It Doesn't Matter That I Don't Like Twitter

Dr. Parker was one of my better advertising professors in college. He was a rather gruff, but loving man who knew a lot about advertising and always had to make sure we didn’t forget it. Probably the best lesson I learned from him was that when it came to advertising, it didn’t matter one bit what I thought about anything — personally. My job, he said, was to link people in need with businesses (preferably clients) who could satisfy those needs using whatever message and medium I had available to me. Simple, huh?

I speak with people often about social media, and many times the conversation swirls around each individual’s view of the various tools used to promote a business in the digital world. I’d say about 80% of the people in general don’t understand Twitter. Most of them don’t even use it, and the small percentage that does really doesn’t make good use of it. By my own guesstimate, I’d say 10% of the market gets it. In fact, I’ve seen some stats recently that support this. Nielsen Research says that 60% of new users abandon the service within the first month. And while there are millions of people who have Twitter accounts, a full 80% of them follow or are being followed by under 10 people or businesses.

I’m one of those. I frankly don’t like Twitter — there’s too much boring information being spread through it by people or businesses from whom I expected better. But don’t get me wrong — I’m okay hearing about someone’s dinner, or a business’ 20% off sale; however, if I’m going to follow you, give me a little something every once in awhile that will help/inform/educate/excite me.

Overall, I recognize the value of Twitter and can point to Iran’s reported troubles as one reason to stay with it. And I recognize that adroit Twitterers know well what they’re doing and what they get out of it. But personally, I’m lost.

Professionally though, my personal opinion doesn’t matter, right Dr. Parker? Especially when I’m surrounded by daedalian Tweeters who make Twitter one of the more productive components of my company’s web/social media marketing service.

The truth for marketers is that active Twitter users are vocal and opinionated. I’ve witnessed this first hand, over and over again. Get connected to these peddlers of information and you have a leg up on your competition. Avoid them and they avoid you, as in, they don’t work for you, help you, promote you, extend you, etc. Just because they’re a small group doesn’t mean they are not worth the communication effort. They ARE worth it, and then some.

They are the people who will forward your information to those they know who are in need of your product or service. They’re the ones who will speak about your tweets at parties and neighborhood baseball games. They are the ones who people listen to (maybe because they do so much talking). They are the ones to whom you want to get your early messages. In essence, they’re your brand catalysts.

So even if you’re like me and don’t use Twitter for personal reasons, keep it in your communication toolbox when it comes to promoting your business. I don’t believe you’ll find a more dedicated and helpful audience than Twitterers — even if they are a small group.


  1. June 24, 2009

    Don’t post that you’re drinking coffee!!! If you do, make it one out of 5 or more. The key to Twitter is to get followers who will enjoy your tweets and pass them along to others who will, with any luck, follow you as well. One way to do this is to follow others. Many people and businesses have an “automatic follow” set up, so if you follow them, they’ll follow you. Then you either re-tweet messages of importance you receive (marked as a “RT” preceding the tweet) or initiate your own, linking people to industry news (the government first time credit offer is one right now), your own business news, or unusual real estate offers that appear to you.
    The point is that others have to see your tweets as valuable; therefore, the info you tweet must mean something to your followers.
    Best of luck,

    Tom Downey wrote:
    Thanks, Charles. My real estate office has been pushing using facebook and twitter but I honestly just really haven’t figured out how. I know that 90% of home buyers start their search for a home online but I just don’t see how you advertise and market locally on the internet effectively.

    The idea that people who do follow twitter are the “connectors” that I read about in Tipping Point does make sense. I guess I should head back to twitter and figure out how posting “I am drinking coffee” can improve business.

  2. Helen
    June 29, 2009

    I feel that the most important part of Twitter is making sure that the content you are providing the users on there is not only interesting but also helpful. If your business constantly posts news articles, you will begin to blend in with the rest of the “news article” tweets and your followers might start to just skip over your content completely after a month because of lack of time.

    The best way to gain and keep followers and use Twitter to help your business grow is to provide your followers with useful information. For instance, it’s OK to post news articles, but you should also post interesting facts about your business or something that people can connect to.

    Target uses Twitter to search out what people are saying about them and to help shoppers find what they are looking for. When someone posts “Went to Target and couldn’t find (fill in the blank)”, they post a reply to this person saying something like “(fill in the blank) will be available in Illinois in the end of August, hang in there.” Their tweets are always funny and unexpected which then creates an instant bond between the shopper/tweeter and the Target brand. This is a GREAT way to use Twitter. How wonderful to be able to see what people want and be able to help them instantly. I know when I experienced a response from Target about something I tweeted I immediately told a bunch of people…which should be exactly what businesses are looking for!