I’ve been crowing this for a year now, but few appear to have listened to me. Now, however, an article appears at MSNBC.com that may help people get the message: High numbers of “followers” doth not a lot of money, make.
Services are always available to help a business shortcut the natural order of collecting leads – from e-mail lists to Twitter accounts, no one wants to invest time in something if that time can be shortened somehow. The result are thousands of social media profiles with thousands of followers, which they how will lead you to believe they are popular and relevant.
The problem remains that since no time was put into meeting all of these people, these followers aren’t of any value. What’s more, the more businesses there are that can brag of large followings, the less a “large following” is going to be worth. It’s like trying to brag that your company has “e-mail.” Well what company doesn’t have e-mail these days!?!
The article focuses more on how these businesses selling Twitter followers end up coming with more bad news than they are worth, and that’s true – with little money to actually be made on Twitter, they are going to be more concerned with their own longevity. That means using the Twitter accounts of their clients to promote themselves, one way or the other. (A good reason not to use padding services, but also not to give out your Twitter log-in to any service that requires it.)
If you are a business owner or marketing manager interested in leveradging Twitter, remember: The game here is not about collecting the most followers, but the best ones. If you have 20 followers, but they are unabashed fanboys of your company or product, then you can get these people to go out into the world as your evangels, singing your praises, promoting your offers by their own word of mouth to their own followers. If each one had, say 500 followers of their own, that’s 2000 followers you are messaging to.
That, my friends, is how Twitter can be made to work for business. People crow about their follow counts when they aren’t marketing savvy enough to know what is important. Following counts can produce large numbers, which can be impressive on paper. But using it correctly, to meet others, impress them, friend them, and getting them to turn on their friends to you, this will increase conversions and sales, if not directly.
In another article from MSNBC, Best Buy used Twitter to ask users what they thought the qualifications for their Marketing Manager should be. This is certainly a smart use of the technology, as it engages the public direclty. It listens to what others are saying about them, answering a question they posed.
So will this sell more Blue-Ray players in the long run? Will this keep Best Buy on the tips of more people’s tounges? Will they gain a respect they didn’t necessarily have with Twits up until now?
Yes. Because this is now social media works.