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A Content Marketer’s Reminder Amid Twitter Turbulence

BY: Marco Zuccarello

Well, here we are. Some thought it wouldn’t happen and others were hosting prayer circles for a month in the hope that this day would come — Elon Musk officially completed his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, and things at the little blue bird have been a bit… dicey. With executive leadership either being kindly asked to leave or resigning on their own, it is safe to say that change is ramping up at the conversation platform. [1]

But how will the proposed changes by the “Chief Twit” impact brands and content marketers who have leveraged the app in the past? As content marketers, we should probably start with the content, right?

Brand safety at Twitter has been a key watercooler subject for marketers this past week. Within 12 hours of Musk’s acquisition announcement, the Network Contagion Research Institute, a recognized organization that identifies, tracks and forecasts the threat and spread of misinformation and disinformation across social media platforms, identified that instances of the N-word, slurs, and derogatory terms on Twitter had increased by almost 500%. [2] This was found to be connected to a trolling campaign, but the event quickly elevated the question of brand safety’s future on the platform.

More concerning are reports by Reuters and CNBC that Musk has “taken away certain content moderation and policy enforcement tools from some employees ahead of the U.S. midterm elections.” [3] This effectively means that “staffers are unable to address and discipline user accounts that violate Twitter’s rules around hate speech and misinformation unless they involve harm” — an immediate red flag for brands like General Motors and advertising agency giant Interpublic Group, which handles advertising spending for major clients such as American Express, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Mattel and Spotify, all of which have decided to pause Twitter spending. [4]

If Twitter is a key part of our content strategies, where can we go from here? It’s time to get back to content marketing basics.

Stay True to Your Brand

Audiences are becoming more discerning and more critical of the content they consume, and authenticity needs to be at the top of a brand’s list of requirements in the ideation and creation phase. Trusted partners that help elevate your brand’s value to consumers and include the correct content pillars, right to voice, tone and brand voice to develop authentic content can make a difference and help you to generate more meaningful connections.

Alternatively, leveraging the trust of an established, premium publisher through content licensing is an excellent way to get to market quickly and update your brand’s content mix to offer consumers a more complete experience across your owned channels.

Be Extra Choosy About Distribution 

As content marketers, our goal is to develop genuine, resonant, and actionable storytelling that connects brands to consumers. Strategic distribution of this content is essential. Twitter — through paid advertising or the use of a brand’s owned handles — has been a successful channel for engaging many different consumer communities. But in the current Twitter world, it’s yet to be determined whether you can be sure a consumer won’t see your brand’s post in close scrolling proximity to something you’d deem unsafe. Consider the following when thinking about distribution: [6]

Know Your Target Audience

You knew this was coming, but it doesn’t make it any less worth repeating. Your audience is your consumer and understanding their values, goals, and communication style is critical to creating productive dialogue and a closer relationship with your brand.

Data and research are great places to start. Create in-depth audience profiles that uncover insights into your consumers’ interests and truly appreciate their customer journey, then use these as your content development compass.

In summary, we know things are uncertain right now at Twitter. We all have friends and colleagues who work there, and we certainly do wish the best for them as the situation settles. But as we monitor the happenings there, content marketers can continue to do right for our brands by sticking to our content principles and keeping good content at the core of everything we do.


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