Welcome to Bolt’s monthly series for all things content marketing. This month, we take a look at what’s in store for the social media landscape in 2016. We’ll cover the latest developments and features the top platforms offer, statistics on their user base, and most importantly, new strategies you can apply to maximise your reach in 2016. We’ll be covering Twitter marketing this week, but tune in next week when we cover Instagram.
Twitter: Yours to Discover
In 2015, Twitter hit a user base of 1.3 billion, 29% of which are aged 15-34, making it Twitter’s largest age demographic. 24.6% of Twitter users are registered journalists, making the platform a primary avenue for breaking news. Also, a great resource for brand journalism!
Latest Twitter Marketing Trends
It’s no secret that techies make up a substantial portion of Twitter’s user base and they have been struggling with appealing to more mainstream users. But Twitter’s latest strategies to make itself more familiar to social media users may just turn that around. In fact, a simple change in UI design that swapped their “favourite” icon from a star to a heart has already driven up user engagement by 6% in one week.
2. Increased focus on video
The public’s general preference for video has not grown unnoticed by Twitter. Their shift to video content, acquisition of Vine and their latest app Periscope, which allows users to stream live video from around the world, are evidence of Twitter’s move into video. This makes video content a much more viable way to reach audiences, as opposed to past iterations.
3. Moving away from 140 characters
Rumours have swelled in the past year about Twitter’s eventual decision to increase its maximum word count to 10,000 characters. A report by re/code may have just proved those rumours to be true. Although the article doesn’t explicitly say that the increase will be to 10,000 characters, it has confirmed that Twitter is currently working on increasing its character count.
4. Dropping retweet counts
Twitter launched a new API late last year that dropped the retweet count feature on third-party sites. While the reasons provided were technical in nature, brands and marketers that rely on that information to measure ROI will be at a great disadvantage. The lack of feedback will make measuring ROI in a traditional sense extremely difficult.
1. Go heavy on video
While videos might not have been a viable channel for ad content, Twitter’s latest developments in video technology have changed things. Besides video, brands will also want to look at live streaming events via Periscope, which is growing increasingly popular.
Visual content is also statistically proven to allow viewers to retain up 65% of the content 3 days later, giving your message additional legs.
2. More long-form and live content
The removal of the 140 character limit means more real estate for brands to play around with. Summaries of branded content might be a good way to entice more viewership. Mini articles may also be a potential way to go here.
With today’s audiences being obsessed with the here and now of things, utilising real-time content can develop stronger connections to users. Here’s a case study by social media agency, We Are Social, demonstrating the power of real-time content:
3. Investing in third party software and add-ons
Twitter’s unpopular decision to scrap retweet counts has inadvertently created a new marketplace for enterprising companies to build software and add-ons to return things to the status quo. While Twitter’s very own service provider Gnip may be able to get you the numbers you are looking for, third parties can also do the same thing. Marketers who rely heavily on Twitter will be forced to pay up for these services until a better solution emerges, if ever.