How to use Twitter as a public communication

Study: Influence of the new Twitter rules on social media communication

Results of the survey and expert opinions on the influence of the new Twitter rules on social media communication

How do social media users use Twitter and what effects do the new Twitter rules have on communication? In a survey we asked Twitter users and experts for statements. We would like to present the interesting findings to you.

In 2018, Twitter made some serious tightening of the rules for Twitter communication and the use of social media automation. Twitter is thus reacting to the increasing use of fake and bot accounts to manipulate public opinion formation. The new Twitter rules for communication with the short message service are primarily aimed at preventing the sharing of largely similar or identical content across multiple accounts.
However, the new rules apply to all Twitter accounts. Since the use of social media tools has been restricted, the new Twitter rules also have an impact on the social media planning and communication of companies. But how do companies deal with it? We found out in a survey. 680 Twitter communicators took part in this survey. We also asked 8 Twitter experts which strategies they recommend.

Download the summary of the survey and expert statements "Influence of the new Twitter rules on social media communication" now

Influence of the new Twitter rules on social media communication - survey results and expert statements

1. Twitter remains a popular social media channel for business communication

Around half of all survey participants (49.9%) use Twitter purely for work. Expert Daniela Rorig also communicates on Twitter exclusively in a professional environment: "I only have one Twitter account, which I strictly only use for my business profile.
Twitter is used by 40.3 percent of respondents both professionally and privately. In addition to a Twitter company account, the expert Eduard Andrae also operates a private channel. Since the two accounts differ from one another thematically, the distinction between professional and private is clear. Only 10.4 percent of the survey participants only use Twitter for private purposes.

2. Companies continue to use multiple Twitter accounts despite new Twitter rules

The new Twitter rules are intended to restrict multiple posting of the same or largely identical post content from one or more Twitter accounts. The main aim of this is to prevent the mass posting of spam messages. But it also limits legitimate tweets.

Despite the restrictions on posting multiple accounts, well over half of all survey participants (55.3%) stated that they used two or more Twitter accounts for social media marketing.

PR expert Stefan Schütz, team leader of one of the largest owner-managed agencies in Germany, also communicates via several Twitter accounts. "I look after various customer Twitter accounts”Explains Schütz. "The industries of the customers may in some cases be very similar or even identical. However, the respective content strategy is always individual.“Despite the new Twitter rules, this has not changed anything for Stefan Schütz in his Twitter communication.

3. Content curation is an integral part of the Twitter strategy

On average, the surveyed Twitter users share 7.7 of their own content per week, i.e. more than one of their own content per day. In addition, the respondents curate an average of 8 posts per week from external sources, i.e. more than one post per day.

Twitter expert Eduard Andrae also tweets a total of two to three times a day. If possible, he refrains from repetitions. "Instead, I try to create a mix of new, current tweets as well as retweets of thematically appropriate tweets from other accounts”, Eduard Andrae explains his posting strategy.

Content curation has become an important part of a varied Twitter communication. Because in this way, further information can be shared beyond your own content that may be of interest to followers and readers. This allows you to draw attention to your own social media channels and at the same time expand your expert status. For Twitter expert Juliane Benad, content curation has long been part of the Twitter content marketing mix. "There is so much interesting specialist information out there", Describes Benad,"which are interesting for my community, which I could not and would not process all alone. Just sharing my own content on Twitter is not in the social media sense either. For me it's a mix of tweets about my own content, third-party content and spontaneous tweets such as live tweets etc.

4. Retweets are mainly used to share external content

With the help of the retweet function, 71 percent of all respondents on Twitter curate content from external sources and thus offer readers, in addition to their own content, additional information and added value. The Twitter expert Sarah Blakowski uses the retweet function just like the vast majority of the survey participants (see above). "I mainly use retweets to share other people's content on my timeline through my account", She explains,"because I find it good or relevant for my followers, for example.

Twitter expert Sebastian Riehle also uses the retweet function to conduct content curation. For him, retweets are part of a varied and authentic Twitter channel. Just like Sebastian Riehle, Anna Carla Springob sees the benefit of the retweet function in bringing more diversity to Twitter communication. "Only with the help of retweets and participation in discussions in the network", She describes her opinion," can successful Twitter marketing work. "
Although Twitter allows users to automatically retweet their own tweets against the background of the new rules, only just under a third (29%) of those surveyed stated that they used the retweet function for commenting on their own retweets.

5. Posting frequency on Twitter has not changed despite new guidelines

The posting behavior of most Twitter users has not changed despite the extensive Twitter changes. The posting frequency on Twitter has remained the same despite the new guidelines, as stated by over ¾ of all respondents (77.2%). The frequency of tweets has also remained the same for most of the Twitter experts.
The Twitter expert Stefan Schütz confirms that his posting behavior on Twitter has not changed with the new guidelines. In Schütz's opinion, tweets live primarily from their topicality and the corresponding context. In order to make “repetitions” of his own content as varied as possible, he uses the individualization of social media posts. "Another hashtag, new hooks or various references to suitable or (in) directly affected third-party accounts", Explains Stefan Schütz his tactics,"there are many ways to share evergreens again without offending them.

