Twitter? — 22 ideas for a successful turnaround
I am deeply in love with Twitter, although I’m a quite recent user.
Twitter is an iconic brand, a service that has made the history of the world over the past decade.
Twitter is in danger: it is in serious trouble, in some ways, it is dying.
The active users are declining or flat, Facebook and Instagram are more attractive for the advertisers, the competition is fierce.
If Twitter management does not react quickly even Twitter is likely to disappear as several companies and brands seemingly invincible ( Blackberry, Myspace, etc . ) have done in the past.
With this article, as an outside observer and enthusiast Twitter, I share some ideas for improvement and development of the platform.
22 IDEAS FOR TWITTER RENAISSANCE
Here is my list of ideas and proposals for the improvement and Renaissance of Twitter!
Of course, these are only suggestions from an external observer, only who work and manage the company can understand if and what might work.
1) Explain Twitter to the people (especially outside the US)!
Maybe you think that Twitter is understood by everyone and everywhere. I’m sorry, the situation is different. In fact, most people do not even understand what Twitter does of why is useful.
In brief, there are two patterns for the Twitter new users: 1) to become a power user after some days of learning; 2) to stop using it (or to become a passive user at best). And that’s no good.
You must also boost the communication activities to the general public with advertising, tutorial, simple examples of use that everyone can understand, emotional video and so on.. you have to communicate and explain the power and value of Twitter!
You are a company, people do not come to you just because you are iconic, you have to go looking for users especially now (you’re no more the most beautiful girl of the party).
You have to communicate in innovative ways with great ideas, as traditional businesses do.
Do not just say “Hey we are Twitter; everybody knows us!” I’m sorry, it’s not so.
And you have to promote international growth, increasing the active users outside the US. Otherwise you risk dangerous negative network effects. You must explain to the common people of the different countries why they should use Twitter, because, believe me, many people do not understand it.
2) Communication, Messaging, Live, Periscope.
While Facebook was developing Messenger, while WhatsApp emerged and established as “The Instant Messaging App”, while many messaging tools landed to the market, Twitter was stationary, with its Direct Message and the 140 characters of limit.
I strongly believe that Twitter should become a way to communicate istantly with a dedicated app, maybe in some way connected to Periscope.
It’s crazy with hundreds of million of active users they have completely missed the instant messaging market.
Twitter DM must become like Messenger asap, even at the cost of acquisition of new technology.
3) 140 characters. Tweet Plus. The 140 limit. How to compete with “Medium”.
The 140 characters limit to the Twitter messages length has been strongly debated: does it still make sense? Would it be better to cancel it or extend the limit? How many characters is the right length?
Perhaps we should ask ourselves why this limit, resulting from the maximum character of a text message (if I correctly remember), it worked so well in creating a sort of new language (the “Tweets”).
I believe that this limit has not worked so well for magic o hidden weird reasons, but because of human creativity is stimulated by the creative limitation principle.
A limit, in a counterintuitive way, is much more effective in turning on the creativity of human beings than a limitless situation.
The limit forces you to know deeply the area you live in, to seek creative ways to express and survive. It’s a well-known thing.
Moreover, I think that the incredible success of this way of communicating has also happened by chance, due to the perfect timing in which Twitter has emerged.
Does this limit still make sense today? I think this is a wrong question, in the sense that Twitter is that thing with a 140 character limit and endless flows of Tweets. Something radically different would change the nature of Twitter.
What I can suggest as a user, for example, is at least to exclude the first image included in a Tweet from the count of the characters, but I am sure there are far more brilliant minds than mine to propose something more original.
What I would propose, however, is to preserve the nature and characteristics of the “standard” Tweet, and to introduce a second typology of Tweet, what I would call “Tweet Plus”.
The Tweet Plus is a new and additional kind of tweet with no character/media limits: they would be designed to allow users to publish longer articles and posts.
As Medium does, so to speak, that is “stealing” this market to Twitter, the market of articulated storytelling and long articles.
These Tweet Plus would be published in the live stream of Twitter as Tweet standards in the form of a preview (or as Twitter standard as the intro to the-the longer Tweet Plus), then referring to a special section dedicated to the Tweets Plus in each user’s homepage.
This will retain the nature of Twitter, but also enabling people to use Twitter to post longer content (as articles, blog-style posts and so on), by separating them from the standard flow of Twitter Tweets and by archiving them in a separate section on each user’s homepage.
