There’s this big fad going around you may have heard of. It’s called social media. It includes blogs and sites like Facebook and Twitter, among other things. Marketers are desperately trying to harness social media into some kind of marketing tool and failing miserably, costing companies thousands and thousands of dollars. Just what do they hope to accomplish exactly? Anyone who uses social media or does marketing should be able to see how useless most of it is, and most especially Twitter.
I just found the Twitter page on Facebook today. How disappointing. Here is their wall:
“Follow me I follow back”
“I will follow back I promise!”
“Please follow me and I follow you”
So on and so forth. Sorry but if the price of getting 20,000 followers on Twitter is following 20,000 people, doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Why would you follow all of these people? Let me explain this in simple terms for those who don’t use it.
In Facebook, you can friend up to 5,000 people. Even then, if you don’t particularly like someone, you can still block their updates from your news feed. Not so with Twitter. Whoever you follow crowds your timeline with gems like:
“Going to pick up my cousin from school now.”
“sick of being lonely ”
“Someone amuse me?”
These are actual updates of actual users who are on Twitter’s page on Facebook begging for followers. How riveting. Why wouldn’t anyone want to follow updates like that? And here’s the best part, once you have followed all of these people, when you log in to Twitter, this is all you see! How fantastic!
Now, I use Twitter, and I follow all of 50 people maybe. Most do not follow me. In fact, I have no idea how many followers I have. I don’t care how many followers I have. I almost never Tweet anything. When I do, it is just a link to something like a blog post. In fact, this blog post will get posted to Twitter ironically enough.
But I use it to follow people in my industry who have important things to say. Twitter is a good tool for that. But I fall into th 1% of users who actually use it for something useful. The spammers, trolls and other online refuse make up the bulk of users. And that’s sad. But that’s how it is.
Which leads me to the point. Twitter is completely useless. Why? Because almost no one following you knows you or cares about you or what you have to say. You are just another follower to them. They only follow you because you follow them. In fact, most of the people you are following you don’t know or care about either.
At the end of the day it is a popularity contest. Everyone is trying to be the one with the most followers, and they follow whoever they need to in order to get there. If you have 20,000 followers or 20, it doesn’t matter, because like most people you have your family and close friends. No matter how many followers you get, your family and close friends are still the only people who give a hoot about anything you have to say.
My blog for example. I write it as if a lot of people who don’t know me are reading it. It’s been viewed all of 265 times since I started it. All of these views have come from the same 5 or 6 people who know me. (You know who you are.) The truth is, hardly anyone reads what I have to say. Now suppose I tweeted it to 20,000 people I don’t know. Would anyone care? Nope. Still wouldn’t read it, because even though a lot of people may be following me according to Twitter, only a handful of people are really following me. And that’s true for everyone on Twitter.
Now for marketers. Stop trying to use Twitter. I know, I know, you have all this fancy data. Let me guess, it goes something like “Well take a look at the social media campaign of [insert globally recognized brand], they have a huge ROI!” Well I’ll be, say it ain’t so! You mean someone like McDonald’s can tweet something like “99 cents for a hamburger today” and people go buy hamburgers? Well then, you should make a twitter account for your hole-in-the-wall store no one knows about and wait for the people to come flooding in!
Obviously huge brands that everyone in the world knows of are going to be successful. They are huge brands because they have huge followings and loyal fan bases already. So giving their following and loyal fans something to friend, follow or like is going to work. If no one knows who you are, you aren’t going to get discovered by getting on Twitter. It’s just not the way to build a brand. It’s more like a way to measure a brand.
So if you want to see how popular your brand is, get it on Twitter, get it on Facebook. See what kind of following you can get. And try it without the reciprocal followers that are so prevalent out there. Just see who likes you. Now give it a month. See where you are at. This is a good measure of how popular your brand is.
Think I am wrong? Please show me an example of a completely unknown brand that created a strong online presence via Twitter or Facebook. The only ones who have successfully used social media are the big brands. What a coincidence. Since most brands, stores and websites are relatively unknown, let’s see an example of one that has used social media to become known. Would love to hear if it has been or can be done.