“Oh you MUST get on Twitter. Everyone is!”
The above declaration, especially in light of Charlie Sheen’s rapid rise on the platform, does appear to hold some truth. Celebrities are being paid to recommend products; ‘trends’ reveal consumer demands and even revolutions have been coordinated on the platform. It truly does appear to be ‘the age of the micro blog.’
But let me ask you this, “As a business, do you need to be on Twitter?”
With more and more blogs writing about the do’s and don’ts of Social Marketing it can feel that, for your brand/product to have any chance of survival in a rapidly changing landscape, you must have a Facebook Page, Facebook Group, Twitter Account, Blog, YouTube Channel, Foursquare Account, and a MySpace account…or is it delete your MySpace account? The jury is still out on that one.
So what is Twitter?
According to Wikipedia, “Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers.”
This definition, although factually true, doesn’t explain Twitter’s pragmatic function. For businesses, the beauty of Twitter is its immediacy, search ability and transparency. Conversations are happening on Twitter, and some of them can make or break you.
“So I do have to be on Twitter then?”
Well yes…and maybe no. Before you start registering your account and begin tweeting ask yourself some very important questions:
1)Is your audience there?
2) What do you want to achieve?
3) Do you have the time to interact?
4) Are you prepared to listen to what your audience has to say?
1) Is your audience there?
We have coordinated many successful campaigns over Twitter and some, as the platform was developing into what it is today, not so successful. In the early days we were learning just like everyone else but through analysis of our results it was clear why ROI just wasn’t there; because the audience just wasn’t there.
It doesn’t matter how effective you are at constructing the perfect tweet, if no one reads it, you’ve wasted your time. Clients who see a massive ROI on their Facebook page might not see any positive results coming from Twitter. That’s why it is always best practice to ensure your target audience is using Twitter first, especially since Twitter can consume so much of your time (more on that tomorrow).