Dear Doctor Digital, is anyone except Donald Trump still using Twitter?
Doctor Digital Says
Twitter has undoubtedly had a couple of years in mild decline, and while less controversial than its social media peer Facebook, has had its own share of PR disasters and clean-ups in the feed. So is it still a relevant tool for business in 2020? The answer to that of course depends on one thing: are you customers or potential customers there?
Twitter has come a long way from its original taciturn 140 characters, and now has many of the features and functionality that the other major social channels do. Aside from doubling the characters available, you can post images, videos, memes, use emoji’s and any business can now have a verified account status.
More specifically for business, Twitter now enables you to run a dedicated customer support channel for instant real time support, separate to your normal feed. Twitter also has a marketing calendar you can download free to help you to align your campaigns and content to national days of significance. Twitter also runs ads using a bidding system with a high level of demographic nuance, as well as some decent analytics in the back end.
To make a point of difference in a market flooded with advertising in the feed and endless selfies, Twitter brands itself as a ‘news feed’ as well as being a place where people post what they see through the camera, a point of view rather than a view of self. Twitter also positions itself as the place where connection and conversation is king, and therefore for a business account, is a place where you and your customers can have genuine, authentic interactions and evolve your brand relationship. It encourages brands to get playful and experiment with their personalities, that the platform isn’t predictable and neither should it’s users be.
In a strange retro move, as Twitter was originally a predominantly text platform, it is still a place where a text only question or opinion has some cut through in a world that otherwise demands visual content, and the emphasis is on having something relevant and worthy to begin a conversation. This is a definite edge if you and your business sell knowledge or expertise, and you can hook into myriad existing communities and add value while showing the extent of your capability.
Journalists are still loving Twitter, and it is a good place to break news. Make sure you use relevant hashtags or names to get the right people to notice you, and you can link to a media release or media pack in your tweet.
You may remember that Twitter acquired Periscope a few years back when the promise of live video was running hot. You can go live on Twitter using Periscope, it's not quite as slick as IGTV or Facebook, but serves the purpose if that is your channel of choice.
Twitter for business isn’t over yet. As a company they are proactively weeding out bullying, spam, fake news and haters, and looking for a strong point of difference in the social media market. The customer service feature is a clear signal that they are orienting to grow revenue from their business market. As mentioned at the beginning, the choice to use Twitter or not should come down to knowing where you customers and potential customers like to hang out, and what type of communication suits them best. With over 275 million monthly active users worldwide, it is by no means a bit player, and may just win the long game by responding to social and cultural concerns.