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By Catherine du Pont, Director of Social Media

Here at Get Community, we like to keep up-to-date on all things social media. Typically, social media has lots of interesting and fun things happening because it’s a fast-moving, constantly changing entity. Some topics that we like to follow are things like: what’s the next big platform (Vero...but it came and went); when is the best time to post your content (Hubspot has you covered there!); or when a major platform (cough cough Twitter) makes huge changes that will drastically change how we run our business.

As you may have guessed from the title of this blog (or if you joined in our Friday the 13th Facebook Live with Kelly & Ryan!), we’re here today to talk about the recent updates that Twitter has made to its rules and API. These changes are primarily in response to the recent crackdown on using bots on Twitter to control what’s trending, spammy hashtags, and the overall plethora of useless and fake tweets. For an individual user, these changes will most likely make your experience on Twitter much better. There will be less #fakenews and more real, human interactions, which is great! However, since we use Twitter as a marketing tool for our clients, there are some updates that will drastically change how we create content on Twitter.

Here’s a rundown on some of the major changes Twitter has made so far this year. Please note that everything in bold is directly from Twitter’s blog post on automation and the use of multiple accounts or their rules.

  • Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously post identical or substantially similar content to multiple accounts. Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously perform actions such as Likes, Retweets, or follows from multiple accounts.  
    • What This Means: Twitter is cracking down on any actions you take across multiple Twitter accounts. Again, this is all in an effort to crack down on bots that were spreading a ton of fake tweets and spammy, abusive content. However, many companies have legitimate reasons for more than one Twitter account. For example, a company might have a brand profile on Twitter but the CEO, Customer Support Team, and the Sales Team might also have their own profiles who tweet about their unique position in the company. They will all use their Twitter profiles in their own ways, but there will likely be times that they would have tweets that they would like to post to all accounts. This is not allowed anymore! We recommend posting from one brand account and retweeting from the secondary accounts when needed.
  • Posting multiple updates (on a single account or across multiple accounts you control) to a trending or popular topic (for instance, through the use of a specific hashtag) with an intent to subvert or manipulate the topic, or to artificially inflate the prominence of a hashtag or topic, is never allowed.
    • What This Means: This primarily has to do with the use of bots and fake accounts that would constantly tweet and retweet the same thing to get a topic or hashtag trending in an effort to sway public opinion. If a topic or hashtag is organically trending, this will not be an issue.
  • From Twitter’s rules, content can be considered spam “if you post duplicative or substantially similar content, replies, or mentions over multiple accounts or multiple duplicate updates on one account, or create duplicate or substantially similar accounts.
    • What This Means: So this is the big one for us. The average lifespan of a tweet is only between 18 and 24 minutes. That is not a very long time! Prior to these changes, we often created what we called “evergreen content” that we could save to our content library and reuse from time to time so that our client’s Twitter accounts had consistent streams of content. Our goal for posting “evergreen content” was to increase the reach of our content. However, with this new rule in place, we are no longer allowed to post an identical tweet AT ALL. You can use the same photo, same link and a similar message but the copy of the tweet can’t be substantially similar to another tweet posted from your account. And yes, adding another exclamation point or switching out one word does make it substantially similar. We aren’t sure how Twitter intends to monitor this, but if you do post duplicate updates even on one account, you are at risk of getting your Twitter account banned. We have zero intentions of letting this happen to any of our accounts so we are currently working on changing up our Twitter strategy!

These are a few of the biggest changes that Twitter has made so far this year but overall, we believe that these are positive changes because Twitter’s goal is to reduce spam accounts and fake news across the Internet. Fake accounts will have limited ability to force trending topics and sway public opinion which will allow Twitter to return to being a place where people can engage with others, speak their mind and voice their own opinions.

So, what do you think about these changes made to Twitter? Will it affect your tweeting strategy? If you have any questions or comments, post a comment below!

Catherine du Pont is the Director of Social Media at Get Community. She enjoys listening to her favorite crime podcasts, rereads one Harry Potter book every year, and loves to travel!

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