This would allow Twitter to compete both with Medium and the blogging platforms, to reach out those who may not have time to manage a real blog and, however, would like to publish sometimes something more long and complex than a 140 characters Tweets.
To be honest as Twitter’s user I would like to be able to publish also longer post without leaving Twitter (and my Twitter followers), register a new account (e.g. in Medium), raise new followers on the new platform and so on..
4) Influencers monetization — pay for featured tweets.
You have allowed people to become Tweetstars, from the Hollywood start to the local fitness influencer.
Now you should create a more sophisticated system of advertising/promotion which could be used by any influencer to directly monetize their influencing power, their personal audience, allowing you to receive a percentage of revenue generated by this activities.
In other words, you should enable influencers to manage their own ad space on their Twitter’s homepage paying to the company a percentage of their advertising revenue.
For example, let’s say that I’m a sport star with 10 million followers. A brand could pay to display/publish on my Twitter homepage a specific featured story/content to be directly seen by my 10 million users.
This feature (let’s call it “Featured Story”), maybe graphically beautiful and different from the standard page and also moved to the top of the page, would only be published in respect of a payment locked through Twitter, and on which Twitter would take a fee.
In short, I give you the tools to establish yourself as a Twitter influencer, to manage your audience and your content.
And I also give you an additional tool to allow you to manage directly branded content/communication/advertising and I take a percentage of what the brand pays you.
It’s like as Twitter made available to the influencers a television channel allowing them to handle even direct advertising and taking a fee on their revenues, participating in the division of revenue of influencer.
Doing so, Twitter would actually enroll for free all its influencers to sell advertising space in exchange for a percentage (a sort of “crowd advertising”).
In short, a lot of influencers have established their audience with your tool. Therefore it’s fair that the company to take part to influencers monetization activities.
A sort of private advertising run by each influencer via Twitter on which you take a percentage.
5) The Global Competition for Influencing — mixing analytics, big data, gamification, influence, trends.
Working on my startup, at one point I found myself with the problem of identifying the influencers related to specific topics in certain countries.
Twitter, of course, was one of the top tools to realize this “influencer hunt”.
Hence the idea of The Global Competition for Influencing comes: but what does it mean?
I think the nature of Twitter include the fact that we all are engaged in a kind of global competition to establish ourself as an influencer, a person with thousands and thousand of followers, a local or global influencer, a niche or general influencer and so on.
To create social pressure. Therefore, numbers are the key. In fact, when we arrive in a page of an unknown user is the number of his/her followers (yes, I know that to be an actual influencer the number of followers is not enough, but this is the Twitter game!).
In my opinion, to create social pressure is fundamental to show rankings of who has more followers and who has more likes/retweets. For example, there are a number of magazine articles related to “the first 10 Twitter people by number of followers” (and other social media).
So, why not create a set of Global Rankings of Influencers?
First of all, it would be nice to have two very important numbers clearly visible to everybody in your profile: the total number of “likes” obtained and the total “retweets” obtained.
I believe that these two numbers have greater relevance for the concept of influence than the simple number of followers.
You could then create an algorithm that allows building global rankings mainly based on the number of likes and retweets (of course a lot of more complex things are possible)
It ‘a ranking in some ways more important than the number of followers and it’s funny.
It would be nice to have a dedicated Twitter page of this Global Competition for Influencing in which a user can select rankings related to different topics/geographical area/time (and so on) which list the major influencers by total number of likes, retweets, engagements and so on. post.
These charts may be segmented by topic, and maybe be searchable by time period.
E.g. I would want to know who had more like about a certain subject (e.g.,. On the US elections) in the last hour, or what are the ten most read tweets on a certain topic last month, or who are the tech influencers of the last month in the UK and so on.
The ways to implement this concept in smart and addictive ways are endless.
Twitter aims to be the place of the worldwide conversation: if I cannot see in real time trends, influencers, rankings on a worldwide scale I think that it will partially miss its main objective.
Maybe also the hourly chart of influencers of some specific topic could be shown to bring out potential niche influencers on certain theme.
In addition to the timeline, in fact, there could be another very complex screen on the trend, representing perhaps the trends that interest me with respect to certain specific issues.
