Launched in July 2006, Twitter rapidly gained worldwide popularity. More than 100 million users posted 340 million tweets per day by 2012, and the service processed an average of 1.6 million search queries per day. And in 2013, Twitter was among the top 10 most visited websites.
But in 2016, things started to change. Market research company eMarketer downgraded its Twitter’s growth forecast between 2017 and 2020 from 8% to 2%.
In addition, in Twitter’s 2018 earnings release, the company disclosed that it had lost another 5 million monthly users, bringing the number of users down from 326 to 321 monthly users – the lowest user figure in two years.
Fast-forward to 2019, and Twitter appears to have been all but kicked to the curb as far as social media marketing is concerned. As mainstream headlines continue to predict the impending demise of Twitter, it comes as no surprise that people are wondering whether Twitter marketing dead?
Is Twitter Marketing Really Dead?
It’s true, Twitter may not be the flashiest or trendiest social network at the moment – it’s not as visually appealing as Instagram and isn’t in the news as often as Facebook.
However, Twitter continues to play a significant role in enabling brands to establish connections with industry leaders and influencers. When utilised effectively, Twitter also bridges the gap between consumers and brands in the same rapid fashion as texting.
What’s more, the willingness of Twitter users being open and share their views and opinions on different subject enables you to see how your customers interact with competing brands, making the platform a goldmine of customer data and insight.
But one of the main setbacks to using Twitter is that it is relatively small in comparison to other social media outlets. Many people ask, “Why use Twitter when you could potentially reach an additional two billion active users on Facebook?”.
That said, it is important to remember that growth and user population only paints half the picture. While Twitter may have a smaller pool of users than Facebook, YouTube, or LinkedIn, the flip side is that you can generate greater levels of brand interaction and engagement via Twitter.
According to Kinsta, more than three-fourths of users have interacted with a business on Twitter, and an impressive 83 percent feel a greater affinity with a brand they’ve interacted with via the platform. That means if you can create a presence that fosters conversation with your followers, they’ll be more willing to hear what you have to say in the future.
Another factor that works in your favour is how often users find and interact with small to medium enterprises (SMEs) on Twitter. According to research compiled and published by Twitter, over 66 percent of users say they’ve discovered a new brand through the platform.
But the biggest upside of Twitter isn’t engagement. It’s how willing active followers are to buy from a brand. According to that same study, over 93 percent of users who follow a small business on Twitter intend to make a purchase, and 69 percent have already bought from a business.
If engagement isn’t enough, and you still need user population numbers to encourage investment in Twitter marketing, recent research reveals that Twitter is making a comeback.
In July 2018, Twitter began removing tens of millions of suspicious and fake accounts from its platform’s follower counts in an effort to clean up the site. But shortly thereafter, Twitter lost 5 million active monthly users, and the company claimed this was down to its efforts to wipe out locked accounts.
But despite the loss of users as a result of this clean, in 2019, we have seen a steady rise in number of monthly active users. According to Twitter’s Q1 results released in July 2019, monthly active users increased from 321 million in Q4 of 2018 to 330 million. In addition, the number of daily active users also increased by 8 million. The service also saw a 14 percent increase in year over year monetisable daily active users.
Twitter Marketing is Not Dead, You’re Just Doing it Wrong
Despite the array of opportunities to engage customers and boost sales through Twitter marketing, many brands settle for the platform as nothing more than a URL dumping ground, returning only to link to their latest blog post or event landing page.
Companies that use Twitter to share links and cram hashtags into Tweets overlook the true value of authentic conversations with the people using those relevant hashtags, following the brand, or commenting on relevant topics.
3 Examples of Twitter Marketing Done Right
1. Targeting Event Followers to Generate Business Leads
The Oscars, Love Island, the Super Bowl and – up until recently – Game of Thrones aren’t just the most viewed shows of the year, they’re also some of the most Tweeted. For example, the Long Night episode of Game of Thrones generated over 8 million tweets.
A recent study reveals that Twitter ads are 11 percent more effective than TV ads during live events. What’s more is that people spend nearly 4 times more on Twitter during a live event than any other occasion.
With Twitter’s ability to capture in-the-moment activity and encourage real-time responses, Rackspace UK recognised it as a critical platform during VMworld.
The company used Promoted Tweets and ads to encourage attendees to visit its #VMworld social vending machine. From there, the brand’s cloud experts were able to initiate conversations for follow-up.
With an average engagement rate of over 6 percent for its Tweets, Rackspace UK succeeded in driving deep interest and conversation during VMworld, resulting in 39 follow-up opportunities.
2. Delivering and Showcasing Great Customer Service to Boost Brand Credibility As more customers ditch the phone lines and flock to social media to access customer services, Twitter has become one of the most commonly used customer service channels, and for good reason.
According to advertisers on Twitter, over 80 percent of social customer service requests happen on Twitter, and Salesforce calls Twitter “the New 1-800 Number for Customer Service“.
Through its dedicated Social Support account on Twitter, @LinkedInHelp, LinkedIn gives customers the answers to their queries in real time. The results of this approach are evident in the retweets of praise and gratitude from delighted customers on the account’s main Twitter feed.
Indeed, one of the benefits of Twitter is how the platform is public. This is a great example of a brand using Twitter to execute responsive customer service, which is then promoted by delighted customers.
3. Utilising Hashtags and Influencers to Gain Proactive Customer Insight on New Products Before Investment in Launch
Introducing a new twist to a classic food item inarguably comes with the risk of alienating die-hard customers. When McDonald’s UK decided to put bacon on the Big Mac — one of the most iconic burgers in the world — it needed to raise awareness around the launch while sparking a conversation about the change.
To launch the Big Mac Bacon, McDonald’s UK turned to Twitter to generate awareness and excitement through conversing with users in a language that resonated with their audience.
It took some investment in user targeting, a short product video and two hashtags to get users debating whether the Big Mac Bacon was #StillABigMac or #NotABigMac.
The day after launch, McDonald’s helped drive debate by aligning with Premier League’s Transfer Deadline Day – the final day where UK football teams can swap football clubs – and partnered with Harry and Jamie Redknapp to join the conversation.
The lively debate around the Big Mac Bacon spread McDonald’s message far and wide, and the fast-food chain succeeded in engaging with its target audience. Consumers showed interest in McDonald’s new news with the “Retweet to Remind” unit garnering over 5K retweets.
On launch day, the campaign drove a 95 percent positive and neutral sentiment – 14 percent higher than the usual sentiment score – and almost 10,000 mentions using the hashtags.
Through utilising hashtags, connecting with relevant events and re-engaging users with a lively debate, McDonald’s UK succeeded in launching a new twist on an old favourite while simultaneously asking its customers for real-time feedback.
Twitter Marketing is Still Alive, Only Just
Just because Twitter’s growth is slower than early 2010, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time. Your audience is still checking Twitter, tweeting support tickets and feedback, and looking for your brand’s announcements and sales.
To maximise these opportunities, you need to stay present on Twitter. Just like the phone you are using to read this article right now, you need to have a presence on Twitter and be active, consistent and authentic on the platform. The results will follow.
The IIEPD provide a diverse range of CPD accredited digital marketing courses. Unlike other digital marketing training programs, IIEPD provides learners with a host of different digital marketing training resources including access to the IIEPD Influencer Affiliate Program, the IIEPD Influencer Network and subsidised digital marketing services from Pie Analysis.