Lauren Kaye

Twitter is undergoing a transformation this year, perhaps in an effort to draw in a wider untapped user base. If it proves successful, Twitter could become the best place for brands to launch their social media marketing campaigns.

The fast-moving network has traditionally been favored by the young and web-savvy – which means it’s not the right place for every brand to reach its target audience – but it might be moving in the direction of mass appeal. In Twitter’s Q1 2014 earnings report, the organization announced it now has 255 million monthly active users, up from 241 million at the end of 2013.

On the surface, this looks like marked improvement, but the big picture shows Twitter still has some ground to make up if it intends to compete now and in the future. It also looks like marketers shouldn’t necessarily go all in just yet, depending on the audience they’re hoping to reach.

Social media by the numbers

Here is how the major players stack up in terms of sheer user volume:

*This is up for debate. Because Google+ considers users active if they log into any of its affiliate networks, such as Gmail or YouTube, many social media marketing professionals assert this number is inflated. Data cited by Econsultancy puts the number closer to 300 million.

Time to Tweet?

As it stands, Twitter appears to be gaining a lead on specialized networks like LinkedIn (for professionals), Pinterest (for foodies and crafters) or Instagram (for people who love to take photos). However, marketers would be unwise to rush in. They need to perform the due diligence to make sure their customers and prospects are active on the network, and that they aren’t on another platform interacting with competitors’ campaigns.

It’s wrong to treat social networks like one-size-fits-all web marketing solutions. The reality is that businesses’ social content will be ignored if there isn’t an audience for their posts, but that’s where strategy comes in. The right mix might include one part Twitter, two parts Pinterest and a dash of Facebook to drive engagement forward and achieve the most important goal – conversions.

For more about which networks drive the best business results, check out these posts: