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Played with it for a few hour on three days. Yep, have some followers and I'm following a few people.
Is anyone getting any of the much-touted "Buzz?" Or better yet, some Ka-ching? For an ecommerce seller Twitter just seems to be another way to hand out discount coupons. Big "F" deal!
Daily I get emails about how much money companies are making by using Twitter and Facebook. I must have spent 100+ man hours networking and, like you, have received no tangible rewards for my efforts.
I think you have to view it on a scale of your aims:
Aim = branding. (Whether your Apple or Demi Moore).
Usefulness = excellent.
Aim = excellent ROI.
Usefulness = somewhere underneath banner ad exchanges.
The amount of effort required to generate any sort of SALES traffic was just too much in the cost of man-hours. We got absolutely loads of traffic and inbound links from the work ... but again, that traffic rarely converted (how many times can each of you followers/friends buy something before you become a nuisance?) and the links were always social links which disappear quickly.
My opinion is probably wrong, though, as I'm one of those people that just doesn't get Twitter or Facebook - even after hours of immersing myself in it. My wife, on the other hand, has become a Facebook addict since I asked her to look at it for me ... but even she doesn't get Twitter!
P.S. I started to get the impression that all the "we're having great success using Twitter/Facebook" articles I was receiving were being circulated by the companies themselves! Read them all, you'll start to see a pattern.
What can you do with it? You can announce new features, articles, products, etc. Whatever your heart desires. But doing that alone can bore the living heck out of your followers.
The best thing I have found is simply use it to talk to people. Just chit chat and show your human side. People get marketed to all the time. When you are human they can relate and find your experiences more interesting rather than site announcements. Plus you can show off your expertise and authority of your niche at the same time.
From time to time use it to gather feedback. Gather their opinions through polls, q/a, and other fun things you can think of. I gather tons of ideas this way.
Also remember, every time they respond back to you it is shown to their network. They may even ask their network to re-tweet your tweet. So being an interesting human tends to gather more responses than anything.
You can let them in and share some unique and interesting things you find on the internet. A legal way to use other peoples work to your advantage. Kind of like stumble upon. Maybe something you found funny or ironic. Just find something useful and share it. Then talk about it. Ask questions or opinions. Questions always begs for an answer and people love to share their knowledge (good for their ego). Show off your expertise.
So don't just market to people. Use it as a tool to gain more exposure and to become personable with people. Use it to gather ideas, generate a dedicated following, and best of all use it to get feedback.
Psst...great way to gather links from your followers...cough cough...ahem. Yes there are many site owners and bloggers out there. Get to know them with twitter and build a strong relationship with them. If you are not in the content business but a retail/wholesale/service/etc. business then a good bet you can gain exposure from those people. Get them to talk about you. If they are your friend they are likely to do a whole lot for you. Plus you get the nice benefit of their downline also.
[edited by: arubicus at 10:48 am (utc) on Sep. 8, 2009]
when the blogosphere literally exploded
I should have lumped that with Twitter. The blogs I see that are related to selling non-tech products appear, to me anyway, as worthless as Twitter. With commerce blogs we have a longer history and I'm now seeing lots of abandoned ones.
How much of this is SEO driven? THAT I could understand.
Social media and communities are tricky. They can build awareness, and are great for viral campaigns. Pubcon attendees got to see the "Will it Blend" guy - that's a great example of using social media to grow a business. Note that the company didn't try to directly sell anything. Rather, they created viral content that spread via SM. This produced massive traffic, improved brand recognition, and loads of links.
It seems that most of the Twitter critics are basing their comments on limited involvement with the Twitter community. I'd say a few weeks (or months) of fairly intense use and the development of a good base of friends and followers is essential to really get Twitter. If that sounds like a lot of work, well, any kind of community-based marketing is unlikely to have quick payback.
I will say that Twitter has become my biggest source of blog traffic - less from my own occasional self-links and more from activity of other Twitter users, bio link checks, etc.
Kind of walks and talks like subscribing to RSS doesn't it?
I have seen a few of my local Mom and Pops use Facebook to increase sales.
Facebook still rules for peer to peer social media. I really don't know of many teens/college kids that use it.
