Do you remember what Twitter looked like this time last year? Probably not – the vast majority of the users on the site today weren’t around this time last year. Things have changed dramatically over the last 7 months. For many, Twitter shouldn’t ask, “What are you doing?” Instead, they should change it to…
Don’t get me wrong – the primary reason I came to Twitter was to get exposure for my blog posts. I’m generally a social person and I do (did?) enjoy the interaction I was able to have with people across the world or down the block, but the noise levels on Twitter are approaching an intolerable level.
Twitter’s growth has been astounding. This has been well documented by many sites, but this graph from Compete clearly visualizes the sheer explosion that started earlier this year:
In the early days of Twitter’s explosion back in January through March, the site still had a sense of “pureness” in that the conversation was more centered around “What are you doing?” rather than “What are you pushing?” We had several campaigns that were extremely successful because fewer people posted links. A normal stream would have 3 or 4 links out of the 20 tweets visible on a single stream refresh. Most of our campaigns and blog links would get between 3k-5k clicks. “Twitterbait” posts like 14 Twitter Personality Types could get 30k or more from Twitter or related sources like popurls and Tweetmeme.
Today, over half of the tweets on many users’ streams are links. Of those, a good portion of them are spam. As a result, it’s tough to get 1,000 clicks even if a celebrity or high-follower account tweets it and dozens of people retweet it.
One would believe that this is bad news for social media strategists, marketers, spammers, and everyone else who wants to use Twitter for exposure. For 99% of us, yes, it’s bad news. I prefer to see it as an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity – now that it’s no longer easy to build up a lot of followers and tweet links for exposure, those who know how to create strongly followed accounts, network, make friends, and use a better Twitter strategy will rise to the top. The challenge – coming up with that better Twitter strategy that makes my clients’ and my links more likely to heard through the noise.
Bloggers: What are you pushing on Twitter?
This is going to ruffle feathers. If you’re a blogger, don’t use automated Twitter posting tools for your new blog posts. There, I said it.
- Post manually. The auto-posting tools save you 34 seconds. (I know this goes against what I said in Twitter Blogging Tips and Tools, but I’ve seen the light)
- Use a good shortener. We prefer su.pr.
- Craft the tweet to get exposure. “Just published a new blog post…” or “Reading…” – won’t cut it. Talk to people and be sincere. What is true about your post that can fit in 90 characters or less (to leave room for the URL and retweets) that would compel people to read it?
- If you can get a good number of retweets, put the Tweetmeme button on your post. It counts the retweets and can add credibility to the post if it gets a lot. If you don’t have the followers, readership, or accounts to get a large number, put on a retweet button that doesn’t display the numbers.
- If a post is boring, don’t tweet it. If it’s a vanity piece or something that would only be appealing to your normal readers, there’s no need to waste a Tweet on it.
Social Media Strategists: What are you pushing on Twitter?
This is a little tougher for me to post since, well, my firm does social media strategy. Still, there’s enough companies in the world who need our services and despite the fact that social media marketers, consultants, gurus, mavens, and other strategists seem to be popping up every day, we tend to feel that we can compete with anyone (even if we give them our “playbook”).
- Avoid spammy clients. Your credibility is more important than a quick buck. If your potential client wants you to push spam through social media, find your least-favorite social media guru on Twitter and refer them. Quality and integrity are the most important aspects of this business.
- Network. One tweet won’t cut it. Ten retweets probably won’t cut it. Between email, gtalk, skype, and even Twitter DM, create a list of users who will do an occasional retweet by request.
- Give more than you take. If you want to get your links retweeted, you need to retweet often. This is important – a retweet is the sincerest form of flattery. For every tweet you do for a client, there should be dozens of retweets, comments, mentions, and interactions that you’re having with others.
- Conserve your tweets. Many would argue that the more you tweet, the better. I personally believe that the better you tweet, the better. Again, quality over quantity when it comes to tweeting. If you don’t have anything important to say, respond to, or retweet, keep the noise low, the chatter limited, and the engagement high.
- Did I mention “avoid spammy clients”?
Marketers: What are you pushing on Twitter?
There are hundreds of thousands (millions?) of accounts that are pushing porn, MLM, Forex, Acai berries, affiliate links, and all kinds of other spam. They need advice as well:
- Leave Twitter.
- Go back to Facebook and MySpace.
That’s not to say that ALL marketers are spammers and should leave. If you or your company has legitimate posts and products to push, refer back to “Social Media Strategists” above or hire a twitter marketing firm.
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Read more about Twitter Marketing on this social media blog.