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Determining which social media platforms to focus your time on is tricky. Each platform has its benefits, limitations and quirks.

Platforms come and go. While the likes of Facebook have endured, others such as Periscope popped up for just a short while (pun intended). And more continue to emerge – just look at how TikTok has shot to the top of many brands’ priorities.

And then there’s Twitter.

It’s also been around for a long time (since 2006), but never grew as quickly as Facebook or Instagram. And yet it remains and the platform that many organisations, especially in business-to-business, place a heavy focus on.

Why is this the case?

The ‘easiest place’ for the media

Twitter is the most ‘open’ social media platform. With a few exceptions, everyone can see everything from every account, which means…

🧰 Social media tools (such as Pulsar and Brandwatch) can scrape mountains of data to produce all kinds of comparisons and analysis

🎬 The public can easily see what their favourite celebrity, or perhaps least favourite politician, is up to

🐝 People can swarm around breaking news – for good and bad

🏏 TV and sports broadcasters use it to encourage live interaction

🙋‍♀️ Businesses can easily publish service updates and manage customer queries at scale

All of this makes Twitter a super-convenient place for the media to mine information – just set yourself up on Tweetdeck and follow the key names in your discipline. You can even embed tweets directly into your article for extra flavour (BBC Sport do this all the time).

A disproportionate share of voice?

The likes of Facebook and Instagram are regularly mentioned in mainstream news, but have you noticed that Twitter is usually at the forefront? More often than not, it’s the platform the media quotes when covering what a person of note has said publicly.

And this is even more acute if you’re a marketeer – because Twitter is so open, most social media analysis “reports” are founded on Twitter data.

What I think this does is skew (upwards) our overall perspective of how much impact the average company’s Twitter account actually has on its audience.

What the numbers say

Any old stat can be used to tell a story. But consider, Twitter has ~19 million users in the UK, while Facebook has ~57 million and Instagram ~34 million. People spend around 4 minutes a day on Twitter, compared with 23 minutes on Facebook. Whichever way we cut it, and ignoring anything about fake accounts, there’s a clear difference in scale.

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Is Twitter so prominent in our consciousnesses because of how much it’s mentioned outside of Twitter? Is it more of an echo chamber than we think?

The role of Twitter in your social media mix

This isn’t to say Twitter isn’t an important platform for businesses, it absolutely is:

✅ It’s where the media, new recruits and anyone researching your organisation will head to

✅ It’s often the default for customer care queries

✅ Content can be shared easily, ‘go viral’ and transcend to other media

✅ Issues and complaints can be identified and addressed before they “blow up”

But next time you appraise which social media platforms you’re using – and more importantly how you’re using them – think carefully about the role Twitter can play for you. Simply churning out content “by default” isn’t perhaps the best plan.

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