Is Twitter For Everyone?

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True confession:  I was a fan of Mark Schaefer long before he wrote “The Tao of Twitter”.  His blog “Grow” continues to fire my marketing synapses like few others.

Full of enthusiasm, I bought copies of Mark’s book not only to read myself, but to give to clients, as a handy reference once our work together ended.  I received a curious response: “Rhonda, do you think I’m really going to read a book on Twitter?”

Maybe I should have titled this post “Twitter is not meant for everyone”!  It really comes down to a mindset, as this little book explains.  Mark boils Twitter down to a sweet little formula:

Business benefits (of Twitter) =

Targeted Connections + Meaningful Content + Authentic Helpfulness

The bottom line:  You won’t succeed on Twitter by pushing out one way marketing messages about your business.  Twitter is P2P (person to person).  Sharing content leads to interactions and awareness … and in the best of circumstances, true relationships and trust.  Trust is the ultimate catalyst to business benefits, and that must be earned.

Back to the Tao:  Here are some of the book’s highlights for me:

  •  Twitter how tos:  Lists, hashtags, optimal time between tweets( 2-3 hours), optimal # tweets/day (3 – 11), etc. … these details matter, and are explained fully.
  • How to define your target audience, and determine what content they would find most helpful.  (A business communication strategy is must, and Mark outlines a very sound thought process).
  • Blogs and Twitter: “…some have likened Twitter to the trailer to the blog’s movie”.  I love this image, and it is very true and valuable advice for bloggers.
  • The importance of culling your followers:  Here’s one aspect of Twitter that I never thought about:

“…Remember to cull your followers by blocking obvious spammers…”

Why is this so important? The core measure of most influence scoring systems such as Klout is an ability to show how many people react to your tweets, and how often.  The quality of your content and level of engagement is important, but you need to do some audience maintenance from time to time, using a tool like Twitcleaner or something similar, or the level of engagement and influence gets diluted.

So… Is Twitter for Everyone?  In my experience, no.  I say this with some misgivings, because the business benefits are real.  But some of my clients who could benefit the most, have neither the time nor the mindset.

All in all:  If you are willing to dedicate real resources to Twitter, and are open to the new opportunities that can come from real conversations and being genuine and helpful, “The Tao of Twitter” will show you how to go about it.

(You might also read a favorite post about Twitter over on Mack Collier’s blog  which touches on similar themes — highly recommended).

Please weigh in:  is Twitter for everyone? … yes, or no?

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About Rhonda Hurwitz

Rhonda Hurwitz is a content strategist and marketing consultant who helps mid-sized businesses develop more effective online strategies. @rhondahurwitz on Twitter, and on Forbes.com: http://blogs.forbes.com/people/rhondahurwitz/
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5 Responses to Is Twitter For Everyone?

  1. Mardy Sitzer says:

    Another great post Rhonda! It is a great question too – is Twitter really for everyone – and your assessment is dead on – they could benefit and it is a shame that they can’t muster the resources or time to take advantage of such an amazing marketing and relationship building tool. And I forgot about Twitcleaner – great tool and I’ll have to go back and do some house cleaning of again soon.

    Keep up the great posts – I truly enjoy them!

    • Thank you for weighing in, and for the vote of confidence. Sounds like you also have some clients in that camp…

      BTW, I still love your story about your delivery/trucking client who delivered a real “Tweet” as followup to followers/potential clients. That was perfect, and priceless.

      • Mardy Sitzer says:

        Yes – small businesses have to weigh in with their funds and time resources and make some judgement calls as to how and where they can market. Sometimes I think I forget how time consuming it is to get started if it is unfamiliar ground and if they aren’t comfortable to begin with, they won’t invest. And yes – I do try to encourage the use of social media for the purpose of moving the meet and greet into the real world – social shouldn’t be limited to keystrokes.

  2. Twitter really provides users with the ability to share information. And it is true that, it’s is only effective just for some who can really. “You won’t succeed on Twitter by pushing out one way marketing messages about your business.” -you really said the right thing there.

    • With Twitter, the right mindset is key! In the longer term, twitter can lead to all sorts of opportunities from connecting on a more personal level, and even build your brand, but people who go into it as a way of driving immediate sales will always be disappointed. Thanks for stopping by!

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