Is Twitter a must (musk!) for your business?

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We are part of an international network of independent PR agencies that handle Crisis PR communications for clients across Europe, called the CCNE, or the Crisis Communications Network Europe.

This week a query came from one of the European clients of the group about Twitter, about the relevance of the platform and if we felt with all of the Elon Musk shenanigans that clients should consider moving away from it and onto something else.

While it was my favourite social media platform for such a long time it does break my heart a little (or a lot) to see how toxic it has become, but at the same time a very interesting question had been asked.

The client query had some very specific questions, which I will get to in a moment, but I did feel there were some broader questions that should be asked first, which we should all think about in business:

Is your target audience(s) using the platform?

If you go fishing you go where the fish are, after all!

If you believe that your audience is using the platform then that should be a big yes, but also consider how they are using it, why and when.

What about the relevant media?

What we find is that the media are normally very proactive on social media. It is a lively platform and one of the main reasons why journalists are active on Twitter is because of the powerful search function.

If there is a breaking story they can very quickly see what is being said and by who.

Everyone in business should identify the relevant journalists and publications/media outlets for their industry, follow them, understand them, observe their posts and hopefully connect and get to know them.

How many followers do you have?

It is so difficult to build up a following on any platform these days without significant advertising budget. If you do have a good following then clearly people using the platform find that you are relevant to them and it would be foolish not to take advantage of this.

Have you developed a strategy for Twitter as part of your overall social media strategy?

Each of the social media platforms can do quite a different job for you, so it is important to understand your overall objectives, the nature of your target audiences and then be clear about the role of Twitter as part of this.

For example, if you have a business or organisation that is mainly consumer facing then Facebook and Instagram would be your priority social media platforms. However, you may decide that Twitter could be very useful for interacting with industry stakeholders and media.

Could Twitter be part of the way you deliver Customer Service?

This week we were providing Twitter training to a government agency that deals with the general public. I was very surprised to learn about how many queries they would receive from the general public via their Twitter account.

They said that people were very surprised to get responses to queries so quickly – what a great way to improve the public image of your business/organisation!

Are you using Twitter for Posting, Interacting, Search and Competitor Tracking purposes?

While a business may use Twitter predominantly to push out messages there could be a huge role for:

  • Interacting with customers/clients
  • Jumping into conversations when the subject matter is relevant
  • Using the powerful search function to track industry topics and relevant trends
  • Tracking competitor activity

Could you interact strategically with Partners, Customers, Prospects and Stakeholders?

By carefully following other Twitter users in the above categories you can interact with their posts, mention them in yours and use the platform to strategically build the right relationships.

Is there a cause you are championing?

There are times when you need to put a spotlight on an issue, get people’s attention and yes, call out organisations or individuals when it is needed.

Whether you are lobbying about an issue or using the platform to get the right attention, Twitter can be an incredibly powerful tool.

Being honest, there are times when it can be the only way to really get the right attention for an issue!

So while considering the relevance of Twitter with the backdrop of Elon Musk and all of the potential changes the above questions should be answered first.

If there is a case for using Twitter because of that, then go for it and we will see in time how it evolves.

As I mentioned there were some specific questions and how I responded to them:

How is Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter received in your respective countries?

In Ireland we are very unhappy mainly because of his treatment of employees and we are also very wary of him allowing crazy, nasty content (even more than now!!) back on the increasingly toxic platform.

Have you already had similar requests?

I would say people have been pulling away from Twitter because of the increasing toxic content on there generally as well as a general nervousness about posting anything on there.

Any recommendations that you are making to clients?

We are not making strong recommendations, but we are talking about its diminished influence and pushing people back to LinkedIn for B2B scenarios and Facebook/Instagram for B2C.

However, it does quite a different job that the others cannot do.

Are you in fundamental exchange with customers about alternative platforms (eg. Mastodon) and do you already have insights?

There is some very quiet talk about Mastodon but this is really just with avid social media users and we are not seeing the relevance of it.

We have opened accounts on it just to see how it works and will keep an eye on it as it develops.

So, to summarise I would say even though it is far from the enjoyable and supportive platform that it once was, it still has many uses and these can be very powerful.

As for the toxicity, I would advise staying away from this as much as possible. The trolls are there in abundance and be careful not to get drawn in by them.

From a business point of view it is so important that you operate any of your social media accounts professionally, From a personal point of view, try to be positive, upbeat and nice!

As I write that last statement I need to look at my own use of Twitter and yes, it does get very nasty and yes I do join in – shame on you Greg!!

Happy tweeting folks and lets hope Elon learns quickly, that if he wants to protect his investment and keep users and advertisers, he needs to keep it clean.

Greg

Greg is a partner at Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing and PR agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland that offers social media training and consultancy to clients.

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