Is Musk’s Twitter a Marketing Opportunity?

A private Twitter can be an opportunity for social media and paid marketing promotions. Bullish companies might want to enter now.

However, optimists and pessimists disagree.

Divergent views

Pessimists who fear Musk will allow Twitter to become a source of misinformation and bigotry are rethinking the platform. General Motors, for example, has announced that it will pause ads on Twitter.

Optimists note that Musk is a billionaire, among the richest in the world. He started and grew successful companies, such as Tesla.

These optimists cite the financing of the deal – $25 billion of the $44 billion purchase price is a loan. And this loan is not like a line of credit from your local bank. Rather, these institutional lenders will likely demand that Twitter make a profit.

His supporters and supporters look more like Taylor Swift fans than a corporate executive. On the eve of buying Twitter, Musk posted a video on the platform showing him entering the company’s San Francisco headquarters with a sink. The title of the tweet was “Let it sink in”.

Musk’s tweet with a video read, “Let this sink in.”

Twitter works

There are reasons to believe that Twitter is an opportunity for marketers.

Twitter is already effective — organically and as an advertising platform.

Creators and retailers have long demonstrated that Twitter can help build an audience, grow email or text message subscribers, and even sell products and services. Examples include General Motors (nearly 800,000 subscribers), Nordstrom (700,000 subscribers), podcaster Sahil Bloom (729,000 subscribers), and economist Peter Schiff (848,000 subscribers).

Screenshot of General Motors Twitter page

GM uses its Twitter account to share company news and promote new vehicles and technologies.

Granted, GM and Nordstrom have larger organic followings on other social media platforms, but that doesn’t mean Twitter is ineffective. The fact that 700,000 people read GM presentations has value.

The same goes for advertising on Twitter. GM made news because it suspended its advertising on Twitter after the Musk purchase. Before that, however, GM marketers apparently recognized the advantage.

Twitter’s second-quarter 2022 ad revenue was $1.08 billion, though it was lower than Facebook’s $28 billion.

Paid Creators

Twitter has added features to help users earn money on the platform. For example, the “Super Follows” program is similar to paid newsletters offering bonus content.

Musk seems to support such initiatives.

Shortly after the acquisition, a professional musician, Zuby, tweeted a requestasking Twitter to share ad revenue with its top creators, which YouTube and TikTok do.

Musk replied to Zuby: “Absolutely.”

If it’s more than an offhand comment, Twitter might one day split the revenue with users. One could imagine content entrepreneurs migrating to the platform, reinvigorating an already engaged community.

Screenshot of Zuby's tweet and Musk's reply tweet

Musk’s response to Zuby’s revenue-sharing request was “Absolutely.”

X-app

Twitter isn’t Musk’s first social media investment. He was an early investor in Facebook, and his company has also invested in China-based social media companies YY Inc. (now Joyy) and Momo Inc. (now Hello Group).

That’s why some pundits have suggested Musk’s Twitter might try to become a super app (sometimes called “X,” the name of his holding company used to buy Twitter.)

According to the New York Times, Musk “has expressed interest in building a global social media platform inspired by WeChat, which is owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent.”

WeChat is a comprehensive application that offers social media, e-commerce and payment processing. It has around 1 billion active users in 2022 and generated around $17.4 billion in revenue in 2021, according to published reports.

Social media users are also content producers. And successful producers need an audience, which is one reason new social networks often struggle. Users don’t want to rebuild their suite from scratch.

An established and engaged audience is more receptive to new features. This is probably part of Musk’s thinking with Twitter.

Conclusion

Musk offered some clues about his Twitter plans. His track record as a business builder and innovator hints at changes to come to the platform.

Optimistic marketers could see this as an opportunity and reinvest in Twitter — organically and through advertising — ahead of what could be rapid growth.

Pessimists won’t.

About William G.

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