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Do you spend too much time on Twitter?

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Twitter is fun, fast, and easy.

But is it effective, as a marketing tool?  Is it the best use of your company’s time and resources?

I believe most companies and organizations should have a branded presence on Twitter that is monitored daily.  But I also observe that many place too much emphasis on Twitter.

When you look at engagement on Twitter, it’s important to keep the facts about its impact in perspective.  Twitter is still not representative of the general public.  It can be easy for communicators and the media to over-estimate its reach, since communicators and the media are two professions that make up the largest segments of active users on Twitter.

Edison Research found that while most Americans (97%) were aware of Twitter, only 8% of Americans had a profile on Twitter (20 million Americans), and of that 8%, only 3 out of 10 used it every day.  Compare that to the 51% of Americans with a profile on Facebook.  Only about 40% of registered Twitter accounts globally are considered “active” and of those active accounts, barely half have posted an update, reply or retweet in a month or more.

Most tweets do not get engagement — they do not @replies or retweets.  Less than 3 out of 10 tweets see any reaction, and that only in the first hour.  Only 6% of tweets get a retweet.

Twitter can be a very useful tool for reaching special interest groups, keeping tabs on legislators, government agencies, and political candidates, and connecting with the news media (use Twitter lists to organize your contacts).  It can be a useful monitoring and customer service tool, so maintaining a branded presence on Twitter is important.

But don’t over-rely on Twitter to reach the general public with important messages or promotions.  Monitor daily and be responsive; incorporate outreach on Twitter as one element in an integrated marketing strategy, but remember what it’s good for.  Don’t neglect result-netting tactics, such as  blogs, advertising, email marketing communications, print (and for some businesses and organizations — Facebook.)

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