AuthorityLabs Mailbag: Is It Time For My Business To Break Up With Twitter?

Mailbag

When John P. joined Twitter in 2010, he did so out of peer pressure, as his entire department was making a leap to the platform at the behest of his CMO, who wanted to “add some visibility to the brand.” John P. followed suit, setting up a personal account, which sat idle until he started his own company in 2013.

He worked his butt off to get the company off the ground, then thanks to the advice of a mentor, he smartly looked to social media (specifically Twitter) to enhance his company’s digital presence. It was a success. He found Twitter easy to manage and, most important, the opposite of Facebook in just about every way.

Until now, that is.

(Eds. note: John P. is an AuthorityLabs client who reached out to us for advice. We agreed not to use his last name.)

Are We Watching Twitter Become Facebook?

In a move that’s irking even the staunchest Twitter supporters, the platform has begun to show users tweets from folks they don’t follow. It’s an occurrence that’s been in the works for some time, as a trickle of folks-I-don’t-follow content began showing up in the streams of numerous accounts, leading many to publicly question the move and silently hope the platform would not “go Facebook” on them.

But now, with a full-on roll out underway, the backlash is steady, rancorous and deserved, says John P., who no wonders if it’s time to exit the platform for greener pastures.

“I have a business to run, employees to hire and manage,” said John P. “I loved that I could easily keep track of what was going on in my area of [business] with Twitter—not having to deal with the BS of cat pictures, selfies, stupid videos and ads. [With] these changes, however, I’m having to deal with all the things I hated with Facebook. I’m wondering if it’s time to exit Twitter for something else.”

He’s not alone. Twitter has been ablaze with the news. In fact, judging by the responses, it seems that innumerable folks would like to literally set Twitter ablaze.

Maybe Techcrunch’s tweet says it best:

What does Twitter have to say about the changes? Not a whole lot actually, other than offering up a tired, convenient explanation of what a timeline is:

…When we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.

This might come as news to Twitter, but we know what a Timeline is. We liked the one we had just fine. To Twitter, however, a Timeline—to paraphrase Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty—means just what they say it means.

The timeline changes are dynamic and ongoing and no one yet has a clear sense of what the final product will end up looking like. But this much we know: ‘New Twitter’ looks a lot like old Facebook.

For John P. and the folks like him that’s bad news.

Owned And Earned Media Should Be Approached With Renewed Vigor

Our Advice to John P. was simple and straightforward: Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. If Twitter has been working for you—and it has—don’t abandon the platform altogether.

Look for creative ways to work around the noise:

  • Pare his followers to all but the most important folks
  • Use Twitter Lists
  • Set up keyword filters in Hootsuite, then follow only those streams

Also, we made him aware that it’s time to consider other social media platforms, too, especially Google Plus and LinkedIn. Sensing a waning desire to navigate the social waters, we made one final point that’s summed up nicely via a quote from Mark Traphagen of Stone Temple Consulting.

“An active social presence combined with good network building can be a major contributor to growing a brand reputation, better customer service, developing trust and authority, as well as bringing traffic to your sites via the links you post,” says Traphagen. “Those considerations should all be part of any good digital marketer’s arsenal.”

We also made two other recommendations:

  1.  Owned media should be the point of emphasis: A company blog is the lifeblood of your content marketing efforts, so treat it as such. Publish content as frequently as possible—preferably at least a few times a week. Use it to answer the questions prospects and existing customers are asking your salespeople and staff, in addition to answering the most prominent queries for your category in organic search.
  2. Earned media can no longer be neglected: A business owner cannot afford to take off his or her PR hat for an extended period of time. You must always be looking for ways to naturally, seamlessly promote your company while serving the needs of prospects, existing customers and the online and offline communities overall. Make it a point to join local organizations, which could enable you to take advantage of sponsorship or speaking opportunities. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to publications in your vertical, whereby you can ask about writing a column or becoming a regular contributor.

In the end, our approach was to highlight how Twitter, or any social platform for that matter, is but a part of a holistic content marketing plan. For John P. Twitter’s changes provoked a shift in thinking, leading him to focus more on the totality of his marketing efforts, something that went far beyond social media.

What are your thoughts on the changes from Twitter?

About Ronell Smith

I'm digital strategist and content geek who's passionate about helping businesses wade through the B.S. and get the results they desire. I rant often about user experience, PR, SEO, branding, product innovation or content marketing. Otherwise, I'm just a boring nerd who dreams about disruptive innovation, long-form feature writing, nuclear physics, entomology and sniper rifles.

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