Twitter’s New Rules and What They Mean for Your Brand

June 20, 2018
Christine M

New Twitter Rules 2018As part of the crackdown on spam and bots, Twitter has introduced new rules that will directly impact the way brands share their messages on the social media platform.

The changes, which came into effect on March 23, prohibit sending out similar content over a variety of accounts simultaneously. Twitter made these changes in an effort to tackle spam and bot nuisance tweets that clog up the feed of users.

However, it has also forced a change of the automation tools that most brands have been using. Twitter set a March 23, 2018 deadline for social media apps to incorporate changes that fit their new policy. Make sure your company’s social media marketing strategy is revised to include these new policies. 

Brands will now have to spend more time on the social sharing part of the social media strategy.  It means more of a manual effort to those handling several accounts. Basically, if a user wants to send out the same message on multiple accounts the tweets will need to be created one by one. However, users can also opt to retweet the message from the original account.

It will also impact larger brands who have more than one Twitter account as it changes the platform’s policy about retweeting and liking using automation tools.

Those found breaking the rules could have their account suspended. A price that no one, especially brands, wants to risk.

Although the changes are to reduce the amount of spam coming from fake accounts and spurred on by bots and automation, brands have gotten caught in the crosshairs.

Most agree it will be a minor change in how things are done and in the end, will still allow brands to get their message across all their accounts.

The main goal is to reduce spam on the social media platform because it annoys users and blocks them “from seeing your thoughtfully created tweets.”

Twitter is essentially trying to crack down on manipulation of conversations, whether through spamming hashtags or tweets. They are really trying to hold on to what the platform was designed to do before bots developed: an online conversation tool. Bots and automation changed how people saw the platform and how they used it. Rather than being engaged in a conversation, people began spewing out their message with no regard for others or the relevance of the comments.

Why tackle bots and automation

Bots and automation have been one of the prime ways that fake news has been spread and Twitter has responded to the call to deal with it. The problem became stark during the 2016 US Presidential Election and calls to weed out fake news have gotten louder.

Unfortunately, there is value in being fake online.

Buying followers has been a way for users to appear more influential and powerful. The New York Times found that nearly 48 million active Twitter accounts were fake.

It is from these fake accounts that fake news spawns.

And tons of people do it, according to the article, including celebrities. They buy followers in an effort to appear more influential, which in turn gives them the power to ask for higher paying jobs and more.

In an effort to appear real, or at least trick Twitter, fake accounts tweet out the same type of message over and over and over, thanks to bots and automation.

Thus, as the social media platform attempts to cut down on the amount of useless information passing through the feeds each day, policy changes were inevitable.

Twitter’s changes

Here are the changes, as announced by the company:

  1. Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously post identical or substantially similar content to multiple accounts.

This basically means they don’t want to see your accounts pushing the same posts. It has been recommended that users retweet content from their main site across the other accounts.

Yet, this also means that brands will not be permitted to open accounts that are too similar to each other. They still recommend you only have a few accounts as too many accounts sending out your brand’s message could be considered spam.

“One of the most common spam violations we see is the use of multiple accounts and the Twitter developer platform to attempt to artificially amplify or inflate the prominence of certain Tweets,” they wrote on the blog post.  

  1. Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously perform actions such as Likes, Retweets, or follows from multiple accounts.

What this really means is you can’t use automation for a massive amount of likes, retweets or follows.

Most automation tools, like Buffer, Hiplay, Quuu, Missinglettr and Dlvr.it have adjusted their settings so that users cannot select multiple accounts for a single post. Some have also disabled any copy and drag features they once had.

As well, tools like Buffer will no longer allow for a reposting (called re-Buffer).

  1. The use of any form of automation (including scheduling) to post identical or substantially similar content, or to perform actions such as Likes or Retweets, across many accounts that have authorized your app (whether or not you created or directly control those accounts) is not permitted.

This will require brands change employees pass along company content. If a brand’s marketing department has been sending out guidance on the wording of tweets, they will need to stop. Twitter will no longer permit the same wording or text that is too similar to come from multiple accounts.

  1. Users of TweetDeck will no longer be able to select multiple accounts through which to perform an action such as Tweeting, Retweeting, liking, or following.

Brands will now need to spend extra time on Twitter tasks including liking or following, which was once much easier to do thanks to automation.

What can you tweet?

It may seem like your tweets need to be different for every brand account, but that is not quite the case. After all, brands are really trying to convey the same image, along with the same message.

Here are some quick tips for creating unique tweets:

  • Use different images or videos
  • Ensure that hashtags are not the same
  • Add comments to a retweet to differentiate it
  • Don’t tweet or retweet similar content in a short period of time.

Conclusion

So, while the changes may appear minor on the surface, they will directly impact how a brand shares its content on the platform.  Ultimately, brands will not be able to post identical content over multiple accounts, including those of employees.

But, keep in mind these new rules only apply to Twitter and not for other social media platforms like Facebook.

While Twitter’s new rules may mean brands need to adjust how they post, in the long run, it may be an advantage. If it cuts down on spam, it will benefit brands as it raises the likelihood of their message getting attention.

It will also encourage brands to develop great posts each time and challenge them to be creative more often. 

Give the Twitter experts at Stir Marketing a call today for your free consultation, free digital marketing review, or detailed custom social media advertising campaign proposal.