Tweaking Social Strategy with Twitter's New Notifications

Sorry to break it to you, but you are not more popular on Twitter; the network simply updated its notifications feature.

Previously, when iOS and Android app users saw the "bell" highlighted in the app's footer (see image), they were being notified of account activity such as new followers, replies, messages, retweets or favorites.

Today, however, once that bell is clicked it takes users to what Twitter calls a "notifications timeline." While account activity is still available within this feature, Twitter is also surfacing a variety of other activity including recommendations, highlights and news.

What is particularly useful for marketers is how the new notifications system surfaces, essentially, what is important to people they follow. Now is not the time for marketers to be shy about who they follow. By loading up on accounts of interest to their business and their audience, they can get a better understanding of what they should be tweeting about and what is important now.

Who followed who: Why all of a sudden are those you follow following a particular person or brand? If more than one person within your network is following another account, take a look as it might provide insights into what or who is up and coming or what news story the marketer should be following. Since the marketer's network is self-selected, these notifications are very targeted to their interests.
Who is tweeting about what: There are plenty of social media tools that use data to analyze what is popular with specific audiences, but Twitter's new notification feature puts this timely information into a marketer's grasp as well. From conferences their network is attending and tweeting about to hashtags they are using, marketers can use "who is tweeting about what" within their notifications timeline to inform outreach, content and social decisions. By knowing what is popular, they too can join in on the conversation that is relevant to their audiences in that moment.

Who is sharing what: What does your network care about? They are showing marketers by simply sharing items that resonate with them. The notifications timeline surfaces these shares when one or more person from a user's network has shared a story. Marketers can bookmark these stories to read and evaluate later, they can curate this material for their own audience or they can get inspiration for future content.
Digging through notifications for information that can help inform your social strategy will require some manual effort, but these notifications clearly indicate what is important to your network in a very timely manner. By joining in the conversation, brands can add relevancy to their social efforts. They might also be able to increase engagement and reach if they start to share and tweet about popular topics and get surfaced in other people's notifications.