Is Twitter Worth the Effort?


Admit it! At some point, you have wondered if Twitter is worth the effort. You are busy. You don’t want to waste your time nor do you want a reputation for wasting the time of others. And here’s a dirty little secret: public relations are asking themselves about the value of Twitter.

A recent blog post by Danny Sullivan shows that tweets do not get as much attention as you might think because — surprise! — advertisement can get in the way. Sullivan is founding editor of Given that he is actively engaged in social media and has 390,000 followers, you would think he would have an impressive impression rate.

However, using newly-released Twitter analytics, he saw a mere 1.85% impression rate, though he also notes that the analysis tool only measures tweets through Twitter’s own web site and mobile apps, so there might be some additional viewing. “But it’s probably not that much more,” he added.

I am assuming that most of us are not doing nearly as well as Sullivan. His results also do not surprise me. Aside from the evil ad interference he mentions, I have to consider my own experience as a user. I have unfollowed those who bombard me with the same exact messages over and over. I guess I still wonder if overdoing social media will go the way of paper junk mail. I also don’t have time to check my Twitter feed much. It’s all I can do to keep up with email!

So what is the answer? Sullivan advises folks to keep on tweeting so the messages do get through, which has become a best practice in social media. You just never know when people will tune in to their feeds. He points out that Twitter acknowledges “that you may have to tweet 14-21 times in a week in hopes of reaching only 30% of your total audience.”

Right now I hear little concern about over saturating your audience with endless Twitter feeds or blog posts.

At the same time, we have to keep in mind that micro blogging is still a fairly new concept and more meaningful analytics are yet to come.

We still have a lot to learn. Right now I hear little concern about over saturating your audience with endless Twitter feeds or blog posts. I predict that once all the excitement settles down we will find there are more effective ways to use these tools to reach our audiences.

In fairness, Twitter has successfully drawn more attention to my blog. But as a business-to-business communicator, LinkedIn done a much better job.

My approach to social media is to not bombard my readers. I want to build a reputation for thoughtful content, which means I try to limit posts to topics I think would truly interest my readers. My hope is when they see a post from me, they will notice it because it is rare. I know this goes against the social media advice out there, but as a practitioner, I am doing my own experimentation.

Should you engage in Twitter? Absolutely! You really do not have an overall social media strategy without it. At the same time, be realistic about Twitter. It’s merely another way to reach your audience.

And really, I wish organizations would focus more on the content they are publishing than the means they are using to do so. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the latest and greatest that we miss what’s more important.

Keep your eye on the goal. Effective social media marketing means providing quality content to attract clients to your organization to ultimately build your customer base.

In my observation, publishing quality content in and of itself is fraught with challenges because either a) people do not want writing content as another job responsibility or b) companies do not want to pay writers to produce the unique and helpful information readers want.

So before you tweet again, ask yourself: is this information my current and potential clients need to know? Not sure? Then don’t post!