Is Twitter Still Good For Business?

This should be a shining moment for Twitter. Social media as a whole appears to be booming, as is evidenced by Snap’s mainly successful IPO. The growth of mobile devices (and lack of free time) has conditioned people to consume information in 140 character-size chunks. Businesspeople across the country swear by their ability to reach thousands of Twitter followers and drive traffic back to their organizations’ websites. And the President of the United States himself has helped usher the term “tweetstorm” into the popular lexicon.

Alas, it seems to be a dark time for Twitter, which has been mired in some bad press over the past few weeks thanks to the company’s most recent most recent financials. The numbers were, to put it plainly, bad, primarily due to a continuing decline in advertising revenue. The results added fuel to an old, ongoing discussion – does Twitter really have a sustainable business model, or is it doomed to failure?

Twitter for Business

The good news for businesses is that Twitter does still have much to offer, including a program, Twitter for Business, designed specifically to enhance engagement for corporate users. Twitter for Business is Twitter’s ad platform. Somewhat akin to Google Adwords, it’s designed to help organizations – mainly of the small-to-medium sized variety – engage with users via paid tweets. Ostensibly, businesses use it to drive web traffic, gain relevant followers, and even drive mobile app downloads, if that’s your business’s thing.

Similar to Adwords, companies can create campaigns through Twitter for Business to help them achieve specific goals. For example, let’s say you’re looking to increase brand awareness and want to drive people back to your company’s website. You can create customized Twitter ad campaigns to achieve both of those objectives. These campaigns can be targeted at specific types of users and geared toward a certain number of impressions, based on your pre-specified budget.

Once the campaigns start they can be monitored via detailed analytics that provide insight into their overall effectiveness so that adjustments can be made as necessary. You’ll get information on top performing tweets, number of retweets, etc., as well as information on who’s following you on Twitter.

Organic vs. Paid News

But wait, I hear you saying – with such a robust program, why is Twitter doing so poorly when it comes to ad revenue? I think it’s mainly a matter of perception, for both consumers and businesses.

I believe that Twitter is still primarily perceived as an organic news source, rather than a paid news source. Most businesses are familiar with Adwords and paid search, but many may not even realize that Twitter has a paid option. Likewise, many users may not click on Promoted Tweets, the same way that they used to not click on website banner ads; they’d rather pay attention to the news sources that they purposely follow on Twitter. However, Twitter’s ad platform is smart enough to only show relevant Promoted Tweets to certain users – those that might be interested in the content contained within those tweets.

Businesses that use Twitter may also see no need to pay for results when they’re already seeing good traction on the non-paid side. Many organizations are very diligent at monitoring their organic numbers, including followers, retweets, likes, and more. If they’re seeing these numbers go up – and experiencing an acceptable amount of engagement – they might not be inclined to spend money unnecessarily.

Those who have opted to eschew Twitter advertising in favor of a more old fashioned approach should know that last year Twitter began changing the way it displays tweets in a user’s timeline. Twitter is now using a specialized algorithm that prioritizes popularity and relevancy in a user’s timeline, rather than mere chronological order. This could be good news for businesses that have decided not to advertise. As long as they make their tweets compelling and relevant to the interests of their followers, there’s a chance they can get priority placement for tweets without paying a penny.

That’s not to say that companies should not complement their efforts with a paid Twitter campaign, however. A double-barreled approach can be highly effective in helping them reach as many people as possible, and cover all of their bases. But it’s something to keep in mind for organizations that already have tight marketing budgets.

In any case, I don’t think Twitter’s going anywhere anytime soon. It still has time to become a shining example of social media success. And your company still has reasons to use it to help achieve your goals.

Let’s talk.