Twitter. You probably think you’ve heard everything about the world’s fourth most popular social media platform by now. Of course, when I say ‘everything’, I really mean the generic advice dished out by the plethora of online marketing blogs about Twitter.
The advice I’m referring to is the typical statement that your brand apparently needs a Twitter account because it gives your business increased online presence and helps generate leads. The kind of advice that you’re probably sick of hearing because there’s rarely any decent analysis or actionable data behind it.
Many bloggers publish advice of the above nature blindly, without properly analyzing Twitter as a suitable marketing platform.
Well, today is your lucky day – because this post will teach you why having a Twitter account is often useless for marketing purposes, and how it leaves your business a measly 140 characters away from committing a marketing catastrophe. Intrigued? Good! Keep reading.
You might’ve childishly giggled at the above Tweet (I did too), but that doesn’t make it any less of a marketing disaster. And that’s the problem with Twitter. Despite being hailed as a panacea for every businesses’ online marketing needs, the truth is that you’re never far from making a complete screw-up that alienates an entire section of your prospect base.
This issue is not unique to well-known brands, either. As your business grows, you’ll most likely look into hiring a dedicated marketing team, or outsourcing your social media marketing to another firm. You simply won’t have the time to spend half of your day tweeting. This entails trusting someone else with the entire reputation of your business at their fingertips. All it takes it for one person who you don’t really know to have a bad day and BAM! – your business’ reputation is left in tatters. Is it worth the risk?
Common Twitter Marketing Pitfalls
There’s no denying that some brands, such as eBay are killing it on Twitter. But these businesses seem to be the exception rather than the rule. In fact, a 2013 study conducted by Hubspot shows that just 36% of marketers had generated a lead through Twitter.
Many businesses spend excessive amounts of valuable marketing time and money on Twitter, even though the chance of actually getting a new customer is just over a third. That doesn’t exactly represent value, does it?
The above stat highlights the importance of implementing a stellar social media strategy. The problem is that this isn’t as easy as it sounds. If your strategy isn’t watertight, you can easily make mistakes. The below graphic shows the five areas in which companies typically make marketing errors on Twitter.
- Not Proofreading Tweets. No, an infrequent typo is not the end of the world. But there’s no denying that an error in a tweet conveys a sense of carelessness and detracts from the message you want to send to your audience. With so much pressure to engage with your followers regularly, you can easily fail to spot a mistake. Failure to proofread your Tweets can quickly undermine your brand’s reputation in front of a huge audience.
- Product-related Tweets. Many businesses fail on Twitter because they focus almost solely on promoting their product/service in each tweet. The hard truth is that followers don’t care too much about your product – they need you to provide value.
- Not fact-checking. Much like failing to properly proofread, not checking your facts can undermine your reputation. Imagine posting a satirical news story as truth, or attributing a quote to someone even though they never said it. These mistakes are easy to make on Twitter for small businesses that don’t have the time to check the source of everything they post on the site. Is it worth risking your reputation?
- Not Listening To Brand Mentions. It can be hard to keep track of every Tweet that references your brand – 6000 tweets are sent every second. The problem is that this is pretty much a necessity – you need to be replying to customer queries 24/7 on Twitter. For every Twitter user you fail to respond to, you could lose this customer’s business.
- Ignoring Complaints. Many brands make the mistake of completely ignoring customer complaints on Twitter. In fact, only 29% of companies actually respond to customer complaints. Whatever way you look at it, not responding to dissatisfied customers is poor for your marketing – it is pretty much the duty of every business owner to make their unhappy customers happy. It’s just not worth risking your reputation if you can’t respond to each unique complaint.
Does Your Business Need a Twitter Account?
So how do you decide if using Twitter for inbound marketing is a worthwhile venture for your particular business?
As you’ve seen above, Twitter is chock-full of opportunities to fall flat on your face and actually worsen your reputation instead of generating leads. When making the big decision on whether to open or continue with an account on there, you should be able to answer the following questions with a resounding yes:
Do you have the budget to hire a 24/7 marketing team to monitor Twitter and engage with your audience?
For most companies, the answer to this will be no. It is damn expensive to hire a team of people you trust to manage your social media needs – a dedicated social media manager commands an annual salary of at least $45,000.
You need to have people online all the time ready to respond to bad publicity, customer complaints, and more. If you can’t afford this, steer clear.
Can You Target The Right People?
When businesses analyze the success of their marketing efforts on Twitter, they tend to look at meaningless metrics such as their number of followers. ‘Great, we’ve got 100,000 Twitter followers, we’re kicking ass here”. But as with any marketing medium, it’s the qualitative aspect that’s more important in determining its inherent usefulness.
The question you really should be asking is, “what sort of people are following my business”? There’s no value in spending time on Twitter if you aren’t attracting the sort of people who are likely to be interested in a) what you have to say and b) what you’re selling. Furthermore, Twitter isn’t exactly a reliable platform for accurate and targeted advertising.
— ((Offseason Babble)) (@HockeyBabbler) July 27, 2016
Can You Cope With a Lot of Spammers?
If phony spam bot accounts annoy you, you’ll be in for a real shock on Twitter. A remarkable piece of data came to light in 2013, when it was estimated that a whopping 7% of Twitter users are spam bots. That works out as 21 million out of Twitter’s 310 million user base.
It can get pretty annoying thinking you’re attracting organic followers who’re interested in your business and what you have to say, only to realize that they’re actually spam bot followers who couldn’t care less.
Can You Consistently Provide Value?
Providing value with every Tweet is what separates the 36% of companies actually generating leads on Twitter marketing from those just wasting time and money. There’s no point in Tweeting if there’s no content curation strategy behind your Tweets.
Every detail needs to be planned to perfection – what interesting information will you share in each Tweet, which hashtags you need to use, is your content trending or last week’s news?
In summary, Twitter can be a wonderful tool in your marketing arsenal – but only if your business is suited to it. As I’ve highlighted above, Twitter poses many challenges and questions for brands, which makes it not worth the time and effort for the majority of companies. You should utilize Twitter if:
- You’re willing to risk alienating your customer base and ruining your reputation for a 36% chance at new customers
- You have the requisite resources to dedicate the significant amount of time and money needed to be successful on Twitter.
- You are willing to constantly provide intriguing information to prospects in your niche. Information that 80% of the time isn’t related to your specific product or service.
If you don’t meet the above criteria, don’t bother with Twitter. Your marketing budget and time could be better spent elsewhere.