We use it to send coupons, our shopping cart sends them automatically when we add one. We also use it to announce new products. We use it to pass along relevant industry info, we use it to interact with our customers.
So bottom line, we do find it useful. Now facebook, we get very little out of that.
I suppose it depends greatly on what your business is and what you sell/market. For me, none of the social stuff is worth anything, either for business or privately... But that's just me. Might do wonders for somebody else. But in my opinion, it's just another place for cute teenage girls to con themselves into thinking that people are actually interested in what they have to say... When in reality, it's just a bunch of horny guys staring at them, who couldn't care less what they have to say.
|we use it to interact with our customers. |
"interact," "engage," "create buzz." Fuzzy marketing words that sound decidedly 1999. I'm going with a 2009 phrase that's often used in regard to Twitter: time waster.
|it's just another place for cute teenage girls... |
The younger crowd is mostly on Facebook, not Twitter, from what I've read. My kids don't use it.
Has anyone been able to trace some sales to Twitter?
if "interact" sounds like "fuzzy" marketing then your dictionary of words is vastly different than mine. We definitely "interact" with our customers in various ways, and it is critical to our business. Our customers enjoy getting up to the minute news and notes that we find appropriate to our customer base. If we didnt interact with out customers, I can assure you our competitors would.
We definitely can and do track sales from Twitter ... any links we post with discount codes on them have a tracking id that we can later report on. I dont have specific numbers handy, but it does generate sales.
We have done things like a k-mart blue light special. We tweet a coupon for %x off if used in the next 3 hours. We get amazing traffic push from those.
Aside from all that, if we hear or see news that is important to the industry, it takes me 30 seconds to tweet a link.
Social media is not for everyone.
I've been waiting for this thread to start. :)
Twitter is useful if you know how to use it for sales. Yes, there are plenty of sketchy ideas on how to use it but it comes down to your own imagination and ability to put into place viable plan backed by a cost/benefit analysis. That takes imagination and planning and time. Not something everyone is willing to invest.
Example. Small scale. Local book publisher uses Twitter to announce their weekly "name that book" contest. Provides link to their blog where hints are given. Answers must be tweeted with a hashtag that identifies their store. WInner gets a copy of the book. traffic increased[/li]
online sales increased[/li]
viral buzz leads to name recognition leads to more contacts and opportunities for B2C and B2B[/li]
Large scale example:
Social Media - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. All SM sites share traffic. The sales funnel only kicks in when you click from any of these properties to the main website. No obvious outbound links on the main site to these peripheral properties. The sales funnel is well organized to capture interest and then lead the user to the main site. If you want to get some good ideas, study what they've done.
Planning: Realize the value of social media is in the ability to create a presence using a tool that your market uses. It's about building online name recognition and developing a personality (or a continuance of your established brand ala SouthWest). Then providing clear actionable steps your market can take advantage of.
Southwest has one person handling their Twitter presence. She's personable, friendly, and helpful. Got an issue or a question? She'll answer or provide you additional information on where to go to get the answer.
Facebook Fan page for Southwest is managed by a small team. Use is clearly for fans to talk about Southwest and discuss Southwest policies. The fan page isn't for customer service issues. They are clear about letting you know this - even providing the phone number for CS if you need it.
What I've learned in making SM work for clients is that they 1) need to see SM as a series of tools that have multiple uses 2) they need to realize you can't jump in with both feet until you learn what you can and cannot do and expect and 3) they need to have a plan that fits their organization.
Another thought to bare in mind is that sooner or later someone will own your name in social media spaces if you don't own it. People will also talk and if you're not already there with and established positive presence then they can say whatever they want and it will go unanswered. We're not talking about some little local paper that has a gripe and publishes one editorial about you that disappears the moment it's put in the trash. In social media, posts remain visible, are found and indexed by search engines, and talked about by the online community. If you decide not to participate you are essentially putting your head in the sand and ignoring both a huge marketing opportunity and a useful tool for your detractors.
Are you referring to the airline with a market cap of 6 billion dollars and the stock symbol, LUV? (it doesn't make a profit, btw)
Not long ago many were saying to register your domain in 200 countries.
|Another thought to bare in mind is that sooner or later someone will own your name in social media spaces if you don't own it. |
Most of us here are small operations and have to call our shots. Many of us are in businesses no one wants to "interact with"... say, a sewer service. I'm guessing 90% of commerce sellers are now launching on Twitter only because they feel everyone else is.
By contrast, my kids and almost all their their friends really use Facebook, and sometimes for essential reasons that will endure even after David Letterman stops talking about this stuff. My college-age kids want to know what their far flung friends are doing now, not what they had for breakfast.
Thing to do today: Register for Facebook. Thanks for reminding me.
