Almost everyone is on
Twitter which is why it can be a powerful marketing and public
relations tool. The keyword here, however, is “tool.” Like any other
tool, Twitter can be used correctly, incorrectly, unsuccessfully, successfully,
inappropriately – or simply stated – abused.
If you are familiar with
Facebook, you know that you either have friends for your
personal page, or fans for your business page. With Twitter, you do not have
fans. You have followers. A lot of people labor under the misconception that
the more followers, the better. I respectfully disagree.
Quality vs. quantity
You are not Ashton Kutcher. Kutcher has more followers than anyone else
on Twitter. As of press time he had 4,823,958 followers. Kutcher’s job is
to sell himself. He is a celebrity. His worth is measured by his popularity.
You are not a celebrity, nor should your worth be measured by your popularity.
|© 2010 iStockphoto.com/Maxim
You want quality, not quantity. Your followers should reflect your
target markets. Are your target markets local? Are they national? Are they
global? If you are an international manufacturer, then you answered yes to all.
If you are a patient care facility in suburban Ohio, you probably answered
differently. Either way, if your target market is not tween girls, do you
really need 1 million of them following you? For you, four orthopedic surgeons
who specialize in amputations and work within 20 miles of your office are worth
1 million tween girls.
Something else that sets you apart from Kutcher: You have a different
kind of job. Like I said before, Kutcher’s job is selling himself. Your
job, while we can probably rationalize the similarities, does not require the
same kind of following.
In order to satisfy your followers’ need for content, you have to
be sending out a lot of tweets. Not only do you need to find the time to do
that, you also have to put considerable effort into the tweets themselves. You
can not expect 5 million people to be consistently interested in whatever it is
that you do and think or in pictures you post. If you do not give them what
they want, they will not continue to follow you.
The power of search
One commonly overlooked fact is that Twitter is searchable. What does
that mean? That means that people do not need to follow you in order for you to
communicate with or to them. It means the number of followers you have does not
really matter. If you are using Twitter correctly and appropriately then you
are disseminating information that is of interest, important and relevant to
your target markets. If you are tweeting that you just ate the best ham
sandwich in the whole world – and you are not a food critic – then
you are not an effective Twitter user and it is likely that people will not
continue to follow you.
I like Twitter as a marketing tool because as Guy Kawasaki says,
“Twitter is the best thing to happen to marketing since television.
It’s cheaper, it’s fast and it’s free.”
I say Twitter: easy to use; easier to abuse.
Just remember you are not Kutcher. Focus on quality more than quantity.