Back in 2021, it seemed like there was hardly an organisation around that didn’t have a Twitter account as part of their social media strategy. Not only was news consistently breaking on the platform, but activity on the platform often was the news. Major newspapers reported on happenings in the ‘Twitter-verse’, endlessly analysing the Tweets (and re-Tweets) of both celebrities and statesmen. The lack of a ‘Twitter Bird’ icon in a company’s social media line up was a rare omission indeed.
Fast forward to 2023 and the landscape is a bit more complicated.
The Elon Musk Twitter takeover in October 2022 brought major changes, including layoffs of 50 per cent of the company’s workforce, the dissolution of the company’s trust and safety council and the reworking of its content moderation policies. Reports of abusive behaviour and instances of hate speech on the platform spiked, leading many to question their affiliation. 50 of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers left the company, with seven more slowing or almost completely halting advertising. Fashion brand Balenciaga deleted its account and Volkswagen advised all its brands to cease advertising on the platform. Scores of celebrities closed their user accounts along with millions of ‘regular’ subscribers, including numerous journalists, bloggers and public figures. By December 2022, The Guardian was predicting that Twitter would lose 32 million subscribers in the two years following Musk’s takeover.
So what’s a business to do?
The truth is that, while the number of departures from the platform has been notable, a majority of companies has remained with Twitter, choosing to ride out the storm as the company re-configures itself and betting that most of their followers will, too. Twitter’s greatest strength has always been that it offers an immediate way of engaging directly with the public and, today, post-takeover, it still boasts over 300 million users. This dwarfs the user numbers of alternative platforms with similar engagement models such as Mastodon and Hive, both of which currently boast around 2 million users (though Mastodon, by far the most popular alternative, is growing quickly).
While many Twitter fans cite the years invested in building online community as a reason for staying, others feel that reputational risk, no matter how slight, is a good enough reason for leaving. This may include organisations that signpost their progressive work policies or which are involved in social justice causes, for example, who do not engage directly with individual followers on any platform, or who are simply already more active and engaged on other platforms such as LinkedIn. For others who have developed strong Twitter personas with massive, wide-ranging followings (think PlayStation and Netflix), it may make sense to stay and continue to reap the benefits.
The bottom line is that, right now, your business’s decision to stick with Twitter or not is one that can best be made using the same considerations you did when choosing which social media platforms to join in the first place: know your audience; research your competitors and other industry leaders; understand the pros and cons of each platform; determine your social media goals; and know your available resources. If nothing else, the changes at Twitter and the shifting landscape of available new platforms mean your organisation’s social media could likely benefit from an audit that revisits these considerations. Whether you decide to Tweet or not, making sure that your social media presence matches your organisation’s current needs and values should be critical component of your 2023 business plan.
If you’d like to chat about how Wardour can help you refine and amplify your social media presence, pop us an email at email@example.com – we’d love to speak to you.
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