The writing is on the wall, or the tweets are on the tweetstream: Twitter is dying.
Forget the fact that Twitter’s usership has been flat for the last 3-4 years.
The most alarming, death-knell sign that Twitter is dying is this:
Twitter average engagement rate is now just 0.049%
As Jay Baer points out over on Convince and Convert, a tweet to 10,000 followers will, on average, generate 4.9 engagement behaviors such as replies, retweets, and likes (or hearts).
“It’s the new banner ad”, says Jay.
Hard to disagree.
Without the “Social”, it’s just “Media”
Here’s the thing.
It doesn’t matter how many users Twitter has when people aren’t using to engage.
As I’ve argued before, without the “social” it’s just “media”.
Without the social engagement on Twitter, it’s just another broadcast outlet: a place to go to see/read news, opinions, images and videos – kind of like any other media site.
Social implies “two way communication”, and Twitter is fast becoming a one-way medium.
What Can Twitter Do?
Twitter needs to step up.
It can freshen up it’s design, add a special “moments” feature, or even alter it’s character limit – none of these things address the fact that no one is engaging on Twitter.
Twitter’s number one goal should be to increase engagement, not users.
To increase engagement, Twitter needs to incentivize engagement.
How will they do that?
A few suggestions:
- Discourage accounts that merely tweet links exclusively.
- Encourage brands (and even people) on Twitter to share, reply, like, and comment on tweets by offering free advertising credits for “highly engaged” accounts.
- Gamify Twitter with an engagement-heavy algorithm, where users get points, badges, and are rewarded for certain engagement milestones (kind of like FitBit).
- There’s thousands of brands on Twitter, partner with them and offer deals, discounts, or exclusive offers to highly engaged users (kind of like redeeming loyalty points).
- Three words: Twitter engagement awards.
The more engagement on Twitter, the more people are likely to want to participate in the community.
Increase engagement, increase users.
What Can We Do?
For us users, it’s really about changing our philosophy when it comes to using social media.
We need to put the “social” back in social media, and take the “me” out of media.
In other words:
- Stop just sharing links exclusively
- Reply to tweets, comment on tweets
- Like and Reweets
- Create relationships
- Don’t broadcast, engage, engage, engage.
I summarized these ideas, and how to approach social media, in a presentation I did for a local college in 2014:
For Twitter, a revival will not come without a complete understanding of it’s need for engagement.
Until that comes, it will keep dying a slow death.
In the meantime, you can find me on Twitter @robertclarkey