Tools of The Trade: Twitter

Twitter was originally conceived from a podcasting company, Odeo, in an extra-long brainstorming session. Originally it was published as a service just for Odeo employees, it was later taken to the public market and garnered a huge following.

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The idea of Twitter is simple: You have 140 characters. You can use it for whatever you want. You can share your thoughts and ideas, you can interact with other Tweeters, you can market your company or products.

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Twitter is a very high-contact social network. With Facebook, it’s possible to use it and just check once a week. With Twitter, most people either use it frequently or don’t use it at all.

Traffic & Statistics
According to statistics released in March 2012, Twitter gets over 340 million tweets per day and has 140 million users worldwide. This was an enormous jump from September 2011, where they had only an estimated 100 million users. That’s 40% more users in just a few months.

Twitter now has more than half a billion registered profiles, with over 140 million in the USA alone. Also, Twitter users send 175 million tweets per day, on some special occasions and events Twitter generates tens of thousands of tweets every-second. The average Twitter user has tweeted 307 times. –DazeInfo.com
The Pew Research Center says 8% of adults use Twitter on a daily basis. Another 7% use Twitter more sporadically. Twitter users have almost doubled since end of 2010. Alexa claims that an estimated 8% of global Internet users visit Twitter daily.

Twitter Demographics
31% of people aged 18 to 24 use Twitter.
18 to 29 year olds are about three times as likely to use Twitter than someone 50-64. The 18-29 age bracket is also almost 50% more likely to use Twitter than someone age 30 to 49.
Women are slightly more active on Twitter than men.
The Twitter demographic tends to be technically savvy and are seen as early adopters.

What This Means to You as a Writer/Author

If your book or published works targets an older demographic, it might not make sense to use Twitter. For example, if you\’ve written a book about RV traveling after retirement or being grandparents you might not want to use Twitter.

The truth of the matter is physical industry like restaurants or retail stores might not have much to gain by being on Twitter since their business relies on local traffic. BUT, if you have any sort of a business or product where the your potential customer is anywhere in the world,  it probably makes sense to be on Twitter.

Twitter Pros and Cons
Pro: You can message your followers as often as you want. This is great for things like events or product launches where you want to be constantly in touch with your audience.
Con: It can be difficult to identify a precise ROI on Twitter time. The benefits of Twitter are often
expressed in followers or brand recognition, rather than revenues.

Pro: It’s very cost effective. In fact, many of the largest Twitter accounts really didn’t use any paid advertising.
Con: Twitter can be very time consuming. It can suck up your productivity, as well as the productivity of your employees.

Pro: There’s a lot of room for creativity. You can post funny tweets, informational tweets, spontaneous tweets, sarcastic tweets, caring tweets and more.
Con: It’s difficult to systematize. Unlike other marketing channels where you could make a “system” for posting content, Twitter is very personality driven. You need great writers who can take on your brand’s voice and connect with users, which can be very hard to find.

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Tips for Success on Twitter
The most important tip for Twitter success is this: It takes time. Twitter isn’t PPC (payperclick) traffic. You can’t expect to throw up a Twitter account and get a horde of traffic in days, weeks or even a few months. Give it time. Nurture it.

Be honest with your audience and have a consistent voice. If you ever change the account’s manager or outsource your social media work, make sure you carefully screen each Tweet for at least a month or two.

Focus on conversations, rather than on pushing your content or sales pitches out. Focus on getting to know the people who talk to you, and on letting people to get know you and your brand. Don’t treat Twitter like a direct mail campaign. Treat it more like getting to know a friend.

And finally, have a system for figuring out what’s working and what’s not. Look at statistics, as well as follower surveys to improve your Twitter marketing strategy.

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