Tuesday, December 5, 2023

“My business is based on Twitter. Now I’m in Musk’s hands.”

Maxime Dupré is an independent developer. At the beginning of this year, birdieone of his creations, was endorsed as product of the day on the well-known website Product Hunt, where proposals for new software and services are listed and voted on. In barely a month, Dupré was already billing a good amount of income with a SaaS whose code he had chopped himself from his house. There was just one problem, Birdy was a Twitter-focused service.

Specific, birdie It allowed any Twitter user to do an A/B test with their profile photo or text, an option for companies, creators, influencers and professionals who want to gain more followers on the social network owned by Elon Musk.

It had a paid version with extra features that was the one from which Dupré obtained benefits. By now you will have guessed what happened next. Elon Musk changed Twitter’s API access policies with a stroke of the pen and Birdy went from being a profitable product to being worthless.

On April 8, Dupré posted on Twitter that he was throwing in the towel. He could not afford to pay for the new API, which costs $42,000 a month, and the other paid access option, at a cost of $100 —offered by Musk as accessible to almost anyone—, was not enough to meet what that the application needed. Of course, the free option fell even shorter.

The situation of the Dupré product is what they have experienced since Musk came to the helm of Twitter, both independent developers and small and large creators, as well as companies themselves. In fact, the first to experience overnight changes were third-party clients as widely used as it is TweetBot.

The trail of changes that have taken place on the platform, not only with regard to its API, but also to its recommendation algorithm —which has changed since it was released, as can be seen on Github— and, therefore, Therefore, the scope of many accounts, have also been affected.

“It’s like playing a game where the rules change from time to time. It could be fun, except that our business is also at stake ”

In hypertextual We’ve spoken to Spanish-speaking creators and entrepreneurs whose businesses pivot or are heavily based on Twitter. Or at least they did. Here’s what we’ve been told about being exposed to Elon’s changes.

“We love Twitter, but we have to look at other options”

Carla Diaz

Carla Díaz, known in networks as carla with wifi, is dedicated to the world of electronic commerce and creating content on digital nomadism and entrepreneurship.

The Twitter profile has more than 255,000 followers, after growing strongly over the last two years. Through this social network, it promotes its content and the paid products it launches. And that was not a network in which he saw much business sense at first. “Initially, it was not part of the strategy, however, now it is a relevant percentage of the interactions of my project. It is a very viral and massive network, where people are willing to leave the app to read more information or register in other things”.

Mario Armenta

Mario Armenta is the co-founder of Publisuites, a content marketing buying and selling portal that it sold to the Prensa Ibérica group. Since then, this Spanish entrepreneur has dedicated himself to continuing to set up different online businesses, often also motivated by experimentation.

One of them is The Open Projects (TOP), a premium newsletter who sends his subscribers 3 digital business ideas every week to inspire and promote ideas.

Both Armenta and his partner and co-author of TOP, daniel perishad active profiles on Twitter, and that is why it was their main way of initial recruitment.

“Twitter is very important for the project because it helped us with the launch and is currently our main source of attracting subscribers,” he explains. “We got 130 paying subscribers the first week, and it all came from the audience we already had.”

Mauricio Cabrera

Our latest guest plays both the position of analyst and creator with interests on Twitter. Mauricio Cabrera, alias Maca, is the creator of juanfootballa Mexican sports portal and StoryBakera hub of analysis around the intersection of the media industry, social networks and content creators.

In his case, Maca began his journey on Twitter, from where he attracted subscribers for his newsletters, but first of all he sums up that he has been disassociating himself from the social network and that right now his main way of attracting comes from a platform that in recent months has been cited among its rivals.

“Twitter is currently of medium importance to me. At the beginning it was important, but now it is not so much anymore. stack It has become my biggest dissemination and recruitment tool on its own and, on the other hand, I am also testing the newsletter and content options offered by LinkedIn”, he explains.

Pay for Twitter Blue and/or protect yourself from Musk’s changes

Twitter, Elon Musk

Given this context, all the creators consulted by hypertextual They have been adapting their strategy, although for now without noticing major changes.

Carla Díaz explains to us in reference to Musk’s changes that “At first I was a little stressed; however, I feel that it has been relatively the same. Personally, I think there has been a lot of noise around the arrival of Musk, it’s like a rivalry between lovers and haters of him (I don’t consider myself either of the two) and that is perceived as something rarer, but it really hasn’t changed as much as it was said it was going to affect ”.

For his part, Armenta tells us that they have noticed that the tweets published with links were working worse and worse for them, so they decided to create a Twitter account for the project to be able to mention it more freely. Also, they have used ingenuity to adapt to the new situation and the changes in the algorithm and the feed from the ‘For You’ tab, which now recommends many more Tweets from people unfollowed by users:

“We created an extension for Chrome called “Make Twitter Great Again.” What this extension does is that you can directly mark the tweets as not interesting to you and they don’t appear again, it cleans the timeline. We have added TOP advertising to this extension and we have promoted it among the entrepreneurial/maker public in Product Hunt”, says Armenta.

Another step they have been forced to take is to decide whether to hire Twitter Blue or not. Both Diaz and Armenta have signed up, but he says they haven’t noticed any major changes to their scope so far, nor are they getting more out of the other features.

For his part, Mauricio Cabrera, who for now has not subscribed although he does not rule it out, says that it seems like a good idea to implement verification measures, “but if this comes hand in hand with an economic payment, should bring more benefits and functionality for the creator, both for its content and for its monetization”, he says.

It should be remembered that right now Twitter Blue, in addition to the famous check, which is working more as a signaling element than verification, it only brings a series of small improvements such as the possibility of editing tweets, writing with greater length or being able to archive tweets saved in folders. Something to which greater exposure and reach is supposed to have been added, but for the moment our testimonies have not seen it reflected. Perhaps, because what Twitter may have done is reduce the organic reach to accounts that are not paying.

Maca believes that “of all the social networks, Twitter has always been the one that has given the creator the least chance of monetization. Partly because video and image —YouTube or Instagram— lend themselves more to ads than text. So if this ability to pay is now given, it should be in exchange for some real benefits.”

Adapt, change, or die among thousands of followers

elon musk

On how to act in a situation like this, in which part of the acquisition of your business has been affected or may be pending future changes, the three agree: the most important thing is to diversify and always try to have direct access to the audience.

Cabrera is clear. “As a creator or brand, you can be on Twitter, on TikTok, wherever you want, but you must have the data (email) related to your subscribers as controlled as possible. We are transitioning from the era of large social networks to the era of communities, and there, being able to take a certain audience to other more trustworthy fields such as a newsletter or a Discord server can be beneficial”, says the content analyst.

For her part, Carla Díaz stresses that “after all, social networks are “free” for us and many of us are earning money with themThey are constantly changing and it is essential to adapt if we want to continue dedicating ourselves to this. At first the idea of ​​Twitter Blue bothered me, because I was outraged that they charged the creators (after all, the app has traffic thanks to those who create content in them), but due to the winds that are blowing this will be the new normal ”, he points out.

“I think it is more important than ever to look for other options. Build communities in different networks, put together a newsletter and find a way to contact your community directly. This way you will have more control of your business as a content creator and you will be able to better prepare for future changes”, continues the Venezuelan.

To close, Mario Armenta launches a message of encouragement for those who have been exposed to these changes, “who will surely continue to come on other networks.”

“I try to always recommend making noise and doing things. What do I mean this? Because most do not publish what they do on their social networks, but expect the rest to follow/buy/subscribe to their newsletters… You have to publish daily, you have to create tools for the community altruistically, give to then receive and you have to interact, social networks are for that, not just to spam ”, he points out.

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