By Emma Fitzpatrick
Every quarter, Facebook and Instagram shatter another milestone:
Facebook has two billion monthly users!
200 million people watch Instagram Stories every day!
It’s like a non-stop good news factory. The more you read how successful these platforms are, the more you want to invest time (and money) in them.
But what about Twitter? Sure, you see tweets on the news every day, but beyond that, are people still logging on and reading your bank’s tweets?
Read on to learn the latest changes to Twitter, how that’s affected the platform’s growth, and what it all means for your bank’s social media marketing strategy.
The many, many Twitter tweaks.
At Twitter, the company knows all’s not well. They keep swapping in different parts, trying new tricks, anything to see what sticks.
Most recently, Twitter announced that it’s changing its core functionality. As of September 26, the company is testing 280-character tweets. Twitter research showed that the “character limit is a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English.”
In short, Twitter is ready and willing to change the one feature that separates it from other platforms if it means people will use Twitter more. At this point, they’ll try anything.
Before this, Twitter tried to pivot and become the place for real-time news and live streams. Twitter even live streams NFL games. The company also added Moments to showcase top news stories and an algorithmic timeline that shows you tweets you’re most likely to like along with a bunch of smaller features.
But has any of it helped?
Twitter continues to trail behind.
Two years ago, Jack Dorsey, a co-founder of Twitter, returned to the company to change “how we work, and what we need to do that work.” At that time, the company had just gone public and experienced a severe decrease in monthly active users.
Flash forward to 2016, and President Trump made Twitter a star again. The platform, in many ways, is the primary way the President communicates with the media and the American people. Because of Trump, Twitter became the news source.
Because of this constant attention and the crucial role Twitter played in the 2016 election, Twitter was expecting a huge bump in users, but not much changed. In Q4 of 2016, Twitter grew by a measly two million monthly active users. That was the slowest growth rate the company saw in all of 2016, and the growth rate in the U.S. was actually zero. But the platform had 11% more daily active users (DAU).
And in Q1 of 2017, Twitter kept its slight momentum going. It added nine million new monthly active users (MAU)—the highest MAU growth rate the company’s seen in two years. But the company’s stock recently fell 8% after it released Q2 data, reports, and earnings. Twitter’s revenue continued to decline, advertising profits decreased, and monthly active users were stagnant from Q1 to Q2 of 2017.
Wired called 2017 “the year that Twitter learns to thrive or dies.” With a few months left, we’ll see where it lands. Perhaps the increased character count will attract and engage more users. Or there’s a chance Twitter just isn’t one of the core social platforms anymore.
What that means for you.
For now, your bank should likely maintain the status quo on Twitter.
If you like the platform and see value in it, keep on tweeting as you have been. But if you’re strapped for time, there’s a good chance Twitter is the best place for you to cut back. While it’s important to continue monitoring your account—and responding to customer concerns as needed—it’s really become primarily a place to broadcast news rather than engage users.
Additionally, if your bank is looking to invest more in a social platform, go where the growth is, so either Instagram or Facebook.
Emma Fitzpatrick is a Philly-based freelance writer and marketer, whose specialties include content marketing, social media marketing and short, snappy writing. Pick her brain at firstname.lastname@example.org.