It’s fair to say Twitter has had a fairly rough time of it in the recent past. The platform has struggled to grow its audience and, despite huge brand recognition, mainstream usage has proven elusive.

So, can Twitter survive, or is it set to join the likes of MySpace in social network purgatory?

We decided to take to (where else?) Twitter for this week’s #ClickZChat to ask our network of marketers for their thoughts.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room:

Q1: Is Twitter dying?

Lack of growth is often seen as big problem in the tech world. Does stalling = failing?

Many people thought that Twitter was plateauing, but did not see this as a cause for concern:

Maturation and evolution were clearly hot topics for users, with Twitters recent acquisition of NFL streaming rights showing that the business may be undergoing some fundamental changes, but shouldn’t be counted out:

The onboarding process was a point of concern however. Many of you felt that Twitter was not as immediately intuitive as other platforms.

An issue that had allowed SnapChat and Instagram to pull ahead in the media stakes, but Twitter may be able to keep this market share if it concentrates on it’s core value: Realtime social updates.

It was also interesting to consider how these newer platforms are often leveraged to drive Twitter by users. In many ways, Twitter has become a hub network for updates.

Q2: Is Twitter still valuable for marketers?

With all this extra noise however, it can be difficult to find an audience. With so many outlets simply pushing content rather than engaging, is Twitter still a viable (and valuable) marketing channel?

Opinion was quite clearly split here. From a publishing perspective it was clear that many had seen a drop in value, with more broadcast and less response from followers:

But felt that this simply required more time and thought behind content strategy on Twitter:

However, Twitter was still seen as one of the most useful ways to contact brands directly.

Indeed, recent figures show that around XX of brands reply to users on Twitter, compared to just XX% over on Facebook. Perhaps Twitter may ultimately have more value for businesses as a customer service channel than from content marketing?

Q3: How could Twitter improve?

Of course, it’s easy for us to criticise, but what can be done to improve Twitter for users?

1: Better search

A number of people thought that findability needed improvement. While Advanced Search is useful, it should be more integrated into the core experience:

2: More focus on pro user needs

Similarly, it was felt that core users and social media managers could be helped with a few simple tweaks:

3: Death to bots

Spam is a continuing issue for Twitter, and many users would like to see Twitter deal with this more effectively:

4: Being able to hide our spelling mistakes… 

And finally, one small change that users have been demanding for a long time:

Key takeaways

Overall it seems that there’s a long way to go before anyone can really say that twitter has ‘failed’, but businesses in particular need to get their acts together, with less push content and more focus on service. Oh, and if you’re running an auto-retweet bot of some kind, you’d make followers a lot happier by turning it off.

As always a huge thanks to everyone who took part. Our next #ClickZChat will take place at Noon EST of Wednesday 13th April – please do join us on Twitter.

Want to know more about Twitter’s wavering fortunes? Make sure you check out these 24 slightly depressing statistics about Twitter, and the 17 things Twitter could do to revive its fortunes.

via Search Engine Watch

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