I’m using Twitter a lot these days and even though it is called a social media tool, I am finding it to be more of a ticker-tape of sales offers and news. It’s more like those scrolling, red-letter digital signs you see on buildings, especially outside of news studios; the ones that endlessly scroll through headlines. This one allows anyone with a need to sell you something you don’t want to post their offers, endlessly.
I hear a lot about Twitter popularity on the news and the internet but I honestly can’t say it’s a very useful tool for business so far. It does drive traffic to our web site. We notice a drop in visits on days when we fall behind on our company tweeting. Converting those visitors to customers is another story however.
The low conversion rate to sales could say more about how we’re presenting our services on the web than it does about Twitter itself, or it could be that everyone who’s on Twitter all day is there because they’re all unemployed and don’t have any money to spend. Our giveaways go like hotcakes which supports the theory that most people in Twitter have no money.
One criticism of Twitter that isn’t well-deserved is that all the users do is tweet about their bowel movements or tuna fish sandwiches. While some of that kind of minutia is tweeted, I think it probably results in people being un-followed by other Twitter users. My guess is the negative reaction to mundane tweeting results in a self-moderating by users, or people never read anyone’s tweets and simply use Twitter to broadcast their own sales pitches.
I can’t find the key to unlocking the social part of Twitter. I’ve had one real conversation with someone in almost a year of using the service! It isn’t like I don’t try to be social. I respond to what people say sometimes and they almost never reply. When they do it is just to say “thanks” which is nice but is a conversation ender, not a starter. I retweet interesting tweets and those people infrequently say thanks at all. I give “shouts out” to people I like to follow and they often ignore my efforts to engage them. I’m like Tom Hanks on the island in the movie Castaway talking to a virtual Twitter volleyball named Wilson. I feel like kicking Wilson out into the ocean. But then I’d probably go scrambling back after him anyway. My Twitter isolation is resulting in a kind of a post-twee-matic stress disorder I think.
I fear that it’s only me who can’t get gain traction within the social part of Twitter, my boss seems to be talking to people. Maybe I am just a deadly boring person who sucks at 140 character writing. Perhaps I am headline-challenged or maybe I am using the service all wrong.
Maybe the issue is that I am a grant writer and grant writing isn’t considered sexy (How wrong-headed is that?) Ellen seems to have lots of followers and all she does is say funny things under her blue eyes and dance over a coffee table every afternoon.