Re: small operations. I totally understand but it doesn't hurt to get your names registered and to dip your toe in the water. You don't need to jump in whole hog. A matter of degrees works just fine.
Re: Southwest - yes the airline. Only a 2% loss on last year and this quarter is up 2%. But not to mince statistics, the social media formula works for them and I've seen it work for many small businesses my own included.
Re: Sewer service. Customers of a sewerage service may not want to interact with the company but you can bet if someone has a complaint and an axe to grind there's a good chance there will be talk about them.
|Not long ago many were saying to register your domain in 200 countries. |
Well to me the obvious difference is that registering with Twitter or Facebook is free.
I currently don't use Twitter but will probably look into it sometime in the near future. We have used Facebook with tremendous success...the 'viral' nature of it means that our fan page experiences growth with next to no investment of time or money. Plus, it allows you to post links, pictures, etc. which have done very well for us. We now get a steady stream of visitors and sales from Facebook...CPA = $0 and maybe 10 minutes a day.
You can't beat that with a stick.
I don't know that Twitter will be equally effective given our niche, but I'm going to try it, definitely.
From my pov Twitter can theoretically deliver great results for all but for most people it will not be profitable. Please read further before assuming I am a just hating on Twitter.
Lack of creativity - Most users of twitter lack creativity needed to make them interesting to others. What do I mean? If you are trying to sell blenders would you have been creative to think about dropping iphones into a blender and create the social successful story of "Will It Blend" video series. Twitter might not be video but it does need creative and interesting 140 character messages. If you twitter boring stuff expect it to be ignored. If you twitter entertaining stuff expect it to be more likely to catch on.
Lack of effort - Posting a twitter message once a day is like sticking your head out your store window and telling people to come inside once a day. It probably wont bring in alot of traffic. It is much more effective to have someone with a walking billboard stand on the street corner outside your store and steer people in. In other words twitter all the time and interact with other twitter accounts.
Over Commercialization - Consumers are not looking to be sold to. Avoid the sales pitch. Think about what is valuable to your consumers - be a free live help desk, offer weird uses of your product, provide news that is relevant to your consumers & industry not necessarily to your company.
Can you make a profit from Twitter - YES. Is money falling from the sky - NO. I would encourage people to use twitter personally and intereact with other companies on Twitter to learn what works and what doesnt work. Once you learn the basics then launch your company on Twitter. You may find that Twitter is not as profitable as other channels. You may also find that Twitter opens up a new channel of uptapped profit.
Yeah - I have a twitter account but find that FB is a more effective tool as far as marketing. I get a lot of spammers in on Twitter and I have to block them out. The big diff between FB and Twitter is that you can deny someone as a friend on FB but can't stop anyone from following you on Twitter (I'm sure there is a filter you can put on to stop an individual).
Apparently Dell have pulled in $5M via their Twitter page - might just be working for some folks.....
I guess the value with Twitter (if at all there is something like that) is with the quality of your audience and not the quality of people you follow (I think I can speak for a majority here).
A lot of media companies here in India these days are promoting their Twitter pages these days. Once you build a huge followerbase, then you can probably see value. Every tweet you send is lapped up by hundreds and that can help.
|Apparently Dell have pulled in $5M via their Twitter page - might just be working for some folks.. |
Compared with Dell's sales of $53 billion that's beneath trivial. (0.01%!) And didn't they do that by discounting some products?
Personally, I've never been a hero at social networks.
I've done some experimenting with twitter, but have found conversion to be poor at best. The only visitors I ever seem to get are bored people and dubious bots.
Twitter is not for me. But hey, we can't all be Guy Kawasaki.
I see the commercial use of Social Media sites as the modern day pop-up. I use Twitter, but don't follow anyone that wants to push ads in my face. I use Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends. I would never consider hijacking it for commercial gain and I block or stop following anyone that tries to use it to sell me their wares. If I want updates on a company's products or services, I bookmark them in my browser or sign up for their newsletter. My social stuff is private and I can do without the intrusion. I'm sure I'm not alone.
If your hope is to get on Twitter to sell more stuff (whatever kind of stuff you are selling), you are likely to be disappointed. In general, people selling stuff are pariahs at Twitter. (Yes, Dell can move overstocks, but they are Dell.) I don't autofollow anyone, and if I find a new follower tweeting more than a rare promo I don't follow and, most likely, block them entirely.
On the other hand, if you want to keep up with chatter about your product category and be a helpful resource, Twitter can be great. Whenever I've tweeted about Comcast (an easy company to dislike), I've always received a friendly, non-argumentative reply from @ComcastCares or someone else.
If you sell widgets, watch for widget questions and post a helpful reply. If you solve someone's problem, they may well check out your profile and site.
