I have presented to many companies and organizations over the last year on the value of Twitter to their outreach and marketing agendas. I hear the same question with every group, “Is Twitter right for my business?” My response to them is to figure out if their business is right for Twitter first. Not all businesses are well suited to using this exponentially growing social media tool. Many have found that out for themselves, while are others are still struggling to entice followers. The ability to make your point in 140 characters, even less if you are hash tagging or linking an article, is a skill that needs to be honed for most business owners.
Twitter has grown by leaps and bounds over the last couple of years and what started out as an application for brief sharing of information has now grown into a popularity contest among celebrities to see who can out twit the other. Lady Gaga is currently the reigning tweeb with upwards of 20 million followers waiting for the next sentence to be delivered from her twitter account. Justin Bieber is not far behind. The Philadelphia Wings Lacrosse Team now have their twitter handles on the back of their game sweaters. I fear that soon a player will finish their shift and go to the bench where electronic devices are waiting for them to tweet about the last 45 seconds they played. There are already rules in place in some organizations about not tweeting 2 hours before the game, a rule that used to be reserved for another type of expressive activity!
Recent statistics show that 40% of all tweets are “pointless babble”, another 37.5% are merely conversational. Only about 8.7% of tweets have any informative or pass along value. How will an organization ever be able to effectively use the medium without getting lost in Babylon? This brings us back to the question is your business right for twitter? There are a few questions to ask yourself before moving forward.
- Do I have something of note to share?
- Is my tweeting going to be consistent?
- Am I looking for total number of followers or will I be selective, with a target demographic in my approach?
- Is my real intent to spam for sales and business leads?
- Will I actually follow and respond to those who choose to follow me?
- Can I be succinct and interesting?
If you have valid answers to the questions above, then your business may be right to enter the twitesphere. The next step is to figure out the type of followers you want. Be aware that after your first couple of tweets, you will get spam followers, self promoters and an assortment of automatically generated none profiled (eggs) following you. You will need to view each follower’s profile to determine if they are people who might have something interesting to say. By no means do you have to follow everyone back. I usually check to see how many people they follow, how many followers a contact has and how many tweets they have made. I’ve seen tweebs with thousands of follows, and single digit tweets over a several month period, as well as those that generate 50 tweets a day.
Treat Twitter with a little respect. Understand that not everyone will find you interesting, and that it may take a long time to build a good following. Try to pass on quality tweets, retweet things you find interesting and start conversations on important topics to your industry. Everyday there is more and more babble, there is still plenty of opportunity to make Twitter an important part of your overall marketing and communication strategy.