Social Media Fail: Twitter is Not Just About News

Sometimes I am shocked how many wrong perceptions and misunderstandings of Twitter are presented as the professional advice from so-called social media experts. Maybe it is because I myself am a heavy Twitter user and our social media success started with finding out how Twitter can be used for marketing a young company that I am so often thinking „what the hell“ when reading articles about Twitter. Maybe there is just as much bad advice and totally wrong information been given about other social networks.

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A few days ago I read a (German) article telling startups how they can utilize social media without a huge budget and the five deadly sins they should avoid in order to be successful. So far so good. But then the article stated, that Twitter would be interesting for startups with a strong focus on news and time relevant, current updates. And that mainly shows one thing: The author, claiming to be an „Online marketing superhero“ does not understand how Twitter works and how startups and young companies from every niche and topic can use it.

True: Twitter is great for news

While this is not the way most startups will get the best results from Twitter, there is no doubt about the fact that Twitter is great for news. I have had a lot of fun watching the Twitter Hashtag #brager when Germany beat Brasil 7:1 in the semifinals of 2014 football (soccer) world cup. That was news or at least time related.

You could also get live information on the police chasing the Boston marathon assassin and finally capturing him in suburbs of Boston. That was also news – or even more than news it was kind of live coverage.

When Osama bin Laden was killed one of the first places where the news spread was on Twitter.

So, there is no doubt about Twitter being great for news.

Twitter is relevant for almost any niche

Besides the fact that news travel fast and from many sources on Twitter, there is also virtually no topic and niche, which is not talked about on Twitter. Actually I can right now not think of a single niche which is not relevant on Twitter.

For Startups this means they can easily find people from their target audience and conversations relevant to their business and connect with them. But not every niche is news focused and not every conversation in every niche is going to be about some kind of news – on the contrary.Twitter is not necessarily about the big numbers or the most recent news. It is about the right information for the right people at the right time.

And this is one of the most important aspects which makes Twitter so important for startup marketing. Every niche talks about the niche and the information, expertise, and facts people from that niche are interested in. Sharing this kind of information is what makes marketing on Twitter work.

Twitter allows you to easily connect

The other important factor that makes Twitter such a great social network for marketing a startup or your business is that you can actually connect to people without intruding or being offensive. It is “normal” and expected, that you follow people you do not know, but who share interesting information or expertise from your niche. You do not need to spam or be obtrusive to join into relevant conversations or connect to new people from your niche. On Twitter people expect to be talked to by strangers that is partly what Twitter is about. And what makes Twitter such a great place to connect via conversations.

News might get more hype, but…

It is true that often news topics and very time sensitive updates get a lot of attention and spread in form of retweets and favorites. But the ground of hyped news is already covered and multiple accounts are spreading this news. To gain the kind of attention you are looking for with “news” is hard since the competition is high. It also does not help to go for hyped topics if they are not really from your field of interest. Even if you manage to get large numbers in form of followers, retweets or favorites, what can you expect from them if they are not from your target audience?

See what the experts are doing

Maybe the above-mentioned “Online marketing superhero” should have taken a closer look at one or two of the Twitter accounts of the Forbes Social Media influencers. Most of them are huge on Twitter. And – surprise – they are not focusing on news. See Jeff Bullas for instance, he shares an endless queue of evergreen blogposts on his Twitter account. He gets huge amounts of traffic from Twitter, and he has got over 300k Followers on Twitter – still growing. You can take a look at many of the other social media influencers; their accounts are showing similar activity.

What should you do?

Do not let yourself be fooled and share “news” even if your business is not at all a news business and the news are not from your niche. Twitter is not at all about sharing news all the time. Twitter is about relevant information. People follow you because they get the information they need and want to have from you. And to attract the right followers, you need to share information that is relevant and interesting to exactly your target audience.

If I want news, I follow news sites. If I want information about my niche I would be more than willing to follow you – if you share this kind of information. Sharing the right information is the first step to attracting a targeted audience.

Join conversations

Again this is not about joining conversations about the news just because everybody is talking about these topics right now. Choose the conversations according to the interests and the topics from your niche and your target audience.

Many people are spending ages on Twitter talking about the wrong topics and to the wrong people forever. And then they stop using Twitter, frustrated because they did not achieve anything.

Twitter is not necessarily about the big numbers or the most recent news. It is about the right information for the right people at the right time.

Twitter is so much more than news. Twitter has been the key to our online marketing success when everything seemed to not work and we were close to giving up. Twitter changed that and helped us grow two business.

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Twitter is not necessarily about the big numbers or the most recent news. It is about the right information for the right people at the right time.

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  • Sergio

    What would be the best possible way to divulge my work as a Coach via Twitter?

    • mohammad umair

      Case Studies tweets.

  • BandManShawty

    Twitter is about NETWORKING! If you want to build a label brand or business thats what its for there isnt no specific reason for twitter its right in your face because it simply tells you what its used for

  • rainertd

    hi susanna, i quickly checked your tweets in the last 14 days (hey, don’t worry, that was for free).

    total # of tweets: 835

    no rt 264 or 31%
    no fav 282 or 33%

    max rt 13
    max fav 20

    average rt 1,4
    average fav 1,6

    so you have 189k followers, but they don’t seem to engage with you.
    now would you consider yourself a “twitter superheroine”?

    private question – to whom or what does “drecksbaer” in your handle refer 😉

  • Robyn Williams

    Great article Susanna,

    Just a thought though, in our main business we deal allot with ppl from Sweden and the translation can often give mixed up meanings for some of our common phrases and words.
    So, I am thinking, perhaps the German article when stating #Twitter is great for #news the author meant ‘your new stuff’ like updates or latest events you are hosting or your most recent release of ‘n’ product, or new tech you have unearthed, or new ways of converting follows to purchases.
    That kind of ‘new’ info could translate to ‘news’.
    ?? Just a thought ????
    Robyn Williams ????????????

    • TheSocialMarketers

      Hi Robyn, I would be more than willing to give the benefit of a doubt. But the truth is: I am actually German and I am fairly sure I got the meaning of the article right – in any other language I would be very careful to claim that.
      The other thing is: The article was rating the different social networks for their benefit for marketing. And the claim was that Twitter was not so good as other networks, because it is mainly for news. And even though Twitter is great for news, it does definitely not lose agains other social networks if you are not working with news.
      It is a fact I am facing back here in Germany all the time: Even social media marketers do not use Twitter because they do not understand it. This article was right in line with this attitude and in consequence giving very bad advice.
      – Susanna