How Twitter Can Succeed

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By James Reichert Twitter has been under some scrutiny lately for the fact that user growth has slowed in recent months “as new products fail to excite.” Since its IPO a little over a year ago, Twitter’s C-level executives are ramping up product updates and retention plans in hopes of turning around the stock’s decline. With constant new competitors in the social media space, Twitter will need to start thinking about making strides to improve its existing product and adding new features to reverse the downward spiral. Below are four key things Twitter needs to do in order to succeed in the future.

1.  Continue to focus on content. 

Making changes to include more robust real estate for rich media has proved to be successful in increasing overall engagement. A larger image and video display does allow users to interact more with these tweets, making the user experience better. In fact, tweets with images are  receiving 18% more clicks than those without. What’s next? Twitter should look to continue improving its in-app photo tool. Allowing users to tag other accounts is a great way to add more people to the conversation, but including more call-to-actions to do so may help in the long run. Instagram does a great job of enticing users to take photos with a weekly weekend photo challenge. Twitter should move to model a photo challenge of its own after Instagram’s popular Weekend Hashtag Project and showcase Twitter users' work.

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2. Continue to highlight its real-time marketing power.

Facebook has taken a stab at moving towards a more “real-time” platform with the addition of its trending list on the right side bar. However, it will have do much more than that to catch-up to Twitter’s prowess. During the World Cup, Twitter has ramped up its real-time efforts by including a desktop sign-off call-to-action that entices users to sign-on and explore the real-time features. Twitter is continuing the conversations with a new feed specifically for every new match with tweets, pictures, and people involved in the game.

One room for improvement here is to include a user experience like this for other events and tailor the experience to each user’s interests. For example, giving gamers a real-time experience of E3 would have been an awesome way to connect these users with one another and extend the reach outside of a trending hashtag.

3. Revamp its analytics for brands.

Twitter really needs to follow up with better analytics for brands especially since it is constantly improving its advertising platform. The data located in the tweet activity section of analytics is lacking, and downloading the CSV of data has some bugs as well. One thing Facebook does very well for brands is provide a wide array of analytics. Twitter will need to take a page out of that book and give its whole back-end data a refresh.

4. Not mess with reach.

The latest example of Twitter vs. Facebook reach is the Snickers tweet during the (now infamous) Luis Suarez foul in the World Cup match on June 24th. Snickers posted the same image on Facebook and Twitter at the same time, but the stats that followed are astounding. The ratio of engagements per follower/fan from the two channels (11 million on Facebook vs. 54,000 on Twitter) shows just how far organic engagements on Facebook has dropped.

With all difference aside, the performance of a piece of content such as this may steer brands and marketers toward Twitter instead of Facebook if the recent trends continue.

What are some changes you think Twitter needs to make to be successful in the future? Tell us in the comments below!