Wall Street Journal’s Twitter Shortcomings

8 Feb

As if a paywall wasn’t enough of a barrier to mainstream users, the Wall Street Journal is missing the mark in a key engagement opportunity: Twitter.

The business news leader has four primary problems:

1. Although it uses short links, they’re all at the end of posts.

Links should be within the first 100 characters of a tweet for two reasons: if users RT you in the traditional form, they will have to make room for your handle, and maybe even a comment. Like this:

Secondly, users are more likely to click your link if it appeals earlier in the tweet. Just see Dan Zarella’s infographic on click-through rates.

2. The Journal only retweets its own employees – boring!

Yes, they have great reporters who write great articles, but so do thousands of others who don’t write for The Journal. The most complete Twitter accounts, especially for journalists, should share the best links they can find, not just theirs or their company’s.

3. The Journal seldom uses hash tags, mentions or repliesβ€”only one so far in February: #SuperBowl

Why to use…

#HashTags: They’re searchable. Using a hash tag for a trending topic, or creating one, is a great way to acquire new followers, especially for an account that already has so many.

Mentions: These are within a tweet, and are a great way to cite someone else for their work. It’s also useful to bring your tweet to someone’s attention if you think it will interest them, making it more likely they retweet you.

Replies: These come at the beginning of posts, and usually indicate a direct response to someone else’s tweet. It’s a great way to show a human side to your account (vital) and boost engagement. Plus it makes that “regular” tweeter feel important, no matter how short the reply.

4. The Journal’s account reads like an RSS feed. (That’s a bad thing.)

There’s nothing worse than following a journalist who essentially just tweets headlines. If a user just wants to see headlines, they’ll come to your site. You only have 140 characters, so put the link in context and give users a reason to click through.

I love the Journal, especially when it’s free on the Starbucks Digital Network, but I’d like to see it make better use of its 1 million-plus followers.

Followers: 1,430,700
Following: 161
Website: www.wsj.com
WSJ Facebook
WSJ Pinterest
WSJ Instagram


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