As I shared in the Content Chat Bulletin newsletter (subscribe here), on Halloween, we held a #ContentChat Spaces conversation with a scary marketing theme. But only one of our community members turned up.
While the number of #ContentChat participants varies week-to-week, and we are no longer in our 150+ attendees Twitter heyday, this was unprecedented. It was like throwing a party and not having anyone show up.
So what happened? I think there were two significant factors at play:
- Many folks were focused on their IRL Halloween activities, including activities at their children’s schools.
- Everybody else was concerned about the immediate changes in the tone of Twitter conversations over the couple of days since it was taken private. Not to mention the spreading of malicious fake news by its new owner.
- Many of the folks who’ve made our chat so much fun over the past 6+ years simply haven’t been spending much—if any—time on Twitter over the past year.
Social Media Versus Real Life
Our community is on Twitter primarily during the work day, which makes sense since it’s a professional development-related chat. Yes, it’s also about networking with your friends and peers. But, we always have an expert talking about a relevant and valuable content marketing topic. Providing useful resources and support for the benefit of the greater content marketing community is our mission with the chat each week.
That’s why I wasn’t surprised that for the entire time I’ve hosted our weekly chat, holidays of any sort have been pretty sparse on the attendance front. This is doubly true for Monday holiday days. Because if you have to choose between gearing up for a holiday gathering with your friends and family or doing work…the optional work is not going to win out!
Twitter Doesn’t Feel Like the Best Place for Brands Right Now
The elephant in the Twitter feed right now, however, is how its new ownership has affected—and will continue to affect—the quality of interactions on the platform. Those of us who were online on election day saw rampant misinformation and blue checkmark-enabled brand and influencer impersonation all over our feeds and the trending hashtags.
If that wasn’t enough to cause marketers to hit pause on their ad spend, there’s also the concern the platform might not be fiscally solvent much longer even if advertisers return. Why? The company may not be able to survive the (sudden but) inevitable FTC fines that are likely to result from the material Tweets going out from Musk.
Post-Pandemic Social Media Burnout Has Taken Hold
My friends and colleagues over at Neoluxe Marketing (where I am serving as a fractional CEO), surveyed marketers earlier this year about burnout. Agency Founder Maureen Jann shared the results at CMworld in September, and let me assure you—people are feeling a little crispy around the edges. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve had a friend tell me they wouldn’t be on social media at all these days if they didn’t have to be due to their work. Why? Because these platforms that were once enabling us to connect with interesting ideas and ideas have largely become pretty grim, argumentative places full of unexpected toxic oil slicks of conversation we don’t want to be a part of.
Of course, if you are using Twitter lists to closely curate your feed, you can minimize your exposure to the worst content on the platform. But then you are also using the service more as a feed reader than as a social platform, which takes away much of its intrinsic value. If we want to talk to people we already know, that’s what Facebook is for, or even LinkedIn. This is why many people are checking out platforms like Mastodon (which I joined at the urging of my bestie, social media and local marketing consultant Brandie McCallum.
Should Twitter be Included in Your 2023 Marketing Plans?
As someone who has met some of their now closest friends through Twitter and had a good amount of business generated through Twitter conversations and relationships, the past few weeks of Twitter turmoil have been a big bummer, to say the least. As I counsel clients on their 2023 social media strategies, I’m encouraging those already on Twitter to broaden their focus to the other channels where their clients are engaging. However, for prospective clients, I’m not pitching anyone not already there to invest in the platform until we see how things play out.
If your customers and influencers are still active on Twitter, even if you decide not to pursue advertising or sharing content through the platform, you won’t want to abandon it completely. At a minimum, you will want to set up social listening tools to keep you aware of what your community is talking about on Twitter. With the significant amount of brand impersonation happening, you will also want to set up Google alerts that everyone on your social and brand communications teams can access. This can help you catch any potential misinformation or brand impersonators early so you can address them as needed.
As Joe Pulizzi always reminds us, it’s incredibly important not to build your audience on borrowed land. The turmoil on Twitter is a good reminder of why that is.
What’s Next for #ContentChat?
On our end, we’re planning on expanding the reach of our chat to include LinkedIn. Starting with our Q1 chats (or sooner if I have some brave guests willing to help us test it out), we’ll lead with an audio chat that will be live with Q&A simultaneously on LinkedIn and Twitter, then available as a podcast.
Have you jumped ship from Twitter? Or have you expanded your efforts onto other platforms? Let us know in the comments how you are weathering this Twitter storm.