Why you’re wasting time with Twitter right now

by Mark Collier February 16th, 2011 

visitors-per-work-hour-invested

Social media is one of the most popular and recommended marketing tactics online. Almost all marketers recommend social media as a starter marketing tactic.

But I believe social media is way overhyped, especially for new webmasters or anybody without a relatively well known brand or name.

My Twitter stats fail to inspire

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Despite being an avid Tweeter (mostly because I enjoy it) and having written a short guide on social media, I dont believe social media is an effective strategy for new webmasters.

Let me share my Twitter stats:

116 days on Twitter

669 Tweets/updates

85 followers (although this number is smaller than it probably should be as I only follow 34 people as I regard low quality followers as completely usless)

In the past 30 I have received 71 visits to my website as a result of my Tweets (not counting SEO benefit)

Lets break that down a bit.

I average just under 6 Tweets per day. I estimate that I spend at least 45 minutes every day on Twitter. So over the last 30 days I have spent 22.5 hours on Twitter and only received 71 visits.

Thats 3.15 visits per hour spent Twitter marketing

Remember that number as we compare Twitter with other marketing strategies.

Twitter VS. Guest Blogging

I wrote a guest post about my new ethical link building eBook for Ileane Smith of BasicBlogTips.com. The post took just over an hour to write and submit and I spent a further 1.5 hours answering peoples questions in the comments section.

I received 31 visitors to my website in the 20 days since posting the article:

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Thats 31 visits from 2.5 hours of work and thats only in 20 days compared to the last 30 days with Twitter.

Thats 12.4  visits per hour spent guest blogging. Scaling up to 30 days it would be 18.6 visitors per hour of work.

And that doesnt take into account the much more substantial search engine benefits from multiple dofollow links from major blogs in your niche.

Clearly guest blogging represents much more value for the amount of time you put in compared to Twitter for a new Tweeter.

Forum marketing Vs. Twitter

The same holds true for the results I get from my forum marketing efforts.

In the past 30 days I've spent 5.5 hours on traditional forum marketing. I can lead 115 visits back to those efforts.

Thats 20.9  visits per hour of forum marketing.

Again forum marketing overpowers guest blogging and Twitter, although the search engine benefit of forum marketing is certainly not as high as guest blogging.

But – I'm Not Giving Up On Twitter

Heres why:

  • Results  improve over time: over the last couple of weeks I have seen a spike in the number of people following me.
  • Twitter is a great place to make connections and communicate with anybody in your field.
  • A solid Twitter profile will get you noticed by powerful leaders in your niche.

Conclusion

Twitter fails as a marketing tactic for new Twitter marketer or anyone with a small number of followers.

As a new webmaster it is more efficient to use other link building and marketing strategies to promote your website. Those marketing strategies develop links, traffic and a following.

When you have developed a significant amount of traffic, give Twitter a try and see how it works for you.

Mark Collier

Mark Collier is the author of Link Building Mastery an ethical guide to link building. LBM covers 86 powerful link building strategies and includes 15 experts interviews with link building experts such as Tamar Weinberg, Ann Smarty, Marko Saric, Yaro Starak, etc. You can grab your copy of Link Building Mastery here.

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16 Responses to “Why you’re wasting time with Twitter right now”

  1. Chris Butler says:

    Mark

    I read your post with interest and there is some validity however I absolutely challenge your conclusion that you can't use Twitter to market if you are a little guy or have few followers. Using the tools we have developed, (I am not going to hard sell, go look at http://www.wecando.biz, log in using Twitter and go to the Twitter Sales Leads Tool)you can find people out there in the Twittersphere asking for the stuff you do right now and communicate with them within our Social CRM environment. No need to do all the 'throw and pray' web marketing stuff, just talk to people who are already asking!

    Needless to say, what you say about blogging and 'image building' if you will, is spot on.

    We do try to make the hard parts easy though.

    Chris Butler
    COO
    WeCanDo.BIZ

    • Mark Collier says:

      I agree maybe I worded it wrong, but it certainly is harder for the little guy.

      I have used the Q and A tactic, and looked for followers and traffic by answering people's questions before. I even wrote a post on how great it is (www.webtrafficroi.com/how-to-get-instant-twitter-followers/).

      While this tactic really does work in terms of building followers and traffic and the success of Twitter marketing, I have personally found that many of the other marketing strategies I have used have been more effective.

      And this is particularly true for the newbie or someone who doesn't have the 20,000 Twitter followers.

      I am not writing off Twitter, I just don't think it justifies the hype and attention it gets as a marketing tactic.

      This is probably because the guys who get our attention online and write about the success of Twitter marketing are the guys it works for because they have so many followers.

      I hope it clears that up

      Thanks

      Mark Collier

  2. Will Scott says:

    HI Mark,

    Great data.

    I think your twitter success rate would be higher with more – more engaged – followers. That said, I think with the focus on Facebook and Twitter, people have forgotten about the original "Social Media": forums (which grew out of online Bulletin Boards – talk about old school).

