Since its launch in June 2006, Twitter quickly became one of the dominant social media platforms, used by consumers and marketers alike as a hub of information for both recreational and professional purposes. And while news about Twitter's decline in revenue and usage may be giving some marketers pause about their future with the platform, there are still many reasons to take it seriously as a marketing channel for brands.
Twitter provides the ability to access real-time insights, provide customer service, and forecast important trends, while the platform is also constantly evolving for integration with larger third-party organizations, ultimately giving brands the opportunity to create larger, more meaningful, and real-time connections with audiences.
Let's take a look at a few key reasons you shouldn't give up on Twitter just yet.
1. Twitter Provides A Platform for Real-Time Customer Service
According to J.D. Powers, 67% of customers now opt not to email their complaints to a brand or to call a customer service line, instead using social media for this purpose - in fact, Nielsen reports that 33% of consumers actually prefer to contact brands through a mention or DM on Twitter. Just go to any hospitality Twitter account (Marriott, Hilton, etc.) and click on "Tweets & replies" and you'll get an inside look at just how many people reach out with questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments.
Of course, if you engage with customers for customer service on social media, be prepared for their expectations - which may be daunting for smaller companies with limited customer service staff.
Approximately 32% of consumers expect a response to their customer service complaint within 30 minutes, and 42% expect one within 60 minutes.
Companies who use Twitter for customer service should have a system or employees in place to answer to those questions raised by customers in a timely manner.
2. Twitter Provides a Source of Real-Time Research and Insights
Because millions of people are constantly tweeting their feelings, opinions, and daily happenings, Twitter is a hub of real-time news data, which researchers can analyze and use to their advantage. And, with 80% of Twitter's audience on mobile, the platform has embraced the mobile-first culture we now live in.
From a research perspective, for example, researchers were better able to track varied phenomena such as the spread of the flu virus from 2012-2013, as well as the opinions consumers had on the Apple Watch's battery life via tweet interactions. Researchers have also found a positive correlation between the increases in social media posts and increases in subway ridership. Given this, Twitter can serve significant community purpose, helping public transportation officials predict and react to passenger surges during big events.
Twitter has even been used by researchers to connect food-poisoning-related tweets to restaurants, which has subsequently resulted in the decline in the thousands of food poisoning incidents and hundreds of hospitalizations.
Some New York Times reporters are even tweeting out "mini-stories" about political news that are often never published in the main publication, making Twitter the only place these posts are seen.
The amount of data and insight available on Twitter should not be overlooked or ignored.
3. Twitter's Marketing and Advertising Features are Constantly Evolving
As usage of social media evolves and new competitive platforms arise, Twitter has kept up in several ways.
From the addition of its advertising platform in 2010, to other enhancements throughout the years, Twitter's constantly improving the experience, not only for consumers, but for marketers as well.
For example, last year, Twitter provided a new way for advertisers to target advertising based on emojis. Another big change for both marketers and consumers was Twitter's update to keep images from counting against a Tweet's 140 character limit. These developments have given brands more opportunity to provide additional imagery and rich content, without sacrificing the quality of their posts.
As time goes on, Twitter will continue to introduce new features to keep brands and advertisers using the platform. The key to making this valuable lies in the ability to also keep consumers engaged and using the platform.
As they say, if the audience is engaged, the ROI will follow.
As noted, despite negative financial news of late and constant improvements from the competition, Twitter still serves many uses and shouldn't be discounted by brands looking for increased exposure, targeted advertising opportunities, and a viable customer service channel.
On a recreational level, the platform can be used to gain a better understanding of everything from what your friends or favorite celebrities are to up to, how your favorite sports team is faring, or what politicians are thinking. But for marketers, Twitter data can be analyzed to identify high-level findings that can assist in forecasting future trends - and capitalizing on related opportunities.
Whether you're a marketer looking to see if you're newly launched campaign is performing, a researcher trying to track and predict seismic activity, or anyone in between, Twitter is still the best platform for real-time news and insights.
And those insights can be extremely valuable.