In this latest episode of the How Would You Beat podcast, we looked at how companies might take share from Twitter and more specifically, how could Twitter beat itself in order to grow faster. The discussion led to questions like “What is Twitter’s function in the world?” “What job does it help its customers with?” and “What sort of product or service would you need to compete with Twitter” (if you guessed, not necessarily a social media platform you guessed right!).
Twitter has been in the news over the past couple of months since Elon Musk announced intentions to acquire it for nearly $44 billion with indications that he planned to make improvements to the popular social media platform. Irrespective of whether Musk’s acquisition goes through or not, it is definitely interesting to explore how Twitter - as one of the world’s most widely used social media platforms - can be improved as a product.
Twitter shareholders have been arguing for better performance for Twitter. For years, shareholders have posited that Twitter isn’t realizing its full potential for user, revenue, and profit growth. How can Twitter better realize its potential? In other words, how can Twitter help advertisers and users unlock more value such that so that they would be willing to pay Twitter?
What is Twitter’s function as a product?
Twitter’s brand position is “What’s Happening”, which suggests that Twitter helps people with the job of staying informed. This is rather broad, and the struggles news and media companies have had over the years of getting people to pay for this job paint a grim picture of the market opportunity for “What’s Happening.”
But Twitter also helps with other Jobs–to-be-Done. For example, Twitter goes beyond what an online newspaper or magazine might be able to achieve in terms of hyper-local happenings. During fire season in California, local service providers gave citizens real-time data on fire outbreak information over their Twitter feeds.
In addition, Twitter helps musicians build a fanbase, politicians campaign for votes, journalists drive traffic to their websites, and it helps brands create awareness and see what people are saying about their products. It helps to do jobs that other solutions like newspapers, record companies, or celebrity agents might have provided solutions to in the past.
From that viewpoint, it is easy to see that Twitter has two broad sets of customers: its users and its advertisers. Twitter can reduce its rather heavy - at nearly 90% - dependence on ad revenue by helping people using the social media platform unlock value through getting jobs done that customers are willing to pay for. It could also create better value for advertisers by doing more to help them grow sales.
When considering generating revenue from its users, it’s helpful to think about the various segments that get the most value from Twitter already. For example, investors are Twitter power users. Twitter helps them get the job done when they are trawling the internet for information about companies they are considering investing in; they say that they could not get the information faster or more accurately than on Twitter.
Using Jobs-to-be-Done for a more profitable Twitter
The Jobs-to-be-Done approach steers companies to take a less generalized approach so that they are able to focus and get the job done for some customers thoroughly rather than get the job done to a small extent for everyone.
This means that Twitter could take an alternative approach to most social media companies and deliver complete value to some segments rather than delivering some value for everyone. Twitter can go beyond thinking about typical Jobs-to-be-Done for social media apps and focus on what job customers are trying to get done via its platform by putting in a lot of effort. From there, Twitter can find faster and more accurate ways of getting the job done for some customer segments.
Investors, for example, could be willing to pay for real-time information that helps them make informed decisions. Twitter might be able to take this market share from Bloomberg.
Twitter could also deliver greater value to its existing customer segment of musicians. They’ve introduced a tip jar to help musicians bring in revenue from fans, but there’s a lot more a social media platform with Twitter’s reach can do to help artists expand their base of revenue-generating fans.
So how can Twitter deliver complete value to either of these customer segments? Or how would a disrupter deliver complete value to one of Twitter’s market segments and take a share from them? The next step in the Jobs-to-be-Done approach is to break down the customer’s job into steps and understand the specific needs at every step.
You can then identify the target segment’s willingness to pay to get the job done). Understanding how well the competition satisfies the unmet needs in the job helps you determine how good your solution has to be to capture the willingness to pay..
To operationalize the approach, Twitter could dedicate teams to getting the job done for a specific target segment - be it investors, musicians, politicians, and so on.
Rolling out Jobs-to-be-Done for social media apps, software, and internet products
Twitter’s top-tier positioning today could simply be the outcome of being a social media platform in an age when everything is going online and being converted to software. It sort of won the lottery. And while there’s no arguing that software and the internet get jobs done faster and more accurately (and cheaper) than a lot of solutions, Twitter - or any social media app, software or internet product - needs to be clear on the exact value it’s delivering to customers. If you’ve developed one of these products, or are in the process of developing them, you need to be thinking about how your product helps the customer’s Job-to-be-Done get completed faster and more accurately? The areas where your product is unable to achieve speed, accuracy and cost-effectiveness become opportunities for your competitors. For example, if Twitter has a share of investors who get market data from it, a competitor could eat into Twitter’s market share of that segment by giving investors data in real-time.
Twitter can unlock value by going after the specific jobs that specific customer segments struggle with. If Twitter manages to get a whole lot more of each of these jobs done, rather than focusing on the more general "what's happening" it has a chance of improving profitability.
You too can apply the Jobs-to-be-Done approach to any customer segment, but it is important to avoid oversimplifying it. You cannot define your customer’s job in three words because of the complexity and the many job steps and needs at every job step. Process implementation is a huge part of the Jobs-to-be-Done approach.
If you want to learn more about thrv and our Jobs-to-be-Done approach, visit us at thrv.com.