Some functions (e.g. Geographical Segmentation by area) could be turned into premium function for professional data crunching needs, creating other sources of revenue for the company.
6) Improvement of the user experience.
I think there are a lot of minor changes which could greatly improve the user experience if realized. Here are some proposals.
Tweets input, preview, edit with timing.
The input interface of Twitter should be improved. You should make it easier to preview the tweets: please, help me to avoid that an image attached to a post appeared cut and reduced in the tweets stream!
You should allow users to modify the tweet, perhaps with a limited timing, to allow us to correct typos or to make immediate changes.
With a tight timing for editing activities (e.g. a couple of minutes to edit the tweet), you could preserve the concept of “live” by avoiding us, for example, to cancel the wrong tweet and to publish a new tweet to fix a small typo.
Tweet of the Day
It might be nice to have at the top of the page the tweet of the day, visible only us, with what we had shared a year ago (as does Facebook).
A second idea would be to automatically propose the most popular tweets and to ask us if we want to repost them.
Another useful thing would be to give users the possibility to have their top tweets of the month at the top of the page.
User Interface & Design
I believe that if Medium and Twitter were born the same year with current interfaces, Medium would have clashed Twitter.
Twitter should test new and beautiful interfaces, also thinking something similar to Instagram and so on.
The company should pay more attention to design: the platform always seems a little behind the competition from a design perspective.
I believe that the lists, again, contain in themselves a great value.
Update them is complicated, you have to do everything manually, it is difficult for example to extract the list on a spreadsheet, etc.
I have no clear ideas on this topic, but I think the company should develop some tool to simplify the lists management and to extract for users and the company greater value from this function.
7) Social media management / Twitter Pro.
Twitter (and also the social media giants) have missed the market of social media management tools, now dominated by the Buffer, Hootsuite and so on.
To participate this market, the company could evaluate the introduction of “Twitter Pro”.
For a limited annual subscription, Twitter could offer a number of premium features for the social media manager or social media power user: tweets scheduling, reposting, programming, special tweets with timing and disappearing feature, calendar, easy content search for a quick content curation activity, reposting of the same tweets more times in a day, followers management etc.
With a limited premium fee (e.g. 0,99 monthly) the company could offer this social media management features which are very important for the social media professionals.
8) Big data.
I don’t have specific proposals about this topic, but I’m confident that en enormous values is locked in the oceans of data and information generated within Twitter.
The company must find some ways to generate services and products from this ocean of data.
I’ve recently read that Dataminr, a Twitter’s strategic partner, is exactly doing so, that sounds to me as a very good signal.
“Making Twitter’s firehose actionable”
9) Increase the use of video and media.
People love video, love music, love images.
Personally, I also love writing, but the trend is clear here: the sharing of media, videos, photos and so on rules.
You have to improve integration with other platforms (e.g. Spotify, Vimeo etc.), to make easier and more powerful the media sharing features.
That’s what people love doing right now.
You have also to made easier for the users to build their channels on Twitter are less focused on the textual tweets and more on visual content.
Also, music is important here (why don’t add a soundtrack feature within the users homepage?)
10) Your city in Tweets.
Twitter could enable the real-time reviewing about restaurants, clubs, bars and so on.
Any public place could use Twitter to boost its social media presence and interaction with customers.
Just Tripadvisor does, so to speak, but more “live”.
Why not to think of city maps in tweets, in which they are all local restaurants, attractions and so on are shown each with its live stream of tweets?
It could become a kind of real-time city guide, constantly updated: your “city in tweets”.
11) Twitter as microblogging. Tumblr beats Twitter on this point, yet it would take just a few improvements to establish Twitter as microblogging leader: e.g. improving the integration of videos, more homepage customization functions and so on.
12) A more active role of the company in launching trends and covering mainstream events.
One of the keys to boost the international growth would be to increase the coverage of mainstream events and in general the daily trend in countries where Twitter is weaker.
In this sense, Twitter probably works too passively: “Hey, this it the platform, please have a global conversation, post your tweets and we’ll show you what are the worldwide trends.”
This is fine, but sometimes the company could stimulate firsthand the global conversation, as well as do the brands that use the platform to make communications.
And it could do more in countries where it is less strong, challenging users to tag and share content on events / thirty / issues and trying to increase first-user involvement and to boost the conversations on Twitter.
