Written for the New Zealand Institute of Education (NZIE) in June 2023. 

Does anyone in New Zealand still use Twitter as part of their brand’s social media strategy? I asked several social media managers and the members of the NZ Social Media Marketing Facebook Group, and it was challenging to find anyone who still uses Twitter to engage followers with their brand. The general response was, “I don’t have any clients who use Twitter anymore,” and “I only have one client that I do Twitter for, and I don’t put much effort into it as it’s really only brand awareness for them.”

So, with all the recent changes made by Elon Musk, have New Zealand brands turned away from the platform? Is anyone still using Twitter in NZ?

Reaching a global audience 

Hannah Jawad, the social media lead at Kami, an all-in-one teaching tool for educators, says that Twitter is still a core part of their marketing strategy. They primarily use it to target tech directors and educators in the US, so Twitter helps them reach their audience effectively. However, Hannah also mentions that things are slowly changing, and their social media channel choices depend on their target audience and their preferred platforms.

On the other hand, Tiffany Bartlett, a Digital Marketing Executive at The Crescendo Trust of Aotearoa, a music production studio, says that it’s her understanding that Twitter is mostly used by niche groups in NZ. She personally uses it to connect with fellow email marketers in the States but rarely uses it otherwise. However, she recently discovered that Twitter is quite popular in the music industry.

So, who’s using Twitter? 

According to DataReport.com, there are approximately 750,000 users with Twitter accounts in New Zealand. But what are they using it for?

Oli Garside from Mosh Social Media believes that Twitter still drives a lot of traffic in New Zealand. However, in terms of clients, it’s mostly B2B professional services, journalists, politicians, and academics, because it’s still a globally relevant platform. For local Kiwi businesses, Twitter isn’t as relevant anymore, unless they’re part of an internationally recognised brand.

Twitter’s significant growth

Interestingly, Twitter has experienced significant growth from 2022 to 2023, with a 43% increase in ad reach, which Oli attributes to Elon Musk’s influence and people’s curiosity about what’s happening with the platform.

Among the brands represented by Mosh, only Hell’s Pizza and Schneider Electric New Zealand still actively use Twitter. However, even they don’t create unique content for the platform. Hell’s Pizza has an auto-response system set up that directs customers to email if they mention the brand on Twitter with a customer service issue. Schneider Electric New Zealand still use Twitter as part of its marketing plan because they’re a global electrical distribution company. But again, the content is cross-posted from Facebook and LinkedIn, with LinkedIn being their primary channel.

Should I focus on Twitter?

So, if you’re wondering which social media platform to focus on, it ultimately depends on your business. The engagement and user base on Twitter is not as high as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, and if you don’t require up-to-the-minute immediate updates (which Twitter is great for), then Oli recommends using LinkedIn over Twitter, especially in a New Zealand context, purely because of the larger user base.

However, if there’s a compelling business case to use Twitter, it’s still a valid option. Your social media strategy should be situational, and it’s essential to prioritise the platforms that best suit your target audience.

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