Clients are always asking me about social media. Sure, it only takes a few minutes to keep up to date, but as a small business owner, our days are made up of 1,000 things that each just take a few minutes, and it’s our job to prioritize and weed out the time-wasters.
So, how important is Twitter? Will people follow your tweets? Is Twitter a good way to connect with new customers?
If you have the time, absolutely, tweet away. But if Twitter is going to be another thing on a long list of burdens, then no, you do not need to Tweet.
Unlike many social media outlets (like Facebook), almost all of the information on Twitter is outgoing. From my experience and analysis, there are millions of users on Twitter who are all logging on to send information outwards, but very few users are accessing Twitter to find new information and businesses.
The basis of Twitter success is having strangers follow your feed. However, unless you’re some kind of celebrity, most of the followers you’re going to receive are only following you because they want you to return the favor and follow them. If you don’t subscribe to their feed, they’ll dump yours. The network is an arms race for “followers.”
I’ve seen companies with more than 5,000 “followers” on Twitter (people signed up to receive news from them), but when they use Twitter to send out marketing alerts with a call to action, they receive almost zero response. Hundreds of hours were spent forming these relationships and accumulating a crowd, but in the end if it’s not getting new customers to your product, service, organization, website, etc. then it doesn’t matter. For non-celebrity businesses on Twitter, I believe this is the rule, not the exception.
There are, however, exceptions:
1) Twitter can be integrated with your Facebook. When you post on Twitter, it will automatically show up on your company’s Facebook page as well. If you’re comfortable setting this up and logging on to Twitter isn’t going to stress you out, then why not kill two birds with one stone?
2) Twitter feeds can be easily integrated onto your website. My client, PricesCreekVet.com, uses Twitter as a simple way to post news and alerts to their website. Instead of using a complex content management system to allow them to post on-line news (like inclement weather alerts, etc), they can simply log on to Twitter and the content will automatically appear on their website. As a bonus, legitimate Twitter followers can also get the information.
3) If your company is related to news, culture or celebrities, Twitter can be valuable. An active Twitter account can be a status symbol for your company, and this is information that Twitter users are legitimately seeking out.
The bottom line: Twitter users aren’t using Twitter to look for a new laundromat, restaurant, doctor’s office or plumber. So if it’s going to stress you out, don’t devote time to Twitter.
The Twitter question is the same as all other social media, can you keep it active and what will you share? If you don’t have information to share or the inclination to use Twitter at least three or four times a week, then don’t bother. It will be a waste of your time and at the end of the day, a stagnant, unused Twitter page may do more harm than good.
There’s lots of great social media out there that will grow your business, but with the exception of the items listed above, don’t sweat it if you’re not into Twitter.