My Marketing Thing

Is Twitter really that important?

Twitter meets the peace dove

If you are my 69 year old retired mother, I’d have to say that Twitter is not vital.  

If you are a corner grocer in an outer suburb, it’s possible that putting the majority of your promotional energy into Twitter might not be the most productive step.

Just in case you are unsure about what Twitter actually is (and, no I won’t titter at your bemusement, because in some ways I’m still working out what Twitter actually is): Twitter is an online social marketing tool where you can create a profile and send out messages (Tweets) that are up to 140 characters long.

Many assume that being in marketing means that I am not only Twitter-savvy, I am also Twitter-obsessed.  I have to be honest…I’m not obsessed (as mentioned in my Burnout post on Twitter).  But I do have two Twitter profiles and I enjoy Tweeting when the urge takes me.


David Risley’s view

David Risely, a very successful blogger who blogs about…well, blogging…says that:
“The people who fail to find value in Twitter
are the ones who are socially inept in real life.”

David Risley’s full post on ‘Social Media Gripes’.

I’m not sure how tongue-in-cheek this statement is supposed to be.  It certainly tickled my funny bone.  Of course, it might be a sad raspberry to those who used to say that internet communicators (i.e. ‘geeks’) are those who are socially inept in real life.   Perhaps some well-meaning souls still stand by this claim.  But they are rapidly turning into the minority.  In general terms, I think this ‘geek-hunt’ was a phase and most of us have moved on.

Of course, the more serious implication to David’s statement is that being socially-savvy in real life means having to be on Twitter.


So who’s socially inept in real life: those who Tweet or those who don’t?

If I had to pick one or the other I’d probably say ‘both – sometimes’.


Let’s put this in some perspective

UK comedian Stephen Fry appeared on the Graham Norton Show this year (5 Dec 2009, UK date).  Stephen, famous for his witty one-liners, is a well-known Tweeter.  So during the show Graham asked the audience to raise their hands if they had a profile on Twitter.  A surprisingly unimpressive number held up their hands.  It was almost embarrassing.  But it doesn’t stop Stephen Fry to continue his enthusiastic feather flutterings.  And why should it?


Twitter is growing pretty fast though…

Neilsens, a measurement company, gave their Twitter growth assessment earlier in 2009.  In a nutshell, they said that unique visitors to Twitter increased 1,382 percent year-over-year, from 475,000 unique visitors in February 2008 to 7 million in February 2009, making it the fastest growing site in the Member Communities category.

But back to that perspective thing…I know people who have generated great business leads through Twitter.  But we all know people who are massively successful without a Twitter profile too.  So what should you do?


Are those you want to reach feathered?

The importance of Twitter depends on who you are trying to engage with.  Quantcast released its 2009 Twitter-user demographic findings (US only): Young (18-34), women (but only just), no or few kids (0-2), well-educated but less affluent ($0-$60k).  Apparently African Americans are particularly partial to Twitter.

Neilsens reported Twitter as definitely an adult’s game, not teens.  And mostly working adults who have time to Tweet from the office.


Is this any help?

Well it’s nice to know the big picture.  But Twitter really is about finding your niche within the big picture.  This means finding like-minded souls through ‘search’ and twibes, etc.

Once you start, you might find you like it.  Give it a trial and see what the experience brings.

Rumour has it…You Tube (already big) is about to explode…Ready to jump on another bandwagon?


Megan Hills is a writer, marketing consultant and cartoonist – more about Megan

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