Who do you want to reach on Twitter? What are the best times to reach them? You can find the answers to these questions and more by using a tool like Followerwonk – a freemium Twitter audience analysis tool.
Followerwonk segments followers into a number of psychographic segments: including gender, location, Twitter activity, and more.
Twitter’s statistics are mind-blowing. According to Internet Live Stats, every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year! So, how do you keep up with all those tweets? Obviously it’s impossible to keep up, but you can handle the avalanche better through a combination of maintaining Twitter lists of the people you follow, health-related hashtags, etc., and using Twitter’s Advanced Search Engine.
While the easiest way to do a search on Twitter is to click the native search facility, you can do so much more with Twitter’s advanced search capabilities. It allows you to narrow down your search using parameters such as specific keywords, language, people, location, and date range. In today’s post, I will show you twelve ways you can use this powerful search engine to search for health-related content on Twitter.
1. Search for a phrase: for example “healthcare social media marketing strategy”.
2. Search for any of these words: for example “healthcare social media” or “healthcare marketing strategy”.
3. Exclude any word: for example “blog”.
4. Search for health related hashtags: for example #hcsm.
5. Search for any specific language.
6. Choose specific accounts to search within.
7. Or find tweets directed to a specified Twitter user or referencing a specific username.
8. Search for tweets in a specific location or within a specified mile radius of a location.
9. Narrow down your tweets within a specific date range. This is useful if you want to catch up on tweets around a specific conference or event.
10. Discover sentiment around tweets – i.e. whether negative or positive.
11. Find health-related questions. This feature enables you to search for conversations happening locally that you might like to add your expertise to.
12. Choose to include re-tweets in your search. I usually exclude this search parameter, as I prefer to concentrate on original tweets; however it may be useful if you want to see how many times a tweet has been re-tweeted or who is re-tweeting specific tweets.
And here’s a snapshot of my final search results. As you can, I can zoom in on the most popular tweets, or those who are tweeting in real time. I cans also find photos and videos related to my search. I can even save this search, and embed it on my website.
Considering its capabilities, it is surprising that Twitter’s advanced search engine is so underused. Try using it to create lists, curate content, and as a social media listening tool to find health-related conversations. Once you start, you are sure to find other ways to maximise this powerful search engine to advance your healthcare marketing.
The first time I read this quote from Dana Lewis, moderator of #hcsm the premier tweet chat on healthcare, I was gripped by the notion of how Twitter and in particular tweet chats could influence the way we practise healthcare.
Social media is a radical shift in the way we communicate. The healthcare conversation is no longer a one-way narrative but is evolving into a global, participatory discussion. One of the most powerful ways I see this happening is in the modality of the tweet chat. The role Twitter plays in breaking down patient/provider barriers, disseminating and expanding the reach of healthcare information, widening social networks and co-creating a collaborative model of shared health information is one of the most exciting developments in social media.
What Is A Tweet Chat?
For those who may be unfamiliar with the phenomenon of a tweet chat – it is a pre-arranged chat that happens on Twitter through the use of updates called tweets. It includes a predefined #hashtag which links the tweets together in a virtual conversation. Most tweet chats follow a common format of a moderator who introduces pre-arranged topics relevant to the chat and keeps the conversation on track. The chats usually last one hour and a transcript of tweets is available after the chat has ended.
Symplur is doing an impressive job of compiling all of the healthcare hashtags and providing chat transcripts in The Healthcare Hashtag Project. The goal of the project is to make the use of healthcare social media and Twitter more accessible for the healthcare community as a whole (a full list and a tweet chat calendar of meeting times can be found on the Symplur website).
What Is The Impact Of Tweet Chats On Healthcare?
As a relatively new technological innovation, the use of Twitter as a modality for health communication is only now beginning to be explored with particular emphasis on the role Twitter may play in contributing to health based conversations directed at individual, community, and societal levels.
Many times, people’s choices in terms of Personal Health Practices (PHP) are context dependent and socially constructed. Healthcare tweet chats have tremendous potential to motivate participants and encourage change. Much of this change comes from peer-to-peer support which has been shown to be highly effective in motivating change. Many participants share conversational and informational knowledge that they believe is valuable both to themselves and others.
Studies show that individuals enrolled in meaningful social networks have protective properties in terms of overall health and wellbeing. Healthcare tweet chats provide participants with a sense of community and valuable opportunities for meaningful exchange and positive interactions.
The impact of digital technology in healthcare is leading to changing expectations by health consumers who, along with a desire to share information and connect with others, increasingly want to interact and engage with their healthcare providers. Twitter has also facilitated the emergence of the “patient opinion leader” an individual who is seen as an expert in chronic conditions such as cancer. Gunther Eysenbach refers to this group as “Apomediaries” – individuals that assist in the process of information searching but do not act as a gatekeeper.
So, what’s in it for healthcare practitioners?
Dr Bryan Vartabedian (@Doctor_V) of Baylor College notes of social media “the greatest value of this medium is the breakdown of barriers that have traditionally come between doctor and patient.” It is encouraging to see the increasing participation by doctors in many healthcare tweet chats, reaching out and sharing information, but also listening too.
Twitter offers opportunities for healthcare to reach out to patients in new and valuable ways.
These [social media] tools help us reach so many more people; we can bring shared interactions into our practice and that is powerful … This isn’t an addition to your job. This is part of your job. This is a conversation, and that is what we are trained to do … This is where our patients are these days and this is where we need to reach them. We can engage learners, patients and peers, and we are not limited by geography or time – Farris Timimi, M.D., medical director for the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media.
Another striking feature is Twitter’s crowd-sourcing capacity which allows health consumers, researchers and practitioners tap into a global source of advice, support and information. Twitter also provides a unique opportunity to learn from patients’ direct experience shared during these chats.
If healthcare innovators and providers wish to remain relevant and connected to digitally enabled patients, they need to go where the conversations are – more and more those conversations are happening on Twitter and the evolving dynamic of the tweet chat is the best place to find them.
Eysenbach, G. (2008). Medicine 2.0: Social networking, collaboration, participation, apomediation, and openness. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 10(3), e22. doi:10.2196/jmir.1030
Twitter has announced the launch of Moments analytics, a new tool which will show you a range of stats for each Moment you create, including ‘Opens’, ‘Unique opens’, ‘Likes’, ‘Shares’ and ‘Completion rate’.
Moments allows you to curate a series, or gallery, of tweets revolving around a particular theme, such as a developing news story or cultural meme. I’ve been a fan of the feature since Twitter unrolled it to all users late last year. However I seem to be in a minority of users. There just hasn’t been the uptake. This is a shame because I do think it has potential. Here’s an example of a recent Moments story I created:
Tweeting for the sake of tweeting won’t drive conversions for your brand.
You need a plan at the outset and you need to continually monitor, measure and evaluate your performance day-by-day. Backed up by some science in the form of statistics, this infographic offers twelve tips to help you drive your Twitter marketing forward.
Twitter is making a major shift in how it counts characters in Tweets, allowing tweets to become much expanded and relaxing its defining 140-character limit. Although no official announcement has been forthcoming, it’s been widely reported this week, that the microblogging site will soon stop counting photos and links as part of its limit for messages. Links currently take up to 23 characters of a tweet, reducing the space available to users when sharing online content.
When it launched in 2006, Twitter’s character limit was originally devised as a way of fitting tweets into the SMS character limit. so users could send and receive updates on their phone. Being able to condense thoughts and messages into 140 characters has become one of Twitter’s most defining features. When the suggestion was floated earlier this year that it might expand the limit to 10,000 characters limit, my heart sank. Limiting tweets to 140 characters is a terrific way to hone your key messages. Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey once described the limit as a “beautiful constraint” that “inspires creativity and brevity”. It also means you can quickly scan through timeline tweets – imagine trying to do that when 10,000 character tweets start flooding in! However, this new move is a welcome compromise in my opinion. It allows for more flexibility without compromising the creativity and brevity many of us have come to value.
