Guest post by Finn MacLeod from ZenLikeFocus who we featured in Business Showcase recently. Photo by Geoff Livingston with licence cc by-SA 2.0

Twitter remains an awesome, highly current network, where the very best and most influential hang out to discuss with Haiku like precision. The value of a Twitter user is currently significantly higher than a user of Facebook…and I believe is still massively undervalued. Not only is the  “10,000 character tweet limit”  misunderstood, but I propose that it represents a strategic direction, that if pulled off correctly,  will mean that twitter will skyrocket.

  1. Technical Excellence.
  2. Twitter as a network of influencers. The home of the activists, the journalists and  the politicians.
  3. The 10,000 word tweet.

Technical Excellence:

Unless you’ve been involved technically in the verification of social media stats, stats that don’t update straight away are not that noticeable. However, I believe there is a maturity of the twitter technical infrastructure that other systems do not have.

For example, we looked into a pitch for a company called Newsflare.com. Newsflare, like Storyful and handful of other companies are in the video verification business. They hunt “previral” videos. The business model: A meteorite lands in Chelyabinsk, there’s a farmer outside who happens to get a clip from his phone, and he uploads it onto Youtube. Newsflare race get to him before anyone else, do the legals, buy the rights, and then sell it on to CNN, BBC etc.

 

So there is an industry in anticipating virality. Polling Youtube for those videos that are gaining likes or comments fast is a first time attempt at predicting virality. But Youtube (at least last time we looked at it) was too slow.  But you can do it if you use twitter. The number of twitter shares is real time metric to reveal this kind of thing.

Going from daily price changes to dynamic pricing every fifteen minutes is a key competitive advantage of Amazon over other retailers. It makes a huge, immediate difference in sales [1]).

An ad-network is no different. Faster “real time” information is something that, if the right machine learning models are built around it, drives a better performing ad-network.  I believe this advantage has yet to be realised.

2 – Twitter is a network of influencers

There is a quality to conversations on Twitter that doesn’t exist on other networks. Almost all heads of state are on Twitter; Twitter’s real time, 140 character limit appeals to journalists; and bloggers…well they almost always prefer twitter. It is worth noting that in the London riots, the Arab Spring – when the ****  really goes down – people turn to Twitter to spread the message.

So much more than Facebook, Twitter is a network of influencers.

But the value of influencers is not in their direct attention, it is in the attention of their networks. For bloggers, this value comes from the ads on the blog, the affiliate links. And Twitter, currently, captures none of this value.

So…

First and foremost  – to clear up the rumour of the 10,000 word tweet. We are NOT going to see 10,000 word tweets. We are going to see links to content that is 10,000 words within the Twitter platform.

This benefits the bloggers; If Twitter can serve up their ads right, it should speedup the user experience, and monetise more effectively than an external ad platform. They know a lot more about the users that are clicking through to read those blogs, and can expect to be a serious competitor to Google’s Display Network. Twitter has the capacity to deliver better monetization for those same bloggers that currently promote on Twitter but host off it.

This is big business. The Google algorithm has driven an explosion in content marketing. Something else that is evolving: “Trashy” content marketing doesn’t get viral traffic. Successful content marketing pieces are more likely to be around 2500 words – longer than most people expect. So, increasingly, businesses invest a lot of money in creating the very best content. Not mediocre content, but investing in one great post, that is the definitive authority for one particular keyword. And then they promote this content. By sharing yes, but also by targeted reach out to the right independent influencers.

Being the bridge between influential bloggers and companies that need promotion is home ground for Twitter. The “10,000” word tweet is a step towards facilitating this bridge and making a margin (and  Twitter has the data to do this better than anyone else).  If Twitter can intertwine its fortunes with the growth of content marketing and keep the bloggers happy – it has a very rosy future ahead.

“Big data is worth nothing until it is big enough to be worth everything”

Dr. Finn Macleod is founder of zenlikefocus.com – a targeting and analytics tool to grow a focused following on social media.

[1] For example – look at the chart presented by the Boomerang Commerce teamin the 2014 techcrunch finals.


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