Kirsty Sharman: why ten year old Twitter must go back to creative roots to stay relevant

When Jack Dorsey posted the first tweet in 2006, I doubt even he knew how much of an impact on the world this would have. Where the platform goes next is anyone’s guess, especially in light of recent stories that the word limit may be raised to over 10,000. Questions about a stagnating user base and the right revenue model are plaguing the social network’s future prospects.

Marketers and brands have also undoubtedly been affected forever by the rise of Twitter. On a superficial level this ranges from campaign considerations built around the 140 word limit to the hashtag, which have all undeniably become a part of a marketer’s daily job.

However, on a much more profound level, Twitter has also played a critical role in the rise of influencer marketing in the last number of years. In a world where ad blocking is costing the publishing industry nearly £15.5 billion in lost revenue, influencer marketing is increasingly seen as a way to circumvent this problem, especially with some campaigns generating at a 6:1 return on investment.

Twitter must focus on content creation and influencers

The full value of every pound earned on Twitter isn’t actually realised on Twitter’s yearly income statement. There is an increasing trend towards brands harnessing the power of influencer marketing to share a message to an audience – using influencers to share content means that a brand doesn’t have to grow and sustain its own audience on Twitter. The payments made to these influencers by brands are payments Twitter could and should have a part in, but currently doesn’t.

To remedy this, I think Twitter should invest heavily in the content creation and influencer space to take a bigger share of the money being spent indirectly on its platform. The benefits to the users in seeing a mix of paid promoted posts and native amplification of brands will create a much better user experience.

Campaigns such as Felix Baumgartner’s Space Jump in 2015 show how effective influencer marketing is. It helped Red Bull increase sales by over 13 per cent after dominating social media for just a few days. The conversation started with the Red Bull ambassadors and fans, and soon everyone was talking about it. Red Bull really didn’t have to say much.

Twitter facts and figures.

*Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO – posted the first tweet – “just setting up my twttr”
*320m active monthly users in total.
*254m active monthly users outside the US.
*15m UK Twitter users.
*Katy Perry is Twitter’s most popular user with 84.2m followers followed by Justin Bieber (76.9m) and Taylor Swift (72.6m).
*First Hashtag, August 2007 – designer Chris Messina becomes the first person to use a hashtag on Twitter – “how do you feel about using # for group. As in #barcamp msg?”
*Fastest to one million followers Followers – Caitlyn Jenner.
*83 per cent of world leaders use it.
*Verified Accounts belong mainly to journalists and sports stars.

Kirsty-Sharman-640Kirsty Sharman is head of global operations at social media influencer company Webfluential. She is the author of How To Write Your First Influencer Marketing Strategy. Webfluential is launching a new free Twitter Calculator showing how much can be earned per tweet.

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