Is the jury still out on Twitter?
Twitter is only one of a number of ‘social’ sites and the main reason for creating a Twitter account was to test whether it could be useful or just hype.
I posted a blog entry titled “Website optimisation – what good can it do?” and posted a tweet “To SEO or WSO, that is the question?” pointing to the blog post.
Within 2 minutes there had been 47 click-throughs (see stats) and interestingly a few more tweeters have started following. The geographic distribution, no doubt, relates to the relative size of the user profile of each area.
What’s clear is that when either interesting, controversial or relevant comments are posted they can generate a good level of activity from a relatively low base.
From a business perspective how useful this is depends on the focus and relevancy of the content to your followers. And what benefit it will have in terms of generating new business is yet to be ascertained.
Social media marketing
Twitter is not the only ‘social media’ around and the term itself is a misnomer in that they, in themselves, are not media at all, but platforms. In the case of Twitter it is a micro-blogging platform.
Social media marketing is a great tool for getting your business seen and heard, helping to build brand awareness and in the long-term help with increasing leads and sales. But it has to done the right with work and time put in upfront if it is to make any real returns for your business.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Bebo and the host of others all fall into the same category. They are all for sharing and communicating with other like-minded contributors but they are not all the same.
To simply open an account with any of them and expect to see a sudden increase in visitors and customers will just not happen.
Each are different with a different audience, set of criteria and expectation of their users. It’s important to know the differences to identify which, if any, could contribute to your own business objectives:-
- Social sharing sites. YouTube, Vimeo, and Flickr are three popular examples of social sharing sites.
- Social networking sites. Facebook is a popular social networking site and others include LinkedIn and MySpace.
- Social news sites. Digg, Technorati, and Reddit are examples of news sites where posts compete for newsworthyness. The most newsworthy, in the opinion of members, will appear on the social news site’s front page, increasing the chances that others will see it.
- Social bookmarking sites. An example of a social bookmarking site is Delicious where users store, organize, search and manage their favorite web pages choosing to share them with groups, indiviuals of their choice of with the general public. Less well-known and probably less used examples include Diggo, Blinklist, and Simpy.
- Social review sites. Examples of popular social review sites include Epinions, Viewpoints, Yelp, Omgili, and Buzzillions. These sites are primarily consumers orientated giving users a platform where they can submit opinions, reviews about companies, their products, give recommendations and offer advice.
Once you’ve decided which combination might be the most appropriate for your business, you then need to investigate the demographics of each platform.
Each has its own focus, age, sex and user preferences and expectations of membership so as an example, if you identify your target audience as business focused, slightly male with a 35 and older age range then its not going to worth spending much time and effort with Bebo or MySpace. The social network with that profile is LinkedIn.
The jury may still be out and unless you try it you might never know but if you do you have to committ enough resources into it to make it work!