Thursday May 31, 2018

Is it Time to Quit Twitter?

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Social media has been a part of many a business marketing strategy for at least a decade now. The benefits are clear — theoretically, you can directly interact with your target audience whenever you want without relying on traditional media. 

Of course, it hasn’t always worked out that way. For every successful corporate account, there are countless others that never connected with their audience and either quickly burned out or just keep posting out of habit with nothing to show for it. 

I bring this up now because this is an especially interesting moment to take a look at and evaluate the utility of your organization’s Twitter account, in particular. 

In short, I think it’s time to ask if you really need a Twitter account or not. Let’s examine some signs it might be best for your company to stop investing in the platform.

Your Audience Isn’t There

Let’s begin with the most obvious reason — your audience just doesn’t seem to be on Twitter.

In a recent blog post, I outlined the steps you can take to properly research your competitors and how you can use that research to your benefit. In this post, I briefly mentioned the success we’ve seen helping a manufacturing client set up their Instagram account. What I didn’t dive into is how early in the planning stages for what their account should consist of, we also considered whether or not Twitter would be a good fit for this company.

In short, the answer ended up being a firm no, simply because their audience was not nearly as active on Twitter. While we could have set up a Twitter account for nothing else than to share Instagram posts on the platform, that wouldn’t have been anything more than the bare minimum and would have led to a pretty weak looking account.

Communities spring up and become active on different social media platforms for a variety of reasons. In the case of this client, many of their customers welders, and welders using abrasives makes for eye-catching images and videos, making Instagram a natural fit. 

Take a look at your competitors and examine the following:

  • Do they have exceptionally higher engagement on their Twitter account?
  • Do they have a profile at all?

If the answer to both is “no,” then Twitter just may not be the right fit for your organization.

You’re Not Seeing a Return on Investment

If you’ve been trying to grow your Twitter profile for a while now, tweeting regularly for a year or so, only to see limited or no growth at all, then it’s probably for the best to put this tactic to rest. Growth should be determined by the increase in number of followers who actively engage with your brand (just seeing numbers increase isn’t good enough) over a set period, your average engagement on posts and traffic you see coming your way from Twitter. If you’ve seen these numbers flatline for a while now or never even really register at all, then that’s as clear a sign as any that your efforts aren’t getting any traction.

Of course, you should also ask yourself if you’ve done everything you could to grow the channel, including posting regularly, interacting with any commenters and trying out different voices and content. 

Sometimes, however, a platform just isn’t a good fit. This could be the case because… 

You Don’t Have the Right Content

Another issue could be that the nature of your organization, field or content just doesn’t naturally match up with what a Twitter audience expects. 

According to Hootsuite, 80% of Twitter users log on via mobile. If you have your own Twitter account, consider your own habits. If you’re anything like me, it’s probably most often when you’re waiting in a line, watching TV (a habit I really need to break) or on a lunch break. In these moments, I’m not looking for long reads or links that lead to more links — I’m really just looking to be entertained, catch up on the news or fill some time.

If your organization isn’t in a position where you can alert your followers to deals they can quickly act on, provide immediate customer support (check to see if your customers are requesting this and if your competitors are providing it) or lacks a product or service that can’t be easily photographed and explained visually (especially with infographics), then text posts directing to your latest technical blog posts likely won’t move the needle much. 

And that’s okay. Just because Twitter isn’t the right fit for your content or organization doesn’t mean there aren’t other avenues available to you. 

A Switch in Social Network Tactics

Now, time to address recent news — social networks are undergoing a period of change. Due to increased scrutiny by governments around the world after the most recent US presidential election and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the real purpose and effects social networks are having on the world is becoming more of an open debate than ever before.

Facebook in particular has been very vocally trying to rebrand themselves as a place where you build connections with people — not where you go to read the news or be advertised to, though the latter will no doubt continue to be a large part of their business plan.

On the other hand, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, recently made big changes to their API (application-programming interface) which has had some notable impact on how easily companies can partner with valuable influencers to increase their reach.

Then there’s Twitter, which over the past couple years has earned the distinction of being home to some pretty nasty trolls and users that you definitely don’t want associated with your brand, along with a lot of debate over the purpose of the platform .  

None of that is to say that you should abandon social media marketing, just that you should be selective with which platforms you attempt to leverage to grow your business. Social media marketing will, in all likelihood, remain an important part of your toolkit. The companies themselves are just facing challenges that we haven’t seen before, and it remains to be seen what further steps they’ll take to protect their users’ data.

While you shouldn’t leave any of these platforms purely because of these headline events, it is something worth monitoring. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Pull the Plug

If you’ve made it through this post and you’re thinking, yeah, it might be the time to move on from Twitter, that idea might also seem a little scary to you. It may have been drilled in your head that you definitely need to be on the three main networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). Going against that common wisdom can lead to some serious doubt. 

Don’t panic. If you’ve put some time into trying to make your Twitter profile work, reviewed your competitors and analyzed your audience — giving you ample evidence that Twitter is not right for you — then ditch it. Don’t sink any more time into a dead-end tactic just because it feels like you should. 

Plus, with all that time and effort freed up, you’ll be able to invest more heavily in tactics that actually do fulfill your marketing goals. And remember, breaking up with Twitter doesn’t have to be a forever thing; maybe an audience worth pursuing will eventually end up there. If it does, then you can always just relaunch your profile.

But for now, if it doesn’t work for you, get rid of it.  

Written by Scott Rogers | Tags: social media

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