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  • R.I.P Twitter as a Marketing Platform

    A marketing platform is a mass communication tool that allows you convert subscribers (readers/fans) into leads. Marketing, by definition, uses a mix of place, product, promotion and price to create a transaction between a buyer and a seller. It’s not about brand awareness or customer support. The focus of a marketing platform is to drive revenue for a company. You, as a personal brand, may sell products (books, magazines, whitepapers) and services (consulting, workshops, speaking) on your website. A marketing platform, therefore, would help you drive people to your website and then convert them into leads and then to buyers.

    Twitter is no longer a viable marketing platform.

    I’m saying this as a very heavy user that tweets about ten to twenty times per day and has an 80,000 person following.

    The logic

    Every single day, the value of Twitter as a marketing platform will decrease because more and more people are following more and more people, so your message get’s lost. Let’s say you have one hundred thousand Twitter followers. If each of these followers now follows one thousand people, that means only a small percentage, who are logged in at that time, will actually see your tweet. Then, only a very small percentage will click a link from your tweet to the corresponding website.

    The trickle down effect

    1. You tweet a message.
    2. Only users who are active on Twitter at that time CAN see the tweet.
    3. Only a small number of THOSE active followers will have it come up on their radar depending on how many people they are following.
    4. Only a small number of THOSE active followers who saw the tweet will engage with it, and possibly either retweet it or click a link.

    As you can see, as more people are added to the overall Twitter platform, and people continue to follow mass amounts of Twitter users, your message get’s lost. It doesn’t matter how many Twitter followers you have because the conversion won’t increase.

    Key point: It’s not about your follower number, but everyone else’s follower number, when it comes to marketing on Twitter.

    The facts

    The following statistics will show you the growth of Twitter, why people aren’t keen on advertising on Twitter (the way in which you would make money), and the low activity level of users on the platform.  One conclusion I’ve made is that relationships aren’t reciprocated on Twitter because people are using it as a mass communications system (which doesn’t work!).

    The real applications

    Instead of using Twitter as a marketing platform, try these applications:

    • Customer support: people are already talking about you, so why not interact with them? It’s been proven again and again that customers are demanding that companies and people engage online. If you fix a customer complaint, then it will prevent a possible viral forest fire.
    • Brand awareness: If you look at the statistic above, 87% of people are aware of what Twitter is. For you, as a brand, if you stop tweeting, your face will stop showing up, but your competitors faces won’t. There is an opportunity cost to completely dropping Twitter.
    • Job searching: Stop using job boards and start locating jobs and hiring managers on Twitter that can actually help you get a job.
    • Networking: If you’re specific in who you want to build relationships with, Twitter is the best platform to do so.
    • Creating buzz: By giving away something for free to some exclusive content, you can use Twitter to get people talking.
    • Recruitment: I believe everyone in the world is a recruiter, whether you have a job, or work in the HR department or not. You can use Twitter to locate people that you want to partner with, hire, or refer, very easily.
    • Researching: By using the Twitter search function, you can find out what people are saying about you, competitors, partners, etc.
    • Build perception: By having a large number of Twitter followers, it’s easy to grow your network and open doors because you’re perceived as “famous,” or “worth speaking to.”

    Which social networks convert

    As a business owner, I’m starting to think more about conversion, ROI, and other metrics. Based on experimenting with social networking, I see email converting the most, and Twitter the least. I’m still measuring Facebook, so I’ll have an opinion on that network soon.

    Twitter isn’t a marketing platform because there’s no loyalty and the time it takes you to follow someone else is almost zero seconds. When you sign up for an email newsletter, it takes at least a half of a minute to fill in two or more fields (name and email address typically). People who work harder to be part of your marketing list are worth more, and the probability they will convert into customers is higher.

    How to move from Twitter to higher conversion platforms

    First, let me be clear that I’m not saying that you should stop tweeting altogether. What I am saying is that if you’re trying to make money, you will need to start looking at Twitter as a brand awareness platform instead of a marketing database.

    1. Create a blog and/or email newsletter.
    2. Leverage your current reputation and network on Twitter to start pushing people daily to your blog and/or email newsletter.
    3. Tweet about five other pieces of valuable content on Twitter each day to balance off your self-promotion.
    4. Repeat.

    If you can start tweeting less, like I will be doing soon, and start using what you already have to build your blog and email newsletter assets, you will be more successful. Remember that an email subscriber is worth five times as much as a blog subscriber and ten times as much as a Twitter follower. Taking all things into account, I’d rather have 5,000 email contacts than 100,000 Twitter followers.

    Your turn

    Have you been using Twitter as a marketing platform? What results have you gotten?

    avatar

    Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages.

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    106 comments on “R.I.P Twitter as a Marketing Platform
    1. avatar
      EXPERT
      Tiffany says:

      Very interesting read! Twitter seems to be the hottest thing around right now and i’m questioning the study that found only 7% of the tweeps were active?!? However, I did realized awhile ago that following over 150 people can become quite demanding and a hindrance when it comes to marketing.

    2. avatar
      EXPERT
      Clive Roach says:

      What this article assumes is that tweets are only seen in twitter, but they are not. I get comments from my tweets in LinkedIn as they appear in my connection’s streams, and they can appear in Google Buzz, and in Google search, and if people have a widget arranged, they can appear on Web sites etc.

