Does Elon Musk’s Twitter Care About Climate Tech Companies?
You’d think a guy who founded an electric vehicle company and a company that builds solar panels would be all in on helping promote companies pursuing clean technology solutions on one of the world’s largest social media networks, right?
But as the saying goes, “Business is business.”
With “Verified Organizations,” Elon Musk is twisting the arms of Twitter companies to the tune of $1,000 per month to help diversify his revenue stream in exchange for benefits like:
- A gold checkmark next to the company’s brand name
- Free affiliate verifications for company leadership
- Premium support
- Longer tweets up to 10,000 characters, an increase from 280
- 50% reduction in ads in your feed
- Videos up to 60 minutes long
- Prioritized rankings in conversation and search (read: more people will see your tweets)
Since my agency works for a number of companies in the climate tech sector, I’ve compiled some data so you can decide whether the investment makes sense for you.
New Numbers Provide Some Insight
Recently, the Business of Apps provided a comprehensive report on the state of Twitter which showed:
- There are currently 63 million active users of Twitter in the United States, down from 70 million in 2020.
- 90% of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising, which is why Musk is trying to diversify the company’s revenue streams with subscription products like Twitter Blue
- 80% of Twitter usage happens on mobile devices
- As the table below shows, more Gen Z’ers have been joining the platform.
If you are into these sorts of things, Global Digital Insights gives a deep dive into Twitter’s business model, ad revenue, and reach. Go get yourself some popcorn and geek out.
Why Do People Even Use Twitter?
Not surprisingly, the largest share of users (42%) said entertainment was the top reason to use the site, while 20% listed “staying informed” as their top reason to use Twitter.
Breaking those numbers down by age is more revealing. While fully 53% of Twitter users aged 18-29 said they use the service foremost for entertainment, only 28% of those aged 50+ were primarily interested in entertainment. Those 50+ users cited “staying informed” (25%) as their top reason to log in to Twitter. Only 15% of those aged 18-29 cited staying informed as their most important reason to scroll.
Having An Account Is Not The Same As Being Active
There’s an old aphorism that 20% of the people will end up doing 80% of the work. That formula certainly holds when it comes to who’s actively using Twitter instead of those using the platform passively.
Almost two-thirds (64%) of Twitter users say they mostly use it to see what others say. In contrast, only 7% say they use it mainly to express their own opinions.
Pew’s analysis from June-September 2021 of over 1,000 Twitter users supported the earlier survey by showing the most active 25% of Twitter users produced 97% of all tweets. Let’s call them the “elites.”
What Kinds Of Content Do Elites Tweet?
What kind of content is the most active 25% sharing?
In Pew’s analysis from June through September 2021, original posts comprised just 14% of tweets from this ‘elite’ cohort of users. Yes, you read that right. Only 14% of the most active 25% of tweeters produce original content. The remaining 86% of their posts were either retweets (49%) or replies to other users (33%).
What does that mean for your brand? There’s a huge opportunity to find a well-educated audience eager for information about the world around them for your original content.
It’s worth noting that Twitter users have achieved higher levels of education than the general public at large. Fully 42% have at least a four-year college degree, and another 26% have some college background, according to Pew and Statista.
Can A Climate Tech Company Use Twitter Effectively?
It can be daunting for a climate tech company to jump on Twitter if the metric for success is follower numbers. Don’t expect to see subscriber numbers like former President Barack Obama (130 million) or Justin Bieber (114 million).
However, follower numbers aren’t the best way to determine success on Twitter. Remember, your brand isn’t supposed to be for everyone; it’s for a select few. And if you want to dominate the Twitter platform, all it takes is diligence and creativity (plus a good story).
Again, 25% of Twitter users produce 97% of the content, and only 14% of those tweets are ‘original’ content. Of the 350,000 tweets generated worldwide every minute, 63,000 are from the U.S., and only 8,800 are original content from the ‘elite cohort.’ Everything else is a retweet or response.
If your company is going to pay for extra Twitter features, it needs to commit to producing original content regularly.
What Kind Of Commitment Is Required To Succeed On Twitter?
There are about 6,000 tweets sent out every second of every day, and the average tweet has a lifespan of 15-20 minutes. Does that mean your brand is shouting into a black hole? Not necessarily.
At an average of 11 minutes per visit, Twitter ranks second only to YouTube in the average duration of social media visits. Multiply those 11 minutes by the number of times high-volume tweeters log into the site daily, which ranges from “once or twice” to “too many times to count.” You have a pretty high correlation of your content meeting the audience.
If you’re unsure when is the best time to tweet, some algorithms can help you plan the optimal time of day and days of the week to tweet to have the most significant reach possible.
And while there’s no hard and fast rule about the exact number of times to tweet per day, high-volume tweeters average 65 tweets per month or slightly more than two times per day.
What’s A Good Number Of Followers?
In social media metrics, engagement is considered the gold standard.
The main difference between ‘elite’ tweeters and the rest of Twitter is the amount of engagement they get with their followers. Elite tweeters get an average of 38 engagements every month, or 456 every year, compared to the Twitter majority, who get zero engagements.
Let me put that into context: 456 engagements with your brand every year means 456 people who are interested in what you are doing, 456 people who are reading about you and rooting for you, 456 people who are ambassadors for your brand and share it with others outside of your circle. Those 456 engagers touch audiences you don’t, and you now have a conduit to their audiences. If each of those engagers has an average of 230 followers, news about your brand reaches 104,880 feeds! And so on.
That’s what effective social media marketing looks like. Your following grows exponentially, as does your reputation.
If you run a B2B climate tech company in an obscure industry like fusion, water remediation, or safer chemicals, 456 nods from colleagues and early adopters are like a standing ovation at the Hollywood Bowl.
What Does Success Look Like?
B2B climate tech companies have a more extended sales funnel and are unlikely to benefit from impulse buying, so Twitter is about building confidence and trust in their brands.
There’s an ancillary benefit to producing original written and video content in the Twitterverse. Remember, 90% of all purchases begin with a search on Google or Bing, and those search results include Twitter content.
Search engine algorithms rank you higher by participating on social media platforms like Twitter that generate engagement. Your company gains online influence. And the more places Google’s spiders find your content, the more you will come to dominate your niche with multiple listings that connote credibility.
So Should I Pay Elon To Promote My Climate Tech Company?
$12,000 per year is a steep price for a climate tech startup to be seen on just one social media platform, especially when you can still tweet on the platform for free. So for most companies, the answer is no. In addition to the price tag, many companies in the sector starve their marketing department, preferring to invest in more engineers. 🙁
Even without paying Elon, you still have the opportunity to create a ripple in the industry if you commit to producing regular content that centers around a story that connects emotionally to your audience.
However, if your play is to become the dominant brand in your climate tech niche, and you’ve raised a healthy amount of money in your Series A or Series B rounds and are willing to commit the resources to become a Twitter ‘elite’ with wider exposure, try it out for a month or two. You can unsubscribe at any time.