Back in 2007, I was practically tarred and feathered when I wrote a post giving reasons why marketers need to pay attention to Twitter.
Now that Twitter is six years old and has 140M+ active users, creating over one billion Tweets every three days, the platform is more important than ever before. Here's what I think today: it's a stronger platform for advertisers than Facebook will ever be.
In fact, I'd put my money on Twitter to be here and be growing long after Facebook fades away. I think Twitter will monetize with brand partnerships like its current brilliant global one with Pepsi, and its partnership with ESPN. These are non-obnoxious, non-obtrusive ways to use advertising and promote content and brands. They will endure long after intrusive advertising on social platforms, including Facebook, have failed.
Marketers need to remember that Twitter is about give and take. If you just use it to pimp your stuff, you'll be zapped in mid-tweet: blocked for good.
Here are the top 10 things I think are important about Twitter for business:
1. Twitter's a top source of news. It's real-time news from every corner of the world. Follow journalists, colleagues, competitors and anyone else who posts relevant, insightful information about your industry. Said David Carr in the NY Times, "By carefully curating the people you follow, Twitter becomes an always-on data stream from really bright people in their respective fields, whose tweets are often full of links to incredibly vital, timely information."
2. You can ask questions and get answers from experts. There are more than 650 Twitter Chats on every conceivable topic.
3. Advertising on Twitter actually makes sense. Promoted Tweets have a one to three percent average engagement rate according to Twitter's advertising blog. If your promoted Tweet is interesting and relevant, people will engage with it. People are on Facebook to have fun with their friends and family. They're on Twitter to get news, learn, have fun, and engage with brands. I believe advertising can be part of the mix.
4. Twitter's a great customer service channel. Ask Comcast, Best Buy, Verizon, and any of the many brands who monitor their brands 24/7 and resolve customer issues before they become big problems.
5. The more you give, the more you get. If you follow the 12:1 rule – add value and help others 12 times, promote yourself once – you'll get more than you give from others on Twitter.
6. Twitter is already strong in mobile. While Facebook is way behind in mobile, 55% of users access Twitter on mobile, with 40% growth quarter over quarter. Promoted Tweets fit perfectly into the mobile app.
7. Twitter gives anyone a chance to become an influencer. Anyone with valuable information to add, who's willing to spend the time to engage with others, can become an influencer on Twitter. It's about being part of the conversation. Listen well before you talk, and you'll find when and what to add.
8. Twitter humanizes companies. People want to deal with people, not companies. When companies Tweet in a human voice, in a meaningful way, they can establish relationships that are stronger than on other social platforms because they are in real time and ongoing. Case study: British Heart Association.
9. 140 character Tweets make you a better communicator and a better writer. It's hard to get a complex idea into 140 characters. Anyone can make a point in 1,000 words. Who's got time to read 500 posts that are 1,000 words long? Not me. But one can easily read 1,000 140-character Tweets in a day.
10. Twitter is a great real-time search engine. Better than any other in my opinion.
Agree, or disagree? I'll close here with some pretty mind-boggling Twitter stats:
Twitter has 140M+ active users.
55% of users access Twitter on mobile, with 40% growth quarter over quarter.
Twitter users create over one billion Tweets every three days.
60% of Twitter users tweet; 100% are listening.
79% of people follow brands to get access to exclusive content.
During this year's Super Bowl, one in five commercials contained a hashtag.
Promoted Tweets get an average engagement rate of one to three percent.