Twitter Rolls Out New Chatbot Feature for Businesses

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Twitter has introduced a new chatbot feature for companies to promote their brands, and they are hoping that these businesses and their customers stay on the platform for their real-time interactions.

This new platform allows brands to customize the experience for each customer. Interaction between the brands and their customers are initiated using the “Direct Message Card” in their Twitter accounts. Companies can also customize these chatbots through an avatar or video.

The gimmick seems to work as Patron Tequila, one of the companies that first made use of Twitter’s new offering, generated a lot of buzz when it shared what the chatbots can do. The two “bartenders” featured on the Patron account will guide customers on what cocktail to order, as well as any relevant information on the many flavors available.

Consumers can also interact with the brand administrator of the Twitter account if they have some questions. Among the other features of the Twitter chatbots are welcome messages, geotagging, customized profiles, and quick replies.

Twitter is coming in a bit late to the ballgame, however, as chatbots are already being utilized by Facebook and Microsoft via Skype and LinkedIn. Facebook even boasts of having AI-tech for its chatbots because of their speech-to-text and language processing capabilities.

Though it’s not clear what Twitter plans to do with its chatbots in the near future, for now, it’s deviating from the business models of Facebook and Microsoft. Instead of trying to drive business, the company aims to bring brands and their customers closer together by introducing some levity to the interactions.

Right now, the Twitter chatbots are still in a beta stage and are limited to advertisers. Even so, it’s hard to see the bots as more than just a gimmick since they really don’t add any significant value other than promotions. However, brands have been asking their customers to share their experience with the bots in order to gauge their appeal.

Twitter also has yet to release details on what exactly their new chatbots are capable of. For instance, it is still unknown if they have some sort of machine learning capabilities, apart from the main input code, or if they recognize patterns while also initiating conversations with customers.

The jury is still out on how brands will accept the new Twitter chatbots, considering the version rolled out by Facebook disappointed users because they found it difficult to navigate, and the interaction wasn’t as engaging.

The post Twitter Rolls Out New Chatbot Feature for Businesses appeared first on WebProNews.

May 31st 2017 Social Media, Twitter

Social Media Marketing Report: Does Your Engagement Measure Up?

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If I had to sum up marketing’s relationship with social media in a single nerdy meme, it’d be this:

Yes, much as Obi-Wan Kenobi was dismayed to find that Anakin had turned to the dark side, many marketers feel betrayed by social media. Each platform offered the potential to build an audience and deliver content straight to their feeds. They were supposed to be a powerful tool for organic reach. But one by one, they fell to the dark side of the algorithm.

But don’t throw away your social media channels just yet. After all, if you strike them down, they will become more powerful (sorry, that’s the last Star Wars reference). Instead, let’s have a clear-eyed assessment of what organic engagement looks like on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and see where to go from here.

Rival IQ just released their 2017 Social Media Benchmarks Report, which analyzes engagement by industry on the top three social media channels. These benchmarks can help determine what the best next steps are to maximize your engagement and your reach.

#1: Instagram Leads in Engagement

More than any other platform, Instagram seems to be the place people go to engage with brands. Engagement rate per post averages out to 1.66%, the only platform with over 1% in engagement.

The amount of interaction per post varies widely by industry, however. Higher Ed leads the pack with 3.55%. Surprisingly, Health & Beauty trails behind, with just 1.14%. While Instagram has a reputation as a health, beauty, and fashion platform, none of these categories come close to Nonprofit and Higher Ed for engagement.

Instagram’s visual, mobile-first format is definitely driving more engagement. Video performs exceptionally well on the platform, too—see these examples from brands rocking Instagram video.

You may not think your industry or brand is suited to the format, but if GE and Dell can do it, so can you. It’s not about creating million-dollar visuals or movie-level video. Keep it low-fi, stay honest and authentic. Use Instagram to showcase the people behind your brand and take your audience behind-the-scenes. More importantly, use Instagram’s tools to edit your photos, just like the user base does.

#2: Facebook Has Bigger Audiences, Lower Engagement

Many companies have an exponentially larger audience on Facebook than they do on Instagram. For example, Dell has 287,000 followers on Instagram and 10 million Facebook followers. That increase in audience almost offsets the drop in engagement rate, which is a fraction of Instagram’s. Higher Ed leads with just .33% engagement, while Media lags at .12%. Yes, twelve hundredths of a percent.

This benchmark confirms what our agency has been saying for a long time: Facebook should be considered a pay-to-play platform. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Facebook ads are relatively inexpensive, and their targeting options make it easy to reach new audiences.

You should still post organic posts on Facebook, but don’t count on the algorithm to help you with engagement. Use ads to boost posts that are already seeing at least a minimum of engagement—they’re the ones resonating with your audience. Put a little budget behind them and be precise with your targeting, and you can get results.

#3: Twitter is Becoming a Broadcast Platform

Is Twitter dying? Perhaps not, but it has developed a nasty cough. Our own Caitlin Burgess pondered what’s next for Twitter, and a lot of it depends on what the company does in the next year to get well again.

