Should your brand stay on Twitter?

the bird app's down bad, but should you bail?
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Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photo: Okea/Getty Images

· 4 min read

Boy, Elon sure has a way with brands, don’t he? First he claimed “activist groups” were the reason advertisers started bailing on Twitter, only for media agencies to say um, not really. (Don’t forget about his quixotic chase of bots.) Threatening became the next tactic, tweeting to expect a “thermonuclear name & shame” of advertisers leaving Twitter “if this continues.”

Childish playground bullying aside, the big question the industry is grappling with has become: Should brands stay on Twitter, or is it time to abandon the bird app? Let’s dig in.

Should you keep making organic content on Twitter?

If you’ve built an audience on Twitter, there’s no strategic reason to bail on the platform yet—keep on tweeting. Elon’s tinkering is chaotic and leaves the future unclear, but it’s probably not affecting the relationship between your brand and your followers.

That said, it’s not surprising that brands are bolting for the exit. Chipotle didn’t just cut their advertising spend, but its organic Twitter content as well, stating it would like to “gain a better understanding on the direction of the platform under its new leadership”; @ChipotleTweets hasn’t tweeted since October 31, but the brand’s still TikToking and Instagraming per your regularly scheduled programming.

I get it. Historically, I recommend shutting down content for a spell whenever national disasters or ugly news stories become Twitter’s main character. I suggest you keep an eye on your content’s performance and your audience’s sentiments. If data shows everything’s business as usual, don’t be afraid to stay the course. If you’re catching whiffs of issues, yank the power cord as fast as you like.

Should you keep advertising on Twitter?

Big, big names have stopped spending on the bird. Advertising behemoth Omnicom Group, a conglomerate with over 5,000 clients like McDonald’s and Apple, reportedly sent an internal memo recommending clients pause Twitter spending in the short-term. General Mills, General Motors, Oreo, Audi, Pfizer, Volkswagen, and more have hit the brakes on Twitter advertising. The worst case: Eli Lilly reportedly pulled “millions” in Twitter advertising after a fake account claimed the company would offer insulin for free, causing its stock to drop 4.5%.

A Social Media Newsletter by Jack Appleby

I can’t say I blame ’em. Every brand wants to know their advertising money is in a healthy place with effective return on spend, far from any controversy at all. I think it’s a bit of a last straw as well—many paid advertisers seem to get better returns advertising on other social networks. From the Wall Street Journal:

“Many ad executives don’t expect the same quick ad rebound that Meta’s Facebook experienced in 2020 when many brands boycotted the platform for a month over concerns about hate speech and misinformation. Many companies found they couldn’t resist coming back to Facebook, because the return on investment from advertising—in the form of sales—was so pronounced.

‘With Twitter, there just isn’t the same co-dependency’ that exists between advertisers and Facebook, said Shiv Singh, chief marketing officer at online lender LendingTree Inc.”

The decision tree is pretty simple. If your Twitter advertising isn’t performing as well as your other social advertising, and Twitter continues its chaos, unless you have a very specific reason to stay on the platform, you should probably toss your Twitter budgets elsewhere.

If you weren’t tweeting, should you?

I definitely wouldn’t start investing in Twitter for the first time right now, organically or through advertising. You don’t wanna start the journey of building a presence on a platform so unstable. Pick almost any other scaled social network for your organic needs.

Should Twitter exist?

I’ve never retweeted something so quickly:

@svershbow / Twitter

A Social Media Newsletter by Jack Appleby