To tweet or not to tweet - is Twitter really the next marketing Mecca?
To tweet or not to tweet – is it really the new marketing Mecca? Twitter, love it hate it, use it abuse it, within the space of a few short months it seems to be the only marketing tool that people are genuinely excited about right now. From a tiny start up in 2006 – even one of the founders admits the whole concept and success so far has been a fluke – so if Biz Stone doesn’t know what makes Twitters’ tick how can all the “experts” and “tweniuses” out there claim otherwise. Reading up on the experts, they know they can’t claim to have years of Twitter experience under their belts – nope, they are boasting about months of experience to draw upon. The real experts simply had to immerse themselves in to Twitter soaking up every, and any, experiences out there. American self styled Twitter Guru Perry Belcher claims he spent 80 hours a week for the last nine months becoming a Twitter expert and now makes $1 per follower most months (he has 104,000+ followers) Is that true? only Perry – a convicted fraudster apparently - knows but those who think Twitter is 21st Century’s Gold Rush they sure want to believe it! Undoubtedly there have been marketing successes on Twitter but considering how many tens of millions of people use it every day, those successes don’t even register on the Twitter scale. The simple answer is that no one knows; Twitter is not measureable, quantifiable and it is simply a case of trial and error. The campaigns that work are down to luck, timing and creativity – not because someone in marketing has a divine understanding of Twitter. Likewise with You Tube, only a handful of clips gain the full glare of global publicity – Susan Doyle, A Night in Paris, roller skating babies - the rest? Enjoyed by a few but forgotten/never see the light of day by most. Anyone even thinking about marketing on Twitter will be taking a leap of faith at this stage – no matter what their marketing agency tells them. Yes, it is a tool to reach more people but even if your company has 1,000s of followers how can you convert that from just brand awareness into hard sales? And even if you have a healthy following how do you know who is listening? If someone is following you but also another 22,647 at the same time the chances and value of your tweets been read let alone digested or re-tweeted are slim to say the least. Likewise don’t discount people who only have a handful of followers; I would rather reach 100 relevant and interested followers than 10,000 hip hop artists, gym bunnies or bi-polar ego maniacs. Basic Twitter advice? 1. Before you even set up a Twitter account – decide what you want from it? Is it social, marketing, or just egotistical? You have to be honest with yourself before you can be honest on Twitter as people will see through you. 2. Once you had registered your account at Twitter have a play and look at who you would like to follow; search friends, topics, celebrities but don’t be tempted to follow everyone in the hope they follow you in return. If you want people to be interested in you, you should be genuinely interested in those you follow otherwise your streams will be meaningless and you won’t engage. 3. In an ideal world you will have more followers than those you follow but it takes time. 4. You need to tweet regularly. Without fail whenever I send a few tweets in quick succession I gain followers – once I re-tweeted a non controversial Michael Jackson joke and lost a few followers that afternoon! 5. Decide in advance what you want to talk about and your style. I don’t tend to talk about personal things unless it is something funny/relevant or embarrassing that has happened to me. I think of it as a gossip around the water cooler, what will make people smile or repeat to other people. Other topics I tend to comment on are UK politics, Twitter itself and world news – the weird and wonderful things that humans get up to. 6. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not and I’m not talking about pretending to be David Cameron or Hilary Clinton. Be yourself otherwise it will be gruelling or pretty pointless keeping up the pretence. 7. Don’t let Twitter become an ego trip or mistake it for a popularity contest. You will gain and lose followers all the time, it doesn’t mean you are unpopular it may simply reflect a trend, or people are specifically wanting information on a set topics and that’s simply not your bag. 8. If the expert out there have 6-9 months of twitter under their belts imagine where you could be this time next year 9. Enjoy it but it’s not life or death! 10. Read up on Twitter - advice on Twitter is everywhere online so take time out to read a few more articles and don't be blinded/scared by techno talk. Mashable.com is a good place to start.