Predicting a complete Twitter demise by 2014… i am serious.
The idea of Twitter was genius and innovative, 140 characters could never be so much fun. It grew at incredibly high rate, i think it still does. It was supposed to be the next “IT”, and for some time it was. The idea was simple – “Tell the world what you are doing right now in 140 characters or less” (does the world care, really?). Many books were published about Twitter praising it for being a great marketing tool and that every company must include it in their marketing campaign. And for some time Twitter WAS a GREAT marketing tool. Is it still today? Doubt it. At least not so for 99.9% of its users.
Let me explain what marketing people are hoping to accomplish with Twitter and why most of them fail. I will also explain why this is almost impossible to get any kind of serious visibility for your company or product with Twitter, and why when someone mentions Twitter as a marketing vehicle i simply say – “Bullsh.t”
The BIG Twitter marketing idea in a nutshell:
- Get Twitter account
- Create background for your Twitter page explaining your company services or products, make it catchy and informative so people will want to follow you
- (That’s the step where BS starts) Find RSS feeds from news websites and any other sources related to your company or products(like Google news or Google Reader) and feed them into your Twitter account automatically, 3-15 posts per day. How? Very easy: TwitterFeed.com, rss2twitter.com and many others will do that for you automatically, just say how many and how frequently.
- Setup robots to search Twitter.com users’ tweets daily for any posts related to your company, product or industry and start following them automatically in hope that they will follow you back.(most will follow back, i’ll tell you why later), there are many web services that will do the searching for tweets and following of users for you automatically.
- Setup another robot to follow everyone who follows you automatically.
- Setup another robot to un-follow everyone who stopped following you automatically(to keep Following/Followers ratio close on your account, that’s why you see so many Twitter accounts with balanced Following/Followers ratio)
- Now imagine that most of Twitter users implement this plan (is it now clear why most will follow you back immediately?) Look at step 5!
- Grow your followers list daily 100-150 new, and then once or twice per week sneak in a tweet about your company. The idea is that if you have 1000 followers, you Tweet about your company or service and 1000 people see it and hopefully click on it or better yet re-tweet it in their Twitter account for their followers to see. Great idea, isn’t it, great brand awareness building tool too?
Now, let’s analyze this for a second:
If most Twitter accounts are placed on autopilot by utilizing the techniques above, do you really think that a Tweet about your company or service will actually be read by a human?
Let’s take it further:
Would you be surprised that “important” Twitter accounts (with large following) actually offer to Tweet about your company or service for a small compensation? Check out paypertweet.com or sponsoredtweets.com! You pay per tweet there, locate an “important” account you’d like to say something about your company or product, pay, and sure enough 2 hours later this Twitter account posts a tweet about how your company is so great and service is so awesome. Talking about wasting your advertising money! This would be one way to do it because if the account you paid to tweet about your company, say, has 50,000 followers, you can be absolutely sure that only a tiny fraction if any, will actually read its tweets.
Do you now understand why Twitter is down so frequently? Why it is so unreliable? It is because it is being abused by millions of automatic queries, searches, tweets, etc done by nothing more than automatic tasks setup by third-party services.
Is it possible to save Twitter and how?
In my opinion it is not too late to save Twitter if following steps are followed by Twitter’s management:
- All automatic tasks should be suspended, no auto following, no auto feeding third-party RSS feeds, no auto unfollow! No exceptions, well, maybe one: You can feed your RSS feed to Twitter only if it is truly yours, meaning, this RSS feed is authenticated and is published by your company or service.
- PayPerTweet.com-like services BANNED immediately!
- Start policing accounts better, create filters, guards, etc. sort of like Google does, to flag and remove spam-accounts.
- Clean it up! Remove spam messages, abusing accounts, announce that Twitter was supposed to be a service for Human beings and not for automatic tasks. Announce that Twitter is being cleaned up and re-born with new face and its purpose is now protected, guarded and cherished by Twitter management!
- Start running ads! Twitter cannot survive without ad revenue and if Twitter actually follows the steps above and makes sure that it is being used by human beings only, IMAGINE how useful advertising on Twitter will become! i.e. Joe Shmoe tweeted about GPS system he is testing, and right next to his tweet there is an ad for GPS system reviews. Would you click it? I would.
You might ask how this post relates to website live chat software? It doesn’t, it is just something i always wanted to brag about.