3 Solid Business Reasons to Avoid Marketing on Twitter

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur the collaborators are his.

Will Elon Musk buy Twitter? Will Twitter allow more freedom of speech? Maybe these are interesting questions to discuss at a dinner party. But these problems do not interest companies much. In fact, Twitter really isn’t an ideal place for most small businesses.

Because? A recent report by Pew Research has the reasons.

For starters, only one in five American adults (23%) use the social media platform. A much larger proportion of people use YouTube (81%), Facebook (69%) and Instagram (40%). Not only that, but a minority of Twitter users produce the vast majority of tweets. Pew says that among American adults who use Twitter, 25% of top users by volume of tweets produce 97% of all tweets. The lower 75% of users produce only 3%.

My advice: It has always been difficult for me to target my very limited marketing resources. The best marketers I know always tell me to keep track of money and go where my clients are. For most American companies like mine, it seems like customers probably aren’t on Twitter. And the ones that are there are probably few and far between.

Related: How to Attract the Right Kind of Twitter Audience

Another reason to avoid: Twitter leans to the left. According to the survey, about a third of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents report using Twitter. That’s almost double the proportion of Republicans and Republicans who claim the same thing.

My advice: I’m not saying this is good or bad. Is that if your business will be active on Twitter, you have to be careful what you say. I learned this the hard way. Sometimes I’ve tweeted something political and been the recipient of Twitter’s opposite mafia. I’ve found that people on the platform are less likely to be friendly with conservative-leaning companies (I’m thinking of firearms) and ideas. If you’re a politician and want to share your opinions (and given my experience, I don’t recommend doing so publicly if you own a business), you may end up alienating potential customers and employees. Be careful, it’s a crazy place.

Finally, Twitter can be very, very hostile. Ask anyone who has been on the platform and share a point of view. There will probably be some people, some very aggressive people, who disagree and make their attacks. Pew says about one in five adult Twitter users in the U.S. has experienced harassing or abusive behavior on the platform. A third says he sees a lot of inaccurate or misleading information in it. The good news is that most adult Twitter users have not experienced harassment or abuse behaviors on the site. But 17 percent say this has happened to them personally.

I use Twitter all the time. This is because in addition to running a small business, I also write a lot about small businesses for various media sites like this. For the media, Twitter is a place to go (but not trust) to get news and opinions. It is also a good place for small businesses specializing in public relations and marketing. Or, just to get information and views on an event. My favorite use of Twitter? Following the hashtags #phillies to be able to pity other fans in real time while my team loses, which it often does.

Related: Can Twitter Really Help Your Small Business?

If you choose a social networking platform, you need to focus on where your customers are. For my business, I like LinkedIn more because my clients are usually B2B. And it’s a professional place to interact with them.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (Microsoft owns LinkedIn) has often said that LinkedIn is a place to go for “economic opportunities” and that she couldn’t be more right. However, if you’re a B2C business and want to create a community, Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok may be better options. Of course, there is a lot to learn about each of these platforms. But one thing I’ve learned about Twitter: it’s not a great place for most small businesses.

Related: Fake Accounts and Bots: Is Twitter Marketing Worth It?

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