Published February 25th 2014

Which Social Network Should I Target? Pt 1 – Twitter

When it comes to social media, less is often more. Spread your efforts too thinly across the ever growing list of networks and you’ll struggle to excel anywhere. So how do you decide on the best network to target content to?

We’ve asked several experts for their opinions on when a network is suitable, common pitfalls, top tips and general advice on picking a network to focus on. We’ll look at the four major networks listed below, starting with Twitter:

Twitter is the ultimate online conversation. Fast paced and with ease of access to any user, it’s many marketers favourite platform. Will it work for your business though? Here’s the advice of several expert marketers to help you decide.


Twitter is the bread and butter of HootSuite’s Content & Social Marketing team. With 5.7 million followers, we’ve got a large audience and have experimented extensively to find out what types of content succeed.

What’s a common mistake not to make?

If you have a global audience, Tweets should be sent out at intervals throughout the day. Don’t make the mistake of grouping Tweets together in piles; people don’t want one brand clogging their feed. We schedule Tweets to go about once every hour, and then actively engage in conversations sporadically throughout the day.

What’s your top tip for targeting content to Twitter?

It’s also important that brands recognize that they don’t have to constantly push their product. Share stories NOT sales pitches. Engaging in broader conversations about their industry, or even occasional fun and humorous back-and-forth with users, go a long way in attracting and entertaining a broader base of users.

Which brands do a good job on Twitter?

Look at Taco Bell, Charmin, and Smart Car for inspiration — these brands have excellent Twitter strategies that include marketing, but make a point of engaging their followers individually.

When is Twitter suitable?

Twitter is a great social network to consider whether you’re a B2C or a B2B business. In fact, Twitter is great for any professional for networking purposes, too. What’s great about Twitter is you can get as much or as little as you want out of it. There are some Twitter users who never actually Tweet, but use the platform to gather news, information, and trends. Then there are others that use it to share information, news, opinions, and more.

What’s a common mistake you see?

The biggest mistake people make with any Twitter strategy is using it solely to push out messages in the form of one-way communication. In other words, they only promote or talk about themselves. Other Twitter users won’t care about this. Yes, it works for large news organizations or international brands, but for the rest of us (most businesses included), if you push out tweets only about yourself, you won’t get much out of the platform.

What’s your best advice on getting the most out of Twitter?

In my opinion, the real value of Twitter is its ability to be used as a great “listening” tool. This means you can often find out what your customers (or potential customers) are saying about your brand, product, or industry. It provides a great opportunity for you to directly respond to these people and engage with them.

One great example of this is Hilton Hotels and their Twitter account @HiltonSuggets (mentioned in Jay Baer’s recent New York Times Best Seller Youtility). This Twitter account is not about telling you what the latest room rates at Hilton hotels worldwide are, but instead focuses on answering questions that people are asking in cities where Hilton has hotels. Talk about helping people! Or as Jay likes to call “Youtility.”

If you decide to utilize Twitter as part of your social media strategy, ask yourself, “How can I provide value to my customers and potential customers with this platform?” Often, the answer you come up with is your best strategy.

When is Twitter suitable?

Twitter has become the de-facto base social network due to it’s flexibility, you can broadcast information about your brand and directly have a conversation in a more immediate way than other networks, this is due to how real time is ingrained into the culture if it’s audience.

What’s a common mistake not to make?

Numbers mean nothing! Having a successful twitter account shouldn’t be measured on how many followers you have but on the level of engagement you have. Follower numbers can be easily padded and it will be for naught if you don’t have interesting, useful and meaningful content that your audience is interacting with.

What’s your top tip for targeting content to Twitter?

Be very sure what your goals are for your twitter account and gear your content accordingly, choose 2-3 subjects that you are going to dedicate the account to and grow your audience from there.

Which brands do a good job on Twitter?

Oreo has had great success mixing timely content on Twitter, they really take to heart the engaging realtime nature of the platform.

When is Twitter suitable?

This network is suitable when you are wanting to stay in the conversation. Twitter is a fast-moving platform that is continuous 140 character conversations. If you want to reach the under 40 demographic, then this would be for you, especially college-age. If you are wanting to open up your customer service to be more approachable and to respond faster, this is a platform you need to consider.

What’s a common mistake you see?

Make sure you have a profile picture. That is the #1 reason people on Twitter do not get followed. Also, make sure you bio is filled out. People want to know who you are.

What’s your top tip for targeting content to Twitter? 

Since Twitter only allows 140 characters your message has to be short, sweet and to the point. Make the most of the characters you are given.

Which brands do a good job on Twitter?

Two brands that do a good job on Twitter are Sprout Social and DiGiorno Pizza. Sprout Social (@sproutsocial) really does Twitter well. They respond fast and really do customer service right. Also, DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) does a great job live-tweeting during events, such as the Super Bowl.

Any final advice for readers deciding on which network to target?

You really need to look at where your target audience is. Go where they are. If it’s Twitter, then be active there; if it’s Facebook, then go there.


When is Twitter suitable?

Whether your business is B2B or B2C, Twitter is suitable for both. The figures speak for themselves: 36% of marketers have found a customer via Twitter and 72% of people are more likely to make a future purchase from a SMB after they follow or interact with them on Twitter.