RivalIQ’s numbers are pretty dire: Food & Beverage leads in engagement with .069%, while Media takes the caboose spot with .015%. To put those numbers in easily-understandable terms, if your Twitter engagement was a blood alcohol percentage, you’d still be legal to drive.

These numbers might be indicative of Twitter’s failing vital signs, but I believe there’s a simpler answer. Twitter is a lousy forum for conversation. There’s a ton of content, it moves fast, and most people aren’t watching their feed 24/7. It is, however, a good forum for building relationships. Follow people you want to work with, share their content, and then start a private conversation.

Depending on your audience, it’s still worth investing in paid promotion on Twitter. If it works, keep doing it. But for the most part, think of Twitter as more a platform for broadcasting and building relationships with influencers.

When It Comes to Engagement, Quality Is Key

The most striking find in RivalIQ’s report is that there is virtually no correlation between post frequency and level of engagement. I would love to say there’s a perfect frequency or just-right time of day to post that guarantees you can beat the odds, but the data doesn’t back that up.

Think of it as a positive, though. You’re free from having to post on Twitter three times a day, Facebook 1.5 times, and so on. Now you can focus on quality and relevance over everything else. Even with engagement rates in the single digits—even when they’re below single digits—quality content is always the path to the light side of the social media world.

Need help with social media marketing? We can help. Dig into this delicious TopRank Marketing customer success story to see how we do it.


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May 18th 2017 Facebook, Social Media, Twitter

Biz Stone’s Return to Twitter Boosts Stock

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Twitter’s prodigal son has returned after six years, and shareholders are sitting up and taking notice.

According to multiple reports, shares of the social media company were boosted by the return of co-founder Biz Stone. Following the announcement, midday trading saw stocks climb by 2% before closing at 1.35% to $19.49 in New York. Company shares have surged by 21% in the past three months.

The rebound was a welcome development for Twitter, which took a blow last year after the exodus of its top executives, retrenchment of 9% of its total workers, and a stock plunge. The company hit rock bottom when acquisition talks with Salesforce collapsed.

Apparently, Stone accepted the invitation of Jack Dorsey, another co-founder who returned to the front office two years ago, to usher the company into the future amid the threat posed by growing competition.

In a blog post, Stone revealed that he’s not looking to replace anybody in the company. Instead, he will be resuming the role that he played before he left Twitter in 2011.

“My top focus will be to guide the company culture, that energy, that feeling,” he said. “It’s important that everyone understands the whole story of Twitter and each of our roles in that story. I’ll shape the experience internally so it’s also felt outside the company.”

But a bump in Twitter’s market value after Stone’s return doesn’t necessarily mean a bright future ahead for the company. In fact, there are a few reasons why the Jelly founder probably won’t make much of a difference.

Aside from his ambiguous role in the company, which can still change in the future, things were really not that great when he was there. The issue with Twitter has always been its continued struggle with user growth. Only 60% of its 100 million monthly active users actually post a tweet.

The fact that Stone’s baby, Jelly, folded up and sold to Pinterest in just three years also does not provide much inspiration.

Finally, it’s unclear how Stone will be able to reverse Twitter’s fortunes, particularly when the company hasn’t significantly increased its social media footprint in recent years, unlike Facebook, Instagram, or even Snapchat, for instance.

Nevertheless, Stone is confident about Twitter’s future. As he wrote in his Medium blog, “Twitter has woven itself into the fabric of our global society. The world needs Twitter, and it’s here to stay.”

The post Biz Stone’s Return to Twitter Boosts Stock appeared first on WebProNews.

May 18th 2017 Social Media, Twitter

What’s Next for Twitter? Social Domination or Eminent Failure?

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Despite recent improvements to user experience and platform flexibility, the struggle to retain and attract new users—and grow revenue—is still real for Twitter. And, unfortunately, these may be the least of the platform’s worries these days.

From widespread trolling and harassment to simply having a confusing interface, Twitter is drawing criticism for nearly every aspect of its operation. In addition, after shutting down Vine and cutting more than 300 jobs last fall, more fuel was added to the claims that Twitter was getting closer to death.

So … Is Twitter Dying?

As an eternal optimist, I’m not ready to say Twitter’s fate is doomed. As WIRED’s Davey Alba said earlier this year, while Twitter may be a bit of a mess—it still has some real potential and value to offer.

“The thing is, in spite of its mess, there’s still a lot to value in Twitter,” Alba wrote. “No other social network has built up quite the same kind of cultural currency—and for good reason. Unlike other networks, Twitter’s influence is decentralized; it lies in its power users, the ones who use it to give voice to people and movements that may not have risen otherwise. Just look at how Twitter both took and pushed the pulse of the 2016 elections. Or how crises unfold on the platform. Or how social movements take hold.”

But I’m also a realist, so I have to acknowledge that Twitter has some serious work to do to remain viable and competitive. Currently, Twitter reports around 313 million monthly active users, but Statista had that number around 319 million at the end of 2016 and is now reporting 317 million as of January 2017. However, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook come in with 301 million, 600 million and 1.86 billion monthly active users, respectively.

