Twitter Doesn't Cut It

Twitter Doesn't Cut It

There’s been a huge growth in Twitter over the past couple of months and with that there’s been an influx of social media marketers, cialis gurus, doctor and consultants touting Twitter as a panacea for customer service issues, an easy way to boost traffic, and a simple pathway into possessing a strong web-presence. While I agree that Twitter is great, I don’t think it cuts it.

Symsomos & Hubspot just put out some Twitter data and here are some statistics that really stood out to me:

  • 55.50% of users aren’t following anyone
  • 54.88% have never tweets
  • 5% of users account for 75% of activity
  • 93.6% of users have less than 100 followers, while 92.4% follow less than 100 people

These numbers show that this grand marketing solution experts have been focusing on still only reaches a small population. I’m not saying this population isn’t important or can’t have an impact (the Twitter community is comprised of many thought leaders and influencers whom I respect), but nonetheless the numbers show that for most brands a central focus on Twitter is an extremely myopic approach.

Just for fun and out of my own curiosity I walked around downtown Portland the other day and did an extremely non-scientific survey to catch the pulse of the general public. I stopped 25 people and asked them a few questions about Twitter. Here’s what I came up with:

  • 4/25 (16%) currently had a Twitter account
  • 3/25 (12%) had some kind of interest in Twitter
  • 7/25 (28%) responded in some sort of disgust (“Oh God, not Twitter again.”)
  • 11/25 (44%) didn’t really care

I think this may be representative of many different areas as well. I’m not saying that Twitter isn’t great for engagement, virality, and a lot of other things, but I’m trying to show that Twitter simply doesn’t cut it. I have no doubt that if I did a similar survey regarding Facebook, 85% or more would’ve had a Facebook account or heard of it.

The principles of customer service haven’t changed. It’s always been about adding value and meeting customer needs. There’s no short-cutting that. The kicker is that through the evolution of word of mouth and social media great customer service is now great marketing too. The best marketing has always been about building relationships, connecting with people, and drawing them in. There’s no short-cutting that!

My advice? Have a presence on Twitter, it’s wonderful, but don’t stop there. My friend and mentor Brad J Ward has some great advice when it comes to choosing which technologies to focus on when crafting a strategy. “Think AND not OR.” There are people out there in a multitude of other outlets wanting to engage that may not know you’re there or know you’re listening. Reach out to them and make it easier. Continue to listen. Don’t respond to @replies in 10 seconds and let e-mails linger for days. Find out where the people you’re targeting are congregating and meet them there. Your community will thank you for it.

1 Comment

  • Anne Whitte

    09.07.2009 at 11:09 Reply

    Howard, thank you for posting this. It’s very timely and insightful. Our company is currently working with an ad agency and consulting firm and Twitter has been a hot topic of discussion. I’ll have to bring this post to our next meeting and hear feedback.

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