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5 Myths about Twitter

I must admit: I have a bad taste with Twitter and my experiences with this micro-blogging bullshit are somehow contradictory. As I said earlier, I have several accounts. Now I’m partially in charge with another account, one with 5000+ followers, and the most deceptive results are coming right from this account with 5.000+ followers, while the most encouraging results are coming from an account with only 50 followers. But there is a slight difference between those accounts:

  • The first one was initially setup by somebody who is a “pro”. In short time, using automated technics (but not bot posting), the pro gathered over 5.000 unresponsive accounts. The accounts are real, no doubt about this. But most of them are junk. They are not in our target, they are not really interested to follow us but to get one more follower, and so on. I browsed through their profiles and I was shocked: all of them are followed by thousands and following thousands. If we apply my twitter follower value algorithm, these are useless followers. You can have 1 million such followers with no results for your brand, business or marketing goals. They are useless, GOD DAMNIT!
  • On the other hand, the little account is used to promote a free classifieds website from New Zealand. I choose to gather only kiwi followers and to interact only with kiwi followers and position this account as a kiwi account – which in fact, it really is. In one month, traffic went up and so the interest towards this website, which is now ranked as 3rd kiwi free classifieds website (my team’s goal is to make it 2nd). Although we used automated technics, we didn’t over do it. And our goal wasn’t to gather thousand of followers, but to get responsive and attentive followers.

Based on my experience, and not only, here are the 5 myths that anyone should know about Twitter:

  1. “Twitter can make you famous.” Wrong. You are famous on Twitter if you are already famous on real life. Build your personality or your brand on real life, than jump with it into Twitter. Browse this list of the most followed accounts and observe that they are, in fact, real life celebrities.
  2. “Every Twitter follower is a potential customer.” Wrong. Be assured that somebody who follows more than 5-600 Twitter accounts (with you between those 5-600) has no interest in any account. “Potential” customers are only those who spare their attention carefully and don’t just follow to be followed.
  3. “Your customers are on Twitter.” Wrong. Your customers are right where they were before Twitter was invented. And in order to reach them, you should use classic advertising techniques: coupons, flyers, tv ads and so on. For internet audiences, use what works better: pay per click advertising. Google Adwords is the king of online advertising and will stay so many years to come, but you can also use Yahoo! Advertising, Microsoft Adcenter, Chitika Ads and many more.
  4. “The most precious Twitter accounts are those that have many followers”. Wrong. The most precious Twitter accounts are those that have the most targeted, attentive and responsive followers. For a brand like Dell (that sells millions of computers each year, worldwide) it’s normal to have several successful accounts on Twitter, each one with millions of followers (check this one, taken randomly). For a small software house like CoffeeCup, is normal to have a Twitter account with only 2100+ followers. For a startup web service, is normal to have an account with only 50 followers. There is no “success recipe” for managing a Twitter account, just develop naturally your brand and followers will come in.
  5. “Twitter is an online conversation tool”. Maybe for perverts. A conversation is an intimate, private communication act betweeen two or more persons. When in public, this communication act becomes a debate or a public answer, but not a personal conversation. Many people think that twittering something @userA will engage a personal conversation with userA. No, it will trigger at most a public answer.

Twitter as a marketing tool? It sucks!

I really don’t understand the recent twitter fever. Twitter is one of the most useless and stupid internet websites ever created. Put a message in 140 characters and throw it away. Ok, so? WTF is this?! Why don’t we use a SMS for this?!

Ok, ok, the idea is that, unlike the SMS’s, tweets can be seen by anyone. I understand this. And having said this, I understand also that Twitter is a tool for voyeurs and exhibitionists, isn’t it?

I have 4 Twitter accounts, all business related. The best of them has ~300 followers. These 300 followers are useless, and let me tell you why. We can express the interest that a follower manifests in your tweets by a ratio between his/her accounts and the number of the accounts that he/she follows.

Let’s suppose that you have 2 followers, John and Jimmy. They both have only one twitter account. But John follows 30 accounts and Jimmy follows 5000 accounts.

We can express their interest towards your tweets as follows: John has an interest of 1/30=3.33%, while Jimmy has an interest of 1/5000=0.02%. Your tweets are basically non interesting for Jimmy. In fact, Jimmy is not interested in any of the accounts that he’s following. On the other hand, John has a little interest in your tweets.

Now, make an exercise: go to your Twitter account and browse your followers. See how many people your followers follow. A lot, isn’t it? Simply put, your pity tweets will be lost in an ocean of indiferrence. As you get more followers, your message will become more and more lost in this ocean.

The only legit use of such stupid tool it’s in publishing vouchers and coupons. Yeah, this works pretty well, but only with big brands that can have something massive to offer. Dell. Vodafone. Nike. Apple. Etc. Global brands. If you have a little translations company and you need clients, don’t waste your time with a Twitter account. It’s useless.