The Effects of Twitter as a News Source for Brands
The print industry may be struggling, but that doesn't mean that people don't want the news.
In an ever-changing digital world, it's not that people have different wants and needs, we just have different expectations.
I love to start my day with the news, even on the weekend. But a bulky newspaper that leaves me with ink stained fingers is just not as convenient as scrolling through my phone with one hand and holding my coffee with the other.
Increasingly, I'm finding that Twitter is becoming my top place to get news. Twitter is a great place to hear about breaking news as it happens.
It's easily accessible, the 140 character limitation is perfect for headlines, and tweets have the potential to spread fast.
According to the Pew Research Center, 36% of people get their news links from friends and family on Twitter, and 27% get them from news organizations and journalists. That says a lot about the power of the retweet.
Twitter presents an opportunity for companies to build their reputation as a resource for news. However brands also need to be cautious so as to not harm their credibility through Twitter.
Twitter as a 24 Hour News Channel
Twitter news is delivered around the clock in real time.
The benefit is not having to wait for the 11:00 news to come on or for the morning newspaper to be delivered. The problem is when the focus is on speed; fact checking can take a backseat.
Retweeting spreads mistakes and things often times get out of hand. In one case a tweet that contained false information was retweeted over 3,000 times even though it was deleted after just a few minutes.
This shows how the impact of a tweet can spread far beyond it's initial impression.
Create News Lists
If you use Twitter as a news source, rather than relying on your general feed, create a list. Put journalists and news organizations on the list as well as those who share credible news in your industry. To decide who is credible, look for those who link to news articles on trustworthy sites.
Consider following these credible news sources:
- CNN Breaking News
- Reuters Live
- WSJ Breaking News
- Bloomberg News
- The New York Times
- Breaking News
Direct to Twitter For Announcements
Breaking news directly on Twitter is becoming more common.
Recently, the arrival of the royal baby was announced this way. The method was faster than notifying the media or sending a press release. This proved to be an effective way to spread the news. That day Twitter reported over 2 million mentions and that the #RoyalBaby hashtag was used more than 900,000 times.
The Primetime Emmy Awards will also use Twitter as a way to announce this year's nominees.
The Impact on Brands
Twitter has a huge impact on brands as a channel for two way conversations. When it comes to news the same is true.
Twitter can serve as an educational resource as well as a way to broadcast information.
Who is Your Audience?
While you may have a large audience on Twitter, not everyone that you want to reach may be active on there.
People who aren't on Twitter still know about the Royal Baby. Twitter was the place where the news originated, but other outlets picked the story up and ran with it.
Your brand may not have the same happen with your news. If you initially make a big announcement on Twitter; plan to make additional announcements in other places such as Facebook, your blog and on your website.
Since your announcement on Twitter will be limited to 140 characters, you will most likely want to provide additional information when possible anyway.
Brands who use Twitter as a place to find news are able to newsjack quickly, especially when the news breaks on Twitter first. By being a brand who always shares news items in a timely manner, you become a brand worth following in your industry.
If you are able to create content quickly based on news items even better, think of the attention Oreo got during the Super Bowl. This was low cost, and got them more attention than a lot of the companies who paid for Super Bowl advertising.
Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
For brands interested in newsjacking, following trending hashtags is a great way to keep up with what people are talking about on Twitter. Things that are trending on Twitter can give you something to newsjack on a slow news day.
For example last week was national ice cream day, not a widely reported story, but one that was trending. Maybe that inspires you to write an article about 5 ways an ice cream sundae is like your business. Of course you'd have to be able to publish the same day to pull it off in a timely manor, which is the challenge that faces any company that is interested in newsjacking.
Twitter is a news source that presents a lot of opportunities for brands that are ready to jump into stories in real time. However this practice may not be for everyone, and brands need to be cautious that any news they are sharing is accurate. You don't want to harm your credibility by being part of a rumor mill.
Wondering where to begin?