What Social Networks Should You Be On, Pt. 1: Twitter

By Cameron Uganec | 2 years ago | No Comments


With 4 major networks, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and new ones growing in popularity every day, it can be difficult to determine where to put your resources and attention. Each network requires a specific content and engagement strategy. The worst thing a marketer could do is “spray and pray”, hitting all the networks with the same messages all the time. At HootSuite, given our audience and our product, it makes sense to dedicate marketing resources to all the social networks, but this is not the case for all organizations. The different networks have different audiences and each one can help you achieve your marketing objectives in different way. Here are 4 questions to consider:

  1. What network(s) does my target audience use the most; specifically what networks would they use to research questions related to my product or service?
  2. What are the marketing objectives we are planning to achieve through social? (Share of Voice, Traffic, Engagement etc)
  3. What are my current resources and budgets for social marketing and what are the resources required to manage each social network?
  4. Where have we had success in the past, look at your past social efforts and determine what has worked for your brand?

This blog series will illustrate the differences between the major social networks to help you decide where to put your resources, starting with Twitter.


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

Along the way we have learned that 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 every day.

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. 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.

In terms of demographics, Twitter sways slightly to adults aged 18-29. That said, Twitter has a very broad audience across ages, genders and incomes. If you create a community around a specific subject, you will find that there is an audience out there that shares an interest in it. You just have to find them, and start engaging. Others will follow.

You don’t need to swallow the whole ocean, choose the network(s) that can help you deliver on your marketing objectives and then focus on getting those right before you expand. Let me know what networks work best for you in the comments or on Twitter @cameronu.

Written by

Nick Ward
Nick Ward 5pts

I find the problem is the investment of time taken is so much even just to gain new a few new followers. Being in Australia, if I Tweet Oz-time, I get people in the middle of the night is the US where the main bulk of Twitter folk are. It probably works much better if you are in LA or New York! Twitter continues to remain an enigma for me. I try and post engaging content, and it just gets lost in the endless feeds of my followers.

evanlepage moderator 5pts

@Nick Ward  Hi Nick. With HootSuite you can schedule Tweets so they are published in prime hours, including when you're asleep but people in the US are awake. Try that as a technique for gaining more global followers

charleskaufman 5pts

Problem with Twitter is one cannot choose who follows you & so you end up with people just like yourself (writer, artist, musician, etc) trying to promote a similar product as your own (book, art, music). On Twitter you reach the sellers or promoters, not the buyers. Marketing is not about how many one reaches (number of Followers), but rather targeting the right people over and over. This is not possible with Twitter.

CameronU 5pts

@charleskaufman  Hi Charles, you can target on Twitter in several ways. Your content and engagement strategies should be matched to the buyers you are trying to attract. Share content that will add value or entertain your target audience and engage with those people. You also can test Twitter Promoted products for more robust targetting.

Tim Fernback
Tim Fernback 5pts

Thanks Cameron.  I have found that Twitter's audience is not just concentrated in the 18- 29 demographic and is likely closer to 18 - 39.  It is the medium of choice for disseminating interesting and engaging information throughout the day.

CameronU 5pts

@Tim Fernback  Hi Tim, I agree, with 560 Million active users the people you can connect with is relatively diverse.