6. 280 characters are hardly used - two thirds of the tweets are still shorter

Starting with 140 characters per tweet, Twitter relaxed the character limit to 280 characters at the end of 2017 in order to create additional space for links and images. Almost half of the respondents (46%) stated that they used between 100 and 140 characters for tweets. Overall, 67.2 percent of those surveyed use 140 characters or significantly fewer for Twitter posts. The majority of the survey participants did not use the character extension on Twitter to the full.

Only just under a third (32.8%) of those surveyed used the option of sending longer tweets with more than 140 characters. So Twitter is still mainly used as a short message service.

For the Twitter expert Benjamin Brückner, from Zielbar, nothing has changed in communication with the expansion of the number of characters on Twitter. He still adheres to the journalistic principle “as much as necessary, as little as possible”. "The scope of a tweet depends on the associated message and amount of information”, Explains Brückner.

Eduard Andrae sums up the benefits of expanding the number of characters even more critically:

"If you have not been able to transmit your net message in 140 characters so far, you will not be able to do it with 280 characters!"

If you have not been able to transmit your net message on Twitter in 140 characters, you will not be able to do it with 280 characters! Click to tweet

Unlike Brückner and Andrae, however, Twitter expert Daniela Rorig sees it. She rarely uses the full number of 280 characters on Twitter. "But my tweets have become more varied and complex”, Explains Daniela Rorig her new Twitter strategy with the possibility of using 280 characters for tweets. "As short as possible, as long as necessary - I can do that even better now”.

7. Less is more - economical use of #hashtags ensures more interaction

Regardless of the number of characters or the format used for a Twitter post, the use of #hashtags is a good way to be found on Twitter with your own topics or curated posts and to improve visibility in the news feed.

Respondents use an average of 3 #hashtags per tweet. The more #hashtags are used in a post, the better these posts can be assigned to topics in the search. However, it should be noted that a tweet with 1-2 hashtags has 21 percent higher interaction than posts with three or more #hashtags. It is therefore advisable to use #hashtags on Twitter sparingly. Because too many hashtags can seriously impair the readability and understandability of posts. So more #hashtags don't automatically bring more visibility or engagement.
Twitter expert Juliane Benad also recommends using 1-2 #hasthtags for Twitter posts. One should be careful not to “tag” every term and, above all, include easily readable and easy-to-remember hashtags, advises Juliane Benad on her blog.

8. Visual content is most successful in Twitter communication

For successful communication on Twitter, it is especially important to be seen by followers and users with your own or curated content. Posting as varied and interesting topics as possible is the key to greater engagement and reach on Twitter. In addition, the frequency of posts has a major impact on the visibility of content on Twitter. However, different rules also apply to communication on the various social media networks. It is therefore advisable to take into account the specifics of successful communication on Twitter in order to understand how successful communication on Twitter actually works.

Above all, choosing the right post format is a decisive factor in ensuring that followers and readers perceive the information posted as varied and interesting. In the experience of the survey participants, the post formats that generate the most engagement on Twitter channels are 'picture post with link' (18.8%), followed by 'text post with link' (18.3%) and the 'Bild-Post ohne Link' (16.9%).

9. Customization and quality of tweets are most important when dealing with the new Twitter rules

It's not just the post format that is critical to the success of Twitter posts. Especially against the background of the latest Twitter changes that were introduced to curb spam messages, it becomes clear that the quality of posts plays a central role in communication on Twitter. For most of the respondents, too, the quality of posts (18.2%) is most important for Twitter communication, followed by the targeted use of #hashtags (15.8%) and the frequency with which posts are shared (13.7%) %).

For the Twitter expert and editor Benjamin Brückner, quality comes before quantity. In doing so, he clearly emphasizes the benefits of content for the community. "Is the tweet helpful?”, Explains Brückner the steps of his Twitter marketing. "Are the hashtags relevant to the topic and, in the case of content recommendations, have I correctly identified the originator of the source?

In order to actually deal with the new Twitter rules, the respondents and the Twitter experts do not only rely on the quality of content and tweets. The customization of posts has also become important. Therefore, for 18% of respondents, using individual images is the best option for dealing with the new Twitter rules. Varying posts is also very important for many survey participants (17.7%), followed by setting individual comments (17.4%).

10. Social media automation tools are still used for scheduling and sharing tweets

The social media networks offer every opportunity for companies, bloggers or organizations to attract more attention to topics and to achieve greater reach with information. In order to use Twitter successfully for social media marketing, it is advisable to use automation tools and thereby save a lot of time and resources. However, the basic rules of social media automation must be observed.

Overall, 71.6 percent of all survey participants said they already use tools for social media automation. When looking after his Twitter accounts, Twitter expert Benjamin Brückner also uses social media automation tools. "For each of my accounts I use a separate [Social Media Automation Tool Account], through which I plan the respective tweets.

Of those surveyed, 41.7 percent use social media automation tools to share blog posts. Almost a third (32.1%) of the survey participants use tools for social media automation to schedule posts. The use of RSS feeds is not important for the users of social media automation tools. Only 3.6 percent of respondents said they share RSS feeds on Twitter.


The new Twitter rules put the quality of the content and individual communication in the foreground. This must be reflected both in personal communication and in the use of social media tools. Companies that communicate relevant content and maintain personal dialog with their followers will continue to be able to use Twitter successfully. Social media automation tools support the individual dialog for each network.

Download the summary of the survey and expert statements "Influence of the new Twitter rules on social media communication" now

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November 21, 2018Bastian RapplSocial MediaSocial Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Twitter