    Forums predate Blogger, WordPress and just about every currently popular "Social Media" platform.

    Heck, AOL in the 90s had forums :)

    Glad to see the resurgence in attention. The challenge of Forums, like any other Social Media channels is you have to take the time to engage.

    Will

    • Mark Collier says:

      Hi Will

      I agree more followers would increase success rate but I believe my engagement and follower quality is really good because I have only used high quality marketing tactics and the majority of my followers come from me being mentioned or getting credit for my guest posts.

      For example since this post went live it has had close to 40 Tweets many mentioning my username (@2buildbacklinks, hint, hint ;) .

      And those Tweets of which there will be more have already generated 7 new followers which is a decent jump seen as I only have something like 100 followers.

      Also glad to hear you are a forum fan, I personally believe they are more targeted, niche social media platforms that are more flexible (videos, length of post, images, links and signatures for example).

      And forum marketing and helping people out on forums really has paid off in terms of direct traffic and high quality links.

      Thanks for sharing

      Mark

  3. Brittany says:

    I have to agree with Will that Twitter is definitely a great tool, but you have to get into it. You don't have to have thousands of followers, but interact and form relationships with the ones you do have. I recently started a blog and though I still have pretty low traffic right now, I've notice that I do go a lot of new visits from Twitter and even some repeat visitors. Hopefully as my blog and Twitter following grow, so will my traffic.

  4. Hi Mark!

    I agree with Chris and will's comment, everyone have their own strength and strategy which can work well for them. Its all depend on our understanding and skill on certain social media approach. Some marketers really making good deal with Twitter traffic and I am not one of them :) . I am slow on twitter networking too.

  5. Gemma says:

    I agree with Scott, people focus too much on Facebook and Twitter and although they are important, they forget about forums and guest blogging. The data collected was definitely interesting, and has encouraged me to use forums more. I think Twitter and Facebook have their place and can work well for some sites, but these are typically those with well established brands.

  6. Frank Marcel says:

    All in all, you have just to give time to time and scale up your strategies. I tend to say that I got better Twitter results than you in less than 22h. Despite this, I'd never leave the other actions, even if I was doing that on 30 hours.

    In fact, it's nice to see other folks efforts, it could show that I should do better =)

    Great sharing, thank you!

  7. [...] Why You're Wasting Time With Twitter Right Now [...]

  8. Christopher says:

    Thank you for sharing these stats. I also use twitter to get new visitors for my projects but I'm not a big fan of it. It's nice to get some visitors, but I couldn't drive many visitors to my projects using twitter.

  9. Adam Riemer says:

    Hi Mark,

    I have to disagree with you 100%. Twitter is a great channel to drive traffic and sales. You just haven't figured out how to properly leverage it. Think of it more as a search engine than a Social Media site.

    People are tweeting and looking for advice and you can interact with them (which you cannot do on a normal search engine). If your followers enjoy what you are tweeting then you can get retweets and as your tweets get retweeted you will climb up for the hashtag and gain extra exposure.

    You can easily set up sales tracking through twitter off of your links and it stays in tact for the most part because people are just retweeting and adding a word or two. You can also track through links on your site as your posts get tweeted and retweeted.

    Just because you haven't figured it out doesn't mean it is a waste. Twitter has been one of the highest revenue drivers out of the Social Media sites for many people who know how to use it because, unlike Facebook and other sites where people are there to play and have fun, Twitter is a place for information, research and interaction.

    You can interact with site visitors, answer questions, build a following and have people build a following for you. People are on Twitter to find out what their friends, celebrities, idols, etc… are doing or reading and researching instead of playing games and wasting a ton of time.

    It sounds like you don't get Twitter which doesn't mean that it doesn't work, it just means you haven't been able to create a strategy that does.

  10. Rick LaPoint says:

    Twitter is my 2nd greatest single source of traffic, behind Google.

    I agree with Brittany that you must leverage off people who have massive followings.

    The interesting thing about this strategy is that I made these friends first from blog commenting. Mutual following on Twitter came afterward, where friendships developed through the more immediate interactivity.

    Rick

  11. [...] No. Maybe. But I intend to find out for myself, and I'd like to share my findings with [...]

  12. Pierre says:

    So you got some visitors to your website. Your Twitter profile gets you noticed by 'powerful leaders' in your niche. And what did that get you? More fame? Some hits? Ego boost?

    Most of the stuff I read on Twitter is just recycled news and links, and irrelevant chit chat and self promoting babble. It leads one to conclude that most Twitter users are really just lonely and confused people, seeking attention and validation. Trying to mask it with marketing and sales talk just makes it look all the more pathetic.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      I see your point, Pierre, but find you're being overly harsh. To sheer everyone on Twitter over the same comb… Don't know, but sounds like a bridge too far, no?

  13. [...] Why you’re wasting time with Twitter right now [...]