Do you have a Twitter account for your business? Do you still post regularly?
Yes? But when was the last time you actually read your Twitter feed and engaged with other people’s tweets?
I used to be a huge fan of Twitter for small businesses. It was a great way to keep in touch with my network and find new clients. One of my most loyal clients came via a Tweet over 5 years ago.
But over the last couple of years I noticed Twitter getting less and less effective. It seems that everyone is tweeting but nobody is actually listening. My feed is full of automated “buy my stuff” or “read my blog” tweets and very little else.
The problems of Automation
I’m as guilty as anyone. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer make it easy to set up your Twitter schedule once a week and then forget about it. And then there’s auto-posting from other platforms like Facebook. With so many other social platforms grabbing your attention Twitter was all too often the “set and forget” option.
Social Media has had a rough time recently. Concerns about personal data, trolls and extremism aren’t going away. This week pub chain Weatherspoon’s announced they were quitting social media completely, citing all the negativity surrounding the different platforms. Although I suspect a lack of return on investment may also be a factor.
The social media platforms have a problem. They need businesses to use their platform to generate revenue. But those businesses don’t particularly like to be sociable. They want to broadcast their message – preferably using automated tools. They don’t really want to engage with others, engagement takes time and time costs money.
Last month Twitter took steps to fight back against over-automation. The restrictions are quite small at the moment (although if you regularly recycle tweets – promoting your blog posts, for example – you’ll need to adjust your approach), but it’s clear they have recognised the issue.
Will this help? I’m not sure. In many ways it makes it even less attractive to small businesses who are time poor. My approach used to be to schedule (and recycle) about 80% of my tweets and then “go live” for the rest, including interacting with others. Now I rarely use Twitter at all.
Twitter isn’t dead yet……
There’s no doubt Twitter is still a popular platform. Nothing beats it for breaking news and live events.
If your target customers use it, it’s still a good option. Use advanced search to find people looking for your product/service and craft a personalised reply. Connect with journalists and build your network.
But be prepared to put the effort in to see any rewards. Otherwise you are simply wasting your time.