In the old day (like two years ago), linkbait was one of the best ways to get recognition, attention and comments for your Blog, but things are quickly changing.
Several months ago, I sat down with Avinash Kaushik and recorded an audio conversation for my Six Pixels of Separation Podcast. Kaushik is the author of Web Analytics - An Hour A Day, a Blogger over at Occam's Razor and the Analytics Evangelist at Google (I'm also proud to call him a friend). In that conversation, he announced that his new book, Web Analytics 2.0, would be coming out (in fact, it's available this week!). In Web Analytics 2.0, Kaushik looks at newer ways to measure success in the online channels and how some of the newer ways will definitely look strange, foreign and scary to the everyday Marketer.
A retweet is one of the better metrics to gauge success with Twitter and could well be one of the best web metrics overall.
That was only one of the many insights that Kaushik is kicking around, and it leads to something we often talk about and rarely see: if customers like a brand they might consider following it on Twitter. It's a whole other level of interest and engagement when those customers start spreading the brands tweets within their own online social network.
Fighting for that attention and the short nature of Twitter leaves plenty of room for Tweetbait to make linkbait seem look like a joke.
In a trusted network, a simple tweet like, "you gotta check this out..." with a link created with a URL shortening service is sure to get some clicks and Twitter attention. The trouble with this is - much like any other form of "baiting" - that unless it's truly meaningful and adds value to the person who is "checking it out," wasted attempts will surely get people to unfollow you and - potentially - start thinking differently about your brand.
With each tweet, people are investing or divesting in you. There is little-to-no apathy.
And, we're not just talking about Twitter here. Along with every wall post, Blog post, LinkedIn update, video posted to YouTube, etc... you're either building community or losing community. It's one of the lesser talked about truths about online social networks. Every piece of content created - especially when it comes from a brand - is being scrutinized for value. The one-click to drop your brand is easy and consumers are quick on the mouse. Don't forget that.
Force yourself to face the tough realities that pushing people to your content or focusing too much on creating tweets for the sheer result of pumping up your Twitter followers or grasping at the retweet is not a long-term strategy. Depending on your strategy, all of that energy and effort might be better spent on Twitter Search looking for tweets about your industry and those who need some service from it.
If you're into the idea of Tweetbait, use it wisely and sporadically or risk becoming known as The Tweeter Who Cried Wolf.