The Really Big Reveal
Just hours before Christmas 2022, and clear out of the blue, Twitter began showing the number of views every tweet receives.
Using Facebook's launch in 2004 as the big bang of current era social media, Twitter's unprecedented new transparency is showing, after 19 years, the scale of the distorting effects of algorithms.
For us in our specialism of social media marketing in agriculture the new data paint a fascinating picture. The chart below is from our ground-breaking 2023 survey of 500 agriculture businesses and organisations in the UK.
'Reach is king,
content the pawns.'
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The chart explodes three previous marketing assumptions.
Entirely logically, a base assumption has been that increasing an account's number of followers was increasing its marketing reach. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were complicit in the myth-building, even offering, with brass-necked audacity, promotion options to add followers. In fact, using followers as a measure of business performance is like having to run faster and faster up an accelerating down escalator.
This assumption was accompanied by a fond belief most followers would be seeing an account's tweets or posts. As the chart shows, for UK businesses in agriculture the average number of followers seeing tweets is just 9%. And the third assumption fractured is that shares and retweets increase reach pro rata, the reality is that they barely move the dial.
Will the big reveal change social media marketing? Undoubtedly, it's already happening. The obvious difference between followers and views means businesses actively posting on free-to-use social media will re-think. The idea of growing followers as a social media marketing aim will disappear in the rear-view mirror. Overall less resource will be applied to producing content for free-to-use publishing.