Twitter started out as a microblogging site in 2006, although it essentially differs from a blog because it only allows an update that is no longer than 140 characters. Granted, you can still post a rant that is 140 long that is bound to annoy e few people, but wise Twitter users have realised that ranting or informing the world about the boring minutiae of your life is not what Twitter should be used for. Brands, both personal and business are successfully using the platform to increase brand awareness and build engaged communities of (potential) customers.
It’s important to reiterate that there are no guaranteed ‘leads’ on Twitter, but your followers can turn into customers gradually. Social media is not as fast as we’d like to think. Yes, it only takes a few seconds to post an update (that you may later regret), but it takes time and effort to build a community of followers that will listen and engage. In their book ‘Ask, Measure, Learn’ Lutz Finger (LinkedIn) and Soumitra Dutta debunk three myths of social media:
- It’s cheap. The truth it is not anymore and it is most certainly not free. You may have to spend many hours trying to get heard In order in all that noise or you may have to pay to promote yourself and your business on social media platforms. Problem with Twitter though is that it won’t allow you to pay for promoted profiles or tweets unless you have a decent following already and have been tweeting for a while.
- It’s fast. As we pointed out above it takes time to build up an audience and create trust. Considering that many Twitter users are bots (automated web applications) whose presence on the platform is about gathering data while pretending to be human (more about them later) these days you have to prove that you are not a bot in order to gain real followers on Twitter.
- All social media is one channel. That is not true – if you’re a Facebook pro or a LinkedIn ninja unfortunately you cannot just transfer your knowledge and experience from one platform to another, you will have to learn to play by the platform’s rules.
In our next blog post we will talk more about what Twitter really is for as we analyze successes and failures of big brands on the platform.
While you wait, you can connect with me on twitter See you there.