// News

A turning moment for Twitter?

The Huffington Post recently reported that Twitter had suspended more than 70 million fake accounts in May and June, and in July the social media company took the step to remove the inclusion of suspended or locked accounts from users’ follower counts. This resulted in Barack Obama losing 2.3 million followers overnight and Stephen Fry a mere 400,000, while every member of One Direction also saw significant losses.

As Twitter spokeswoman Vijaya Gadde explained, “Follower counts are a visible feature, and we want everyone to have confidence that the numbers are meaningful and accurate.” This latest decision from Twitter follows a period where ‘fake news’ has dominated both headlines and timelines, and shows its commitment to restoring an element of trust to the platform – something it has often struggled with in the past.

While brands might be shocked to see a drop in followers – with Twitter reporting that the average user should expect to see a decrease of around 6% – the initial losses may actually offer an unexpected opportunity to create better awareness among its followers.

The flippancy of followers

While digital marketing offers brands the opportunity to track all kinds of data, there has often been a lot of scepticism regarding the numbers provided by analytic programmes and websites.

While a follower count is often regarded as the barometer of whether a social channel is successful or not, it’s also important to consider the interactions being achieved. Would you rather your brand has 10 million followers but no interactions, or a smaller audience of whom the majority comment on and share the content you are creating?

Much like the GDPR cull of 2018, the recent purge by Twitter offers brands a similar opportunity to ensure that its content and advertising is reaching real people. Moving forward, if brands can continue to build up a follower base of customers who are loyal and engaged, its content will in theory become much more effective.

Quality over quantity

Fake accounts lead to inflated reach and performance numbers which in the long term aren’t helping brands engage in genuine conversations with its audiences.

If you’re looking to utilise social media to create meaningful connections, it’s important to remember that quality is better than quantity – both in terms of the number of users seeing your posts and content you’re delivering.

Brands should make sure that content is always considered and relevant to the audience, and if you don’t have something new and exciting to say every day, simply don’t say anything – while it’s often expected that brands should be posting every day, posting the same thing time and time again can be overkill. Instead of posting daily content that receives no engagement, it’s better to focus on smaller snippets that will really resonate with your audience.

Time to promote

If your brand has seen a significant decrease in followers and organic follower recruitment doesn’t seem to be making up the lost ground, the post-cull Twitter landscape is an ideal time to try promoting your content. With spam accounts and bots removed, brands can now be assured that promoted posts are seen by real people who share similar interests or values and are more likely to engage with your feed.

To find out how the HROC team can help you with your social media strategy, email gary.hebblethwaite@hroc.co.uk or call us on 0121 454 9707.

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