Twitter is not Musk’s first social media investment. He was an early investor in Facebook, and his firm also put money into China-based social media companies YY Inc. (now Joyy) and Momo Inc. (now Hello Group).
Twitter’s second-quarter 2022 advertising revenue was a substantial .08 billion, although less than Facebook’s billion.
Optimists and pessimists disagree, however.
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 following from scratch.
To be sure, GM and Nordstrom have larger organic audiences on other social media platforms, but that does not mean that Twitter is ineffective. Having 700,000 folks read GM’s pitches has value.
And so does advertising on Twitter. GM made news because it paused its Twitter advertising after Musk’s purchase. Before that, however, GM’s marketers apparently recognized the benefit.
A privately-held Twitter may represent an opportunity for social media and paid marketing promotions. Optimistic companies might want to get in now.
Twitter has been adding features to help users earn money on the platform. For example, the “Super Follows” program is akin to paid newsletters offering bonus content.
Hence some pundits have suggested that Musk’s Twitter might try to grow into a super app (sometimes called “X,” the name of his holding company used to buy Twitter.)
His followers and supporters more closely resemble fans of Taylor Swift than of a business executive. On the eve of buying Twitter, Musk posted a video on the platform showing himself entering the company’s San Francisco headquarters carrying a sink. The tweet’s title was “Let that sink in.”
These optimists cite the deal’s financing — billion of the billion purchase price is a loan. And that loan is not like a line of credit from your local bank. Rather, those institutional lenders will presumably demand that Twitter makes a profit.
Twitter is already effective — organically and as an advertising platform.
Optimistic marketers could see this as an opportunity and reinvest in Twitter — organic and via advertising — ahead of what could be rapid growth.
Pessimists who fear Musk will permit Twitter to become a source of misinformation and bigotry are rethinking the platform. General Motors, for example, announced it would pause ads on Twitter.
An established, engaged audience is more receptive to new features. This is likely part of Musk’s thinking with Twitter.
Shortly after the acquisition, a professional musician, Zuby, tweeted a request, asking Twitter to share advertising revenue with its top creators, which YouTube and TikTok do.
There are reasons to believe that Twitter is an opportunity for marketers.
If that is more than an off-hand comment, Twitter might someday share revenue with users. One could imagine content entrepreneurs moving to the platform, invigorating an already engaged community.
Musk’s reply to Zuby’s revenue-share request read, “Absolutely.”
GM uses its Twitter account to share company news and promote new vehicles and technologies.
Musk has offered a few clues about his Twitter plans. His track record as a business builder and innovator suggests coming changes to the platform.
Pessimists will not.
According to The New York Times, Musk “has expressed interest in making a worldwide social media platform modeled after WeChat, which is owned by the Chinese technology giant Tencent.”