Without naming names, here is evidence of what I'll call the most FOOLISH people on TWITTER, ever:
This chart was snapped using my trusty FastStone Capture software off a website called TWITTERHOLIC. In case you're wondering what this "list" is all about, well, it basically shows who has the most followers, friends, and who POSTS the most. I focused this shot on who posts the most. Now, you'd think the people who post the most would be movie stars, stations like NPR, or maybe even Yoko Ono (who does have quite a few followers for her peace movement). But no, the truth is, the people posting hundreds of thousands of TWEETS are random people and companies who I've never heard of before. They're probably using auto-tweet software to post that much, but regardless, with only 1 - 40 followers, doesn't it seem stupid to you to post that much? To have between 1 and 3,000 followers and tweet 500,000 times is nothing less than SPAM, in my opinion, and certainly not the way to market anything of value. Yet, the top 10 in the list of "top tweeters" all are between 1 and 5,000 followers, without exception.
You'd think they'd get, it, after especially the first 100 tweets or so. At least, after 1,000 twitter updates, they ought to realize that (a) yes, I have an audience, or (b) no, I don't and I'm talking to THIN AIR! Seriously.
If this is how your company is marketing, I suggest you fire your marketing director!
So, what is a better way to manage Twitter?
The people with the most success on twitter seem to use a ratio. I'll share it with you here:
1/5 to 1/10 for the average business person, Internet marketer and 1/1,000 the number of "tweets" to number of followers if you're a celebrity. That's it. If you're tweeting more than that, without building your list, you're likely not providing VALUE high enough to warrant the followers at the right levels. It's all about VALUE, right?
For example, a minor God of Internet Marketing, Frank Kern, currently has 1,576 tweets and 16, 817 followers (as of September 16, 2009). That works out to roughly 1/10 tweet to follower ratio. Chris Brogan, on the other hand, has 49,314 tweets to 98,184 followers. Roughly 1/2... okay, that skews my theory a little. But let's view a corporate account, like IBMdesign: 970 to 5188 or about 1/5... HP News: 1581 to 7436, or 1/6...
Now, how about a celebrity, like the #1 celebrity twitter, Aston Kutcher?
3,592,888 followers as of this writing. That, with a total of 3,366 tweets. Amazing, huh? That ratio is crazy: 1/1000. But, guess what? It is typical of celebrity tweet to follower ratios! I was shocked, too. They really don't have to work that hard to have people love them, do they! ;)
My friend Guy Kawasaki, a notable business author, speaker, entrepreneur, and former Apple Mac evangelist: As of September 16, 2009, Guy has 171,249 followers and 30,096 tweet updates. Again, there's that 1/5 - 1/6 ratio. And, I consider Guy pretty active.
Robert Scoble is one of the most respected technology reporters. What is his ratio of tweets to followers? 23,733 tweets to 95,479 followers, or a .24 ratio. In other words, a 4 to 1.
You might be asking, "Why does all this matter?" Well, considering Aston Kutcher not too long ago gained his one millionth follower and Oprah, of all people, just sent her first tweet in the past year (although she already has over two million followers), there's a huge range of those using Twitter and those who couldn't care less.
Now, as for my theory of 1/10 to 1/100, well, ARRiiVE is not yet publishing at that ratio. One of the reasons is I've automatically "twitted" my blog posts without bothering to build traffic. The reason is because I only recently (as in today) decided to start targeting growing my twitter list. I'll mark this date and see if my strategy makes sense.
As of today, I have 93 followers and 183 tweet updates. Watch this change now that I've targeted adding twitter followers as an active campaign. I'll report in on the growth in about three to six months.
Okay, let's digress for a minute. If I say you're downright stupid to post 400,000 tweets when you only have 4 or 40 friends, why would I say that? Well, because you're wasting time. You're talking to nobody. And wasting time is almost always stupid. Time, after all, is our number one resource. Wouldn't it make sense to tweet to a huge list, say, at least 40,000, before tweeting 400,000 times? After all, doesn't it take TIME and ENERGY to post that often?
So, before twitting away like crazy, I suggest you build your list. But even before that, I suggest you RESEARCH the top tools to know how to best MAXIMIZE Twitter, especially if you're a corporate or celebrity twitter user.
Here's an excellent resource from Mashable regarding top 10 enterprise twitter tools: http://mashable.com/2009/08/17/enterprise-twitter-tools/
Review each of these tools. Here they are, simplified:
1. Forrester social profile - learn the demographics of who follows your site: http://www.forrester.com/Groundswell/profile_tool.html
2. According to the Mashable article, listen before you engage: Radian6 and Techrigy’s SM2 offer tools to help businesses find out where their customers are really talking. It’s important to figure out which social media tools your customers are using before you begin planning a social media campaign. Listen first before you engage."
3. Use HootSuite or CoTweet to give you the capability to have multiple twitter users feed content into one corporate twitter account. Also, you can use it to "test market" tweet topics to determine which topic best resounds with your audience. HootSuite also gives you the ability to schedule your tweets, something I'm a huge fan of because there are optimum days and times to tweet posts. HootSuite appears to be free, I just joined it today, myself.
4. For the desktop, the two most popular clients among enterprise users are probably TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop, which also give multi-user tweet capability.
Make sure to read more about each of these at the Mashup article.
Regarding other ways to maximize your traffic (add followers), try these top five methods I'm using:
1. Target adding other people with huge lists. Why? Because Twitter offers a feature called RT, or "Re-Tweet" meaning, someone felt your tweet worthy to share with others. When followers RT your tweets, THEIR list gets exposed to your stream of posts, links, and updates, and then those followers can easily ADD you. It's as simple as that.
2. Follow me, follow you. Make sure you have an "auto-follow" feature added so that you automatically follow anyone who adds you. Why? Because people who use auto-adders often will un-list you if you do not add them. Why fight it? Just add them, it boosts the total number of eyeballs who MIGHT see your posts, and that is all that matters in the social media game of numbers, anyway, right?
3. Add value. How do we make our twits valuable? Well, it is like anything online:
- Give information - how to, related "finds", tidbits relevant to your enterprise, ideally
- Be witty or funny - people who make us laugh are attractive
- Tell a story - believe it or not, your twits can tell a story if you use them effectively
- Use clever headlines. If you don't know how to write good COPY, I suggest you either start learning how to write clever headlines, or hire someone who can.
5. Put a "www.twitter.com/arriive" in your email signature, and many people will follow you that way, too.
Let me know how you're using Twitter with your social media strategy.
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