The golden question is: would you pay for a Twitter membership?
It was revealed earlier today that Twitter is considering adding a paid membership option for businesses, job seekers and professional users.
Fresh from the recent Facebook announcement to introduce a ‘jobs and business’ feature, it does seem a little bit of a copycat move. The new Facebook Business Pages are now able to post job openings to the News Feed through the status update composer and host them on a Jobs tab on their page.
When users see these, they can hit an ‘Apply Now’ button to instantly send an application through Facebook Messenger. Facebook will pre-fill the user’s name and profile picture to speed up the process. Whilst this is only currently available for US and Canadian businesses, the social media leaders are aiming to turn it into a global phenomenon to attract more serious business flair to the platform.
Facebook also could start earning revenue from the feature, as businesses can pay to turn these posts into advertisements so that they can reach more people in the feed. Businesses could also get some viral help as users re-share openings to their friends or tag people that they know are looking for a job as a type of referral scheme.
Whilst Twitter has struggled in the last couple of years to make a solid impact, the micro-blogging service is also trying to get in on the action in a comparable style. Although, it has struggled to grow its user base in the last couple of years, and as a result, is carrying out surveys to ‘assess interest’ in the idea prior to launching it.
It could be argued that both Twitter and Facebook are trying to steal all of the thunder from the first pioneers of business socialisation – LinkedIn – by addressing and establishing similar features.
While LinkedIn might be the leader in the employment social network space, its 467 million user count is dwarfed by Facebook’s 1.86 billion. Not only this, but Facebook’s users come back every day for a variety of reasons, giving them a chance to hear about and apply for a dream job they didn’t even know they wanted. This is already a huge concern for the team at LinkedIn, without then throwing Twitter into the mix too.
The new Twitter updates would mean that paying members would get access to an enhanced version of Tweetdeck – Twitter’s souped-up interface that offers more functionality than the general elements of the website.
The company has not made any indication as of yet that it is considering charging regular users of the service for their everyday accounts. But a premium membership scheme could offer Twitter a new revenue stream at a time when users are increasingly turning to other networks, such as Snapchat.
Twitter’s active user base and revenues have taken a bit of a nosedive. Currently, the firms only meaningful income stream is advertisements, but these are also on the decline. Twitter’s struggles come despite the online advertising market growing considerably in the past year – so it’s only customary to want to make changes and improvements with this information in mind.
Twitter has surveyed a small selection of its users about the ideas they have in mind.
In a recent statement, the company said: “We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we’re exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals.”
In an email to selected users, the company described how the new tool would work.
“This premium tool set will provide valuable viewing, posting, and signalling tools like alerts, trends and activity analysis, advanced analytics, and composing and posting tools all in one customisable dashboard.
“It will be designed to make it easier than ever to keep up with multiple interests, grow your audience, and see even more great content and information in real-time.”
If it goes ahead with premium accounts, Twitter will be competing with more established players like SocialFlow and HootSuite – just a couple of the many companies that have offered enhanced ways to use Twitter and social sharing for many years.
Why it has taken the company this long to roll out its own initiative is not clear. In 2009, co-founder Biz Stone said the firm had hired a product manager to develop premium features, but these never materialised – and Mr Stone left the company in 2011.
According to a screenshot of the survey, the premium version would be aimed at marketers, journalists, recruiters and corporate professionals. It will provide valuable viewing, posting and signalling tools like alerts, trends, activity analysis, advanced analytics, and composing and posting tools all in one customisable dashboard.
All we can hope for is that Twitter gets back on track somehow. But would you pay for a premium account if you were given the option?
Twitter reported 319 million monthly active users; so how many of these members would realistically use the network for business purposes?