By Rachel Clarke, Head of Social Media, twentysix.
So you’ve joined Twitter. Great, but what does success look like?
For some, success is about numbers, for others it is about reach. For many it is just about connecting with friends.
For me, success is about achieving your goals on Twitter, which means you really need to know why you are on there – ‘because your friends are’ is a great reason for the average person, but ‘because all your competitors are’ is not the best reason a business can choose to join, particularly without knowing how to use it properly.
So let’s look at some of the goals individuals and companies might have on Twitter:
To have the most followers.
This was illustrated in April of last year when Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN to a popularity contest on Twitter, competing to be the first to achieve a million followers.
To be the most ‘influential’, either from retweets and comments or from media pickup.
In the UK, Stephen Fry would definitely fall into this category, but I doubt this is a ‘success factor’ for him. He just joined the service because he’s a geek. Boosted by media mentions, many people followed him after finding out he was on the service.
In fact, for many people with high a number of followers, this was influenced by Twitter putting them on the Suggested Users List, a list of tweeters who a new person may wish to follow. This has since changed and the same rates of follow are not being seen.
To connect with friends.
There’s been plenty of analysis of the social graph surrounding Twitter. In June 2009, Twitter announced the average number of followers was 126. The average is skewed by the popular accounts though, with many users having less than 10. For most people, they’re on it to connect with their friends; it’s an extension of their offline social graph. They may follow a few ‘famous’ people, but it’s usually just the people they know.
The ultimate need for business is the drive to sell goods and services. Some brands have been successful on Twitter, with Dell claiming $6.5million in sales in December 2009 and Sony Vaio announcing in February this year it has made £1million from Twitter.
Both companies made it clear that Twitter working alongside traditional and other social media channels had driven the sales, with complementary and integrated campaigns. Social media is about amplification, not the replacement of existing communication channels.
For brands or people which have less of a presence or name recognition, Twitter is unlikely to do the job on its own – despite the proliferation of get rich quick (or get followers quick) accounts that try and sell you ‘the secret of their success’.
To serve customers.
People can easily complain about you and your service or products in this channel. Therefore you need to know how you are going to approach complaints and make your customers happy.
To demonstrate expertise.
Want to be seen as an expert in your field? Get your biog set up and send out your thoughts. Join in conversations about the topic and always have the right thing to say. Use the channel to link through to your blog or site or Linkedin. Get some business from the channel and that’s a success.
To drive to your content.
Twitter can also be used as an RSS extension or a distribution channel. I see many people and companies providing media-only accounts, which just contain links. They can have conversation accounts and link accounts, letting followers choose which they are after. And it’s working: some are seeing higher traffic from Twitter than Google, as it’s replacing the random search with targeted, interested users.
So success can have many different faces. My advice is to know what you want out of Twitter, start small, study your competitors and successful accounts in other fields, pick up their best habits and then start to build a presence.
Use your other channels to promote your account. Do not expect overnight success and do not buy your followers as they are likely to be low value. Question the person who promises a million followers in a week as they’re not going to add to the brand or to you. The best news and bargain feeds have a presence elsewhere and Twitter just complements it.
In summary, be clear why you are there, learn from others, adapt and change to the environment and know what your customers want.
Check out 12ahead, our brand new platform
covering the latest in cutting-edge digital marketing and creative technology from around the globe.
12ahead identifies emerging trends and helps
you to understand how they can apply to modern-day companies.
We believe 12ahead can put you and your
business 12 months ahead of the competition. Sign up for a free trial today.