Twitter is a vast ocean of information that is constantly being washed over with new content every second of the day. This fact alone can make Twitter feel like an overwhelming marketing tool or one that is simply impossible to keep up with. The fact is that you don’t have to keep up with it all. You only have to effectively connect with one of the several distinct communication networks that exist within Twitter to make an impact.
To better understand just how our communication strategy should shift when reaching out to these various groups of contacts, let’s take a look at the 6 different networks as well as how we can more effectively shape our message to appeal to them.
1. Polarized Crowds
This communication network attracts some of the most heated and uncomfortable Tweet debates out there. You know what I’m talking about, the ones where 140 characters are flying back and forth with more sarcasm and passive aggression than any professional adult would dare to use face to face.
Polarized crowds make the social media world go round. It’s why divisive topics like pro-life/pro-choice, religion, immigration, gun control, and every other political issue imaginable rank among the top trending hashtags day after day.
Polarized crowds are a great network to tap into if you’re looking to “poke the bear” a little. Stirring up a debate is an effective way to get your name out there – for better or for worse. Just be prepared to stay interactive with this network as responses will come at you faster than you might be able to handle and an unacknowledged Tweet is often assumed a concession.
2. Tight Crowds
Opposite to polarized crowds in tight crowds. These are a network of Twitter followers that come together over a unified hobby or career. If you’re into social media marketing, for example, there is certainly a “tight crowd” to tap into for professional advice and discussion.
You can utilize the knowledge of tight crowds by regularly participating in live discussions. Research relevant hashtags or upcoming tweet chats and jump right in! Be sure and balance sharing information with asking insightful questions. Never has such a wealth of knowledge been expressed in rapid-fire mini-conversations.
3. Brand Clusters
Brand clusters are fun because they are the cutting edge (if not bleeding edge) of anything trendy going on. This is a fragmented community, but very tight-knit when you hit upon a trend that a group of people is interested in.
You can easily identify potential brand clusters by watching what’s trending on Twitter at any given moment. Check out the hashtags to get in on this network and contribute some valuable information of your own that just might earn you some extra trendy clout.
4. Community Clusters
Community clusters are exactly that, a cluster. You can often find them swarming around news events whether it’s local, regional, national, or global. Community clusters are a great way to stay in the know of what is going on in a particular area.
Harness the power of community clusters by carefully crafting your content to what is most likely to interest them given their demographics and geographic location. Or find answers to particular questions – even public opinion – by joining in a tweet chat relevant to your topic of interest.
5. Broadcast Networks
Next up is broadcast networks which include media outlets and famous individuals who are in the public eye. Public Relations professionals are most likely keeping a close eye on this communication network as they present relationships that could offer future publicity for your client or cause.
The best way to utilize the broadcast network on Twitter is to stay up to date and to offer meaningful information, when appropriate.
Keep in mind that this network is most likely to be bombarded with news pitches and requests for retweets every minute of the day. They’ve become mostly immune to all the “noise.” Your best bet to breaking through is to first build a sincere relationship, only tweet when you have something really good to say, and support them in return by retweeting and favoriting their tweets (with insightful comments, for bonus points).
6. Support Networks
Finally, there are support networks. These include companies or services with customer support and non-profit organizations that may offer emotional or medical support to their constituents. For the most part, the members of this network have a vested interest in helping you solve your problems. This is when one small tweet can go a long way to getting the support you need.
The best way to utilize support networks is to be kind, ask a sincere question or politely explain a problem and always, always use your manners! I stress this because it can be easy to get irritated when dealing with a customer service issue, but just as much as the problem is a reflection on the company, how you communicate with them is a reflection on your own brand.
Now that you have a better understanding of the 6 different types of Twitter networks, be sure and consider this information when planning your social media strategy. Who you’re trying target should shape your message and the way you approach questions/discussions. It can also help you organize your list of contacts to connect with them on a more personal level.