On March 23th, 2018 Twitter enforced several significant changes in their rules and policies for sharing and using social media automation. The new Twitter rules are aimed at cracking down on malicious bots, fraudulent accounts, fake news, and SPAM. However, the new rules impact all users as well as all social media automation tools. And they certainly force companies to rethink their corporate communication and scheduling practice on Twitter. Here is what you need to know about the new Twitter rules and how you can still strive on Twitter.
Why Twitter is changing the rules
The very easy way to spread messages across millions of users makes the short messaging network a valuable channel for daily communication as well as for promoting products and services.
Every second, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter. This means over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year.
However, Twitter is also misused by fraudulent governments and shady businesses. Fake news and SPAM has become a severe problem on Twitter over the last couple of years, most obvious during the 2016 US Elections.
One of the most common spam violations we see is the use of multiple accounts and the Twitter developer platform to attempt to artificially amplify or inflate the prominence of certain Tweets.
Twitter is now responding to malicious activities caused by fraudulent accounts and spambots flooding the Twittersphere with fake news and manipulative spammy messages.
With the new rules, Twitter will now be enforcing new limitations on what users are allowed to do when using social media automation tools for auto-posting and scheduling.
With the enforcement of the new rules, Twitter will restrict users from posting the same or even substantially similar original content to multiple accounts as well as in performing simultaneous actions across multiple accounts.
Basically, the new Twitter rules state:
You may not post duplicative or substantially similar Tweets on one account or over multiple accounts you operate.
The use of any form of automation (including scheduling) to post identical or substantially similar content, or to perform actions such as Likes or Retweets, across many accounts that have authorized your app (whether or not you created or directly control those accounts) is not permitted.
These limitations apply regardless of whether the tweets are published at the same time, or are scheduled for future publication.
This means, many common and effective marketing practices are no longer allowed, even if they rely on totally legitimate Twitter users and legitimate contents.
As an alternative to posting identical content, retweets are still permitted.
You can retweet from one account to other accounts you wish to share that post from.
This should only be done from a small number of distinct accounts that you directly control. Please note that bulk, aggressive, or very high-volume automated Retweeting is not permitted under the Automation Rules, and may be subject to enforcement actions.
How the new Twitter rules affect social media automation
Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously post identical or substantially similar content to multiple accounts. This applies regardless of whether the Tweets are published to Twitter at the same time, or are scheduled/queued for future publication.
Another common practice in social media automation is the performance of actions such as Likes or Retweets across multiple accounts, which will also be restricted under the new Twitter rules:
Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously perform actions such as Likes, Retweets, or follows from multiple accounts. For example, your service should not permit a user to select several accounts they control to follow a specified account.
If you are using social media tools to automatically follow, like or retweet posts, you will be no longer allowed to do this without risking that Twitter will suspend your account.
If you are using TweetDeck you will have noticed that Twitter has already implemented these rules, and you will no longer be able to select multiple accounts through which to perform an action such as tweeting, retweeting, liking, or following.
However, social media tools will still play a major role in social media management in corporate communication. However, they will be used primarily for cross-promoting, rather than cross-posting on social media.
How the new Twitter rules will impact social media marketing
First of all, keep in mind that the new Twitter rules won’t impose a point zero to all your Twitter marketing activities. The use of social media automation will stay common practice. And, scheduling and posting of real-time updates, as well as RSS-feeds, will still be permitted through the use of automation.
You can also still share the same content to multiple accounts by using retweets and individually tailored tweets and comments for each Twitter account. By individualizing your Twitter messages for sharing content across multiple accounts your Tweets will not only go along with the new Twitter rules, but they will also provide a better user experience. Quality content will ultimately win the game, on any social network.
7 Key Strategies You Can Still Use To Thrive On Twitter
#1 Provide high-quality content with added value
This goes almost without saying: Content quality will remain to be the number one success factor on Twitter. Stand out by sharing high-quality content that is well-researched and helpful for your followers.
Don’t rely on Twitter as an advertising channel. In order to generate leads and customers for your brand or business, valuable content is your currency for reaching out to your followers and prospects. Always add value to each Tweet. Quality content is the only thing which keeps followers coming back for likes and retweets.
#2 Share attention-grabbing graphics, motion graphics and videos
Visual content is still the number one when it comes to catching attention and driving likes and shares. Research shows that
Videos and infographics provide even more space for visual as well as text information than you could ever put into even the extended character limit of 280 characters per Tweet.
The video format offers great possibilities for corporate communication in terms of giving your company a vivid image and drive your marketing revenues with storytelling, tutorials, live interviews or funny clips.