Maybe if you have something people REALLY want, like amazing discounts on a desirable product people alre always looking for, then you might get some traction.
That's certainly an insulting comment. Our commerce site has been very successful since the web's earliest days... meaning profitable. I learned many years ago in B/M retailing to leave "amazing discounts" to the Going Out of Business crowd. I was around when the web was full of "amazing discounts" before the bubble burst in 2000. (like free shipping on 50 lb bags of dog food)
Actually the ecommerce competitors I see on Twitter are usually web newcomers desperate to make a few sales. They're using Twitter because David Letterman said it was cool. If we had spare time after processing orders and enhancing our site I might join them in looking for crumbs on Twitter. We've done some tests there and some research but we have better uses for our time.
Kind of walks and talks like subscribing to RSS doesn't it?
However, we are running 2 Twitter accounts at this point. One for the ecommerce operation and another that is fun and humorous and is not advertised as being part of the company in any way.
Take a wild guess which Twitter account has more followers and which grew faster?
Yep, the non-commercial account.
An ecommerce company just tweeting their regular stuff wouldn't work, IMO, even if it is good stuff.
I used to have a private label computer business, and I would not have attempted to tweet in a way designed to generate sales - I don't think I'd get any traction.
I do think there might be some clever ways to sell some product - say, create a Twitter account that was helpful and interactive with other users, and once a day tweeted a "Special of the Day" or similar. People wouldn't dismiss the account as a spammer if it interacted like a human and was generally interesting. Then, however, you are back to the ROI issue - doing it right would take time, and the sales generated might not justify the effort to build a strong Twitter account with a sizable following.
People wouldn't dismiss the account as a spammer if it interacted like a human and was generally interesting.
That's dead on in my opinion rogerd. There is a community component to Twitter and FB that you cannot ignore. Just selling to them doesn't work. Build community by interacting with them. It doesn't require an hour a day at the keyboard Tweeting. It does require at least some small amount of time on a regular basis even if it's only one once a day.
I don't think we can list live examples here, but there are some great e-commerce marketing approaches to Twitter out there. Here's my favorite (example):
Twitter Tuesday. Every Tuesday, one product goes on sale, announced only on Twitter and at a specific time of day. I've watched a small business use this approach and literally seen their followers jump from less than 10 to over 1,000 followers in no time at all.
Companies are also benefiting from Twitter where 20 percent of the tweets contain requests for product information or responses to the requests, according to Jim Jansen, associate professor of information science and technology, College of Information Science and Technology, Penn State.
"People are using tweets to express their reaction, both positive and negative, as they engage with these products and services," said Jansen. "Tweets are about as close as one can get to the customer point of purchase for products and services."
[edited by: lorax at 1:26 pm (utc) on Sep. 11, 2009]
[edit reason] added link [/edit]
I have a job board site. I twitter out jobs in certain categories each day. Ex Accountants in the New York City area. Anyone that follows my twitter name and is looking for an accounting job in the new york city area knows about the job opening and can respond to the advertiser and hopefully get the job.
I have found a need and people who follow my twittering have a way of satisfying their need.
It's not spam because the people can choose to get my tweets or not.
If you look for a specific need that you are able to fulfill, perhaps you can fill it in a similiar way. Twitter is 100% opt-in so it isn't annoying spam.
The real problem is identifying a need and then finding the people that want what you are advertising.
Mt posts contain the keywords #newyork, #job, #jobs and #hiring. People follow these and when they see what I have 'follow' me. I also advertise for people to read my twitter name. I have about 10 twitter names I am using for 10 different job categories.
I am getting about 20% - 25% of my sites traffic from Twitter.
Twitter certainly can be improved but it cannot be dismissed.
By comparison, I've tried to understand the attraction of Facebook, but wouldn't touch it with a forty foot barge pole.
Do I get "hard ROI" from my twitter accounts yet?
Probably not, but I keep up with my industry cohort and vis versa 140 chars at a time, in small task switching (aka multi-tasking) chunks through-out the day.
And, if a follower is a current or potential customer who asks a question, I can follow up, either right in twitter, so everyone benefits, ot privately.
As others have posted, it's what rings your chimes and *works for you*, that matters.