In that respect, I see Twitter marketing as a lot like forum marketing in the past. If you show up in a community promoting your stuff, you'll be shunned or banned. If you prove yourself to be helpful and smart, though, people will respect you and seek you out when they are ready to buy something. That may be too slow of a process if you are looking for short-term ROI.
|I get a lot of spammers in on Twitter and I have to block them out. The big diff between FB and Twitter is that you can deny someone as a friend on FB but can't stop anyone from following you on Twitter. |
No, the big difference is that on Facebook it's a two-way street and so you HAVE to block/deny them if you want to avoid their junk. If a spammer wants to follow you on Twitter, let them. It wastes none of your time and makes you no less effective to have them following you. YOU follow who YOU want to follow, and just ignore the spammers.
I've managed to get several sites to automatically nicely update their individual twitter accounts when stuff happens. Got lots of followers, but I really dont think it was worth it. I cant see twitter in any of my referrals.
I think people only follow because they want to be followed. And I've yet to understand all the hype about twitter. It seem to be working for those who want to follow celebrities though.
Not everything ecommerce is about selling, sometimes other functions like support [webmasterworld.com] may be even better suited to the platform.
If you know how to work a good support channel, support can be used to create more sales and upgrades, which turns a typical operating expense into a profit center.
Automate it and forget it.
Submit it to one of those "10,000 insta friend" services, then link it up to twitterfeed and walk away. If the feed you link to is something like a video section of a forum you can see a big jump in traffic to that forum. Diaper discounts... not so much.
Twitter seems to be completely useless to a company/site which is not already established. It seems to require an existing stream of visitors that you can funnel through it because there is nowhere else for them to go. It may be a viable method of extracting further revenue from existing streams, but as for generating new revenue, I just don't see it.
I've placed Twitter buttons alongside RSS buttons and tracked them using Google Analytics. RSS button is getting clicked, Twitter button is just sitting there looking pretty. I suppose it's possible that a tiny handful of people actually are using the Twitter button and are browsing with the exact same version of Opera I am using to verify that tracking is working. Not likely though.
On the inbound side, same deal with the browser usage. Only browser I'm seeing come from Twitter (using segments) is the version of Opera I'm using to verify tracking.
Look also at it from an exposure stand point of view.
As mentioned above it requires some "hard labor"
you need posting quite a few times a day.
I do not expect "direct sales" but to "force feed" your URL around it does it OK.
If you really needs some good contacts you will be surprised by linkedin results.
Twitter as a place to visit often or hang out? Meh. Way, waaay too much noise.
But aside from domain and personal name place-holding, I use Twitter as an easy, free RSS feed-maker.
A couple of site links to Twitter pages from visible links, plus a couple of meta tags to Twitter page feeds on site pages = convenient and time-saving for feed-reading folks (and the Chief Cook and Bottle-Washer:)
*** If a spammer wants to follow you on Twitter, let them. It wastes none of your time and makes you no less effective to have them following you. ***
No. Clear out the spam followers every few days. Failure to do so makes you a magnet for much more of the same. I am sure that failure to clear junk will eventually become some sort of metric in measuring accounts, if not already.
Twitter is definitely worth the effort for some niches. Branding and market presence can benefit immensely by social media. I've noticed a 6 to 10% increase in visitors and a small but measurable increase in overall sales.
Tweets may be regulated through various apps. Sometimes I load 50 tweets and set them to be posted every 20 minutes. Then I'm done for the day. Takes maybe 10 minutes. Helpful to already have the tweet content.
|Tweets may be regulated through various apps. Sometimes I load 50 tweets and set them to be posted every 20 minutes. Then I'm done for the day. Takes maybe 10 minutes. Helpful to already have the tweet content. |
I hate that when people tweet one after another after another.... spammy. I look at the timeline and there is nothing but one tweet after another from the same person. Maybe you could make it every 60 minutes :)
Are you using Tweetlater or something else?
|I hate that... there is nothing but one tweet after another from the same person. |
If this bothers you so much, either follow more people or stop looking at your timeline :)
Twitter is a very powerful tool, with much unreached potential. The thing is to learn how to use it.
I read this thread, and I see almost the EXACT same arguments and discussions people were having when the blogosphere literally exploded.
Twitter was up until only 6 months ago in it's infantile stages, and has since then started gaining 'normal' users.
What is important to note is that maybe only 1% of twitter users use twitter in a way that brings and adds value, but this will change in the future.
Getting in on the action now, will be very important if you want to use twitter as a successful marketing and sales channel in the future.
If you expect results instantly, it's probably not for you.
I hate the fact I own my main keywords and simply answer dumb questions pointing people to product/services for money. God Twitter sucks man.
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