What should be Twitter’s strategic direction?
- Read the brief case about Twitter (below). The additional materials listed provide a historical picture of what has been happening with the social network. The last reference compares usage on the major social networks.
Answer the following questions:
1) How does Twitter create value for its customers versus other major social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr? Consider what makes Twitter unique among social networks. You could start by taking a strategic look by developing a perceptual map or SWOT analysis or another tool to understand the marketplace and the company.
2) What should be Twitter’s strategic direction? Make some concrete suggestions as to how Twitter can accelerate growth in users covering aspects of marketing such as product, price, promotion and place.
Mini Case: Saving Twitter
Twitter has been plagued in the past with flat growth and losing active users. In recent months the company has been growing in both users and revenue but still lags behind other social media platforms in terms of its share of digital ad revenue. The articles linked below chart some of Twitter’s history but you may want to consult additional resources in crafting your responses to the discussion questions.
Traditional marketing theory would hold that the company needs to work from its core competencies, that is, what makes it unique, and build from there to create an even stronger position in the marketplace. Therefore, consider the following question: what makes Twitter unique? Twitter is a short-format platform or microblog, at first limited to 140 characters (now 280). However, that limitation is a technical characteristic that can easily be imitated on another platform. What else makes Twitter unique and how can the company capitalize on that uniqueness?
Perhaps what Twitter has going for it is its customer base and what their interests are? For example, Lady Gaga has over 80 million Twitter followers and carefully manages interactions with her fan base of power users. Perhaps companies should think like Lady Gaga and find out where their best promoters reside on Twitter. Twitter might also make better use of its most influential “Tweeters” because they hold the key to the marketplace and better monetization of the platform.
Another thing Twitter is known for is trending news, a phenomenon that is led by its customer base. News reports from the Arab Spring to the Boston Marathon bombings to the engagement of Prince William have ‘broken’ on Twitter. However, if Twitter is not careful, they could lose this advantage. The market for those who seek trending news will go to other social media outlets. Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat are growing more quickly and are more visually-oriented than Twitter.
One particular problem in this situation is that Twitter is one of the only, if not THE only, social media platform where one has to use another platform to understand the tool! Twitter spawned Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and other tools to manage the stream of news events. Even Twitter analytics themselves are separate from the platform. The events scroll past endlessly and good Twitter users post the same content multiple times as they try to capture the viewers’ attention. The addition of the “while you were away” feature is in recognition of this problem.
Twitter recently turned a profit but its user growth and number of total users have lagged behind other, more popular, social networks. Some of these networks, like Instagram, launched after Twitter but have outpaced it in terms of usage. Facebook had close to two and a half billion active users, Instagram a billion and Twitter 330 million, as of 2019 figures.
In late 2017, Twitter increased the number of characters of its Tweets to 280 and also rolled out a product to promote Tweets automatically. The question for Twitter is: Can these changes help in the long run?
The decision to change what counts as a character for a Tweet to exclude media attachments and @names is a beginning, but more needs to be done to rejuvenate the stalled platform. Some recent changes include more control over conversation settings to protect users from spam and abuse in an increasingly belligerent social media atmosphere.
Must have 2-3 APA citations. Post must be 500 words.
The following are some additional materials about Twitter that provide an historical picture of what has been happening with the social network. The Statista reference compares usage on the major social networks.
- Xie, S, (2020, August 11). New Conversation Settings Coming to a Tweet Near You. Retrieved from https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/product/2020/new-conversation-settings-coming-to-a-tweet-near-you.html.
- Global social media ranking July 2020. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/.
- Hernandez, D. (2017, July 24). Why can’t Twitter kill its bots? Retrieved from https://splinternews.com/why-cant-twitter-kill-its-bots-1793851105.
- Koh, Y. (2016, February 10). Twitter Woes Mount as User Growth Stalls. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/twitter-posts-loss-amid-user-growth-concerns-1455140113.
- Mishcastillo. (2017, October 26). Here’s how Twitter plans to become profitable for the first time. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/26/how-twitter-plans-to-become-profitable-for-the-first-time.html.
- Ortiz-Ospina, E. The rise of social media. Retrieved December 9, 2019, from https://ourworldindata.org/rise-of-social-media.
- Tsukayama, H. (2019, April 8). Why Twitter is now profitable for the first time ever. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/02/08/why-twitter-is-now-profitable-for-the-first-time-ever/.
- Pickering, B. (2017, December 7). 10 Types of Twitter Users. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/types-of-twitter-users_b_4208702.
- “Which social networks are more user friendly, Twitter or Facebook?”, by Brendan Dunne, Quora, September 28, 2012.