    3. avatar
      EXPERT

      Dan good post there is a company called MyLikes.com using more than just twitter to reach consumers would like you take on sponsored tweets since this is 1:1 and appears to have some traction with both the influencers and the sponsor promoting them. @chasemcmichael

    4. avatar
      EXPERT
      James Nel says:

      I have to strongly disagree with the argument in this article. Twitter is becoming an increasingly popular marketing tool both for B2B and B2C transactions.

      In the UK 65% of companies use Facebook as part of their marketing strategy, while Twitter marketing has jumped from just 3% of companies last year to 49% this year.

      Technically speaking, it’s true that as more users are signing up and following one another a ‘tweet overload’ is achieved whereby your tweet is lost to be never seen again as it is engulfed by a sea of other (useless) tweets, This can be avoided if users consistently tweet relevant and useful information, this benefit can even be compounded by the fact that there are an overload of tweets as people abandon feeds that simply tweet for the sake of it to rather follow those that only supply useful and relevant information.

      In a survey of businesses 78% of respondents indicated that their business is actively using social media. Only 41% reported that these activities are covered under a strategic company plan. [Source: Corporate Social Media Report, Digital Brand Expressions, June 2010]

      For a full range of statistics on social media as well as a report on their value (including ROI) feel free to check out this report http://ecly.co/b4rhaR

    5. avatar
      EXPERT
      Abraham H. says:

      Never forget there are 3 kinds of lies: white lies, mean lies and statistics. A grafic with color bars, numbers and percentajes will mean whatever you want to by only stating that “statistics reveal that…” so, I do agree about this tweeting awareness, and I make myself an example, I hardly ever tweet and/or even open my page, simply because you can’t (even if you want to) read each and every tweet posted by the people you follow, given the case you actually READ and not just post to make some self advertisement and some idle comment like “I’m eating junkfood because I forgot my lunch at home :/ ” which is basically the kind of posts that actually get read

      Now, the idea of tweeter is to post something smaller than 140 characters, so it is understandable that businesses have that 78% of social media usage, why? because I need to promote my product via FB, MySpace, homepage, etc. etc. and I need to promote these websites via tweeter, given the character restriction on each tweet I just couldn’t be specific on my product’s description, and again, that’s another way of viewing statistics… and again, how useful is a site with 106 million members that let’s say 85% of the tweets are actual junk? that’s just having something to be identified for (I’m a Tweeter user, I’m in the edge of technology and social networks =D ), and not something that is actually used,

      Know, quite interesting this new approach on twitter, I find it interesting as a “smart way” or an “aware way” of using social networks the best way you can to promote yourself, and seeing this as a 7% possible reach, maybe the best way is to use tweets to promote your actual website, rather than saying “hey look at me, click here”…

    6. avatar
      EXPERT
      Hansel Dobbs says:

      I have found that twitter is a great resource to use for finding people in your same market that you can partner with for articles and other ventures. There are many ways to use twitter to benefit your brand other than just straight marketing for clients.

    7. avatar
      EXPERT
      jared says:

      I think Twitter needs to get a handle on their fake accounts problems.

    8. avatar
      EXPERT

      I’m learning from you, Dan. A very insightful article. Laura Shabott, writer.

    9. avatar
      EXPERT
      Craig Cook says:

      Just beginning to look in-depth at these issues as I develope my blogsite and intend to use it to promote my business Preacherman’s Handyman Service LLC and to develope self-branding as a dual purpose. Think this evaluation may be worth measuring. Am already getting lost in the tweet world; shall see.

    12 Pings/Trackbacks for "R.I.P Twitter as a Marketing Platform"
    1. […] TANK How will Twitter evolve for B2B marketing? By Jared Bodnar June 2nd, 2010 I was reading this article about how Twitter will be obsolete as a marketing tool in the near future because of the shear […]

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    4. […] the option of an easy and informative email every once in a while. Check out Dan’s original post for some great stats and […]

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    8. […] most popular, in terms of comments and shares, post I've written on this blog was calling an end to Twitter as a marketing platform. Ever since I published this post, there has been a lot of research developments to prove my […]

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    10. […] May 17, 2010 by Todd Lohenry Leave a Comment A marketing platform is a mass communication tool that allows you convert subscribers (readers/fans) into leads. Marketing, by definition, uses a mix of place, product, promotion and price to create a transaction between a buyer and a seller. It’s not about brand awareness or customer support. The focus of a marketing platform is to drive revenue for a company. You, as a personal brand, may sell products (books, magazines, whitepapers) and services (consulting, workshops, speaking) on your website. A marketing platform, therefore, would help you drive people to your website and then convert them into leads and then to buyers. via personalbrandingblog.com […]

    11. […] R.I.P Twitter as a Marketing Platform May 17, 2010 Todd Lohenry Leave a comment Go to comments A marketing platform is a mass communication tool that allows you convert subscribers (readers/fans) into leads. Marketing, by definition, uses a mix of place, product, promotion and price to create a transaction between a buyer and a seller. It’s not about brand awareness or customer support. The focus of a marketing platform is to drive revenue for a company. You, as a personal brand, may sell products (books, magazines, whitepapers) and services (consulting, workshops, speaking) on your website. A marketing platform, therefore, would help you drive people to your website and then convert them into leads and then to buyers. via personalbrandingblog.com […]

    12. […] R.I.P Twitter as a Marketing Platform […]

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