Twitter has an advantage that no other company in social has.
But before the big reveal, let’s recap Twitter’s big problem right now…
Twitter’s Big Problems
- User growth has stalled.
- The company isn’t making enough money.
I’ll leave out my anti-Wall Street rant for now and just settle in on the fact that Twitter seems to have very little in the way of innovative ideas on how to fix these issues.
Lucky for them…I do!
Twitter’s Secret Weapon
Stop me if you’ve hear this one before…
Twitter has arguably more useful data for marketers than Facebook does.
Why? Because while Facebook gives us the ability to target users based on demographics, location, income, and other factors, Twitter is the site best suited to find influencers around topics.
Twitter is where people go to talk, and Twitter was the first social site to make social searching a useful feature. If I want to find people who know about gaming, Twitter is far more useful than Facebook. If I want to find people interested in a particular brand of politics, Twitter is more useful than Facebook.
Does Facebook have access to more conversations via Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp?
There’s no question.
But does Twitter make those conversations more accessible?
Before I answer that, let’s forget about what they are doing, and instead look at what they COULD be doing.
Marketers love influencers. The idea of finding someone with an established audience that focuses on a particular topic, is VERY appealing.
People love the idea of being influential. Social Media allows any one of us to build an audience. Maybe it’s because we’re knowledgable, maybe it’s because we’re funny, or maybe we’re just plain controversial. The point is, we can be recognized and given attention.
But what can you actually DO with that influence?
As an influencer you can make money on Social Media by either:
- Selling your own services, online courses, or products; or
- Promoting the services, online courses or products of others for a price.
But even if you build an audience with your own blood, sweat and tears, it’s more likely that once you’ve built an audience, a marketer will target your audience without ever talking to you, because it’s far easier to go around you and target ads directly, than it is to reach out to someone and make an arrangement to leverage your influence.
Furthermore, there is currently no real marketplace for marketers to find influencers. There have been a few third party platforms that have attempted to make sense of the data and highlight influencers but the full fledged influencer economy never quite hit primetime.
Building The Influencer Economy
Twitter has access to and stores every single one of our tweets. Inside all of that data is a mountain on insights and Twitter can make big bucks by leveraging it. And beyond that, the very same data gives Twitter everything it needs to bring in more users.
Because here’s the real opportunity: give influencers the ability to vet offers from marketers and let users share the ad revenue.
How Twitter Can Build the Ultimate Influencer Marketplace
Do you remember Tsü? Tsu was a short-lived, though still currently running, social media application where you could be paid for your influence. The trouble was that now you had to build an audience on a relatively unknown platform. Twitter on the other hand, is well established as a big player in social.
What if you could get paid to promote a product with a series of tweets, and all you had to do was click YES?
- Imagine if a lipstick company could offer the top 10 influencers in health and beauty, $20 per tweet for 5 tweets over the course of 1 day. All she/he had to do was click YES in her influencer inbox.
- Imagine if a CRM company could offer the top 50 most influential CIO and CTO Twitter users $15 per tweet for 4 weeks of tweets, one every other day. All she/he had to do was click YES in the influencer inbox.
- Imagine if that same CRM company offered the most engaging 100 people, who live in Seattle, who have talked about CRMs at least 5 times in the last month, $10 for 5 tweets within one week.
Twitter can deliver these people, because they have the data, and all they need to do is filter all users by location and engagement rates to find this out.
Users would opt in and once they did Twitter could open up more opportunities to these influencers by adding private sections to the profile for additional demographic data. They could even use Facebook connect to instantly import data.
I promised I’d get back to making those whether or not Twitter makes those conversations more accessible, so here we go.
To see how this could work practically, Twitter already allows us to download an archive of all our tweets. Those archives are then searchable. I publish mine online so that you can see through my entire history.
What if Twitter took a page from Facebook’s playbook and gave us a Timeline? Our profiles could more closely resemble our Twitter Archives, than the current profile layout.
- They could show our tweet volume and frequency.
- They could show the topics we talk about most.
- They could show who some of our top influencers are, based on retweets and conversations.
This would allow people to search through everything a user has said on a topic. Try going to my archive and searching a topic like #socialmedia or spiderman.
Then imagine being able to filter those results by pictures, videos, retweets, mentions, posts from other platforms, and more… Think about how much we could learn about one another in an instant.
Privately, for marketers…
Twitter could make all sorts of data available to marketers.
- Engagement rate
- Activity level
- Topics of conversation
- Influencers of [insert username here]
- Primary geography
This would allow marketers to do more research to reach out to influencers. If you’re wondering why I keep mentioning marketers, ask yourself who is giving Facebook all of their revenue…exactly: MARKETERS.
Marketers would go into the ad portal, choose their ad objective, select “influencer reach” as their audience, put in the criteria for influencer, upload creative, set their budget, and launch campaign.
Users that have opted-in to the influencer program, that meet the criteria, would be given a notification. If they select yes to the terms, the tweets would go out automatically, with a pre-written commentary from the influencer that clearly states how they select the companies they work with. If they select no, the message is cleared from the inbox.
Twitter would take a portion of this ad revenue, and the user would see money appear in their account.
The Bottom Line is This
Twitter needs to start thinking differently. That means they need to do something that others haven’t. They are not going to win by simply copying Facebook.
But today’s idea is this, and please chime in with your thoughts in the comments section…
Twitter has access to data about our topics of conversation, our influencers, the people we influence, our engagement rates, and more. Users have no easy way currently to cash in on their influence and marketers have no easy way to find influencers. Build the influencer marketplace and give influential users a cut of the action.
I’m pretty sure this would increase the stickiness among existing users, encourage new users to join and cash in, and give marketers a unique advertising opportunity that they couldn’t get elsewhere.
Also published on Medium.