Common advice recently regarding social media is typically following one particular set of lines. You need – absolutely need – to be available for mobile users. The commonly cited reason is Facebook, with it’s ever-increasing population of mobile users. What about other networks, though? Instagram is focused entirely on mobile, so that’s a given.
Twitter is the interesting one here. Twitter was founded as a mobile service, posting to a website only for convenience. Ever since that start, it has been dominating in the mobile field.
Today, over 80% of all users on Twitter are using it via mobile devices. They’re using smartphones with browsers and apps rather than the SMS commands Twitter created and still maintains, of course. Still, that’s a shocking number. If you’re a business, and you’re trying to use Twitter, and you somehow don’t have a site that works for mobile users, you’re limiting yourself to just two out of every ten users. That means out of Twitter’s 284 million monthly users, you’re only able to entice, and maximum, 57 million of them.
To add another number to the pile, 85% of all ad revenue for Twitter came from mobile devices as well. This means that a shockingly large amount of money is limited to those who can capitalize on the mobile markets.
Throughout all of this, Twitter has been seeing some rough waters with their stock prices and their consumer confidence. They aren’t upgrading their service and adding features fast enough to compete, and it’s showing with depressed stock values.
There are two ways you as a business owner can cater to mobile users and gain their attention. The first is on your website, the second is on Twitter itself.
For your website, you obviously need to be accessible to mobile browsers. This means either a dedicated mobile site or a responsive design. Frankly, a responsive design is the way to go. They’re easier than ever to implement, and they’re valuable in a number of ways. With a stand-alone mobile site, you have to either prune everything down so much that you can barely brand your page, or you have to carefully consider the mobile devices your users use.
The reason is because of the drastically different screen sizes from device to device. Users on old-generation smartphones end up using tiny resolutions compared to modern users on tablets and larger smartphones. You can even display a nearly desktop-level site to a tablet these days. The only reason you can’t is because of the code rendering and multimedia issues some tablets have.
Responsive design also has the benefit of working on any device and allowing quick, easy updates. You don’t need to make sure two versions of every page are concurrent and accurate, you just need to make sure one source of data in the background is accurate.
You also don’t have to worry about SEO issues with responsive design, as long as that design works. With a mobile version of a site, if it’s incorrectly redirected, poorly flagged or not canonicalized, you can experience keyword cannibalism or duplicate content issues. Besides, Google says responsive design is the right industry standard, and who are we to question the big G?
Twitter as a site, of course, is already optimized for mobile devices. You don’t have to worry about their responsive design, their apps, their user experience or anything else. The only thing you have to worry about is your own profile and your content.
As for your profile, the first thing you need to do is make sure your branding is consistent and obvious. If your cover photo and profile picture are unrelated to your brand, and are just tagged with a tiny logo in the corner, it’s going to get lost on smaller devices. At the very least, make sure your profile picture is the right branded version of your logo to suit your needs. If you’re still early enough in the process to set up your account name and URL in a branded way, do that as well.
As for your tweets themselves, how can you make them beneficial to mobile users? First of all, any text content you post is going to be useful for mobile users regardless of the subject. It’s not as though using a phone to view Twitter suddenly makes some words not display. That just leaves links and images.
For links, a shortlink is essential on Twitter, but you also need to make sure the destination of the link works for mobile users. If it’s your own website, you should know, but if it’s an external website you may want to test it out before you post the link. A lot of users, if they’re confronted with a link that brings them to a page they can’t easily read, will abandon both the linked site and the Twitter feed without a second thought.
For images, follow all the typical mobile image guidelines. You’ll want to avoid images with a lot of tiny, fine detail unless you’re sure that detail comes through in the mobile devices used by your customers. If you’re layering text over the images, you’ll want to make sure it’s not poorly scaled or too small to see on a small screen.
Another image concern for mobile is color. Some older devices in particular will have issues with rich color images. This means using particular shades that aren’t supported on certain devices makes those images look odd or off-putting on those devices.
Don’t forget about Twitter ads, as well. Ads need to follow all of the same image and link guidelines as your tweets, but possibly even more stringently. This is because you’re trying as hard as possible to make sure your conversion rates are through the roof.
Finally, don’t forget to use the tools at your disposal. There are any number of useful and valuable Twitter apps out there to help you schedule tweets, analyze reach, find new users, follow the people who follow you and so forth. You can even set up a system where you follow new users who perform certain actions, like following another of your accounts or using a particular hashtag. You can send direct messages automatically, though you should be cautious of doing so.
As with any form of social automation, of course, be careful. You can’t let users know you’re essentially a robot posting most of the time; they expect a real human behind the screen. If they send you a message or mention your brand, you should have a real human response, not an automated response or an ignore. Just going that extra mile convinces users to engage with your brand that much more.
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