Twitter is the global voice. Any time the world needs to comment (and we have daily reason to comment)--on a human tragedy, the passing of a celebrity, the misstep or folly of a politician, a great injustice or implementation of justice, the feat of a sports team--we turn first to Twitter. Tweets factor into both hard core journalism and light blogging and everywhere in between.
So why is it floundering?
As a social commentary, Twitter rules, but since 2011, the company has lost $2 billion, according to CNN Money. As a matter of fact, it has not turned a profit since the first tweet was sent 10 years ago.
Business Insider reported the following on Morgan Stanley's most recent analysts,
"Engagement and New User Trends Remain Troubling... We believe TWTR's core user engagement remains in decline, as time spent per U.S. mobile user fell by an estimated 10% YoY in 1Q:16. This may be an improvement from the 30%+ YoY declines from last year, but stepping back, TWTR's time spent per user is already among the lowest in the social group ... and is still in decline. New user growth doesn't appear to be rebounding either, as quarter-over-quarter new mobile-app downloads were flat for the second straight quarter."
Twitter will release results on April 26 for first quarter, but Morgan Stanley analysts cite concern that they won't see strong numbers after below-estimated user growth in the fourth quarter 2015.
Because of lowered forecasts for global monthly users in 2016 and 2017 to 2.6 million and 0.3 million (from 5.2 million and 3.4 million), Twitter may likely suffer further due to lost advertising revenues, and their shares have fallen 25% this year.
The hashtag still has great power
However, you can't watch @FallonTonight (Jimmy Fallon) on the tonight show without being asked to contribute to his show by way of his Hashtag Challenge (this week #SpringRaps). You can barely read content on the web without stumbling over # language, and you can't scroll your Facebook feed without that one friend with the extra long hashtag, like #Nevergoingoutsidewithoutsunscreenonagainohmygodthishurtssobad accompanied with a photo of scarlet, bubbled skin.
So whatever Morgan Stanley says about a decline in new users, these facts still remain: as of fourth quarter 2015, Twitter had 305 million monthly active users. It is free to sign up.
If your small business has a comprehensive online marketing plan, you are likely one of the 305 million monthly active users. Abandoning your Twitter presence because the company is facing financial disaster is like leaving the biggest party of the year early because it's going to end sometime anyway.
Twitter still offers dramatic online presence, it's a forum for sharing and re-sharing, it offers strong analytic tools to measure the usefulness and popularity of your tweets, and it's where your customers and competition are, regardless of the NASDAQ (or @NASDAQ) ticker.
How Twitter will survive is still in question. Plans for new product development, a live-streaming feed, an appearance more akin to Facebook, a deal with the NFL to stream games, and further developments coupled with world events like the Summer Olympics and presidential elections may bolster their bottom line. In the meantime, you're free and encouraged to keep those #'s coming.
How has Twitter bolstered your small business?