We’ve been using Twitter since 2009, and what started out as a social network for early tech adopters has turned in to a main stream communication platform for everyday people, celebrities, and politicians alike.
When Twitter first launched in March 2006, there was nothing else like it online. The 140 character limit was designed to allow updates to be pushed to your phone through text messaging. It forced people to keep their thoughts short, sweet and to the point.
Facebook launched to a limited user base in 2004 and later opened to the public in September of 2006. Twitter already had a jump in the public space and continued to grow as the general use of Facebook slowly caught on.
Fast forward to March 2017, Facebook is now the clear leader in the social space with 1.94 billion monthly active users. YouTube comes in second at 1 billion, Instagram third with 700 million, and Twitter fourth with 313 million monthly active users.
But things are looking up for Twitter with the addition of 9 million new monthly active users in the first quarter of this year. Twitter now sits at 328 million monthly active users, still well under Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, but an increase of 14% from the previous year is significant.
Twitter credits this increase in new users to tweaks made to the news feed and notifications system, marketing efforts, and seasonality. But what wasn’t mentioned is the frequent use of its platform by our President, Donald Trump.
Whether you agree or disagree with President Trump’s views, there is no doubt his Tweets are creating increased activity on Twitter.
I view this as good timing on Twitter’s part. As they struggle to grow their user base and increase revenue, their marketing efforts and product tweaks coincide perfectly with all the free advertising they’re getting daily as the media (and the world) reference President Trump’s tweets.
While Twitter’s user base may be on the rise, their first quarter sales are on the decline. Last year this time sales were $595 million, but a year later they fell to $548 million. This marks the company’s first year-over-year sales decline since going public in 2013.
In a letter to shareholders, the company wrote “We continue to expect revenue growth to meaningfully lag audience growth in 2017”.
Twitter has been hard at work trying to grow the company with a mix of live streaming offerings, displaying more relevant content for users, and working to fight harassment and abuse on its network.
Looking at the big picture, Twitter isn’t going anywhere and is still a big player in the social networking space. While its user base may be smaller than other networks, it’s still a place that you should be spending some quality time. In relation to your business, their audience is huge, and with a proper strategy put in place, it’s a great venue to find and connect with potential new customers.
If you don’t already have a Twitter account for your business, now is the time to create one. Start sharing relevant industry information and follow the movers and shakers in your field. Once you’ve established your Twitter presence, use the tools and resources available to search for and connect with your prospects. Being Social requires effort and 2017 is the time to invest!
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Founder of Current Photographer, co-host of The Digital Photography Cafe Show, Designer, Photographer, and overall tech geek.