Is The Twitter IPO A Good Thing?

green_golf_ball_twitterOnline news services, and Twitter itself, are awash with the news that Twitter is going for an IPO rumoured to be in the region of $1billion. That’s a big number, especially when you consider the revenue for 2012 is recorded in the IPO filing as $317 million with a net loss of £79 million. Revenue appears to be up in 2013, but losses are up as well. You can get the whole story here in this excellent article from Wired, called Twitter files for IPO.

I believe that Twitter is an excellent tool for building awareness and reaching out and connecting with customers and fans, and enabling real conversations. But for a long time I have blogged and commented in forums about the Twitter business model.

It’s easy (and perhaps irrelevant) for me to have an opinion as I don’t work there, but as a marketer who uses social media on a daily basis, I have a vested interest, just like you.

So, how are they going to make money?

hootsuite-logo-small-300-by-300Well, for me, the simple solution is to build a proper user interface for Twitter, build a proper Twitter app of their own, and turn off the APIs. APIs – that’s geek speak for the software that enables Tweets to be embedded in other software applications, such as a website like this, or a Twitter feed and posting service like Hootsuite. Consider, Twitter is free to all, Hootsuite has a paid for service that costs £8 per month. Why do people use Hootsuite? Because it provides lots of neat tools that Twitter doesn’t – but should!

For too long they have been giving all the value away. The only option left to them is a radical change of strategy and to take back ‘ownership’ of the content distribution. Once this has been achieved, they can start to implement tools that add real value to marketers such as geolocation based sponsored posts etc. Imagine if you could publish a Tweet to everybody in your town, who has used the hash tag #golf for example?

As for me, I won’t be investing in Twitter.

Now that the Bing search engine is delivering search results from Pinterest, we might be about to see a big shift in traffic, making Pinterest even more relevant to your marketing efforts. Anyone hear the sound of horses hooves and stable doors being bolted?

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