WARNING: This may sound like a bit of a rant in places but there’s a point.
I’ve been using Twitter full on for a couple of years now and I manage a handful of corporate and personal accounts. They’re not difficult to manage, but they can be time consuming and with so much to do, is that time well spent?
I think Twitter adds the most value to people in the public eye – it helps bring them closer to their fans. But what about you or I – is it worth our time? I can use Facebook for my mates, or even send a quick text – so why would people I don’t know, or indeed know nothing about me be interested in what I have to say? Well apparently over 2000 people are…
When I first started using Twitter, I have to admit I wanted 10’s of thousands of followers, that was important to me – it was a numbers game, but I quickly learnt that was pretty pointless. A heavy following is good for perception and in theory exposure, but only if people are following you because they are interested in what you have to say.
Early on I got caught up in the game of you follow someone and they follow you back – that often works…but really, that’s not the point of Twitter – you should only follow the people who interest you. Some people even buy followers! I can tell you for nothing that those followers won’t be engaging with you and add very little value – I understand the positive perception it gives, but if you’re not that interesting then you will soon be found out by your real followers – so don’t waste your time and focus on what’s important and that’s sharing interesting content.
I’m happy to admit that some of my tweets are auto generated from my blog – only a few a day, but it saves me time as it’s something I would do manually anyway…I’ve even played with Yahoo pipes as a way of tweeting marketing news, but really that’s just random – you can’t guarantee a good bit of news and it ends up looking like spam. At the end of the day, if someone want’s news from Mashable, they will follow Mashable…
So spam is pointless. Firing out random rubbish every couple of minutes just puts me off following people, I’m all for regular tweets if it’s something interesting, but thoughtless junk is wasting my time and hiding all the good stuff. Unfortunately the people who do that are unlikely to be reading this…
Auto direct messages seem pointless too – so I’ve just followed you, I appreciate the thank you but I don’t need to join your ‘FREE home business’! Direct messages are for private conversations and in my opinion shouldn’t be devalued with auto messages.
I’m more than aware that Google seems to consider Social endorsements in its algorithm, so that adds value – but that said it’s only really valuable if you have a strong profile and have your tweets re-tweeted by others. And the only way to achieve that is through having a genuine, interesting account.
So it’s fair to say I’ve changed. My objectives are different and although I understand that a high number of followers is good for perception, it can be a waste of your time and in my opinion is a hollow target.
So where’s the value?
I’m a fan of Twitter and will keep on using it. I think that if it’s used well it can be a valuable tool. On top of my blog tweets, the best experience I get is through engaging with others – by that I mean having conversations with people and genuinely sharing interesting things using their @address – that’s what I do now and I hope that other’s find that interesting.
Focussing on the numbers and spending time on ‘cheating the system’ with 100’s of auto tweets and junk is a waste of time. Instead use Twitter to share interesting content and really engage with people, even if that’s only a handful of regulars. Doing this will bring you real exposure, traffic to your site and a following who are interested in more than you just following them back. Be prepared not to have millions or even thousands of followers, but that’s not where the value comes from – keep that in your mind, otherwise your just wasting your time.
What do you think? Is Twitter full of spam? Is it somewhere you should be investing your time? Please leave me some comments, because I would love to know your thoughts.