Have you seen a twitter profile like this?
A perfectly turned out twitter profile page, co-ordinating background, company logo as picture, link to website, profile text. Everything in place.
Following anything from 100 to 2000 people. Followers – a hundred at most.
Every tweet (or message) on the page is a keyword loaded call to action –
‘check out our new carbon zero homes here: http://bit.ly/whatever’
‘We launched our new XYZ product – more details: ‘
‘X Company awarded ABC Award:
Get the idea?
So is this company having any success with twitter? If you ask them they’ll probably say, “Well we tried that twitter thing, we set up a feed to link to our news pages. It’s useless though – hasn’t brought much traffic to our website. I think we’d delete the account, but you’ve got to be on twitter…haven’t you?”
A company like this has made a common yet fatal mistake about twitter. They’ve seen it as a broadcast medium, just like advertising, email marketing campaigns or direct mail.
If you’re the BBC and you’re breaking news, then you can afford to set up an RSS feed and broadcast it on twitter. @BBCbreaking has over 250,000 followers. The account follows one person (probably the person who set up the feed).
But if you’re a small construction company, or the marketing director in an architecture practice, feeding your news into twitter is 90% waste of time. Why? Because you’re not the BBC breaking news. Because people won’t tune in in their masses to read about your product. Because (with some notable exceptions) twitter isn’t really a broadcast medium at all. It’s a SOCIAL medium – that is, it operates through interaction.
Twitter is not another way to send unsolicited marketing messages. The only similarity with email or direct mail marketing is that it is made up of a number of small actions. But unlike these methods, Twitter is entirely opt-in.
And more importantly, its entirely Opt-Out.
Most of the things that most twitter users read come up in the stream of people they follow. Unlike ‘friending’ type sites like Facebook or Linkedin where you connect to someone and they connect to you, Twitter is unidirectional – I can follow you, but you don’t have to follow me back. This is a great advance, and something we often forget is really powerful. It gives us greater autonomy as individuals.
Twitter users can opt in and out of following people with the quick touch of a button, at will. Say something of interest and you might get followed. But if you’re not of interest, or if you pump out sales messages as if you’re some sort of robot, you will be disconnected. Turned off. And you’ll be shouting in an empty cave. True you might get found in a search, but you’re messages will get found just as well in a google search, and you’re using twitter to only 10% of its potential.
So if you want to get business from Twitter, access the other 90%. Get social.