Every healthcare marketer understands that social media is a powerful tool to connect with prospects and make the most of branding efforts. For years, Twitter has been a popular platform to do so across many industries.
Recent Pew Research data indicates that even in the midst of the many changes made since Elon Musk took the helm, “millions of Americans continue to use Twitter.”
However, a Spring 2023 Pew Research survey fielded approximately five months after Musk purchased Twitter found that among U.S. adults, “60% who had used Twitter in the past year said they’d taken a break from the platform in that time,” and “a quarter of current or recent Twitter users said it is unlikely they will be on the site a year later.”
Among the many changes Musk has made since buying Twitter, his recent and abrupt rebranding pivot to rename the platform X has been the most dramatic and is being met with confusion, disbelief, and skepticism from some marketing leaders.
Headaches for marketers
A recent Digiday headline captures the angst like this: “Twitter’s rebrand to X is more than the end of an era — it’s yet another headache for marketers.”
“Nearly nine months after Elon Musk took the helm at the social media platform, the bird app is no more,” writes Digiday’s Krystal Scanlon. “It’s been rebranded as X. This sudden transformation poses a significant obstacle for marketers who had been relying on the platform as part of their social media strategies.”
Scanlon cites several marketing leaders who say the abrupt change and lack of communication from the company have eroded trust and made it difficult to plan for whatever may be next.
“I am concerned that Musk will continue to make random changes to the platform, either alienating more casual users of the service who tend to be people my company would market to, or change the advertising tools that allow us to target users,” Brian Chevalier-Jordan, CMO at National Business Capital told Digiday. “If users start to defect, it reduces the usefulness of the platform and if the tools degrade, it makes it harder to find business benefits from it.”
“What [marketers and users] all want from Twitter is consistency and this is anything but,” James Greenfield, CEO and founder of branding agency Koto Studio told the outlet. “All brand and name changes need to be done with care and control, where right now this is just more chaos. Elon [Musk] is using a ‘move fast and break things’ product mode with the platform brand and that’s got to have people worried on a trust front.”
Transforming Twitter into “something new”
In a recent article for Medical Marketing and Media (MM+M), Lecia Bushak cites Musk’s vision to “transform the Twitter we know into something new — what he’s hoping will be an app for ‘everything.’”
Bushak also quotes Linda Yaccarino, the company’s new CEO as saying that X will “go further, transforming the global town square” and that plans for the app include a vision for it to be “the future state of unlimited interactivity — centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking — creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services and opportunities.”
But as Insider Intelligence’s Gadjo Sevilla says, “Rebranding a universally recognizable social media platform could upend years of brand equity built by Twitter.”
Sevilla notes that in 2022, 90% of Twitter’s revenue came from advertising, and that “most, if not all, of the company’s existing contracts are for Twitter, not for X.”
He cites Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence as saying, “It’s the end of an era for Twitter, but the writing was on the wall. Twitter’s corporate brand is already heavily intertwined with Musk’s personal brand, and the platform is a very different place than it was prior to Musk’s takeover. Much of Twitter’s established brand equity among users and advertisers has already been lost, and there’s a long road ahead for Musk to continue building a super app, even with a fresh foundation.”
Several healthcare marketing leaders cited in the MM+M article also expressed various concerns. They include Chuck Hemann, president of integrated activation at Real Chemistry, who noted he has a “healthy dose of skepticism” about the change and feels the pivot may be intended to take the focus off the many challenges Twitter has faced since Musk took over.
“Platforms have success adding new features when the core platform is beloved and utilized, and the value proposition for why you would use that platform is very clear,” Hemann reportedly said. “I’m not sure [Twitter’s rebrand] changes the core problems with the platform if brands are already wondering, ‘Why am I here?’”
He added that it’s not realistic to expect that everything be accomplished through a single platform: “The internet doesn’t work that way. Engagement and conversation doesn’t happen in one place — it’s spread out.”
Bushak also notes that healthcare brands may not feel as much of an immediate impact, since “the industry wasn’t necessarily heavily invested in Twitter as its main marketing channel anyway. Typically, platforms like Facebook, Instagram and even TikTok have posed more opportunities in the healthcare space.”
3 Things for Healthcare Marketers to Keep in Mind
So what will the Twitter-to-X rebrand mean for your healthcare organization’s marketing efforts? Here are three suggestions to keep in mind as you weigh next steps.
1. Stick to the basics.
Assess the status of your various campaigns, make the most of marketing analytics and other tools to measure results, and optimize the channels that deliver a return on investment that meets organizational goals.
2. Listen to your people.
That includes both internal and external voices. Work with your team to examine current investments, evaluate metrics, and determine next steps. Make the most of social listening to see what prospects and others in the marketing industry are saying about the change.
3. Be strategic.
This may be one of the best lessons that emerges from Musk’s ongoing rapid-fire tweaks to Twitter-now-X. If you’re able to adopt a wait-and-see attitude to better understand the impact, you’ll likely be better positioned to take an evidence-based approach — rather than acting on a whim that could have a lasting impact on your brand.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you adapt to the evolving marketing landscape and ramp up your efforts, please contact us today.