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Social Media Week London

Why We Should Heart Twitter

Talk is no longer cheap, it’s practically worthless, claims Telco Lead for Twitter UK, Tariq Slim. According to Slim, recent studies show that our preferred methods of communication are texts, DMs, email and last – and very much least – phone calls.



Add to that the fact, as he states, that “in 2014 the most used word online was the heart emoji,” and you can see that mobile has dramatically changed the way we communicate. Which, as it turns out, might well be bad news for romantic and family relationships, but offers thousands of customer connection opportunities for brands.

The statistics are compelling: the Brits alone look at their phones over 1 billion times a day (not each, as Slim – somewhat regretfully – points out) and Twitter sees over 500 million tweets on every one of those days. This provides advertisers with an “always on, always listening” opportunity to make spontaneous conversation with customers, as well as broadcast scheduled marketing messages. “People have a two way dialogue, so brands need to have a two way dialogue; it’s what people expect,” he says.

Slim identifies the three top trends in mobile as “the Three Cs;” Communication, content and consumption:


Slim points out that the brands who do best on Twitter are the ones who understand that “a conversation-led message” does better than a simple banner ad. While the ultimate intention may be the same (i.e. to drive traffic to a website), a tweet which asks users a question or invites them into a discussion on a specific topic is much less likely to be ignored outright.

Social listening is another boon to brands; for example, during London Fashion Week, Topshop scanned Twitter for references to specific trends, curated a space on their website where these items could be purchased, and adapted their Twitter feed accordingly.


Twitter can give branded content the kind of organic momentum that simply can’t be bought, says Slim, citing the now-infamous example of footballer Ryan Mason, who became an accidental online sensation for all the wrong reasons. When Mason made his international debut for England, it wasn’t his playing that got noticed and drove conversation on Twitter, but rather a tattoo on his arm; a portrait, to be exact. A Twitter user pointed out that it looked rather like a photo of them when they were 12, and posted a photo to prove it — this observation received over 37,000 retweets.

Content on Twitter isn’t confined to text and photos; Twitter-owned Vine has proven to be a hotbed of creative talent, and now the streaming app Periscope enables anyone to broadcast live footage to their followers. One of the first brands to tap Periscope’s potential was holiday company Skyscanner, who worked with travel bloggers to conduct a 24-hour Periscope tour in 24 locations across the world.


When crafting content, the means with which it will be read, watched, liked and shared should be taken into consideration — especially in an increasingly mobile-dominated, vertical-screen landscape.

“We still think of mobile as a separate channel, after TV, radio, etc.,” says Slim. “But the brands who do it right are the ones who see it as mobile threaded through all media. It should complement what you’re doing in other channels.”

Listening to Slim, it’s hard not to believe that Twitter is poised to take over the planet. Indeed, world domination may already have started in Jun, a small town in Spain that has dumped the traditionally bureaucratic piles of paperwork and turned to Twitter as a way of administering its public services more efficiently and more personally. What’s not to love?


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