Also, try motion graphics. They provide a good opportunity to spice up your feed with useful as well as funny content. Especially, when aiming at engaging with younger targets, you can profit a lot from motion graphics clips.
EXTRA TIP: Share all your images with link posts as well as with image posts
When you share a blog post that contains more than one image on Twitter, share all your shareable blog post images on Twitter, by using link post formats as well as image post formats. When sharing your posts with a standard link post, your tweet will display your featured image in the preview. For resharing your content you can select different images to go with your features image. But you can also share your post as image tweets, by using all your blog posts images with a link to your post. Sharing your featured image as image tweet followed by more images tweets with your other blog posts graphics will extend the lifetime of your content and brings more variations for generating more tweets on your posts.
Twitter post formats: image post vs. link post
Don’t forget to integrate a link to your blog post when posting an image tweet.
#3 Recycle and repurpose your content
The less Twitter allows reposting the same content, the more important is it to vary, recycle and repurpose your content for resharing.
When you reshare your content, always vary your comment a little, using different text messages, #hashtags, hashflags, emojis, or include different images, or use different post formats (image posts or link posts). Add different comments for your retweets as well.
You can also recycle your content by turning it into different content formats, for example:
- Turn your key facts and images into a slideshow, a graphic or infographic, a checklist or a video clip or into all of them.
- Add voice to your post and turn your blog post into a podcast.
- Turn long posts into a white paper or ebook.
#4 Curate quality content of others
Sharing quality content from other sources and especially from influencers in your industry will increase the credibility of your Twitter feed and strengthen your company’s reputation. Content curation brings more content diversity to your feed and turns your Twitter channel into a valuable resource of information on your topic.
By tagging and @mentioning the content source you will increase attention, likes, and shares for your own content.
So, always remember to tag other Twitter users, when sharing or commenting their content or when replying to them. They will notice and most likely respond with a like, a retweet or a comment in return and this will push your own tweets as well.
This is how you create the perfect social media content mix
The perfect social media content mix
#5 Share at the best times for more engagement
Scheduling Tweets by means of automation will stay an important practice for corporate communication on social media.
Knowing your target audience’s peak hours on Twitter can have a major impact on your Twitter performance. If you have no idea, start by looking at the general best times to post to Twitter:
The Twittersphere is most active during the daytime hours between 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. in your respective time zone. Tweets posted during that time will generate 30% more interaction. Tweets on weekends generate 17% higher engagement than on weekdays.
Social media automation tools can help you to schedule your tweets at the best times, even during off-office-hours. This can make your social media management a lot easier. Especially, when you are promoting in different time zones or when your target audience is less likely to be online during your working hours, you won’t be able to get your job done without scheduling your tweets with the help of social media automation. However, always stick to the rules for social media automation.
#6 Ask for retweets
The more the new Twitter rules limit you in resharing yourself on Twitter, the more you need your followers to retweet your posts. Using strong call-to-actions (CTAs) such as “please retweet” can have a tremendous impact on your engagement rate. In fact, tweets asking for RTs are getting 23% more retweets than tweets without.
#7 Ask questions and engage your community in polls
Everyone likes to be asked and to give an opinion. If you have an active community and engage regularly, asking questions will even work even better for you!
Ask your audience about their opinion on current events, trends or developments in your industry. By getting feedback from your audience, you will not only boost your engagement but also get a better insight into what your customers a looking for.
EXTRA TIP: Use the poll feature to boost engagement
To create extra engagement, try out Twitter’s interactive polls feature. It’s a great way to interact with your followers, receive valuable feedback and show that you care about your followers.
Conclusion: How Twitter is changing the game
And, you can still use the help of social media automation. However, look out for tools that help you customizing and tailoring your tweets. Look out for tools that let you define different text messages, select different images, different post formats (link post or images post) in order to tailor and schedule your tweets and retweets for each of your Twitter channels.
Now over to you. What do you think of the new Twitter rules and regulations? Do you think they make sense or do you think Twitter is overreacting and overstretching all common sense?
How will the new Twitter rules change your social media marketing? Are you moving along or giving up in despair? Let me know what you think!
Melanie Tamble is an expert on Corporate Communications for Social Media. Melanie is also an expert in content marketing, public relations and social media. She worked as corporate communications manager for corporations like Microsoft and Abit, before starting her own company in 2000. Melanie Tamblé is co-founder and co-CEO of Adenion GmbH, based in Germany, where she provides apps and tools for businesses and agencies of any size to support their online marketing tasks. With Blog2Social the Adenion team provides a smart social media automation tool for cross-promoting, syndicating and scheduling marketing contents across multiple social media sites. The tools and services are dedicated to help clients customizing their contents into engaging social media messages for each social community and to ensure an consistent content stream on their timelines.