Cheating Death

You’re probably thinking, how can Twitter avoid falling off a cliff? How can it quell discontent? How can it retain and attract new users? How does it breathe new life into its platform and business?

Well, I certainly don’t have all the answers here. I’m not an expert in business operations or product development—nor am I a clairvoyant with a crystal ball. However, as a confident marketer, I definitely see a couple opportunities.

Twitter is experiencing many of the same problems that other brands face in today’s digital world—increasing competition for audience attention, bad press and reviews, stagnant growth, and so on. Below are two opportunities I think Twitter, and any struggling brand, could take advantage.

#1 – Double-down on your core strengths.

For more than a decade, social media platforms have been looking for ways to set themselves apart from one another—something Twitter made clear right out of the gate. But as social media becomes increasingly ingrained in people’s daily lives, we’re now in a time where social platforms are balancing uniqueness with offering all the things. (Look no further than Facebook and Instagram’s new Snapchat-like features, or the rise of hashtags and mentioning capabilities across platforms.)

For Twitter to stay relevant, it’ll most certainly have to evolve its platform in some way to mimic the things that are working for the competition. But it shouldn’t lose sight of what sets it apart—nor its core strengths. And its core strength is the real-time format that allows users to be intimately engaged with what’s happening in the world and in their social circle.

The big takeaway for all: Define your core strengths, and use them to propel your business strategy and marketing efforts forward.

#2 – Embrace criticism—and address it in public.

Every company dreams of 100% customer or user satisfaction, but that’s rarely the case—even for the most successful and revered brands out there. And, these days, social media is often an easy place for people to air their grievances—an irony Twitter itself is intimately familiar with.

Generally speaking, Twitter is taking a pretty standard PR approach to addressing its shortcomings and user gripes, but it may not hurt to be a little more transparent about it all. Honesty and humility can go a long way.

The big takeaway for all: Use any negative feedback as an opportunity to show humility, understanding and your commitment to taking care of your users, customers and glaring issues.

Will Twitter Die or Find New Life?

As I said, I’m no psychic. But it appears that Twitter is making strides to address some nagging issues.

Last week, Twitter announced that usernames no longer count toward the 140-character limit in tweet replies—which allows users more room to say what they need to say, but still keeps its essence intact. In addition, in early February Twitter announced safety updates to address abusive accounts and content.

“We stand for freedom of expression and people being able to see all sides of any topic,” Twitter said in a release. “That’s put in jeopardy when abuse and harassment stifle and silence those voices. We won’t tolerate it and we’re launching new efforts to stop it.”

Twitter also retired its default profile image of an egg. The new default image is a human silhouette, which Recode said aims to encourage more people to upload pictures of themselves, and also move the brand away from an image that’s often associated with trolls.

Finally, news just broke there’s a campaign to turn Twitter into a user-owned cooperative. According to Business Insider, Twitter shareholders will vote on whether to investigate the proposal at its May 22 meeting. While Twitter is opposed to the plan, and it seems unlikely to move forward, it can’t be dismissed.

“It’s an interesting proposal—and underlines the discontent some shareholders feel with the ailing social network, which is struggling to grow or turn a profit,” the Business Insider article said.

The bottom line? Twitter is trying, but mostly treading water, and what its leaders do in the next year will likely determine whether the platform rises again or meets defeat.

What’s your take on Twitter’s future? Tell us in the comments section below.


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April 11th 2017 Social Media, Twitter

Twitter suing Homeland Security suggests some of those alt Twitter accounts were real after all

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 New legal documents show that Twitter is taking the Department of Homeland Security to court to protect the true identity of an account that claims to be run by employees of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The account, @ALT_USCIS, is one of many “alt” government agency accounts that began appearing in the early days of the Trump administration. The filing… Read More

April 7th 2017 Twitter

Businesses can now request customer locations within Twitter Direct Messages

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Brands on Twitter can now address issues more quickly and help local customers by requesting their location in a Direct Message.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

April 4th 2017 Twitter

How Stories Search makes Snapchat a real-time YouTube

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 Snapchat is shifting from a social network limited to content shared by people you follow to an ephemeral, real-time database of what’s going on now everywhere. Today Snapchat launched Search for Stories submitted to its public Our Stories. It makes Snapchat as deep as whatever the world is sharing, creating near-infinite rabbit holes to go down. Read More

April 1st 2017 Mobile, Twitter, YouTube

Twitter is getting rid of the egg avatar (because that will totally fix the abuse problem)

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 Everyone knows that Twitter has a harassment problem. And while the service has tried things like banning abusive users (both on a temporary and permanent basis) it hasn’t really fixed the problem. Today, they’re announcing another sweeping change that fails to address the real problem: they’re cracking the egg. Read More

April 1st 2017 Social Media, Twitter

Twitter drops usernames from replies, giving full 140 characters to respond

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A new change will give you more room to respond and, according to Twitter, make conversations easier to follow.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

March 31st 2017 Twitter

Twitter explores paid subscription version of TweetDeck as ad biz struggles

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Twitter doesn’t currently make money from people who use its ad-free TweetDeck app, but soon it might.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

March 24th 2017 Twitter