by Linda Lindsey, Creative Director, Brightree LLC
One Marketer’s Opinion
I admit it: I tweet because I think I should tweet.
Marketing has changed more in the last 3 years than it has in the past twenty. With such rapid advances in technology, B2B marketers can no longer sit back and watch B2C marketers succeed and fail for years before making our entrance into new marketing mediums.
Twitter launched on July 15, 2006, but I didn’t take it seriously until April 15, 2009. That is the day Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN to a popularity contest in a race to get 1 million followers. Intrigued, I signed up immediately. Quickly defeated, CNN raised this poignant question, “Does this mark a new peak for the microblogging service? Or the beginning of its demise?”
It appears that, for now, CNN’s prediction was little more than sour grapes. By June of 2010, 65 million tweets were posted each day — about 750 tweets per second. When Michael Jackson died, fans flooded twitter, crashing their server, and posting an unprecedented 30% of all tweets on a single topic.
My first “disappoint-tweet” (Disappointment with Twitter) came when I realized that Ashton’s tweets (yes, I followed Ashton, not CNN) would not be delivered to me via email, instead I had to log on to Twitter to see them. The last thing I needed was another avenue to bombard me with irrelevant information – a place I felt compelled to sift and search for meaning. Ashton Kutcher’s comments didn’t inspire or even moderately entertain me, so I tuned in to the President of the National Business Marketing Association. I was sure to be inspired with riveting marketing insights, tips, and techniques that I could adopt for my clients.
Here a small selection of the tweets he posted in a 24 hour period:
- “Working with the team of a new PR company….. to run with the big dogs, you have to learn to pee in the tall grass”
- “I was able to switch seats to my fav seat on a PACKED plane. I live a charmed life. I love the little things in life!”
- “Enjoying a little Five Guys — found one near my hotel”
- “Working to catch up on all the stuff from the week…. need to get out of my room for a walk! It is hot in Houston!”
… And I am a better marketer for it …
I read case studies ad nauseum to find out what is working for other marketers so I can incorporate their successes and avoid their mistakes. In August of 2008, I laughed when I heard that Dell planned to answer questions from reporters and customers in real-time via Twitter during a press conference launching a new line of Latitude laptop computers. As I predicted, this tactic was riddled with confusion and followers had difficulty following the conversation strings.
But no one is laughing at Dell now … by 2009, Dell reported earning $3 million in revenue as a result of posting coupons and announcing new products on Twitter. B2C marketers like Dell and Starbucks have found successful ways to be profitable via Twitter in the consumer world and I take my hat off to them.
But where does this leave the B2B marketer?
My next disappoint-tweet came in 2009, when a San Antonio based market research firm analyzed 2,000 tweets and deemed 41%, “pointless babble”. Last month, Sysomos, a maker of social media analysis tools released their study of what happened to 1.2 billion tweets studied over a two-month period. Not surprising, here is what they found:
- 71% of all tweets produce no reaction
- Only 6% of all tweets produce a retweet (if you aren’t retweeted within the first hour, there is only a 7.6% chance you’ll be retweeted)
- 85% of tweets that actually receive a reply, receive only one; and
- Only 1.53% of conversations are three levels deep
My next disappoint-tweet came last month when I read an article in Newsweek that questioned whether Twitter was protecting Ashton Kutcher and other celebrities who’s endorsement helped bring Twitter record numbers of new followers. The reporter reveals his “obsessive suspicion” that Twitter somehow “sanitizes search results.” Jolted, I felt as if I was looking out from inside a fishbowl, a tiny pawn in a huge social experiment.
It has been said that, “It is better to be re-tweeted than to be followed.” Ashton Kutcher has 6 million followers. CNN has 3.5 million followers. Me? I have 47 followers. My twitter marketing strategy remains unchanged. To me it is all about focus – I spend my time on the tactics that generate the best return on investment for my money and my time. For now, I tweet because I think I should, and I’m waiting for CNN’s sour grapes prediction to turn into a fine wine … oh, and I’m trying to figure out how to pee in the tall grass.