The Twitter recommendations tab: a stark reminder of the importance of personalisation

By Hannah Kimuyu | 01 Jun 2016

In an effort to retain its market share, Twitter has been going through a significant amount of change in the past month. Rumours have been circulating around Twitter potentially increasing its strict word limit for some time, and it was recently confirmed that images will no longer impact the 140 character limit. Clearly demonstrating the company's desires to innovate.

One launch that has caused a significant amount of controversy however, is the "connected recommendations" tab. Twitter claims that it is a better way to connect people and the recommendations will be consistently refined over time based on who you follow and your location. However critics have claimed that this it could overload users with too much information. The reservations around the "connected recommendations tab" illustrates a challenge many marketers face when providing personalised content for their audience; how to balance being useful without being intrusive and overbearing. Similarly, Instagram caused a stir earlier this year with their decision to change their algorithm, providing suggested posts based on what they believe would be of interest to the user. So with these changes, how can marketers ensure their social media content is reaches their desired audience?

Find out who you are communicating with

The key to using social media channels effectively is to understand that each channel plays a different role. The content needs to fit the platform, so if you post on Instagram it needs to be image led, whereas with LinkedIn you would need have some interesting insights such as research and company news from a business perspective. Greenlight recently discovered that out of the 92 companies from the FTSE 100 that tweet, 55% of their followers seem to be fake or inactive, demonstrating that many brands may be sharing content that isn't reaching 'real' users. It also acts as an eye opening reminder to brands and businesses that are investing a great deal of time and resources on content for Twitter that it isn't all about reaching the highest number of followers. To prevent your marketing team from spending its resources talking to no one, take the time to delve a little deeper into where your audience is spending time online and just how actively engaged they really are on these channels. Marketers may be busy, but setting some time aside to see where your target audience really is, will allow for you to build a better strategy to engage your potential customers.

A granular approach will allow for your brand to storm ahead

Twitter's "connected recommendation tab" could prove to be successful, if what users get recommended really is what they are interested in. A husband that bought a new handbag for his wife at Christmas, won't enjoy receiving recommendations to follow fashion bloggers for example. Marketers can prevent this from happening by taking a granular approach to their targeting process. As a general rule, businesses will need to remember that there is a demographic behind each platform. Facebook has an older user base than many would think, whereas Snapchat is currently being enjoyed by younger users. Plus remember that users from different age groups and locations are likely to have very diverse interests. Taking a blanket approach of assuming that all 30-50 year olds will be interested in the same product and price range, could find your brand frustrating potential customer with irrelevant posts.

Use tailored tools that suit you

There are many tools on the market that can help brands analyse their social media presence and reduce their chance of annoying their customers, with the likes of Glow and Hootsuite often being used by businesses to manage and listen to their audience. However, there isn't one that covers all channels, so before purchasing a tool ensure you know where your audience lies, what your social media strategy is and which one would give you the best insight into your choice of social media platform.

The launch of the "connected recommendations" tab shows Twitter is trying to support its users in building a network and ensure their user base doesn't jump ship. However, with each change social media platforms introduce, marketers face a whole new set of challenges. A granular approach to better understanding your audience and taking advantage of the tools that are on the market will allow for marketers to transform these challenges into opportunities. 

This article was first published on the ExchangeWire website.

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