Skip to main content
Marketing Strategy

Oh, Elon: Is Twitter still good for healthcare marketing?

By January 30, 2023No Comments

Elon Musk bashing is a popular pastime these days. Twitter mavens and marketers decry massive changes made to their beloved social media platform since the Tesla founder and CEO acquired it in October 2022 for $44 billion.

Musk’s most criticized moves include:

  • Cutting 80% of Twitter’s full-time workforce
  • Introducing the corporately curated “For You” column as an alternative to its traditional “Following” column
  • Fiddling with checkmarks

For all its flaws, old and new, Twitter remains a serious social media marketing powerhouse that you should not dismiss for your healthcare brand. Remember its 237.8 million daily active users and 2022 brand growth rate of 85%.

But don’t get it twisted; professional Twitter users should regularly evaluate its sweat equity and advertising ROI as developers and engineers continue to pull levers behind the curtain.

Let’s look at Twitter’s muscle, recent changes, and possible changes on the horizon as you hone your brand’s social media strategy.

A powerful tool for B2B healthcare

Of Twitter’s nearly 240 million daily active users, each spends 10 minutes on the platform daily. Of course, the platform has a known bot problem that led Musk to pump the brakes when he initially considered buying. Still, this ongoing issue did not slow Twitter’s popularity in healthcare; in 2021, users shared over 155 million tweets about and by healthcare in the app.

Any healthcare professional invested in Twitter also should be familiar with the demographics. Its largest user base (38.5%) is in the 25-34 age group. Users also skew 56.4% male to 43.6% female.

Twitter remains especially popular for B2B marketers, as 67% use it as a marketing tool. This stat is no surprise considering that Twitter has 41.5 million monetizable daily active users in the U.S. alone. We should also note that companies that use Twitter for customer service see a 19% lift in customer satisfaction.

What’s new?

Musk’s Twitter introduced several new actions and features following his takeover – some less popular than others – and more could be on the way.

  • Full-time workforce cut by 80%: Days before the 2022 holidays, Musk made significant cuts to Twitter’s engineering team. He also axed its PR department. There have been some notable winners amid the workforce’s shifting sands. Lisa Bookwalter, formerly Twitter’s director of client solutions for its health vertical, is now chief revenue officer for Sharecare, an Atlanta-based health and wellness company.
  • For You column: Users who prefer the old Following view can toggle to it from this new view, but this doesn’t stop some from bemoaning it as a transparent money grab.
  • Increase in misinformation: If you search “climate” on Twitter, the first automatic recommendation is “climate scam.” Oof.
  • Blocking alternative ways to view: Surprise! Twitter decided to block third-party clients such as Tweetbot and Twitterrific. Twitterrific’s history goes back to 2007, before Twitter created its own iOS app.
  • Blue, gray, and gold checkmarks: The checkmarks fiasco quickly became fodder for parody as many users purchased checkmarks and pretended to be celebrities. Twitter suspended the pay-for program and later brought it back. Twitter Blue is now available for $11 monthly if you sign up with iOS. It allows you to edit tweets, upload 1080p videos, enable reader mode, and access the blue checkmark. Gold checkmarks indicate that accounts belong to a company or organization. Gray checkmarks certify that particular government, political party, and media house accounts are legit.
  • Teasing ad-free subscription tier: Musk claimed Twitter’s ads are “too frequent and too big” and indicated that a higher-priced, ad-free subscription is in the works.

What to watch

While it may be entertaining to poke at Musk’s myriad faux pas, healthcare marketers should tune out the noise and focus on Twitter’s value for improving their bottom lines.

Changes to the Twitter Blue subscription model should be of particular interest. Be sure to keep an eye on changes in subscription fees, additional or altered features, and any significant changes that affect how Twitter serves your ads and organic posts to users.

Additionally, be mindful of changes to analytics reporting. Small changes over time can eventually lead to unrecognizable reporting that no longer serves your needs. Lately, our agency sees momentum around Mastodon, an upstart competitor launched in 2016 (see No 8).

Still, don’t simply quit Twitter for quitting’s sake. Regardless of your feelings for Musk’s eccentricities and tone-deaf tweets, look beyond the antics and toward Twitter’s brand-building capabilities.

Would you like to have a conversation about social media marketing and what tools are suitable for your healthcare, life sciences, or pharmaceutical business? Whether you’re creating a new strategy or improving your existing one, our healthcare marketing agency would love to hear from you!

Aaron Ogg

Author Aaron Ogg

More posts by Aaron Ogg