Should We Twitter?

Recently, Nils Smith, D+C Chief Strategist of Social Media+Innovation returned to the Cause+Effect podcast to unpack the controversial changes to Twitter under the new leadership of Elon Musk. Nils helps us process the noise and sort through how this relates to the nonprofit world. We hope his insight highlights all the ways Twitter could potentially advance the platform of your ministry with practical steps to take today.

What’s trending on Twitter?

It’s a question many Americans ask everyday as this popular network has become a central hub for world news. These trends seem to determine what’s happening in our culture… and that’s why this is relevant to your ministry.

A new era

Twitter has been a recent source of controversy as Elon Musk took the keys and now owns the network, a publicly traded company. In the process, Twitter has hit a peak of all-time engagement.

Interestingly enough, Elon’s other companies have not even required a marketing department due to the attention he has gained through social media and other platforms.

And it seems with Twitter, he’s done it again.

Although this platform has risen to around 300 million active users in the last few years, as social media continues to grow, Twitter usage has continued to decline. When you compare that 300 million to the two billion on Facebook or YouTube, or even the 1.2 billion on Instagram, Twitter hasn’t necessarily been the primary platform for most organizations.

So is all of that about to change? Time will tell.

In terms of ministry, there is a definite audience on Twitter that is different than other social media platforms. You simply need to decide if that’s the audience you want to reach.  

And this is a great opportunity for leaders to pay attention and take intentional time to prioritize Twitter, watching to see if this is a wave that turns into a long-term development.

The infamous blue checkmark

In the past, getting the checkmark seemed to be based on personalities and ‘who you know.’ But in order to clean up certain things on this platform, Elon is now using a verification process.

For about eight dollars a month, you can get the checkmark. Vanity? Perhaps. But it’s more than a blue checkmark. Incentives like the ability to edit tweets, post longer form videos and even tools to boost your tweets come with your monthly fee.

Here’s what’s coming

In addition to creating a layer of trust and transparency as to how they are handling user data, apps merging into each other with multiple functions is a definite trend as we head into 2023.

In fact, Elon has recently expressed a desire for Twitter to become a super app similar to ‘WeChat’ in China. This is basically like Uber, Welp, Twitter, etc. all in one app. It involves integrating payment systems and turning Twitter into more than just 140 character tweets.

Elon has also asked his team to bring back Vine, a short-term vertical video that originally preceded Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram and other popular forms you see today.

Practical steps for today:
1. Don’t over-invest.

Your time is your most valuable resource and over-investing in any platform is typically not productive. Social media will continue to be a huge ministry opportunity but it can also be a massive waste of time, money and resources.

Be cautious. Continue to monitor the data and analytics, paying attention to things like how many people saw your tweets and your overall engagement. Is it increasing or decreasing? Is there a decent ROI? You can measure those things over the course of a few weeks and then decide if that time investment is worth the ROI of the engagement you’re seeing.

2. Prioritize Twitter for the next few months.

Time will tell if this platform is beneficial or if it’s just not going anywhere. Social media has always been a shifting landscape and that much won’t change. Sometimes there are waves we can catch if we jump in early enough and Twitter is a potential wave that’s heading our way.

3. Focus on capturing and distributing one-minute-or-less short form videos

Communicating about your organization with one-minute (or less) videos is crucial. Where social media started as text-only posts, moved to graphics then moved to video, it’s now short form vertical video that is mostly consumed on our mobile devices.

Finally, take this into consideration: As seemingly chaotic as Elon Musk’s organizations have been, they’ve mostly all proven successful. It’s hard to imagine that he will suddenly fail with a platform that has a solid user base and good bones from a technology perspective.

And with Facebook and Instagram currently struggling a bit, his timing could be right on point.

For more insight into the recent changes on Twitter and what it means for your organization, listen to the Cause+Effect podcast episode, Should We Twitter?

+ More Insights on Social Media from Dunham+Company

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