Get ready, everybody! There is a new social media swell happening, and we're going to ride that wave all the way to shore. The social media craze really does come in waves. On the one hand, there's nothing new. It's the same, old stuff that you already know. On the other hand, as the wave comes in, you can get more bang for your advertising buck. So, it might be worth paying attention. Today I was asked the very interesting question, "To tweet or not to tweet."
For me, this is a no-brainer. I love Twitter. But, that doesn't mean it is worth your time and money. Why? Because as much as I love Twitter, I'm not going to base my purchases on who advertises with them. It all comes back to ROI—cost vs benefit, my friends! So, what should we know about Twitter that we don't already? According to my very studious research, this is what you should know: Twitter is a paradox. Twitter is on both ends of the spectrum, but nowhere in the middle. We'll talk a little about what that means and whether it is a good thing.
Open and Closed
Twitter really is an enigma—even down to the roots. Twitter is an account based site with over 310M active users, but their reach extends far beyond that. Over 500M non-users access the site without ever having to login. How can this be? Access the homepage of almost any social network, and you will get a log-in screen and nothing else. Access the homepage of Twitter and you will get Featured posts with the option of filtering that down through 11 different categories and multiple subcategories that I'm not going to count. Twitter has exclusive content from it's users that is readily open to non-users.
Elite and Base
Twitter has a wonderful verification program so that you can be sure the celebrity account you're following really is the celebrity (or at least by their PR firm). The term celebrity is happily used a little loose here. Almost 1/4 of Twitter's verified accounts are actually journalists. This makes Twitter an excellent way of keeping up with trustworthy news. On the other hand, the most followed Twitter account in America is Katie Perry's and the fastest growing account right now is some person who calls himself Juicy (and they're not talking about grapes). Twitter contains some of the countries most elite and most base individuals (no offence @prackz23).
Haves and Have Nots
There are a handful of business professionals that I truly admire. None of them is on Facebook (or only has like 7 friends). Every one of them is on Twitter; they keep up with it too. Twitter is very business friendly. Because of this they have gotten a rap for being the social network for old white guys. It might surprise you to know that one female college freshmen described Twitter as "our generation's social media." That's right! Twitter is for business professionals and for—I'll just say it—teen-aged girls.
Being at both ends of the spectrum sounds really good until you remember the bell-shaped curve that says that 80% of people are somewhere in the middle where Twitter is not. And that sounds bad until you remember that 80% of consumers are beta consumers following the to 10% where Twitter is. But does that mean that they are buying what Twitter is selling?
I recently read a statistic touting that over 75% of internet users are on social media. I was feeling a little feisty, so my response was, "Yeah, but I 100% use that bathroom. That doesn't mean that I want to advertise on toilet paper." It really is all about your return on investment. If you want to focus on top of mind brand awareness, Twitter may not reach the masses, but it might reach the right people. If you are wanting to push a product, read my suggestion below.
Go after it hard with some real ad dollars and some real commitment. Then, see how it goes. Do more of what works and less of what doesn't. But do not—I repeat: do not—go at it half way. It won't work for all the wrong reasons and you will have wasted time, money and opportunity.
Twitter is great ... for some things. It's worth the old college try, but nothing is worth half a try.