Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
June 26, 200910:02 PM

On Twitter And Conversion

If you use Twitter solely for personal use, this Blog post is not for you. If you use Twitter for your business or your brands, there has to be some kind of conversion at the end of the day.

How's that going for you?

There does seem to be some kind of race to get as many people following you on Twitter, and an equal pace to ensure that you can stay involved and engaged in the myriad of conversations. From the looks of it, people with tens of thousands of followers seem to be quickly realizing how unscalable that model is and how much time it does take to keep on top of it all. I recently heard Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV (he has close to 600,000 followers on Twitter) say something to the effect of, "people ask me all of the time how I can spend so much time on Twitter Search and still grow my business? Since when does caring and responding to what people say about you not your business?"

There has to be some kind of breaking point.

Here's a potential scenario: someone with a Vaynerchuk-like following is constantly tweeting. The amount of content is staggering (great links, tons of info, references to other great people to follow on Twitter). There's so much content flow that the average follower who checks their Twitter stream only a couple of times per day just sees a sea of content. On the other hand, someone with a more modest following (says a couple of hundred followers) has a different type of relationship with their online community because they're only tweeting a handful of times per day, so those who are connected pay close attention to each and every tweet.

Which one do you think converts more and most effectively?

I keep going back and forth. On one hand, it must be easier to get more people to take action when you have a heavy user base. On the other hand, the mass amount of content being pumped out to sustain that huge following might make each post have less value (or significance) to the audience.

What do you think is the ideal formula to have great conversion using Twitter?

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Chris
    Mitch Joel

    I believe that there will be people hired to update and maintain social media web sites for business in the near future.

    Reply
  • Posted by Greg O'Brien
    Greg O'Brien

    As with anything like this, less is more. I've stopped following a number of people and companies who churn out grillions of tweets. Would rather be involved with people/brands via some well-placed and well thought out tweets than just seeing everything thought they or their ghost writers have...

    Reply
  • Posted by Lydia
    Lydia

    I've just started to follow a few twitterers and try to follow thru links. I can't imagine keeping up with those who have 100's, what about 1000's, of followers or following.
    I do appreciate your not so abundant twits with links to good content.

    Reply
  • Posted by Ian Rountree
    Mitch Joel

    There are only so many people/names/entities we can keep track of and still care. People who treat Twitter as a single entity likely suffer against those who treat each tweeter as such, but it's a percentages game.

    If my 100k follower tweetstream converts 1%, I have a thousand customers. If my 1k tweetstream converts 10%, I have a hundred customers, but the experience of being one in a thousand is a little more personal than being one in a hundred thousand.

    Where I sell, we say we'd rather have one customer buy ten dollars twice than two customers buy twenty dollars once. It's less money at the outset, but sustainable business is a lost art.

    Reply
  • Posted by Rick S
    Rick S

    I find quality rather than quantity works best for me. I started accepting so many people because that was what I thought it meant to be a new Twitter user. But it was overwhelming to keep up with daily tweets. A lot were irrelevant to me. If you are using Twitter for business, you need to limit your scope based on your area of business so you can share ideas, info,etc with industry colleagues. Make it a useful experience which will result in better networking and maybe future business opps.

    Reply
  • Posted by Rick C
    Mitch Joel

    It really depends on your goal - mine is to be selective since I have a local small business- i use the location service with twitter on my iphone to find "moms" in a 50 km radius (my business is targetted at parents) and follow twittering moms. I do not spam or even tweet much at all - they simply follow me back if my service is of interest. I've only been at it a couple of weeks, but it does seem to work - moms are starting to follow me back...

    i only follow ppl who make mention of their kids in a tweet or in their profile - selective following...

    Reply
  • Posted by Chris Carter
    Mitch Joel

    I would tend to agree that quality will win in the end. There are still a large number of tweeters out there that are using social media as a podium rather than a round table.

    I think businesses that choose to listen and participate in conversations will add more value to their relationships. People today are bombarded with choices on a daily basis. Considering most offerings have similar features and benefits, most of us will make buying decisions based on trust. You gain trust by meeting and beating customer expectations.

    So whether you have 100 followers or 100,000 if you can differentiate yourself from others, be consistent with your message and be remembered for it, you will win in the end.

    Reply
  • Posted by Kneale Mann
    Mitch Joel

    Patience is a virtue but rarely a business plan. Most of us - find it tough to stick with something even if we don't sense immediate reaction.

    Traffic, chatter and content are not difficult to create. What is difficult is commerce, engagement and actual connection. No, really.

    Twitter represents much less than 1% of the world's population. So before we think we can create a movement with it, we need to look at the data. According to recent reports, less than half on Twitter are actually contributing to the conversation(s).

    Those of us in the digital space are busy creating profiles and content which leaves less and less time to consume others' content. It's a look at me, I don't have time to look at you world.

    I see an elephant, a plate, a knife and a fork and some napkins. Dig in.

    @knealemann

    Reply
  • Posted by Jeremy Epstein
    Mitch Joel

    I tend to follow fewer and thus have fewer who follow me. It's a quality vs. quantity approach. I presented this at Pulver's 140conf and at least 1 person "tweetsmacked" me for my approach. Fortunately, others thought it made sense.

    Here's the backstory for anyone who is interested (I was called clueless!...maybe I am)

    http://jer979.com/igniting-the-revolution/tweetsmacked/

    Reply
  • Posted by Suzan Bianchi
    Suzan Bianchi

    Twitter certainly has changed retention and acquisition strategies for anyone marketing a product or service. We’re now speaking to customers, leads and prospects all at the same time and sometimes in the same voice. And that presents a real challenge when it comes to conversion.

    I would say a great formula for conversion doesn’t depend on quantity; rather it’s a matter of what you say and how you say it. And those two things have to be varied enough to allow various audience segments to “identify themselves� in your tweets on a regular basis. Otherwise, you’re distancing them from your brand.

    For example, I’m a professional cycling fan and whatever Lance Armstrong is selling, I’m buying — at least, to a point. Lance does a good job of holding the attention of multiple audience segments: cycling fans, cancer research advocates and celebrity hounds to name a few. But it’s not the number of tweets that he posts; it’s the fact that he gives each segment enough value to keep them interested.

    But that leads to another question, at least in my mind: Will big- or multi-brand marketers have no choice but to rely on social metrics in order to develop and maintain a winning conversion strategy?

    @suzanbianchi

    Reply
  • Posted by Kevin Ertell
    Mitch Joel

    This is a good conversation to have. I've been trying for a while to figure out how retailers might best use Twitter. I think it's definitely another customer service channel to use, and that's very helpful. Comcast clearly has a good story to tell on customer service.

    I'm less sure about its marketing value, though. To some degree, it's a good way to monitor brand effectiveness, but I'm not sure Twitter users are a representative sample of the population, so brand monitoring on Twitter must take the commentary as informative but not comprehensive.

    I'm even less sure about its value as a broadcast medium. The problem is that Twitter is a stream (or a river or white water rapids depending on how many people you follow), and therefore your tweets live a moment in time. If your potential audience is looking away when the tweet is sent, it's missed. I don't know how many people go to a brand's profile page to see all of their tweets for a day. Does anyone know if people do that? Otherwise, I'm concerned that a brand's audience of followers would have to be massive to get any kind of decent conversion on a tweet. Maybe it's actually better for brands to get involved in ongoing conversions via hash tags rather than only starting conversations.

    I would certainly love to know what others think. Should I be thinking about this differently? Does anyone have examples of brands, and especially retailers, who are using Twitter effectively? If not, how would you use if you were a retailer?

    @kevinertell

    Reply
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