How to use social media in 2017: Twitter

In part three of our series on ‘How to Use Social Media in 2017’ we take a look at Twitter, it’s future, what’s new and how marketers can leverage this channel, which now has more than 317 million active monthly users, to reach their customers.

The last 12 months have not been pretty for Twitter. While its social network rivals Facebook and Instagram’s revenues and dominance continue to grow, Twitter is flailing. Its stock market value has dropped. Its user base growth has slowed, and the numbers trying and abandoning it are on the up.

Twitter Inc, which put its co-founder Jack Dorsey in as chief executive at the start of the year, has introduced a raft of new measures that may revive its popularity. Despite the doom and gloom Dorsey in one of his first statements as CEO boldly said that Twitter is still “the people’s news network.”

So here we’ve taken a look at some of the new tools that have been introduced to Twitter in 2016:

Twitter moments:

Twitter Moments enables users to stitch together multiple tweets into slideshow-like stories. They were first released in October 2015 to selected partners who were able to curate stories on a range of topics, including News, Sports, and Entertainment. From September this year this feature was rolled out to the general public in what Twitter said was to give “people a new and dynamic way to tell their stories.” The tool will compete with the popularity of SnapChat Stories and Instagram Stories.

Customer support:

New features have been introduced since September to enable businesses to tell users if they provide help and support on Twitter. Businesses can now indicate when they are most active on the channel and give users the option to send them a Direct Message. Although brands have been using Twitter as a customer service tool for years, dealing with everything from legitimate complaints to hashtag trolls, these functions will facilitate two-way communication between brands and their customers.

Peer:

Twitter bought Peer, an employee and manager feedback tool launched by former Salesforce COO George Hu, at the beginning of the year. Peer is thought to work in a similar way to how Uber drivers keep tabs on their rating from ride to ride. However, Twitter has yet to announce how it plans to use this platform. So watch this space.

Magic Pony Technology:

To keep pace with the machine learning muscle of Facebook or Google, Twitter bought the London-based Magic Pony Technology, a company that has developed techniques of using neural networks and machine learning. These tools provide expanded data for images used, for example, to enhance a picture or video taken on a mobile phone, or to help develop graphics for virtual reality or augmented reality applications. This enables Twitter to develop products in a similar vein to SnapChat and compete with Facebook.

Live content:

This year saw Twitter experiment with broadcasting live content. It signed a deal with the American football league NFL to live stream 10 Thursday night football games. Its aim was to reach users who may not have cable and who use social media regularly and value mobility. Although its viewer figures paled in comparison to those who tuned in to watch it on television, it still attracted almost a quarter of a million people during the average minute of the game, with a reach of 2.1 million over the course of the game. We expect more deals like these to be made over the course of 2017.

Mute:

Twitter has finally bowed to the demands of the users who want to mute the vitriolic hate that circulates on this channel. Twitter has long been plagued by the issue of hate and harassment on its platform, which isn’t seen on the likes of Facebook. Its new ‘mute’ product now allows users to filter specific phrases, keywords and hashtags. It enables users to stop receiving notification from a particular Twitter thread without removing it from the timeline entirely or having to block users. Although this will not act as a marketing function, it has been designed to retain existing users.

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