Pulse: Twitter’s new owner

twitter's new owner

Pulse is a Q&A series answered by and for our members (sometimes anonymous) that provides insights on the important content marketing issues of the day.   

It’s official. After months of corporate wrangling, Elon Musk has finally bought Twitter. 

The deal, for the originally agreed $44 billion, will end one of the highest-profile corporate media battles in decades. According to a tweet by Musk, he plans to integrate Twitter into a new app called X which he says will be the “app for everything”. 

While it’s not clear what Musk has in mind for Twitter, or indeed X, we wanted to ask our members about the current state of Twitter and how they see the platform moving forward.

Meet this month’s Pulse contributors

Brittany Johnson, Pace

Brittany Johnson is an award-winning content producer and innovative problem solver and is Pace’s Director of Social Media Production. As a leader in Pace’s in-house production studio, Brittany builds strategy, development and execution for a wide variety of digital and social-first programs. Her combined experience in creative production and data-driven creative strategy produces campaigns that amplify messaging and produce results. As a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, Brittany has sought to use her voice as a first-generation Jamaican-American and female artist of color to uplift and champion her teams, her clients and the world around her. Brittany believes whole-heartedly in a great idea and deeply enjoys the full process of development, from brainstorm to final delivery.

Andy Barr, 10 Yetis

Andy founded 10 Yetis in 2005. Prior to starting the agency, he worked in-house on multi-media campaigns for the likes of AXA, Unilever, First Group, Whitbread and Midlands Electricity Board. His talents span effective crisis communications, award-winning media campaigns and creating highly engaging content across video, social media and PR.

He has advised the UK’s two largest political parties on digital campaigns and worked with Chinese Government delegations on reviewing their approach to communications. He regularly speaks at conferences around the world about PR, video, social media, SEO and wider marketing practices and has written for publications such as The Drum, Guardian, Vice and many others about these subjects.

andy barr
stephen taylor pace

Stephen Taylor, Pace

Stephen Taylor is Pace’s Associate Director of Business Development & Marketing and is a frequent contributor on the topics of social media, the Internet of Things, and video games, writing for publications like Industry Today, IIoT Connection, Insert Cartridge, and Video Game Music Online. At Pace, Stephen crafts and executes marketing strategies across email, social media, web, CRM and other digital channels. Prior to joining Pace, he spent five years developing go-to-market strategies in the wireless technology industry. When he’s not writing or reading, he’s often playing violin with his family.

How will Musk’s purchase of Twitter impact the platform and will it change how you use it for your business and/or clients?

Brittany Johnson, Director of Social Media Production at Pace said, “While Musk may have concrete plans for the future of Twitter, we have yet to see the full scope of changes the platform will undergo. Twitter has long remained a go-to channel for discourse and current event commentary but, like a head coach who transfers to a new team and brings along a star player, the change in leadership may shift the landscape of who is having these conversations over time.

“In the immediate aftermath, the two elements that are most pressing for our clients and business objectives are content moderation and app operability.

“Twitter hesitation may only grow until brands and advertisers once again feel confident in the long-term plans for Twitter’s future.”

Brittany Johnson, Director of Social Media Production at Pace

“Brands dedicated to increasing positive sentiment often make a conscious choice to avoid channels where there is open conflict, especially if their target audience is known for voting with their downloads. Some have already announced the suspension of their Twitter campaigns (General Mills, Pfizer, Audi, etc.) in the wake of uncertainty as to whether their content and audience will be safe on-platform.

“The turnover we’re seeing at Twitter may also be impacting overall confidence in the platform. We’ve only witnessed a few full-scale app outages for a major platform in our entire history using social media. While we haven’t seen any disruptions to the app yet, we have yet to see how current and incoming layoffs will affect the sustaining force behind Twitter’s upkeep.

Andy Barr, CEO of 10 Yetis Digital said, “In the short term I fully expect to see more of the turmoil that is currently going on. There will be more talk of a mass exodus of users and advertisers will continue to be twitchy. In the medium to longer term I full expect Twitter to not only maintain its user numbers but actually go on to grow under the leadership of Elon.

“He may be viewed as an eccentric oddball but he has a rich history of running effective and highly successful businesses. In terms of our own agency use of Twitter, there will be little to no impact. We rarely, if at all, use it as an ad platform for either ourselves or our clients.

“For us, Twitter works as a fantastic new business platform for our agency and I cannot see that changing.”

Andy Barr, 10 Yetis

Stephen Taylor, Associate Director at Pace said, “We’ve already seen that some people (and some brands) simply won’t stay with the platform under its new leadership. Likewise, we can expect some parties to flock to it that haven’t been there before, so substantive change is undoubtedly on Twitter’s horizon. We can expect to see Twitter’s app and integration partners going through the same decision-making process: Some coming anew, some leaving. That will likely shake the platform up even more than the shuffle of active users.”

Twitter is a popular platform for certain political topics that can generate divisiveness and vitriol. Does this factor into how you use it or pitch it in creative campaigns? 

Brittany: “Whether or not politics are part of the post, we absolutely factor the art of spirited discourse into our cross-channel social campaigns. When we think about brand voice split across multiple ecosystems, we work to craft a tone that emphasizes being inquisitive and opinionated for our Twitter content to make best use of the style of easy and direct communication the platform offers.”

Andy: “The historic hate and negative sentiment that has come out of Twitter means that we have never really recommended it as an advertising platform for our clients. This may change if the platform communities improve but I really can’t see that  happening myself.”

Twitter is a popular platform for certain political topics that can generate divisiveness and vitriol. Does this factor into how you use it or pitch it in creative campaigns? 

Stephen: “Gaming brands like Playstation and Nintendo had thrived on Twitter by focusing on real-time engagement with their communities (community being the key word here). Likewise, brands like Starbucks have done well by joining the conversation in the moment, rather than just speaking to a defined audience.”

Brittany: “Product and personal brands that are willing to be playful, curious and communicative find Twitter success across a wide spectrum. From Wendy’s—with a feed carefully curated with call outs, pop culture references and self-effacing memes—to Youtube, which shows up on Twitter to actively talk ABOUT Youtube with its fans. We also see increased relevance for products and personal brands that are unafraid to use their share of voice to join larger public conversations, whether it’s tagging someone or something directly, or creating timely commentary that finds an intersection between news and brand communications, such as Skittles.”

Andy: “Is James Blunt a brand? I don’t really follow brands on Twitter. No brand springs to mind.” 

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