Microblogging in 2018: Why It Still Matters and Where (and How) to Do It
The meteoric rise of Twitter has made microblogging the new norm. Millions of people engage in microblogging every day; many unaware that those short status updates are, in fact, microblogging.
It’s difficult to draw a clear line between microblogging and social media. And while Twitter is easily the most widely used microblogging platform, it’s certainly not the only one in town.
In today’s complex media landscape, marketers often struggle to determine how – and if – strategies like microblogging have a place in the modern marketing mix. Here’s why microblogging still matters and where to do it to get the biggest ROI.
Microblogging Never Went Away, But You Might Call It Something Else
Twitter was the first major microblogging service to emerge (in July 2006), although Facebook introduced status updates a few months prior. Both concepts share the same underlying premise: short, concise messages broadcast publicly or to a select group of connections or followers.
In the 10+ years that followed, microblogging has done anything but fade into the darkness. Microblogging today includes rich media experiences with images, videos, audio, GIFs, and more.
Most importantly, these snippets are highly shareable. In the age of short attention spans and instant-everything, microblogging meets the ever-present need to share quick snippets of information with large audiences instantly.
Microblogging (Namely, Twitter) Blows Up the News Cycle
It’s the innate shareability of these snippets that gave Twitter the power to blow up the news cycle.
In a November 2017 study published in Science, researchers found that a small number of stories published by a handful of small publications can have a major impact on public discussion – boosting Twitter traffic by as much as 63% in a single week’s time, relative to the typical daily traffic on the same subject.
When it comes to breaking news, more and more people turn to Twitter to get the in-the-moment, as-it-happens updates from people on the scene. In a way, Twitter has turned breaking news over to the hands of the average citizen. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 67% of Americans say they get at least some of their news from social media, and 20% do so often.
Pew’s survey examined the share of users on several popular social networking and microblogging sites who get news on those platforms:
- Twitter: 74% (of users)
- Facebook: 68%
- Reddit: 68%
- Tumblr: 39%
- YouTube: 32%
- Snapchat: 29%
- Instagram: 27%
- LinkedIn: 23%
- WhatsApp: 23%
Overall, just under half of Americans (45%) turn to Facebook as a source of news – more than any other microblogging or social networking platform. Although Twitter has the highest portion of users relying on its platform for news, its smaller user base means that just 11% of adults in the U.S. turn to Twitter for news.
Keep in mind that news consumption isn’t limited to a single site. More than one-fourth (26%) of U.S. adults say they get news from two or more platforms.
Even reporters are turning to Twitter to monitor beats 24/7, and users on Twitter are credited with breaking major news stories (though sometimes prematurely) from celebrity deaths to natural disasters to the miraculous Hudson River landing of US Airways flight 1549.
Of course, microblogging has transformed more than just news consumption. Users on these platforms share everything from DIY hacks to powerful quotes, contests and giveaways, information about upcoming events, and even their day-to-day activities.
Brands that tap into microblogging stand to make the biggest gains by creating informative, compelling content that’s easily consumable and intriguing enough to earn a like, comment, or a share, re-tweet, or re-blog.
How to Get Microblogging Right in 2018
New marketing channels are constantly emerging, and it’s up to marketers to keep pace and meet their audiences where they choose to spend their time. Many of the marketing channels and platforms that have caught on in recent years have roots in both microblogging and social media (think Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Vine).
These platforms make it easy for brands to convey important information, news updates, and reminders in-the-moment. These same platforms make it natural to engage with audiences through comments, likes, shares, and other interactions.
Compelling, intriguing, and informative updates posted to the right audience at the right time can earn brands thousands of interactions, all of which serve to boost visibility to a wider audience and enhance brand recognition and trust.
The key is to reach your audience where they are, at the right moment, and with the right message:
- Cater to instant gratification. It’s not just about status updates. Make it easy to share your content (blog posts, videos, and other website content) to the most widely used microblogging and social networking platforms with click-and-done social media share buttons.
- Get to know your audience. Find out where they spend their time and when, the types of content they crave most, and find a way to meet their needs in those all-important micro-moments.
- Make it compelling. Use images and video, host contests and giveaways, and nurture relationships with influencers and micro-influencers to drive more engagement.
- Tap into platform-specific features to boost organic reach. Leverage features like hashtags – even live videos — to appeal to algorithms and gain visibility.
Attention spans are short, so you have only an instant to capture their attention – and that’s exactly why microblogging is here to stay.
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