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Does Twitter Work for Small Business?

The debate of whether or not Twitter is dying has been a hot topic for about a year now. Just conduct a simple Google search for “Is Twitter dying?” and you’ll find a plethora of information on both sides of the debate. As Facebook rolls out improvements or features on a monthly basis, Twitter has just kind of, well, remained stagnant less a few minor changes. Let’s take a look at the evolution of Twitter, its paid ad features for businesses, and its benefits.

The Evolution of Twitter

In March of 2016, Twitter introduced its first algorithmic change: re-prioritizing tweets in users’ newsfeeds to tweets Twitter thought would be most relevant to them. Similar to the Facebook newsfeed evolution, the goal of this change was to de-clutter and lessen the noise on timelines.

With the limited capacity of 140 characters, Twitter gave us more room to add creative and converse with other users. This means that all media attachments, links, and @usernames no longer take away from your precious characters.

We said goodbye to the “.@username” in 2016, as well. Initially, if you wanted to display a reply to all your users, you had to add a period before the username. Now, you can nix the period and either reply directly, quote a tweet before replying, or directly tweet at a user – and everything will be visible to your audience.

In an effort to organize timelines and display content that users may love, Twitter introduced Twitter Moments to deliver timely news, live videos, and other timely content. In the same spirit of showing you moments you may have missed, Twitter also introduced “Highlights”, which allows users to see their favorite or most influential users’ tweets, or other engagements.

In December 2016, Twitter gave us the ability to broadcast live from the main app, after the downloads of its live-streaming app Periscope declined. Given the “on-demand” and real-time nature of Twitter, it’s almost natural that live video resides within the app.

In March of 2017, Twitter released its live-broadcasting API capabilities. This enabled professional equipment to connect with the social medium. Big video cameras, editing boards, desktop editing software, satellite vans, and so on will be able to broadcast directly to Twitter through the API. This is particularly a big deal for sports and news broadcasting networks.

These have been the major changes to Twitter’s timelines since its inception in 2006. While they’re progressing forward, it’s been a challenge for Twitter to keep up with their social media competitors.

How Twitter Works for Business

One of the cool things about Twitter is the ability to announce news, events, or other important information in real-time. Their Twitter Ads have evolved to serve as a marketing tool for businesses wanting to reach their target audience in real-time.

Here are the types of ads they offer up:

Promoted Tweets are normal tweets you pay Twitter to promote to reach a more expansive audience, drive traffic, and generate brand awareness.

Promoted Accounts appear in users’ “Who to Follow” windows to build your Twitter following and reach potential customers.

Promoted Trends are used for promoting campaigns, usually with a hashtag or keyword. These appear on Twitter’s “Trending Topics” list – which is visible to all users.

Website Visits are used for driving more targeted traffic to your website.

Promoted Video Views are used to increase brand awareness and get people to watch your video.

App Installs or Re-Engagement campaigns are used to get more people to download your app or re-engage with it if they’ve already downloaded it.

You can use videos, images, or even polls in your ads.

So what are the benefits of investing in one of all of Twitter’s paid promotion options? There’s a ton of flexibility when it comes to targeting. You can narrow your outreach based on interested, location, gender, device, or users that are similar to your current followers. Twitter also allows you to target specific keywords that your target audience may be using in their tweets.

All in all, Twitter can be a great way to amplify your message, reach more people, and increase brand awareness.

Is Twitter Right for My Small Business?

We’ve come to golden question of today. Does Twitter work for small businesses and will it work for your business? It depends on what you’re looking for. Twitter can be a great way to amplify your message and generate awareness, but it can fall short when it comes to truly capturing the attention of its users. Think about it: people are using the platform to consume quick, timely content. If you’re hoping to get someone to read your 1500-word article, or purchase from your eCommerce store – it’s probably not a realistic expectation for Twitter.

If you’re looking to promote newsworthy information, such as a sale, promotion, or event – test it out! I’m all about testing different platforms, ad types, and content to see what works and what doesn’t. The worst that could happen is that you get targeted brand awareness out of the deal. Which isn’t such a bad thing after all, right?

I recommend mapping out your goals for Twitter prior to spending any ad dollars. It’s important to understand what you’re hoping to get out of the platform, the types of content that makes sense for both your company and the platform, and setting realistic goals. Don’t just tweet or advertise to just say you do it – make sure there’s a strategy behind it if you want success.


Chalease is the Marketing Manager of Iron Springs Design. A creative juggernaut with a knack for creating mind-blowing digital strategies, social media campaigns, and branding initiatives, she's helped small businesses produce powerful results and attract not just customers, but loyal fans.