Twitter is definitely on my list of favorites in 2008. I love using it, love the integrated tools, and love the form of communication that it offers. It's non-intrusive, permission-based, and quick. Mashable has a great post on Twitter's growth, 752%. The growth on the site doesn't include growth via their API, so I think it's actually much larger.
But does it matter?
Companies that are savvy with social media should definitely put Twitter on their list of mediums to leverage. However, Twitter is still a small fish in an ocean of opportunity for marketers. Three characteristics of any medium that need to be viewed closely are:
- Reach – What is the total volume of consumers that can reached through the medium?
- Placement – Is the messaging directly read by the consumer or is it indirectly available for the consumer to click on?
- Intent – Was the intent of the consumer to look for your product or service, or was solicitation even expected at all?
Folks on the Internet love to talk about what's new and they expect everyone to run to the latest and greatest. For businesses, though, some analysis needs to be made before they bet the farm on another medium. Here's a couple charts of visits and pageviews of Google, Facebook and Twitter. Google, of course, is a search engine. Facebook is a social network and twitter is a micro-blogging platform.
Twitter still pales in comparison to the visits that Google and Facebook are getting – that's important to keep in perspective.
While folks love to talk about Facebook, and Facebook loves to talk about its growth, Facebook's growth in membership isn't matched by those users' engagement. In fact, statistics show that Facebook has to continue to grow its member base simply to maintain pageviews. They've got a terribly leaky funnel… and no one is talking about it.
Let's look at the three mediums again:
- Google: Has reach, placement, and intent
- Facebook: Has reach – but it's not retaining well
- Twitter: Has placement, reach is growing but still a small player in the market
Search Engine Strategies in 2009
In other words, Search Engines – especially Google, are the only things that still matter if you want to reach the right audience (are relevant searches finding your business?), offers both direct and indirect placement (direct = organic results, indirect = pay per click results), and has intent (the user was looking for you).
For 2009, your focus to capture market share must include search engines. As their Vice President of Blogging Evangelism, I would be remiss if I didn't point you to the perfect solution for capturing leads via organic search.