What do you think of this news? Do you welcome the expanded capacity to tweet more.
The researchers did primary data collection on a variety of twitter users and also designed experiments using mock tweets to assess the drivers of assessment of credibility. They then ranked which factors lend the most credibility to a tweet, as well as which ones make them less credible.
The survey data was drawn from two sources:
respondents ranged in age from 18 – 60 (average age 32 years)
93.1% had a Twitter account, and all read tweets, with 91% reading them at least a few times a week, and 74% reading them at least once a day.
2. Carnegie Mellon University Alumni
respondents ranged in age from 18 – 54 years old.
34% were female.
88% had a Twitter account, and all read tweets, with 91% reading them at least a few times a week, and 77% reading them at least once a day.
Some of the key findings regarding users’ perceptions of tweet credibility include:
users are poor judges of truthfulness based on content alone, and instead are influenced by heuristics such as user name when making credibility assessments.
users represented by the default Twitter icon are perceived as significantly less credible than users with any other type of icon image.
a retweet by someone they trust is the biggest factor in increasing credibility
Of the 31 factors determining credibility investigated in the study, the following lists the top 10 factors (1-5 rating of how much credibility the factor creates, 5 being the highest.)
A retweet from someone you trust (4.08)
Author has verifiable expertise in the subject (4.04)
Author is someone you follow (4.00)
It contains a link to a source (3.93)
Account has a verification seal (3.92)
Author tweets often on the topic (3.74)
There are many other tweets with similar content (3.71)
Author has a personal photo as the user image (3.70)
Author is often mentioned or retweeted (3.69)
Author is geographically near the topic (3.67)
The researchers also analyzed the least credible tweets and found the following factors influenced user perception:
Non-standard grammar or punctuation such as abbreviations commonly used in text messaging
Author has the default Twitter user image
Author has a cartoon or avatar as user image
Author is following too many users
What can we learn from this study?
“As users increasingly access tweets through search, they have less information on which to base credibility judgments as compared to consuming content from direct social network connections….In the absence of the ability to distinguish truthfulness from the content alone, people must use other cues.”
Factors perceived as most enhancing a tweet’s credibility generally concerned the author of the tweet. These included author influence (as measured by follower, retweet, and mention counts, topical expertise
(as established through a Twitter homepage bio, history of on topic tweeting, pages outside of Twitter, or having a location relevant to the topic of the tweet), and reputation (whether an author is someone a user follows, has heard of, or who has an official Twitter account verification seal).
Content related features viewed as credibility enhancing were containing a URL leading to a high quality site, and the existence of other tweets conveying similar information.
Aligning your Twitter profile to these cues will lend more credibility to your tweets.
always include a Twitter homepage bio
use your real name or one that is closely aligned to the main topic of tweeting
use a recognizable icon or a personal image – avoid the default twitter icon
build a large follower base
keep tweets focused on a single topic or related topics
add a verification seal (Twitter doesn’t accept requests for verification from the general public, but it will verify accounts emanating from universities, research institutions, etc)
provide a url to research, study or high quality information.
despite the 140 character space challenges of twitter, always use standard grammar and spelling
users tweeting on geographically specific events should update their bio to accurately identify location
Social media marketer, Peg Fitzpatrick, calls hashtags “the glue that holds social conversations and ideas together”. I love her description and Peg has many helpful tips on using hashtags on her website. If you are new to social media, it may be helpful to first take a look at this infographic to learn the basics of hashtagging.
Mistakes are a natural outcome of trying something new. When you first start on Twitter, it may seem that there is a lot to learn, and the potential for mistakes while learning is high. I’d like to lessen that learning curve for you by sharing some common Twitter mistakes I see all the time – and not just with new tweeters! If you are a Twitter newbie these tips will minimize rookie mistakes; if you are already a seasoned tweeter, look on this as an opportunity to rectify any mistakes you might already be making.