How to Be an Expert at Twitter Part 5

New Rules & Updates

(Click here for Part 4)

As social media evolves, so must marketers. Twitter recently announced a set of rule changes that users should be aware of, particularly if they post on behalf of a company or organization. In the 9 months since our original series on how to be an expert at Twitter, some linguistic changes have also become standard practice, to go along with the new rules on posting.

In terms of aesthetics, ‘favorites’ changed to ‘likes’ a few months ago, and emojis are increasingly used across the site, just as they are on Facebook. Popular expressions and up-to-the-minute trends are still the lifeblood of Twitter, but there have been serious changes beneath the surface.

For example, people no longer need to use RT or MT anymore to quote from others’ tweets, ever since it became possible to use the retweet button to embed another user’s entire tweet within yours. One new change, however, is that it’s now possible to retweet yourself. Both of these new retweet features allow you to save space within your 140-character limit when you quote previous tweets.

The site is about to introduce other ways to save space. It will soon no longer count photos, gifs, videos and links against your character limit, so you’ll have more room to add your comments to those links and media attachments.

Of course, a few months ago Twitter floated the idea of expanding its maximum public tweet length to 10,000 characters (private DMs already allow it), arguing that people sometimes embed photos of long stretches of text anyway, and a higher limit would just make it more convenient to do what’s already possible. As of now, however, that major rule change is still just an idea and nothing more.

Going back to real changes that have already occurred, it’s possible now to activate or de-activate a service that highlights the most popular tweets from people you follow, since the last time you were logged in. Many users prefer the traditional style of viewing tweets chronologically, while others are too busy to scroll through everything and only want to see the most newsworthy tweets from those they follow. Whatever your preference, the choice can be made under the ‘settings’ button on your account management menu.

Twitter replies are also undergoing some significant changes. When replying, the @username part of the tweet will not count against the 140-character limit. Contrary to earlier reports, those replies still won’t fill up your followers’ timelines, unless you consciously decide to retweet your own replies. This continuation of Twitter’s traditional reply rules means that company accounts can still conduct the same outreach techniques as before, without irritating their regular followers.

 Non-reply messages directed at other users will undergo a significant change, however. It used to be the case that starting a new message with @username would prevent it from appearing on your followers’ Twitter feeds. When people wanted their directed messages to be seen publicly, they would typically begin them with a different character – hence the popularity of tweets starting with .@username

Beginning shortly, however, any non-reply that you tweet will go out to all of your followers – so be careful about starting new conversations if you plan to start a lot of them. Even if your new tweet starts with @username, it will be fully public. Companies that forget this new rule are likely to be ridiculed when they send out dozens of tweets starting with @username, mistakenly thinking that they are still semi-private.

The following kind of tweet-spamming (apparently from Hillary Clinton’s campaign) is categorically different, and will always be discovered:

Despite all these new rules, the core of Twitter remains perfectly intact. Short, snappy, viral messages and memes will continue to rule for a long time to come. Whatever else changes, Twitter success will always come down to wit, a sense of humor and language, and tweets designed to take full advantage of the medium.

It will also come down to establishing the right voice and the right persona, a crucial step not to be missed. That persona is the reason why movies like Deadpool had such a successful marketing run, and other movies like Gods of Egypt failed badly to generate any interest. Modern marketing depends on a building successful brand image, which – if done right – is precisely the kind of thing that can drive a successful Twitter campaign.

Steve Callerame is Senior Writer of Lexicon Business Communications

Lexicon is a complete copywriting, branding, multimedia and digital marketing agency in Thailand, and we work with clients from all sectors to help them make the right impression with their target audience.

We call our process Fusion Marketing; we’ll write your content, optimize it to rank on Google, and find the perfect audience by laser targeting at your ideal client demographics. We’ll also maintain your brand’s tone throughout, as well as attracting and engaging your followers on social media. 

We’ll reach out to other thought leaders and influencers to build your credibility and extend the reach of your content. Beyond that, we re-purpose your content into other languages, and develop sequels for especially popular content. Outsource your online presence to us, and we’ll ensure that you make the right impression every time.

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