Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Twitter: Not as good as you think it is.

When it comes to promoting your website and your company's business there are a number of websites out there that are considered to be good investments in terms of advertising and promoting your company.

Twitter is one of those companies.

And it isn't as good as you think it might be. I shall explain why.

#1. According to Alexa.com (a website which tracks the popularity of other websites) Twitter is only used by approx. 8.5% of internet users. In other words it is really only used by the tech-savvy people who like tweeting to each other. The other 91.5% of the internet population apparently has no interest in Twitter.

What this tells you is that Twitter has reached its limit in terms of "market share" and would really only be good if you are trying to advertise directly to people who are tech-savvy.

Lets take for example the following company Twitter page for US Money Reserve, a company which encourages people to invest in gold and silver as the global economy grows and shrinks periodically. Whenever the economy turns sour the prices of gold and silver soar.

Now think of the type of people who would invest in gold or silver. Hmm. Business people. People with lots of money. Often well educated. Probably own stocks and a 401 K account. Chances are more likely that they're tech-savvy, own a BlackBerry or smart phone, and possibly on Twitter.

Thus a company wishing to sell gold and silver to investors would be wise to marketing via Twitter.

But someone who is marketing a small niche business, like 'Gary's Civil War Antiques Emporium', probably won't do so well on Twitter because it isn't the type of website that caters to American Civil War buffs. That doesn't mean that such a company can't try to promote their business via Twitter, I am just saying it is significantly less likely that Twitter will give them any edge advertising wise.

What does well on Twitter is celebrities like:
twitter.com/ParisHilton

Or renowned writers like:
twitter.com/MargaretAtwood

Or politicians like:
twitter.com/BarackObama

Or brand name companies like:
twitter.com/Microsoft

The point I am trying to make here is that for people or companies who are already famous or brand names, Twitter is added bonus. But it won't make your company famous on its own.

US Money Reserve Inc's twitter page does have lots of useful tips on it and news about the gold and silver exchange, prices, market valuations / predictions, etc... but by itself the company isn't going to see a huge benefit from its Twitter page. It will help it a little because its marketing towards the more tech-savvy people who are more likely to invest in gold or silver, but you first have to get people on to their website and/or Twitter page and that is the really difficult prospect which comes down to traditional marketing techniques and online marketing like Search Engine Optimization.

Twitter pundits like to claim that Twitter can help a website go viral. However the type of topics that do go viral are often not business related. They're always something funny and interesting, and therefore worth sharing on Facebook, Tweeting about, etc... But the problem is that most people on Twitter don't retweet things and even those that do retweet a particular topic aren't going to retweet something that is obviously an advertisement for a business.

"Oh but doesn't Twitter boost Search Engine Optimization"?

Actually no, it doesn't. Two reasons: Twitter links always have "rel=nofollow" in the link coding which means search bots don't follow them and it gives no benefit SEO wise. The 2nd reason is because most links are shortened using Bitly, which means the search engine doesn't even see any useful keywords because it is ultimately just a code like "http://bit.ly/QFytRk". So Twitter does zilch in terms of boosting SEO.

The only benefit of Twitter is to give a company or person the appearance of being tech savvy. Which ultimately can be an utter failure if the person isn't tech-savvy at all and just doesn't care.

Take for example twitter.com/sirseanconnery which shows what happens when an aging actor tries to use Twitter and gets bored with it quickly.

My review of Twitter?

0.5 of a Star out of Five. It doesn't even a full star because as a tool it is shamefully outmatched by Facebook which is a more effective social media tool and currently has a reach of 46% of global internet users and a growing base of active users. Twitter is a complete waste of time compared to the juggernaut that is Facebook.

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