The goose isn’t quite cooked yet, but it’s getting damn close. What a great idea it was at the time to volunteer to cook holiday dinner, but now reality has set in. It’s an hour before dinner. You have a room full of hungry kids, adults telling you how to cook, and that one relative who’s had a few to many. All of them are complaining. It’s do or die. It’s a familiar narrative in the sphere of social media; a bright eyed start up quickly turns into a corporate fiasco.
Currently, Twitter is in the same position as the hopeful home cook. The Twitter story has two potential endings. Fail, and Twitter will limp into the social media graveyard with the likes of Myspace and the sites of yesteryear. Succeed, and Twitter will cement its place as a pillar of social media. Failure is not an option, but what should they do?
- Get the Back Seat Cooks Out of the Kitchen
Thats right, I’m saying Twitter should go back to being a privately held company. This will allow them to be more nimble. Freed from the shackles of trying to maximize shareholder value, Twitter can take a step back and refocus their efforts. Return on investment can wait. Twitter's turning point is now, and they must take decisive action. Becoming a nimble business that can pivot quickly now will help Twitter in the long run.
- Focus on Users
Now is not the time to cash in. Twitter has seen a slight decrease in its US audience in recent months, following a stagnant previous six quarters. Where the users go the money goes. Twitter should be concerned that users are not joining and staying engaged. To combat this Twitter has planned to rollout some features such as; 10,000 character limit, Twitter Q&A, and improved terms and conditions to combat abuse and bullying.
Although these are nice, Twitter must do more, especially to combat the volatile habitat that Twitter has become. Umair Haque put it well when he says, “Twitter could have been a town square. But now it's more like a drunken, heaving mosh pit.” This is where being agile can help Twitter. Twitter needs to foster an environment that people can be easily involved and engaged with, without the fear of being lambasted in the internet court of public opinion.
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- Focus on Business
Creating a clear demarcation for business accounts on the platform represents an untapped opportunity for Twitter. Making a separate classification for business accounts would allow for expanded features that could be unique to brands – and could drive additional revenue for Twitter. If you build it, they will come. Twitter could ramp up its advertising business if it gave brand’s unique ways to interact with users (that doesn’t go down in the dm), freedom to create unique pages and content, and advanced analytics.
Regarding businesses, Twitter has made an initial, if not controversial step in the right direction. The platform has recently rolled out an algorithm-based feed similar to that of Facebook. When the feature was first announced, the typical tweetstorm erupted and the hashtag #RipTwitter was born as people prematurely mourned the death of the chronological feed.
As it turns out, the feature to view “the best tweets you may have missed” is strictly opt-in for the moment. As for how this update can benefit brands, the feed prioritizes content that receives above average engagement. Since many companies have a larger base of follower, this will reward brands that produce engaging content by giving them additional organic reach within the algorithm-based feed.
2016 is going to be an important year for Twitter. Is the kitchen going fill with smoke or will social media users everywhere start liking the taste of a new Twitter? Lucky for us, we don’t have the unenviable position of cooking holiday dinner or working at Twitter.
Let us know what you think about Twitter on, well, Twitter @likeablelocal!