the urgency of restricting the reach of misinformation.

“We would encourage platforms to think about the real harm that is caused by climate change,” Hood said, “so people who repeatedly spread demonstrably false information about climate are not granted the sort of reach that we see them getting.”

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Snap making changes to direct response advertising business



Snap making changes to direct response advertising business

The company posted a net loss of $288.5 million, or 18 cents a share, including $34 million in charges from its workforce restructuring. That compared to a profit of $23 million, or one cent, a year earlier.

Snap ended the fourth quarter with 375 million daily users, a 17% increase. In the first three months of the year, the company estimates 382 million to 384 million people will use its platform daily.

Snap has become a bellwether for other digital advertising companies. Last year, it was the first to raise concerns about the slowdown in marketer spending online and to fire a significant number of employees—20% of its workforce—to cut costs in the face of falling revenue.

The company has spent the last two quarters refocusing the organization, cutting projects that don’t contribute to user and revenue growth.

In the first quarter, Snap expects the environment to “remain challenging as we expect the headwinds we have faced over the past year to persist.”

Investors will get additional information about the state of the digital ad market when Meta and Alphabet report earnings later this week.

—Bloomberg News

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