Twitter is considered one of the main social media platforms, alongside Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. The platform, launched in March 2006, is based around online news and social networking. As of quarter four in 2015, the company posted a net income of $7 million.
Twitter is everywhere, in this day and age it almost impossible to use an online service that doesn’t offer Twitter integration. Watched a YouTube video you liked? Tweet about it! Read an article on Daily Mail? Tweet about it! Even smartphones come with direct Twitter integration, allowing us to Tweet an image or our location without the need to open the Twitter app.
The platform is extremely powerful, with 310million monthly active users and 24.6% of verified accounts consisting of journalists. Celebrities use the platform to advertise new products, services and their thoughts/opinions on world events. It has reduced the gap between celebrities and us ‘normal’ people, allowing interaction in a clear and unobtrusive format.
Donald Trump has brought a large amount of speculation and controversy over his use of Twitter. Although heavily critiqued for his brash comments, a select few have found the open and honest Tweets refreshing. Using the social platform to create a sense of transparency to the new American Government.
With Twitter, companies can highlight new product launches and aid with customer support in 140 characters or less. The platform has opened up a new medium for businesses, no longer is there a need for a large amount of expenditure placed on advertising, or any excuse that customer service is slow and unresponsive.
But are we really taking full advantage of Twitter by Tweeting about our favourite food or how our day went? Companies’ CEO’s most active on Twitter include their own CEO, Microsoft and Unilever. However, a study found that only 10% of CEO’s running the top 50 Fortune 500 companies are on Twitter.
CEO’s available on Twitter reap in a endless amount of benefits, creating an element of authenticity and accessibility to some of the most powerful people in the business world. Surely those in the business world pushing their companies’ products over social media, should be using the platform themselves.
More often than not, those in the business world, wanting to utilise the likes of Twitter take it too seriously, whilst social media should be approached with caution. Customers demand immediacy/interaction and surely business is all about meeting demand with supply?
One mistake that businesses make on Twitter is that they Tweet about business. Who wants to read sales reports and profit analysis? People on Twitter will more than likely demand fun, engaging and different. Without standing out from the crowd, how will organisations get noticed?
A business taking full advantage of Twitter is Innocent Drinks, who will Tweet about anything but their products. With Tweets consisting of sarcastic weather updates, funny animal videos and much more. The idea behind this is for people to enjoy their timelines and get the brand into the consumer’s head, rather than the product.
But of course like any social media platform, it will always come along with an element of risk. Tweets can build a company’s credibility, however, creativity can also have damaging consequences. During 2013, when the horse-meat scandal was the talk of Britain, Tesco Customer Care sent out this PR disaster of a Tweet, although innocent when taken out of context, Tesco and all companies need to be aware of current events.
It is clear Twitter is a platform made for all and can be used anyway the user wants. Although extremely powerful, individuals and organisations need to ensure that what they offer is what is being demanded of them. If not, they risk getting lost in one of the biggest social platforms on the internet.
Alex Slaine is a first year CAM student at Ulster University. He can be contacted on Twitter @alexslainee