After rocketing to 300 million monthly active users in Q1 of 2015, Twitter as added only a paltry 15 million more users in the time since. To put this in perspective, Statista reports that Instagram and Facebook gained 100 million and 347 million monthly active users in the same period, respectively. Users and businesses are beginning to question Twitter’s place in the current social media landscape. But despite the controversy surrounding the popular micro-blog social media site, Twitter does something for mobile users that no other social media service can touch.
Twitter has become the world’s fastest news network for current events. The service turns everyone into a reporter and gives users the ability to sort through hashtags and trending topics. After the first hashtag was posted in 2007, the new method of categorization would soon become the fastest method for sorting through topics that any smartphone user could access.
The Role of the Hashtag
After Twitter proposed the hashtag, social media changed almost immediately. Never before was there one single symbol that could be used for breaking news, groups, communities, advertisements, celebrity hype, and pretty much anything else anyone could think of. It made organization on social media blisteringly simple. Not only does the hashtag serve as a means of categorization and entertainment for the user, it also serves as a key analytical tool for businesses looking for insight from social media.
Hashtags can be used to track user engagement and teach you about how the public perceives you or your product. The viral nature of Twitter makes it indelible for modern social media advertisement and analysis. Despite the recent plateau of Twitter’s active user base, the speed at which information is released and organized still puts Twitter ahead of all other social media in getting something out to the public and measuring its response. For 2016, eMarketer reported that Twitter saw 66.6% of companies with 100+ employees using the service. This is 17.8% more than Instagram, but still 18.7% less than Facebook. While this may show that Twitter is not necessarily dominant, it does prove that Twitter is still extremely relevant in social media marketing and analysis.
Another way Twitter differentiates itself from other social media services is the connection between user and business that the service inherently forms. Twitter still proves the dominant social media platform for businesses to keep users engaged with their content. According to Twitter, 54% of users reported taking action after noticing a brand in a tweet. This amounts to 23% visiting the brand’s website, 20% visiting their Twitter page, 20% searching for the brand online, 19% considering trying the brand, and 18% retweeting Tweets that mention the brand. With strong engagement like this, its clear why Twitter should still be used in social media marketing.
According to Twitter, 60% of current users expect brands to respond within the hour. This is another reason why Twitter is essential to the brand-consumer relationship. The unique social media service makes it extremely easy for businesses to craft quick and easy personal interactions with users for anything from customer service to purchase inquiries. Twitter reports that 77% of users are likely to recommend a brand after receiving a personalized customer service interaction.
Another attractive aspect of marketing on Twitter is the future-proof nature of the service. The concept is quite simple, and smartphone users in general will always be interested in what their friends, celebrities, and other popular figures are doing or saying. Twitter also takes advantage of being able to tweet photos, an easy way to generate 18% more click throughs and 150% more retweets. Even with Instagram as the dominant photo sharing platform, Twitter still allows businesses to easily capitalize on the benefits of posting visual content. Twitter also has the advantage of giving users the ability to repost content to their entire following with the click of a single “Retweet” button. This provides a leg up on the photo sharing giant, Instagram, which still only allows you to send posts as direct messages to other users. Through this Retweeting mechanism, posts significantly increase reach as they spread from follower base to follower base.
Twitter still ranks among the top social media services for millennials, and Tech Impact reports that 26% of all millennials actively use Twitter. According to Twitter’s blog, 81% of millennial users check Twitter a minimum of once a day. More importantly, 71% of millennials believe that tweeting about an event makes it more fun. This makes Twitter extremely relevant for businesses holding accounts and advertising themselves, as well as companies not holding accounts that can passively reap the benefits of the popular social network. This means that millennials will essentially advertise automatically through their joy of tweeting during live events. This is massive for the multimedia realm—this is a fast way for movies, TV shows, and music releases and performances to get free publicity through users generating conversation. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this free publicity is not limited to media and content.
In conclusion, it’s better to tweet. Despite user acquisition declining in recent quarters, Twitter offers far too many valuable resources to pass up. Each social network service fills a specific niche, and Twitter serves as the fastest way for businesses to get content out and get it seen. With the Pew Research Center reporting that 90% of young adults use social media, Twitter remains an extremely saturated market for those seeking a vast millennial audience. Businesses can utilize Twitter to make them look more approachable to the mass user base—contacting a company by mentioning the name of their brand is a lot more convenient than searching for an email address and typing out long form text. Twitter will always be relevant due to the simplicity of the platform—it is a news source, an entertainment hotspot, a marketing platform, a customer service hotline, and an instant messenger all based on the same micro text post format.
In the long term, the future of the social giant may be unclear, but for now, there’s no doubt about it: tweeting is here to say.