What’s a common mistake you see?

Using auto DM’s. I don’t know a single person who appreciates an immediate DM after following someone. It’s impersonal, lazy and immediately harms your credibility in the eyes of the person who just followed you.

What’s your top tip for targeting content to Twitter? 

Images uploaded to Twitter using a URL are now displayed in full. Tweets with images significantly increase engagement so when tweeting your own content or sharing other peoples content utilise Buffer’s browser extension. The extension allows you to right click on any image on a web page to use in your tweet with a URL. Read this post on the Buffer blog for detailed instructions.

Which brands do a good job on Twitter?

Tesco Mobile and Paddy Power. Both of these brands regularly receive 100’s of retweets and it’s down to having a personality (and lots of imagery!). Now I’m not saying you should go and replicate what they do, but take inspiration and don’t take yourself too seriously. Have a bit of fun to make your brand more appealing.

Any final advice for readers deciding on which network to target?

I recommend reading this great post by Jasmine Sandler which reviews the top social networks and their suitability for B2B marketing.

When is Twitter suitable?

It’s suitable for a conversation with your audience. It’s a great opportunity to interact with customers on particular topics. It’s also great to listen to see what people are talking about.

What’s a common mistake you see?

Don’t always sell your stuff. Always trying to drive visits to your sales pages is not the way to go.

What’s your top tip for targeting content to Twitter? 

Using relevant hashtags (ideally trending ones) really elevates your message.

Which brands do a good job on Twitter?

To be honest I don’t follow brands on Twitter but I heard of Arby’s recent tweet at Pharrel during the Grammy’s and I thought that was a great way to be relevant during a time that you typically wouldn’t. More on that here.

Any final tips for being effective on Twitter?

I’ve found a lot of success here both from a learning and engagement perspective but you have to be tentative and timely. Setting up alerts around your key topics will help you achieve this.

Twitter is huge for brand development. The social network giant connects you to your customers and fans in real time. Not only does it connect your business to people, but Twitter has become a major hub for news. Following related businesses and people on Twitter can help you stay on top of your industry’s news.

With that said, use Twitter to drive industry news from your business’ Twitter feed. Do this by making sure your Twitter is full of fresh information. At least 2-3 times a day, Tweet blog posts, updates, new products, tips, and photos. Make sure you optimize every Tweet by using relevant hashtags!

What’s a common mistake you see?

A common mistake businesses make on Twitter is not interacting. If a fellow Tweeter gives you some love on Twitter, make sure you give it right back! Throughout the day, spend a couple minutes here or there retweeting, favoriting, and replying. Twitter gives you a great opportunity to develop and grow your brand.

Which brands do a good job on Twitter?

Airfarewatchdog does a great job of utilizing Twitter. Every hour they post a travel deal, blog post, travel tip, or travel update and they do a good job of responding to Tweets.


Twitter is my favourite platform without a doubt, simply because it the most widely used amongst the people I need to communicate with; marketers, journalists, bloggers and customers. It also – in theory at least – has the easiest point of entry. You simply need to @ someone to speak to them. Other platforms such as LinkedIn force you to have a connection, unless you pay for it that is. Last week I randomly ended up talking to Dave Gorman for example!

What’s your top tip for targeting content to Twitter? 

On its own Twitter doesn’t really offer what I need, but I find that using it in conjunction with other tools like Pocket, BuzzSumo, Buffer, Feedly, BuzzStream, Flipboard, Zapier and Evernote I find I’m much more productive.

Which brands do a good job on Twitter?

I really like the Innocent Drinks Twitter account for the way it interacts with their offline marketing activities. I must confess here that could be because I’m a friend of one of the social media managers who built the strategy.


When is Twitter suitable?

All the time for any reason. Twitter is the social bridge to all else.

What common mistakes do you see?

  1.  Assuming most people want to hear what you have to say, very few do.
  2. Using prefabricated methods such as Fiverr, Empire Avenue or a arsenal of fake followers to broadcast your message.
  3. Judging a connections by the number of followers.
  4. Representing yourself as an expert when you only broadcast the content but don’t create it.
  5. Not listening to others.

What’s your top tip for targeting content to Twitter? 

Mix in some humor. People need and like to laugh.

Which brands do a good job on Twitter?

Verizon and ESPN.

Any final advice for readers deciding on which network to target?

Define clearly your vision and purpose for using any network. If you don’t know why you are there you will be disappointed and question your investment of time.


Next up…Facebook

Hopefully you’ve found this advice helpful, in the next post I’ll be asking several experts for their advice and tips on when to target Facebook. Be sure to bookmark the blog or subscribe to our feed via RSS or email!

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3 responses to “Which Social Network Should I Target? Pt 1 – Twitter”

  1. RizzoMB says:

    This is a great discussion, I’m learning towards brands focusing or really owning one social media channel, over just being average on many.

  2. We’ve found Google+ and Twitter to be the best with engagement. Facebook has become such a pay to play playground so we have drifted away from that social platform.

  3. David Cheng says:

    Great post. I noticed not a lot of discussion about Twitter cards and I’m curious if that came up in your interviews? Found this on ShareBloc btw (which conveniently, I’m the co-founder of). We’d love it if you posted some of your other stuff on our site!