In the weeks since Elon Musk completed his acquisition of Twitter, chaos has reigned. While that may be Musk’s modus operandi to some degree, many have questioned the platform’s ability to continue operating after losing scores of key staff members and suffering the departure of major advertisers.
This continuing uncertainty about Twitter’s direction and stability has created a tricky landscape for brands to navigate. Below are some key considerations:
1. Create a Plan B
For brands that rely heavily on Twitter, it’s time to explore the impact that leaving the platform would create and options to replace it in the marketing mix. Mastodon seems to be the beneficiary of this type of planning, although it is not a one-for-one Twitter replacement. There isn’t a mass call for brands and advertisers to leave Twitter from any of the major social justice groups. But that may come now that Ye (Kanye West) and former President Trump have had their accounts reinstated and brands should consider how they might respond.
2. Review Values
Twitter has been the source of hate speech before, but it was never significant enough to drive advertisers away in mass. We may be at that tipping point now. Regardless, stakeholders expect brands to live their values, so conversations need to be had about the level of tolerance an organization may have for increased hate rhetoric on the site. And it’s worth noting some of the most influential media buying agencies, including GroupM, Interpublic Group and Omnicom, are warning against Twitter advertising while brands such as Pfizer and General Motors have already taken their advertising dollars elsewhere. For those remaining on the platform, Twitter will require even more monitoring than before, and it is important to be aware of the higher risk of impersonation.
3. Understand Stakeholder Expectations
Stakeholders have different expectations of different brands. Certain types of brands – crypto, for example – may thrive in a Musk-led environment. Other more established brands – healthcare, pharma and financial institutions – may logically steer clear. Marketers know who their audience is and continued participation in Twitter should be guided by who is left engaging on the platform.
4. Download Old Tweets
Should Twitter go down, users will lose access to their profiles and the content there for an indeterminate period of time. It’s a good idea to download all site content now as a precautionary measure. Going to Settings and requesting Tweets as a zip file will ensure a historic record is accessible no matter what happens to Twitter itself.
5. Preserve Twitter-Only Contacts
For those contacts who you may communicate with only by Twitter, it may be worth reaching out and asking for alternative contact information. This is particularly true for communicators who may engage with journalists on Twitter. Additionally, posting your own contact information such as your website or other social media pages will ensure others can find you if needed. That said, use caution when posting contact information and only include details that you are willing to make public.
As a final thought, Star Trek star, George Takei, who has 3.4 million followers, has opted to stay on the site tweeting, “I’m not going anywhere. Should this place become more toxic, I pledge to strive even harder to lift up reason, science, compassion and the rule of law. The struggle against fascism, misinformation, and hate requires tough fighters. I hope you stay in the fight, right beside me.”
Ideally, the smoke will dissipate soon and a clearer picture of the platform going forward will emerge with time. However, if the current trajectory is any indication, companies will need to take a hard look at whether Twitter continues to be a viable communications platform for their brands.