Elon’s tearing up the Twitter rule book: What does it mean to me and my digital marketing strategy

Last month Elon Musk bought Twitter following months of posturing, U-turns, and very public arguments with the executive board. He acquired the company for a reported $44 billion, and since then it seems that the unpredictability and eccentricity we have come to expect from Elon will most definitely have an impact on how the social media platform operates into the future.

Since taking over he has wasted no time on implementing change. His first two acts in charge -dissolve the executive board, and sack 80% of staff. The lucky few that survived the culling are expected to work long hours and have a ‘hardcore’ attitude, or leave, according to recent tweets by the new owner. All this slashing has had consequences on the quality of service that Twitter provides – something that Elon himself has admitted. According to one former employee, due to surges in demand and a lack of staff to deal with them, there is a 50% chance that Twitter could completely crash during The World Cup. Given the uncertainty, we have some things to consider when it comes to your marketing efforts on the platform.

Don’t put all your advertising eggs in Twitter’s basket

In addition to the cuts, staff are also resigning. According to some reports, as many as 1,200 employees resigned following Elon’s announcement that staff have a deadline to leave or stay. Hashtags such as #TwitterMigration and #TwitterTakeover have been trending in the last few weeks as users began questioning the future of the social network- not helped by Elon’s own admission that ‘bankruptcy isn’t out of the question’ if Twitter doesn’t change. Obviously, comments like this are unsettling and can make you question how you are using the platform or even if you should be using it at all. Thankfully there are alternatives available if you want to distance yourself; TikTok and LinkedIn can offer similar opportunities to engage with a broad audience, stay relevant, and engage in topical discussions with industry leading experts.

Revisit your audience analysis

Elon’s changes haven’t just been organisational. Remember that blue verification tick that ensures accounts are who they say they are? Well, Elon made it a subscription-based system saying he wants ‘power to the people’ and ‘comedy’ to be ’legal’ again on Twitter. But with accounts parodying the new owner being suspended, Elon clearly can’t take a joke at his own expense. While it may be fun to laugh at the billionaire, all these changes are influencing twitters user base. Old users leaving and new users joining can change how your audience engage with your content or ads. Doing some social listening and audience analysis is a good way to ensure your twitter campaigns stay on track.

Update your social mention monitoring

Subscription based verification and ending twitters misinformation ban around covid has led to an unavoidable increase in misinformation on the platform. Last month pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly was the victim of a fake account using twitters ‘blue tick’ to pose as the company. The fake account tweeted ‘We are excited to announce that insulin is free now’, wiping 6% of their market value as well as triggering significant drops in value for competitors such as Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Assuming this is something that you want to avoid, it would be a good idea to audit your social presence and monitor the existence of any fake accounts.

Elon’s changes can bring you opportunity

It can be difficult to predict what might happen when company updates now come in the form of a 240-character tweet and with big hitters such as General Motors, Carlsberg, and Volkswagen all cancelling advertising contracts with Twitter, it’s clear to see that this takeover is making advertisers reassess their relationship with the platform. Given all the uncertainty around verification, advertising, and even Twitter’s continued existence, it’s a good time to re-assess your current campaigns, and how Twitter fits into your marketing strategy.

While the changes have caused some obvious issues on the platform, this doesn’t mean to say that this situation can’t be used to your advantage. A change in priorities can mean new features and new users coming to the platform, creating new opportunities to serve content to customers. Even with all this uncertainty, Twitter is still hugely important in the medtech and healthcare space offering a platform that connects industry leading experts, journalists and key stakeholders; and the ability to put yourself at the centre of real-time topical discussions within your industry.

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