With Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter now complete, there are understandably a lot of questions about the future of the platform and what it means for our clients. While we don’t have a crystal ball to predict what the future of Twitter looks like, here is some guidance we’re offering to clients as of November 3, 2022.
Note: This is primarily written for those who are considering how organic social and community management will be impacted — less about how to approach ad strategy.
If you have seen an increase in spam and/or harassment on the platform, here are some helpful community management resources:
- Controlling who can reply to your tweets (Start here!)
- Blocking & Muting on Twitter: How to use advanced muting options
- Protected Tweets (Making your account private to followers only)
- Elon Musk has made clear his intention to weaken community standards on Twitter, making room for more trolls, hate speech, and misinformation — and allowing Trump back on. There’s been a surge in hate speech and harassment in the few days since Musk took over, and the remaining Twitter leadership is working to address it.
- Many users have pledged to leave Twitter if the platform becomes unusable due to harassment and spam.
- There are new reports that user Verification will now cost $20/month (or $8! Things are changing in real time!) and existing verified users will have 90 days to decide to pay or have the Blue Check revoked.
- Musk also dissolved the Board of Directors and fired the CEO and other top executives. It’s tough to anticipate what’s next from someone who loves to shock.
- Twitter remains a valuable platform for staying attuned with the news cycle, identifying trends and rapid response opportunities for campaigns, orgs, and individuals.
- Twitter has long been the go-to platform for campaigns and individuals looking to enhance media advocacy, deepen relationships with issue experts and members of the press, and engage with key stakeholders and audiences.
- The EU has also been firm about Twitter needing to abide by strict content moderation requirements.
What is M+R advising orgs to do?
- We’re in wait-and-see mode, so we recommend staying put for now.
- We don’t know what will happen with audience sizes and engagement rates — and this will vary from one account to the next.
- We’re advising clients to pay attention to KPIs, keeping in mind that significant shifts could happen in the short term. In the past we have seen significant drops in audience size happen overnight, only to find out that platforms purged fake accounts and bots.
- Historically, our clients have been much more focused on organic social strategies on Twitter — not advertising. This is largely due to Twitter’s pre-existing ban on political ads. We don’t know yet how this will impact Twitter Ads or advertisers, but we would not be surprised if brands shift focus away from Twitter.
Should we stay on the platform long-term?
- The short answer: It’s too early to say. But stay for now and see how it shakes out. This is all happening in real-time with new developments coming in hot every day; we don’t know all the ramifications just yet, and we may not know for a little while.
- We have seen some dramatic swings in the past with users pledging to leave other platforms — while audiences have declined over time on other social platforms, social media is constantly evolving with new features, new audiences, and changing goals.
- Twitter remains a top choice for engaging with day-to-day news, being nimble in rapid response moments, and developing relationships with issue experts, activists, media, and more. It’s simply too early to say if you should or shouldn’t stay on the platform long-term.
- If your audience is still actively engaged and you’re seeing positive performance overall, the platform is still working for you. Your org can have a longer conversation with stakeholders about what makes sense in the long term when you have more data to inform those decisions.
- As Twitter’s values change, you should be prepared to have conversations about whether it’s a tool that continues to align with your company values. You may decide that Trump being welcomed back to plan the overthrow of our democracy is not something you want to support with your ad budget!
What are other orgs doing?
- Right now, many of our clients are in wait-and-see mode. It’s simply too early to know when the most significant changes will take effect, and how these changes will affect your account’s audience engagement and messaging strategies.
- Social media platforms change regularly — we have seen notable shifts over the years as Facebook simmered, Snapchat peaked, Instagram evolved, TikTok accelerated, and now Twitter is transforming. A strong social media strategy enlists various platforms for specific purposes, so this is a good time to take inventory of your digital program and consider how your presence on each platform or channel serves your long-term goals.
Pay attention to what other progressive orgs, activists, and thought leaders are saying. This is a good time to devote more attention to community management and social listening to get a better sense of what your audience is saying. Will individuals in movements start to leave and focus on other platforms? It’s hard to say right now, but the conversation is growing and changing every day.
Alex is a Vice President, Social Media at M+R, specializing in campaign strategy that integrates social content, earned media, and influencer collaboration to excite audiences and shift narratives. Outside of work, Alex spends time backpacking, eating ice cream, and going to the beach. You can reach Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ferenc Koszorus is an Account Supervisor on M+R’s Social Media team. His areas of expertise include social media strategy, reporting and analytics, influencer strategy, and press integration. Outside of work, Ferenc enjoys being out in nature, developing his mindfulness skills, and traveling. You can reach Ferenc at email@example.com