Twitter Marketing – is it for you? Twitter is an online microblogging service that was created in Mar 2006, and launched officially a few months later in July. Over 1.2 million tweets were posted in 2008, and this grew to a stunning 400 million tweets in 2008! Twitter gained widespread popularity, and as of 2011, it generated over 300 million tweets and handles over 1.6 billion search enquiries DAILY!
With that explosive growth in the number of users and tweets (a metric to measure the activity and engagement of users), it is not surprising Twitter is attracting companies to invest in social media networking, and build their brands online. Whether you like it or not, social media has become part and parcel of every business strategy (online or offline). Businesses use it to maintain an online presence, to communicate and promote their products.
Noise and Clutter
According to San Antonio-based market-research firm Pear Analytics, an analyzation of 2,000 tweets (originating from US and in English) over 2 weeks, the tweets can be broken down into the following 6 categories.
- Pointless babble – 40%
- Conversational – 38%
- Pass-along value – 9%
- Self-promotion – 6%
- Spam – 4%
- News – 4%
As you can see most of the tweets are meaningless. When was the last time you see a individuals tweeting greetings, recycled quotations and jokes? Probably an hour ago. If are following many users, maybe 5 mins ago? And that happens to your follower too, with too much blabbering going around, high chance your tweet may be missed and drowned in those meaningless tweets. To overcome or reduce this limitation, using Twitter Lists could be your option.
Effectiveness of 140 Characters
Many argue about the limitation of 140 characters per post, and how effective can it be to communicate or sell a product. To put things straight, Twitter is designed as a broadcast & communication tool, but to convice a reader to buy a product – that is not it’s task. It’s job is only to interest the reader and bring him to your website or store to find out more your product.
In fact, we should aim not to use the max limit of 140 chars. Try aiming for 120 chars instead. Why? By doing so, we leave space for tweeters to RT (ReTweet) something they like. The extra spaced is required to allow our followers to add “RT @yourname” in front of the tweet. Need hints to shorten your tweet, check out the list of 100 Twitter Abbreviations.
Having short messages being broadcasts isn’t too bad either since it forces you/company to be concise and go straight to the point. This is because once you captured the reader attention, you will want to interest him/her with the most important and call-to-action message.
Hard to Regulate
Unlike a blog, or other social media platform, it is not posssible to delete or moderate tweets/comments that reflect negatively on you, your company or product. Conversing with a happy customer on a public timeline will bring you more new customers. But a unhappy customer can damage or put a dent to your image. And if you go DM (Direct Messaging), it’s not a complete front-to-end solution for customer servicing either.
For companies that conduct their customer service purely or largely using Twitter, I wish them good luck. While there are merits, I’ll stay away from it. It’s like a sword that cuts on both sides.
Number of Followers – the more the merrier?
Generally, having a number of followers is equivalent to being more effective, brings you more conversion, gives you a higher level of engagements (RTs, conversation) with your followers, and more sales. However I’ll like to add in 3 factors that I used to track my Twitter Marketing. Before I start, I need to sidetrack a little, you may notice that I have little followers for my imstash Twitter account. It’s a baby account, so follow me if you want. I’ll follow back.
Anyway I used this 3 factors to evaluate my alternate Twitter accounts which had far more followers and doing better. If these doesn’t mean sense, you can blast me by leaving comments below.
- your followers are following you AND you don’t have to follow them back. Meaning a loyal follower. Try to get a healthy ratio.
- your followers are not following thousands of people, otherwise expect your marketing efforts to be buried or diluted by tweets from thousands of people your follower is following
- your followers all belong to the same industry as you. Trying to sell the same product as yours. Worse if those are auto-follow spamming accounts. It will just be an inflated count. The best are followers who like your product, keen on your company & product updates, and current customers (best category to give you Retweets).
I believe as with all marketing efforts, the reach can never be 100% due to time differences, users busy, tweets buried, etc. Similar to TV commercials, viewers can switch channels, make a call, or go for toilet breaks … so even if the advertising executive try to sell you a prime slot time with 5million views, you can’t expect to capture all audience either.
In the End – What matters most? What’s your strategy?
Are you aimlessly pumping recycled quotations and jokes for the sake of being active? Sure, you may get a RT here and there. But is that what you want? Is that what you want to be known for? Twitter is a fast moving social media networking platform, a user can follow and unfollow you in a split second. Too much rehashed, unrelevant and uninteresting tweets and we can jolly well say good bye to a good follower. The “real” follower is someone who is interested in forwarding and RT’ing a good tweet. A tweet that is important to you, may not appear to be the same to your follower. Constant shooting of tweets with URLs and sales pitches will put off your followers eventually, so keep a cap on it.
Putting in more efforts on planning your Twitter strategy and taking a lil extra time to tweet something worth your followers’ attention will bring you rewards. And if you are lucky and hit the jackpot with numerous RTs – you go VIRAL.
What’s your opinion on using Twitter as an online strategy to expand your business? Are the results pleasing for you?
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