Since the ownership of Twitter changed in October, there have been daily announcements of policy and staffing changes making Twitter users consider whether to stay or leave the social media platform.
The staff resignations, advertiser departures, account suspensions and trending racist and discriminatory language are pushing internal discussions about social change organizations’ futures on the platform.
Do you stay or leave? As you consider your options, use the following five questions to guide your strategic communications decision-making.
1. Do any of the recent changes to Twitter—policies, tone, leadership—support your organization’s mission and values or cause harm to the audiences and communities that you work with or engage?
Your social media engagement should support your communication goals and objectives while aligning with who you are as an organization and what is important to your work. If changes to Twitter conflict with your brand identity and promise or create harmful or unsafe online spaces for the identity communities you communicate with, then you should consider removing or changing your presence on Twitter.
2. Who are your priority audiences and are those audiences using Twitter and looking for the content you provide in that space?
If the answer is no, it is worth reconsidering your social media presence, including your Twitter engagement. We don’t need to communicate on all social media channels. We need to use and communicate through the channels that our priority audiences use. According to Hootsuite, a social media monitoring site, Twitter is the 15th most-used social media platform in the world. This means that the audience actively engaging on Twitter is significantly smaller than on other platforms. If your audiences primarily use Twitter, stay and communicate with them there. If your audiences have a larger presence on other social platforms, reconsider whether Twitter should be part of your social recipe and explore other channel options.
Source: Digital 2022
3. Do you primarily use Twitter to share information, resources and news-related content to gain the interest and engagement of journalists?
If yes, then you may want to consider keeping your organization’s Twitter profile. In the United States, Twitter is still the most popular source when using social media sites for news. In 2021, 55 percent of Americans reported that they regularly get news from Twitter with Facebook following at 47 percent, Reddit at 39 percent, YouTube at 30 percent and TikTok at 29 percent. And more than nine in 10 journalists in the United States (94 percent) use social media for their jobs, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey of reporters, editors and others working in the news industry. There’s a possibility that with recent Twitter policy changes, news organizations may change their policies for their reporters engaging on Twitter. But until then, Twitter is still the social media platform of choice for news consumers and news creators.
4. Are you using multiple digital channels or is Twitter your primary digital channel?
If Twitter is your primary digital channel helping you reach your priority audiences, you may need to think carefully about removing your presence. Consider if you have the resources and capacity to use another social media channel and build a presence and community in that space as well. If you have established presences in other social media communities, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and more, or use other digital channels such as websites, email newsletters, blog content and SMS campaigns, leaving Twitter may be less limiting to your communication capacity.
5. Does your organization have a stake in fighting disinformation and misinformation occurring on Twitter?
Since its inception, Twitter has been a space where false information and statements about public persons, elections, health information and more aggressively circulate. Suggested policy changes on Twitter—such as charging Twitter users to purchase or maintain verified accounts and forming a content moderation council to determine whether Twitter profiles banned for being sources of mis- and disinformation will be reinstated—indicate that Twitter may be making more room for false content and its creators to thrive. If your organization has a role in counteracting the spread of this damaging information by providing accurate, factual information, it may be wise for your organization to continue to offer that counterpoint in the Twitter dialogue.
Whatever your organization decides—to remain on or leave Twitter—know that no communication strategy and tactic is permanent.
Like your communication goal and objectives, your team should continuously review and assess whether those communication strategies and tactics are working. Evaluate and make mid-course corrections as necessary to improve your success outcomes and support your organization’s brand identity and promise.
This article originally appeared on the Vanguard Communications In Practice blog; reprinted with permission.