Is Twitter worth it for your brand or just a digital hellscape?
In an effort to distract myself — procrastinate is more accurate — from writing a blog on the daunting task of breaking through on Twitter, I am, of course, scrolling through my Twitter feed. So obviously I’m conflicted, but helping manage the WhiteSpace Twitter account for the last year and a half has made me acutely aware of the wall of noise that is Twitter, especially for small businesses trying to enter the fray. WhiteSpace has approximately 1,800 followers (give or take) and while I am unsure if any are Russian bots or even real live people, I am certain that attempting to rise through the clutter is, perhaps, a fool’s errand or, at the very least, really freaking hard.
For a small business, Twitter presents a massive challenge given the size and speed of the platform. Let’s digest this a little: Take a moment and count to five. One one thousand… two one thousand… and so on. When you reach five, know that while you were counting nearly 29 thousand tweets were sent fluttering into the world. And that’s just an appetizer compared to the 500 million tweets, according to Hootsuite, that are typed into existence every day. It’s staggering numbers like this that lead me to wonder: If your brand or company isn’t, say, Youtube with its 71.4 million followers, is Twitter really worth it?
It’s a whirlwind.
Obviously it’s slightly hyperbolic to say you have to be a brand like Youtube or CNN Breaking News (54+ million followers) to use Twitter effectively, but audience size and reach can put small businesses at a distinct disadvantage. For example, let’s say that every person in the U.S. (current population of 327 million people) started yelling about whatever was on their minds and then you started yelling about your brand’s commitment to customer service — hypothetically, of course. What are the odds that a significant segment of the population is going to start listening to you extol your company’s values? The odds are not good and maybe — MAYBE — a satisfied customer happens to log in at the exact right time (or, like, three days later when it reappears in the algorithm for whatever reason) and throws you a “like.” This is on a good day, but unfortunately most days cutting through the Twitter noise feels like getting noticed when you’re drowning in a cacophony of yelling.
Here’s Twitter at a glance: Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Barack Obama, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, The Ellen Show, Christiano Ronaldo, YouTube and Justin Timberlake. That group rounds out the Top 10 most followed Twitter accounts. So mostly musicians and one brand. Granted, no one (hopefully) is actively engaged with the full population of the Twitter-verse. In fact, the average Twitter account has 707 followers. For a more favorable analysis, your brand may only, on average, be competing with several hundred people yelling — still not great given the niche audiences of many small businesses. (Fun note: There are nearly 400 million accounts on Twitter that have zero followers compared to the 326 million active Twitter users).
Not all is lost on Twitter.
I get it. It’s frustrating when you put a lot of work (and clever little zingers) into your social media efforts only to learn that, on a good week, three people liked your posts. There are, however, still benefits for brands and small businesses when it comes to Twitter, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Here are a few perks to staying active on the old Twitter machine:
Improve your SEO results.
If you’re a brand, being active on Twitter helps improve your SEO value because Google will index tweets in its search results. Also, people use Google to search for hashtags, so your tweets improve your searchability and increase your online footprint. Also, hashtags and keywords go a long way toward improving your brand’s SEO as well. So tweet away… but use hashtags and keywords (wisely).
Take control of your interactions.
We’ve determined that interactions — specifically the lack there of — are frustrating. That said, if you’re not getting the interactions you expected or hoped for, you can start the interactions by initiating conversations with your audience, clients or whoever. This can be especially useful if you’re engaging with local brands and people — as in not on the internet and instead in your city or geographic region. Plus, you might make someone’s day by commenting, liking or retweeting their post and maybe, just maybe, the dopamine rush they experience will create a positive association with your brand or company (I’m kidding, kind of…).
Share your brand’s personality.
This tip might sound a bit contradictory when it’s being presented alongside a bunch of statistics that show how overwhelming and massive Twitter is, but even if people aren’t “liking” or “retweeting” your posts, you should still develop your brand’s online personality. As stated above, Twitter improves your SEO value and an improved SEO value may lead more people to your Twitter page, and that’s why you want to have a strong presence. Even if someone isn’t following your company on Twitter, they might still check out your profile if they’re interested in working with you or for you.
Use Twitter… even if you’re doing it begrudgingly.
I want to be clear that if you think Twitter is a toxic wasteland, you’re probably not wrong. But the reality of Twitter isn’t the reality of our day-to-day lives and even if it feels impossible to break through the clutter and speed of Twitter, there are benefits beyond the elusive interactions and engagement. And, if you come up with something super funny or clever, you’re legally obligated to put it on the internet… that and funny dog pictures.
Need help with your Twitter messaging? Social media in general? Tweet at us here or drop us a line on our website.
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