Inside Twitter’s Strategy to Bring Celebs, Media Companies Into Its Social Conversation

·3-min read

Twitter isn’t the biggest social network out there: Both Facebook and Instagram are significantly bigger, and Snapchat also has surpassed Twitter’s daily user base.

But two of Twitter’s top execs focused on the entertainment industry, Sarah Rosen and Lara Cohen, say they’re looking to deliver on quality of engagement for their partners, not just quantity of followers. On this week’s episode of Variety‘s “Strictly Business” podcast, Rosen and Cohen broke down how the company teams up with talent and media companies to maximize reach and is regularly developing new tools to connect with fans.

More from Variety

Social media has grown far more crowded in the last few years, said Rosen, head of U.S. entertainment and news partnerships for Twitter. Compared with other platforms, she said, “We are the place for realness — and that’s what resonates with users… and people actually read on Twitter, so your words and your tweets matter.” Her group works with TV networks, music companies, publishers and other media; Rosen called out MTV and Bravo as great examples of partners that are “true to their voice.”

“We’ve never been the biggest platform. We haven’t been the newest,” Rosen said. “So we’ve always set out to be the best to work with — and we really do fight and support our partners in their own challenging landscape.”

Rosen’s counterpart on the talent side is Cohen, Twitter’s global head of partners, who leads the team that works with celebrities and influencers. “Our job is to connect the biggest and brightest voices on the platform with their audiences through Twitter, and through creative use of our full suite of creator tools,” Cohen said.

The company recently launched Twitter Spaces, a new live-audio chat product patterned on the buzzy Clubhouse app. “Spaces is a way to reimagine conversation on Twitter,” Cohen said, positing that the platform’s live audio discussions with Hollywood talent (as the “F9” cast recently participated in) are a way to “democratize” the traditional press junket. Added Rosen, “It’s a light lift for talent… It’s easy, and it’s natural and native.”

Both Twitter execs acknowledged that the social platform still has work to do in terms of reducing harassment and objectionable content on the platform (which, of course, is an issue that all social media platforms have been forced to confront).

“Look, it’s not secret that Twitter has had its issues with, you know, vitriol on the platform,” Cohen said. But she said she’s proud of the progress the company has made on this front.

“We’ve had a whole range of stars who have left [and] come back,” said Cohen. She cited Chrissy Teigen as a celeb who quit Twitter before she returned just weeks later (and who recently apologized for her own abusive tweets). “She ultimately really decided she needs her voice here.”

“Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

(Pictured: Sarah Rosen, Lara Cohen)

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting