In the fast-paced world of social media, communicators and marketers are facing a growing dilemma in 2024: Where to invest their time and energy as platforms change.
While resource management is always a consideration, concerns have been amplified in recent months by the revolving door of changes and controversies that have engulfed Twitter (now X) since Elon Musk acquired the company.
These changes have shifted the rules of engagement on X, prompting communicators to reassess their strategies and – for some – sunset their accounts entirely. But before brands make any big decisions when it comes to their social media channels, it’s important to understand how the platform has changed in 2023.
Understanding the X Landscape
After purchasing the platform in October 2022, the SpaceX and Tesla mogul wasted no time in shaking things up at the social media giant.
Musk’s reign began with the dismissal of several high-ranking executives, including the CEO and CFO, and the disbanding of the company’s board of directors. Musk’s declaration to relax Twitter’s content moderation policies raised eyebrows and stirred debates about the platform’s role in curbing misinformation – as did his overhaul of Twitter Blue, a new and more expensive version of the platform’s paid plan.
Amid all the chaos of blue, gray and gold checkmarks, the rebrand to X and a flurry of new features like Communities, Spaces and Notes, Musk hinted that more big changes are on the horizon. In a live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk casually dropped that X will be “moving to a small monthly payment” for all users to deal with bots, although no official plans have been announced (yet).
Evaluating Your X Presence
Before you make any decisions on whether to sunset your X account – or otherwise change your social media strategy – it’s crucial to take a good, hard look at your brand’s existing presence on the platform.
Assessing and benchmarking your content and platform performance is critical to measuring the efficacy of your social media efforts – and determining where to direct your efforts next.
- Engagement Metrics: Look at the number of likes, retweets and comments your tweets are garnering. Is your engagement on an upward trajectory, stagnant or declining?
- Follower Growth: Check if your follower count is experiencing steady growth or if it seems to have plateaued.
- Content Performance: In addition to engagement metrics, look at click and traffic data to Identify which tweets perform exceptionally well and why. What kind of content resonates with your audience? Has this changed over time?
Making the Decision: To Sunset or Stay the Course
With these insights in hand, communicators can gain a deeper understanding of their audience’s evolving preferences and, armed with this knowledge, make informed strategic decisions about the future of their presence on the platform.
Whether it entails persevering, some strategic realignment or bidding farewell to X in favor of other channels, this decision should reflect your organization’s adaptability and dedication to meeting your audience’s changing needs.
This means informing your decision by several key factors including:
Audience Shift: Begin by closely examining the trajectory of your audience. Social media landscapes are dynamic, and your followers may be embarking on journeys of their own. If you notice a significant portion of your audience migrating to other platforms, it’s essential to follow suit. The key here is to go where your audience is. After all, effective communication means being where your audience is most active and engaged.
Platform Effectiveness: Take a discerning look at whether X is still the most effective platform for achieving your communication and marketing goals. Consider your objectives – why are you on the platform? Whether it’s brand awareness, engagement, lead generation or community building, has X continued to deliver the desired results, or have you witnessed a decline in its effectiveness? Evaluating platform performance against your objectives is pivotal to determine its ongoing relevance.
Resource Allocation: Time and effort are valuable resources in the world of social media. Assess whether the investments you’ve made in managing your X presence could potentially yield better returns elsewhere. Consider the opportunity cost of allocating resources to X versus allocating them to alternative platforms or marketing strategies. Remember: Sometimes reallocating resources can lead to more efficient and fruitful endeavors.
So, You Want to Sunset X
If, after careful evaluation, you decide sunsetting your X account is the best course of action, it’s essential to do so strategically. Here are some steps to consider if you decide to proceed:
1. Notify Your Audience:
Inform your followers and fans about your decision to leave X. Be transparent about the reasons behind this choice, whether it’s due to the evolving platform landscape, audience shifts or strategic realignment: i.e., “To refocus our efforts on the channels that best represent our goals.” Encourage them to connect with you on other platforms where you’ll continue to provide valuable content and engage with them.
2. Archive Valuable Content:
Before sunsetting your X account, ensure you archive valuable content such as insightful tweets, engaging discussions or user-generated content that showcases your brand’s identity. This content can be repurposed or shared on other platforms to maintain continuity and preserve your brand’s history.
3. Promote Alternative Platforms:
Guide your X audience to alternative platforms where they can continue to connect with your brand. Whether it’s Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok or emerging social networks, provide clear directions on where they can find you and what type of content they can expect.
4. Monitor the Transition:
After sunsetting your X account, monitor the transition and engagement on other platforms closely. Analyze how your audience responds to your presence on different networks and tailor your strategy accordingly. Consistency and responsiveness are key during this phase.
5. Stay Informed:
The social media landscape is ever evolving. Stay informed about developments on X and other platforms, as circumstances may change. If X undergoes significant transformations in the future that align with your brand’s goals, be open to revisiting your decision.
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Even in the fast-paced world of social media, where the only thing constant is change, seismic shifts on X are pushing more communicators to reconsider their strategies – and in some cases, sunset their accounts entirely. But before making any major decisions regarding your social media channels, it’s crucial to comprehend how the platform has evolved in 2023.
By assessing the efficacy of social channels and comparing efforts against the cost of exploring new outlets or expanding your presence on other platforms, brands can take a calculated approach to maximizing their efforts in 2024 and beyond.