Twitter is a company, it’s not just a Box, it should participate actively in the global conversations.
13) To leverage the “Tweets Ocean”.
Twitter, like Facebook, contains an entire universe of data and information.
Unlike Facebook, however, the data/tweets are public and accessible to all users in an endless tweets stream.
Then It would be interesting to try to imagine to new kind of data visualization in addition to the standard Twitter stream.
For example, it could be interesting to have access to visualization targeted only to part of the Twitter contents, e.g. a Twitter Video with only the shared videos, a Twitter Sport and so on.
I know that Moments does something like this, but this is not enough.
In short, since Twitter detain a boundless ocean of information accessible to all, it would be interesting to find alternative visualization interfaces displaying of focused sections of data / information, to make leverage of this endless sea of information and to allow users to view and exploit them in more focused ways.
14) Twitter for Stock Market.
I am a small investor (I invest mostly for fun).
Over the past few months I realized how Twitter is an amazing source of information often almost in real time about any security or news related to markets.
It ‘s a gold mine, millions of experts and investors share information and data on almost any stock, even the smallest and unknown.
I think that also here the company might think in some way to a specific product, a specific display mode, as it exists, for example, Google Finance.
It would be a different thing, more related to the conversation in real time on financial markets than a more institutionalized platform like Yahoo Finance.
I would love to use it.
15) Unlock e-commerce.
It seems that Twitter is going to cease any e-commerce activity bases on the platform. Honestly, I evaluate this choice as “pure madness”.
I do not know if maybe for big brands as Nike Twitter is not adequate as e-commerce channel, but I know many people who would love to sell products (including digital, e.g. info products) through their Twitter page.
This does seem a mistake; it seems impossible that on a platform like Twitter there is no room to extract value from the e-commerce business, also from on-demand content etc.
16) Twitter Mainstream — Moments is not enough, something more “mainstream” oriented is needed if the company aims to envolve the masses.
You have to find the right creative way; it can also be a screen on which are repeated incessantly the ten tweets more “liked” of the world in that minute, particular trends etc., but Moments is not enough to inspire the imagination of the people, especially teenagers.
17) Twitter and love — This is idea could sound weird, but why not use the Periscope technology to set up some sort of real-time video Tinder like app?
18) Other revenue sources.
In general, I think Twitter is an incredible and revolutionary service. Here, I think that the company must other substantial sources of revenue in addition to advertising.
There’s something wrong in the fact that a company which runs such revolutionary service platform live (almost) only of advertising money.
19) Use the “trends” for advertising.
Twitter is very different from Facebook, which due to its characteristics knows its users in a very “intimate “ way.
Twitter may not know so well their users, after all the subject of Twitter are the trends and conversations, not the users and their social networks.
This in itself is not a problem, but Twitter should find innovative ways to help the brands to use Twitter for marketing and communication, something that has to be done in different ways to what the brands do with Facebook and Instagram.
These innovative ways should engage in some way to the living power of Trends.
On Twitter a sort of “magma” of the global conversation lives and evolves in real time: in this sense, the trends could be compared to sudden columns of fire visible to anyone emerging from the magma of the global conversation.
The flaming pinnacle of attention and engagement was suddenly emerging in the global conversation to which everyone turn to look at.
I think that Twitter should develop something to help brands to position to to take advantage of these sudden explosions of interest, sharing, involvement, which the trends are.
20) Twitter Magazine — Twitter as the future of online publishing.
If Twitter is “live”, then it would be nice that everyone had the opportunity to publish their own Twitter Magazine edited by themselves.
I’m talking about easytemplates, a bit like Medium, a template where “embed” their Twitter maybe classified on thematic areas.
Twitter may be in some way also the future of the press, yes in real time, with journalists who do realtime coverage and a living newspaper changing literally under the user’s eyes.
21) Easy Twitter.
Twitter as we know it is at little bit hard for new users. It’s a tool for power users.
So why not think of a simplified version, a kind of “Easy Twitter”, able to involve less technical users and people who have moved away from the excessive complexity of use of the platform? I think at the people of a certain age, but also to people of 20–30 years who have no desire to learn a new tool.
22) Growth Hacking. Last but not least.. the company must exponentially strengthen its Growth Hacking function!
I think that Twitter has been very weak on this over the latest years.
© 2016 — All Rights Reserved