Daily gripe: Why Twitter is NOT a numbers game

For any forward-thinking business Twitter is unquestionably a must, irrespective of whether your customers are from the B2B or B2C sectors. It is the fastest growing and leading microblogging site being used today and over the course of a year, registered Twitter accounts have grown more than 1,500%. But my gripe is the number of tweets I see every day from people offering tactics to increase the number of followers I’m getting or boast that they now have 1,000 people following them – you’re all missing the whole darn point of social media!!

The idea of using 140 characters to communicate and stay connected with your stakeholders is a simple but equally brilliant one which appeals to both technophobes and technophiles alike. And the commercial (or ROI) benefits to be had for commercial users are also significant as its meteoric rise continues. Indeed, in February 2009 Twitter entered the Top 100 most visited UK websites at 91 – 5 places above Expedia and 10 places above EasyJet. By June it had become 38th most visited website compared to 969th year to date (March 2010). It now hovering around the 23rd most visited general website in the UK (Hitwise).

And there’s the rub.

Because of its popularity there are too many people who are jumping on the Twitter bandwagon and positioning it in the same sphere of influence as Facebook – each vying to add as many contacts to their profile as possible. But it is in an entirely different league with very very different players taking part.

Twitter’s demographic is one of followers who are by and large well-educated professionals who make informed purchasing decisions. While Facebook users will often update their profiles with seemingly uninteresting and trivial comments such as “Just had a brew, ready for another instalment of Richard & Judy”, Twitter, on the other hand, is significantly different. Admittedly Twitterers will sometimes write silly tweets but the difference is that these are deliberately done to add some personality to a company’s profile and make the relationship between company and follower more personable, human.

Facebook has its ‘fans’, Twitter has it’s ‘followers’ and it can take time to build up a following. But if all your tweets are used to tell people about a new product or service, or to drive traffic to your corporate website, you’ll soon find that your followers start to drop off like lemmings over a cliff. So you need to add value to your tweets and keep your followers engaged.

Let me give you an example. I specialise in PR for the recruitment and HR industry and as such I follow and am duly followed by a number of recruitment agencies. Yet I estimate that less than 3% of these agencies make any attempt to engage with their stakeholders, opting instead to use Twitter to post their vacancies – what does that tell anyone about their organisations, their company ethos?

The key to writing content that will keep your followers wanting more and attract others to follow you is simple: keep your posts (tweets) interesting, valuable and fun. Social media, as is my understanding, is based on 4 key principles that – if utilised correctly – will maximise your return on investment and deliver a number of business benefits. They are:

  1. Communication
  2. Collaboration
  3. Entertain
  4. Educate/Inform

Tweeting is a two-way communication and anytime the user fails to deliver relevant “What’s in it for me?” content, followers can simply decide to opt-out of following that user anytime they choose to do so. This is permission-based marketing – like having an inbuilt anti-spam filter. It is NOT a competition to see who can collate the most number of followers.

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About yourcareermatters
CareerMatters was founded as part of MacKenzie-Cummins Communications in 2006 by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins MICG (Member Institute of Careers Guidance), regarded as one of the UK's leading career's advice and guidance writers and specialist PR consultant for the UK recruitment industry. Since 2006 Paul has been the leading advice writer for Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com - the two biggest careers website in the world -tackling all aspects of workplace and management issues, job seeking, career change and hiring trends. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 his writing contributed to Monster winning the Best Employment Advice on the Internet Award for an unprecedented three times beating the likes of The Guardian, Learn Direct and Personnel Today on each occasion. And his work was a runner-up for the same award in 2009. In 2009 Paul was a nominee in the prestigious HR Journalist of the Year Award and Recruitment, Retention & Motivation Journalist of the Year Award. Paul has been commissioned to write more than 500 careers advice and guidance articles for a number of lpublications, from regional and national newspapers to industry publications and various career-specific websites in the UK and USA. Recently, Paul was the Technical Editor for career psychologist Dr Rob Yeung's Job Hunting & Career Change for Dummies (John Wiley & Son, 2007). Dr Yeung is better known as the TV psychologist for Channel 4's Big Brother and the BBC's Who Would Hire You? series. Clients include: Monster.com CareerBuilder.com MSN Careers (Europe) TheLadders TotalJobs SalesTarget.co.uk IntaPeople Recruitment Lifetracks/YouthNET MediaSalesJobs The Press Gazette

One Response to Daily gripe: Why Twitter is NOT a numbers game

  1. Pingback: Daily gripe: Why Twitter is NOT a numbers game (via Your Career Matters) « a.savagePR

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