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I put in a few hours most days for more than a week, and built up around 360 followers. So far so good. I put out around 200 messages.
Today I looked back over the experiment to evaluate the results. They are as follows:
The most worrying facts were 16 hours spent for $0 income and $0 worth of information. That is far below any form of communication I know. Usually there is a trade off between information value and business value, e.g. WebmasterWorld is high on information value per hour, other places are high leads per hour.
My conclusion is that twitter is a total irrelevance for business use.
Its possible some people using mobiles use it - but I'm not convinced.
I suspect the only people making money from it are the usual crowd - i.e those who claim they can teach others to make money on it, hence sell you products teaching you the 'secret'!
I'd be happy to be proven wrong though - can anyone point to some case studies where companies are making significant revenue from it?
Twitter can make businesses money. Just study how Dell made a killing on twitter. I have a client that runs a social network and is getting lots of new members from work done on twitter. Another client is an ecommerce website and we have had sells that came from twitter. It is important to keep a personal account for networking and one for your actual business.
I'd be surprised if they covered their own cost for setting up and managing their efforts when you take the profit portion of those sales.
However, that said, if it really is a waste of time and yet lots of people are giddy over it, that's a good thing from my perspective. Every minute those people are wasting there is a minute they aren't doing things to compete with me.
On the other hand, if I learn of a good reason to give it a try, I will.
Twitter can be a huge waste of time if you don't learn how to use it. There are a lot of people on twitter and there is a lot of spam as well. The same could be said about Google or Yahoo but we still focus on them. Twitter might not last forever but micro blogging and real time search will. Don't be the person that finally got a cell phone or email in 2009.
Many people thought faxes were a waste of time ...
I remember as far back as when fax machines were first introduced and I don't ever recall anyone expressing the thought that they were a waste of time. Fax was a welcomed business tool. I remember articles in NYTimes and WSJ proclaiming the business efficiency of fax transmissions.
Fax machines became a real pain when people learned how to use them to SPAM others with advertisements. And it literally took an act of Congress to provide recipients of that SPAM an effective tool to fight back.
Now newer technology has rendered fax machines much less an effective and efficient tool.
and many thought blogs were a waste of time.
Many if not most blogs are a waste of time. Some are great uses of time and technology.
Maybe Twitter will have its time and maybe it's 15 minutes of fame are about to expire. Who knows.
What I have observed is that some people who like Twitter really like it - to the point of being emotional about it.
Don't be the person that finally got a cell phone or email in 2009.
Like I wrote above:
On the other hand, if I learn of a good reason to give it a try, I will.I simply haven't found that reason yet and I read anything I come across that purports to tout the advantages of Twitter.
I have found that twitter is way better than a feed reader for SEM information. I think twitter is the best portal for search marketing information.
I suspect that all those followers I have are doing the same thing. Setting up an account, following twitters and accepting followers then wait for the hoards of traffic that will never come.
My conclusion is that twitter is a total irrelevance for business use.
I agree 99%. The other 1% I reserve for gimmicks such as when a NY pizza shop gave a way a code on Twitter for a free second pizza and ended up breaking their record for pizzas delivered in a night (but not pizzas sold, 2nd free doesn't count as a separate sale).
If you want to generate instant hype, Twitter works for now, the wow factor needed to generate it is growing though.
Did you get Spam? Turn off your public timeline and that will help for starters. It's very very difficult to generalize across Social Media, because the effective strategies are those that are created on a case-by-case basis, and it's not for everyone.
I for one have come around to Twitter in terms of the added dimension it can bring to complement an online communications strategy.
For example, Twitter is great for NGOs and other consumer groups wishing to keep in contact with customers. It's a non-committal alternative to asking for people's email address, and can hook you into a young dynamic.
If you're just trying to sell stuff, it's going to be difficult (but not impossible) because social media is more about interpersonal interaction, and advertisements consequently stand out like a sore thumb, when they are present in this media space.
I would consider myself quite settled in to Twitter - been using it for a number of months - but I'm only following 145 people with 153 following. And even that's too many. However the information I get from it is timely, comprehensive and relevant. To get useful info you need to be more selective.
If you want to turn it into a broadcast tool then you need to forget reading the Tweets and do it on a larger scale. Its like e-mail - if you send out 360 e-mails to random people then you're not likely to convert. If you want to convert in a direct response capacity you need a lot more followers (and to Tweet lots of useful info in between the occassional sales message).
But things do seem to be rapidly changing from an information medium to a spam medium. I am getting a bit tired of seeing links to old news and that may be the start of the end unless we can find ways to control it as individuals. That will almost certainly be through third party software, which simply blocks out the noise - so you PRETEND to follow lots of people - and everyone's your friend - but you only hear a few.
That will be sad. Will it be like a Myspace and a Digg? probably. It will wain. What is interesting, though, is that I have been tracking the traffic on some of these sites. Whilst many are having a rise and fall effect, it looks likethe one that's surviving and thriving is Facebook - not Twitter.
What is interesting, though, is that I have been tracking the traffic on some of these sites. Whilst many are having a rise and fall effect, it looks likethe one that's surviving and thriving is Facebook - not Twitter.
Although I agree that Facebook seems to be going from strength to strength, I think its a shame that the one that's having the most tremendous success is the one that's also the most restrictive with user data. I love the openness of the Twitter API.
However I also think its interesting that Facebook has never had the huge media hype that Twitter has. I wonder why that is.
1. personal, small looking for info on things that interest me.
2. mass follow account to get the followers numbers up (only spanish followers) and used as a shouting box.
Both seem to work well.
The first personal account has become an interesting website to visit, and and very often i get an initial heads up here on some interesting news.,,
the second account is used as a communicacions launcher, and works, getting RTed and getting certain messages out there.
Our Take is that we might loose (not gain traffic) in short term, but at least users are getting information and as we use our own short URL service, we are hopeful it would create a stronger brand recall for our website on long term basis, and probably having twitter on our website could better our chance by 0.5% (if Yes ! then why not) :)
We invested 10 hours in integrating the api, and nothing more is invested on daily basis (all automated), so I guess I could test for more time before declaring this ' irrelevant for biz use' :)
A week on twitter
Don't you think a week is a very short time to conclude that twitter is 'a total irrelevance for business' - regardless of how many work hours spent?
Twitter may not always return tangible business gains, but it can be a very useful tool for branding purposes, awareness generation, etc.
In my experience, sometimes the silliest tweets get RT'd a lot by kids and adults alike. The only question I ask then, did I word my tweet well enough to get any 'gain' out of it (branding, link, lead-in question, hook, etc?) So, to me, it's not how much or often you tweet, at times it's also how well you tweet.
I've since found, that whilst I still have very little time for contributing to the twittersphere, ive actually done very well out of using it as a news source (which helps me in my business life).
I use an apoplication that allows me to have a number of "searches" live all the time. I now know what people are saying to Google, MSN, Yahoo etc. I know what they're saying back. I know if anyone is talking about me, my company, or my clients online. I might not know what to do with the information, but i'm certainly better off knowing.
So in short - i've found it useful - but more as a voyeur that an participant.
And since it's gone mainstream, you mustn't ignore it as a source of potential information, whether it be outbound or inbound.