Twitter started life in 2006 and rapidly gained worldwide popularity, becoming one of the most well-known social media platforms. As of 2016 it has more than 319 million monthly active users. You can measure the success of Twitter by looking at the many high profile public figures who use Twitter to from Pope Francis to Lady Gaga to Barack Obama – the list is endless.
So what exactly is Twitter? Simply put, it is an online news and social networking service where users post and interact with messages, "tweets". The appeal of Twitter is that posts are restricted to 140 characters, so it’s an effortless way to keep people informed on what you are up, also known as microblogging. This also means that reading your twitter feed is easy and you can track hundreds of interesting tweeters, and read their content at a glance.
Twitter is not just updates about individuals. As mentioned previously, many celebrities, politicians, newsreaders etc. use Twitter to share information and connect with their audience. Twitter has become the go-to place for breaking news. On the day of the 2016 US presidential election, Twitter provided to be the largest source of breaking news, with 40 million election-related tweets sent by 10.00pm (Eastern Time) that day.
To narrow down content, users can use hashtags to categorise tweets so that they are part of a narrowed conversation and they’re easier to find in Twitter search. This is important for businesses so that potential customers can find them.
For businesses, both big and small, Twitter is a very useful marketing tool. It is a free medium for businesses to share news in front of potentially millions of customers. Research has also shown that users feel more connected with businesses after following them on Twitter. Users also engage with brands on Twitter, which is beneficial for both parties. For example, if a customer tweets you with a positive experience, you can retweet this and further spread the positive message. Obviously, this can work the other way, with a negative comment, however Twitter gives you the opportunity to respond and potentially turn the situation into a positive one. This two way communication provides another channel for listening to and finding out about your customers; feedback on your products, suggestions for improvement etc.
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