Social media has gotten weird, and most organizations using it in their own self-promotion don’t get it. As OpenBox enters its fourth year in business, we’re re-evaluating, expanding, and tweaking our own marketing, branding, and positioning. While taking stock of all social media assets, marketing strategies, and how we present our diverse portfolio of creative services to the world (or, more realistically, Southeastern Wisconsin), it’s time to focus our efforts where they’re going to have the most impact.
That’s why we’re quitting Twitter.
When we work with clients pursuing a social media strategy, we recommend Twitter purely for political messaging. It’s still popular with policy wonks, firebreathing grassrooters, and journalists. The platform remains a wildly effective echochamber for communicating commentary and opinions or spinning a news cycle. For casual users, it’s still a fun way to connect and engage with celebrities and their pet causes, too, not to mention Twitter’s steady popularity with urban youth.
For spewing out marketing messages, there’s too much saturation. Our niche clients include small- and medium-sized businesses with an existing marketing infrastructure, people who understand the value of a great campaign but some legwork to get the strategy and execution off the ground. They’re simply not going to have the bandwidth or marketing spend that would get meaningful ROI on scheduling, planning, and creating content, let alone engaging with what would otherwise be an anemically-sized following.
Of course, political consulting and creative execution compose a significant part of our business; that’s why Twitter is part of our clients’ strategies we design, not necessarily our own. There’s a big difference between interacting with a brand and having access and a connection to the people behind it. Consider John Legere, the CEO of T-Mobile, who in the last few years has made personal branding and a shift in his company’s culture a priority. Since committing to this rebranding and cultivating his own personal brand, his personal following has amassed 3.7 million followers. His multi-billion dollar company, on the other hand, sits at a relatively week 784,000-some followers.
Legere uses the network to talk about his company and its competitive advantages. For a non-political audience, it’s too easy to cut through the corporate-speak and jargon, contrived hashtags and desperation to make some kind of meaningful connection with individual users. People know better, and they hate being sold to. For companies working on shoestring budgets with limited resources, it’s too tempting to look to Twitter to constantly sell and self-promote, a sure recipe for abject failure.
The best accounts are the ones that provide something special, new, unique, and compelling, who aren’t shilling the same old stuff that’s seen again and again. Cultivating that unique perspective takes too much time to merit the headaches, for ourselves and for many of the companies and brands we work with, especially as Twitter has yet to figure out how to effectively deliver video content, even as the role video plays in marketing expands.
We know what it takes to build meaningful relationships on this platform, and that’s the very reason we’re quitting it.