Without a doubt, the past two years have been difficult for Twitter. Stocks have plummeted and user growth has plateaued compared to other social networking sites. Worse still, investors have threatened to pull out unless a solid monetization strategy is on the table.
It ‘s easy to see why Twitter continues to be pronounced dead by many, or at least tinkering on the edge of oblivion.
Twitter has made some significant changes over the last year in an effort to monetize and retain its core user-base. Some of these changes include gaining NFL streaming rights, partnering with Nielsen to become a rating service for TV shows and partnering with American Express to enable direct purchases from Twitter among other changes.
In spite of these continuing changes, Twitter remains committed to being the leading social platform for real-time live updates and it is indeed keeping its promise on this front.
So, is Twitter really dead and is it still relevant for the marketer or business owner?
Without a doubt, the number of Twitter users is declining and the social network may never regain its lost users. It’s also unlikely that new users will suddenly start joining Twitter in hoards.
One way to look at the current situation is that Twitter is now on a plateau in terms of its user base. Yet, this is hardly surprising; businesses of all kinds always reach a plateau eventually. Facebook, YouTube, SnapChat, WhatsApp and all the other popular platforms will also plateau at some point.
Here is the common misconception. A plateau does not always mean death. In fact, Twitter’s core user base, which is made up of a mature and more sophisticated group of users, is largely intact. It’s no wonder that big brands still have Twitter among their top three digital marketing platforms. At Jiggle Digital we often use Twitter in brand marketing campaigns. It’s also still hugely effective for us in attracting new high quality work.
A smaller user base that is keen on engagement and social conversations is arguably much better than a large crowd that proves difficult to penetrate.
Perhaps the best Twitter feature is its undisputed ability to serve up real-time conversations. While competitors such as Facebook fill their News Feeds with what are deemed as the most important stories, Twitter gives users the ability to access the entire story as it happens.
Live conversations are probably why the core user base still keeps to Twitter. It is also the reason why influencers and brands continue to use Twitter: the sheer ability to build a direct conversation with their audience and to receive feedback.
Some have attributed Twitter’s death to the fact that engaging users and seeing real results is becoming increasingly difficult. But, the most successful brands on Twitter realize the importance of building conversations with their audience as opposed to simply broadcasting. Just ask DiGiorno Pizza, JetBlue, or General Electric.
Twitter is one of the best platforms to not only connect with random but interesting people, but more importantly with influencers. Yes, you may not be able to get Beyonce to follow you but you can successfully connect with countless CEOs, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, potential business partners, and customers on Twitter. I’ve personally struck up conversations and forged strong connections with multiple world champion sports personalities, very well known actors and music artists, politicians, hugely successful entrepreneurs and major influencers in media. This has resulted in significant exposure for myself and my business, new work, speaking engagements and authority status in national newspapers. All from Twitter!
Remember, Twitter’s user base is more of a sophisticated, professional, I-mean-business type of lot. It is much easier (and frankly more appropriate) to engage this user base with serious matters than it would be on Facebook or SnapChat.
So, in terms of serving as a platform where you can make authentic connections that have the potential to lead to somewhere, Twitter is absolutely alive and kicking.
Video is one of the biggest digital trends right now and there is no doubt the trend will continue for the long term going forward.
Twitter Vines are certainly a lifesaver for the social platform, as the looped videos attract up to 100 million viewers each month, 200 million monthly active users, 12 million vines uploaded daily and up to 1.5 billion Vine loops played each day.
Yes, it may seem like people are tweeting less but Twitter is moving in the same direction as competitors such as Facebook, which has seen a decline in text posts viewership and an increase in video viewership. Everywhere you look, video is rapidly and aggressively dominating text.
It goes without saying that video must be part of your digital marketing strategy whether you are pushing content through Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.
The best part is that online users are engaging more with shorter content due to the eminent information overload and shorter attention spans. This makes platforms such as Vine all the more relevant for smart marketers who are looking to leverage the power of video to entertain, educate and nurture their leads, while keeping it sweet and short.
Twitter is certainly not dead and will likely not be dying any time soon. What is true though is that the face of Twitter is changing and for the most part, these changes are in line with the overall trends in the digital social space. What you should do as a smart marketer is to take advantage of these changes in a way that that allows you to continue engaging your core user base.