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Back in 2016, eMarketer downgraded it forecast for Twitter usage between 2017 and 2020, predicting growth would go from 8 percent to just 2 percent. It was one of the many signs indicating that the end was near for Twitter as it was struggling to monetize its service.

Today, while Twitter usage numbers have seen better days, it's engaged audience is ready to conversate on a level not possible on other social networks. While monthly users have decreased, the number of daily users has increased steadily since 2016. In fact, 9 percent more people are using Twitter on a daily basis.

Despite that statistic, it’s obvious that many brands have settled for using Twitter as a URL dumping ground, returning only to link to their latest blog post or event landing page, if that’s what you’re doing read on.  

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Twitter is Making a Comeback?

“I hate to say it, but I actually think Twitter is making a comeback,” claimed Gianna Fornesi, head of marketing at Catch&Release. “For a while, user numbers were declining, but I actually think the current political administration has made it relevant in a weird way. I also think its attractive for its viral-nature [with its presence of] celebrities, big brands [and] political happenings,” she continued.

The user base on Twitter’s platform covers a diverse range from politicians to Gen Z users, as well as professional and personal users. It plays a huge role in helping brands establish connections with key figures in their industry, as Preeti Adhikary, VP of marketing at Fusemachines, explained. “Twitter should remain a core marketing platform because most decision-makers, journalists, [and so on] live on the social media channel.” Adhikary said.

Adhikary continued to say that if brands are able to formulate the right strategy, they can get in “front of the right people.”

But as Cristina Maria, marketing executive at Commusoft, noted, Twitter can only be proven to be a worthy platform if you know your objectives and expectations. “Twitter only makes a difference if you know what to expect from it and set your goals accordingly. Marketing is a combination of efforts rather than a "one-hit-win" strategy. If you're expecting every one of your Twitter followers to convert and become a customer, then you will inevitably be disappointed."

Where Do Brands Go Wrong With Twitter Marketing?

While Maria’s firm uses Twitter to establish thought leadership and actively nurtures relations with key figures in its sector, many brands only use Twitter in a very different way. “Most companies use Twitter to share links and cram hashtags into Tweets, missing out on the true value of actual conversations, whether with the people using those relevant hashtags, following the brand, or commenting on relevant topics,” said Julia Angelen Joy, account director at Swyft. “Companies go wrong when they act like corporate entities [on Twitter] and not like humans. Social media is about peer-to-peer interaction and a rigid output of links is not going to get your [brand] very far,” Maria said.

Furthermore, “organizations make the mistake of thinking all social media platforms are the same and then create content based on that misunderstanding. What works for Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn does not work for Twitter and it is not about the character count,” Joy said.

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3 Quick Tips to Get Your Twitter Marketing on Track

To get the most out of Twitter as a core marketing platform, our experts have shared the following tips.

1. Engage With Your Audience in Real-Time

Seventy-seven percent of Twitter users feel more positive about a brand when their Tweet has been replied to — and that requires that your team is always on hand to like, retweet or reply as necessary.

While it is easy to employ automated tools to schedule your Twitter posts, heavily relying on this method can prevent your brand from making authentic conversations and establishing new relations with industry leaders and your consumers.

Maria strongly encouraged brands to actively engage in Twitter conversation without overselling your product. “In order to avoid looking like a social media robot on Twitter, it's important to participate in conversations on relevant topics [and] pay constant attention to who is following you and what is trending in your industry. Contribute with thoughtful advice and don't plug your product in every chance you get.”

Fornesi agreed, adding that “companies can shed the 'corporate' Twitter presence by having a more real-time presence on [the platform].”

As part of having a real-time presence on Twitter, it is important to keep in mind that consumers expect an immediate response. “Of course, responding to comments from your customers is important, which I still see lacking in 2019. If a customer mentions you [on Twitter], they are expecting a response in the time it would take to answer the phone,” said Joy.

2. Ramp up Twitter Usage During Major Events

Twitter is the digital forum for all major live events. In fact, Twitter ads are 11 percent more effective than TV ads during live events. “If you're not using Twitter at trade shows and industry events, you're missing out on all kinds of increased ROI,” said Kari DePhillips, owner of The Content Factory, said. “In general, Twitter is one of the best ways to make friends with influencers at events. When you've [Retweeted] and engaged with a lot of a person's tweets, they tend to like you more.”

DePhillips continued, “Hosting Twitter chats and live tweeting events, or even TV shows, can drastically increase engagement, brand awareness and referral traffic — this is especially true when you have related onsite content you can [direct] people to.”

3. Hire Dedicated Marketing & Support Staff (or Hire an Agency)

Twitter isn’t just for responding to tweets with GIFs and memes, 85 percent of SMB Twitter users say providing customer service via Twitter is important, so you’ll need to organize your team to focus on Twitter as a support channel — or outsource the process to a reliable partner.

Since getting the most out of Twitter requires this level of always-on engagement, Joy advised brands to get together an in-house team to handle this or outsource to an agency. “My tip is to hire trusted employees, an agency, or brand ambassadors who can dive in and engage in real-time, without a lot of management layers,” said Joy. 

“Hire someone you know who is professionally experienced enough to manage or avoid any difficult conversations and has a broad communications background so that they are keeping the organization’s marketing strategy in mind when using social media.”