Words by Belinda Connolly
You can’t have a discussion about social media at the moment without the topic of X – formerly known as Twitter – coming up. The hot topic seems to be if the platform is still relevant, both for users and for brands, after its recent rebranding by Elon Musk.
Twitter’s recent rebranding to X is part of a larger transformation of the platform. Owner Elon Musk always had grand ideas for the site, including creating a Western version of WeChat, and the renaming appears to be part of this.
“Twitter was acquired by X Corp both to ensure freedom of speech and as an accelerant for X, the everything app,” says Elon.
The original ethos of the site was centered around real-time communication and the sharing of short, concise messages. It wasn’t long before the platform gained popularity and amassed a large user base that businesses recognised the potential to engage with their target audience in a new way. Brands realised they could leverage the platform’s immediacy to respond to customer inquiries, address concerns and provide timely updates.
People now use X for sharing images and short messages, for contacting brands, even when commenting on TV shows they’re watching and want to learn more about, while brands use it to participate in conversations, join trending topics and showcase their expertise.
So, what’s the problem?
Since Elon’s $44 billion takeover of the platform some brands have rethought their X strategy. A report found that 625 of the top 1,000 Twitter advertisers, including Coca-Cola, Unilever and Jeep, had stopped spending ad dollars as of January. Mr Musk said his purchase was designed to transform X into a platform for payments, news and food orders. So far this hasn’t happened but he has overseen new changes that have left many users upset including making the blue verification tick for sale.
In fact, it has been reported that 32 million users will leave the platform over the next two years, making it a less attractive place for brands and businesses.
According to the responses of marketers in Hubspot 2023 Global Social Media Trends Report:
– only 7% of brands say X is an effective platform for building an active community
– only 6% of brands say X offers the highest ROI when selling products directly in the app
– around 34% of marketers said X’s recent changes had resulted in a negative experience on the platform.
Should your brand still be on X?
With more than 217 million active daily users and 500 million tweets sent every day X still has enormous reach. Brands maintain a presence on the platform can access:
- Wide reach and user engagement: Brands have the opportunity to reach a vast audience and engage with potential customers, allowing them to expand their brand awareness and increase their online visibility.
- Real-time communication: Brands can provide timely information, showcase their agility and offer exceptional customer service, enhancing their reputation and building trust with their audience.
- Trending topics and hashtags: By aligning their brand messaging with trending topics or creating unique hashtags, brands can increase their visibility, generate buzz and attract the attention of a wider audience.
- Influencer collaboration: X provides a platform for brands to collaborate with influencers and thought leaders in their industry. Influencer marketing can help brands reach a highly engaged audience, leverage the influencer’s credibility, and tap into their existing followers.
- Customer feedback and insights: By monitoring conversations, mentions and sentiment around their brand, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer opinions, preferences and pain points.
- Brand personality and authenticity: By engaging in conversations, sharing relevant content and demonstrating expertise, brands can establish an authentic presence. This helps humanise the brand, foster connections and differentiate themselves from competitors.
- News and trend updates: Brands can share industry news, product launches, and company announcements, positioning themselves as industry leaders and staying on top of trends.
How to X
Like any social media strategy, brands need to approach X with SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Are you on the platform to drive sales? Leads? Provide thought leadership? Resources are limited so make sure you use X’s analytics to track your strategy and optimise when needed.
While the specific benefits of being on X may vary depending on the brand and its target audience, the platform offers a range of opportunities for businesses to connect, engage, and build relationships with their customers in a fast-paced and dynamic environment.