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When you are thinking about your marketing strategy, and particularly those channels that are often referred to as “social media”, one of the key channels that you will no doubt focus on is Twitter.

When Twitter first burst on to the scene in 2006 it wasn’t replacing anything that already existed – this was something new, a new way to communicate, sharing information with the world in 140 characters (or less). It was frequently described as “micro-blogging”.

The growth and popularity of Twitter has been huge – as at September 2013 there were over 200 million users sending over 400 million tweets daily. It is currently ranked as one of the ten-most-visited websites in the world.

But it’s obvious that the world’s communication channels are evolving rapidly so in this article we take a look at whether Twitter still an effective tool within your content marketing strategy.

Broadcast your message

There are still a lot of users on Twitter. If your marketing analysis shows that your target audience is likely to be accessing information from social media feeds then there is likely to be some inherent value in using Twitter as one of your broadcast channels. Research has shown that the most effective broadcast tweets are those that include an image and a hashtag as well as the link or call to action that you are trying to promote. By using images and hashtags your content is more likely to show up in the Twitter searches that your target audience is doing and will also help the organic search performance of the content that you are posting.

Engage with your audience

Building the number of people that follow you on Twitter is an important way of directly engaging with your existing customers and your target audience. Current analysis indicates that you are more likely to attract new followers to your Twitter feed if you are actively engaging with users on the platform – this means retweeting relevant posts from other users, and being part of conversations with users. This means that you have to do more than just broadcast regular messages – you have to actively engage.

Stay on topic

White the nature of Twitter posts (limited to 140 characters per message) encourages a certain randomness of posts, research by digital marketing experts is showing that you less likely to attract new followers (and just as importantly are more likely to lose existing followers) if you stray off topic with your tweets and re-tweets. It seems that Twitter users respond to consistency. They want to see that you are an expert or an authority on what you are Tweeting about. However there is an implied level of casualness with Twitter so you don’t want to be too corporate, your posts and comments should feel relaxed and conversational.

There is definitely still a place for Twitter in your digital marketing strategy. The key is to create content that is likely to be of value to your target audience, be consistent in your messaging, actively engage with users of the platform. It’s simply one of the golden rules of marketing – don’t be boring.