Is Twitter for Idiots? Why use Twitter?

If I had a £1.00 for every time that someone has told me I am wasting my time on Twitter, I think I would be on my way to buying myself a very nice car as a thank you.

Who has the last laugh on my Twitter addiction?

It most certainly IS going to be me.

Twitter is a fabulous tool and once you get past the Marketing Gurus, and the Bots (computer generated spam accounts), it gets easier and easier.  I love Twitter and I love most of what it stands for.  Twitter has  been very good  to our family, but there are reasons to be very aware –  and conscious of what you do on such a public platform.  Many people are now asking themselves how to use twitter these days.

Basic online safety has to apply.  Just because you are tweeting for a Company, or for someone else, it does not mean that you can let your guard down.

Here are 5 reasons that show Twitter is most certainly NOT for idiots.

1 – To make Twitter work and deliver results, the relationship between Tweeters has to develop to the point where trust and respect is gained through engagement.  

It has to be a two-way conversation, full of interaction.  These are not people in front of a TV screen that you can talk at and baffle with science.  They want to talk TO you.  If you don’t talk back to them, then the platform won’t work for you.  It takes time and effort.

Tens of thousands of followers does not = success on Twitter.  You could have 1000 UK based followers with a high conversion rate to sales, or you could have 50,000 followers of whom most are in the US, Canada, Australia or Timbuktoo and ZERO chance of a conversion to sales rate.  Don’t get hung up on the numbers.

2 – Do not give out a private phone number or your home address on Social Media unless you know the person or are comfortable with a personal recommendation.

As businesses we do this every day.  Whether it is right or not is debatable.   Giving out personal details depends on where you sit in the privacy camp, and how your business operates.

New businesses and parents tend to be more publicially reserved about personal details than adults without child responsibilities.  Those who have set up home businesses can find themselves in the situation where they cannot yet afford virtual serviced offices, but struggle with publishing their home address for potential clients.   It can be a catch 22 situation.

3 – Don’t think that you can get away with telling tall tales while you seem to be anonymous on Twitter.  

The speed of the platform, and the relationships that are built through engagement might mean that you are believed in the short term, but your long term followers would soon start to see through the cracks as you smash down the picture they have built of you and your business in their heads.  They have long memories and they will find you out.  It is better to omit something than to lie about it.

4 – Twitter will not yield results unless you are prepared to put some time into it.

Unless you are a big brand with a huge following, you will have to put some work into Twitter.   To make it hugely successful, your Twitter needs to become integrated with the person, or people behind the tweeting to make it more appealing.  General business is usually based more around relationships and recommendations than simply price, so we all need to work on those.

If you make comments on Twitter that say things like “TGIF” or “I can’t wait for the weekend to get home from work” etc etc, what do you think that conveys to your audience?   Would they want your advice on business if you can’t wait to get home from your own one.

5 – Resist the temptation to stick to one way of working and only having one sided conversations.  Target your audience wisely.

Again and again I say that Twitter is about engagement and building a relationship.   I am still seeing so many people who do it their way, and then they flounce out of Twitter and proclaim it a fail.

I will keep saying this until everyone listens.   If you only tweet about your business, your readers will never identify with the person behind the avatar.  Engagement is the key.

If  your target audience is young upwardly mobile workaholics, you are unlikely to find them on Twitter between 9 – 5.  They are going to be out go-getting and then they might be at the gym from 6 – 8.

To target them, you might be successful after 6 pm, or between the golden hours of 8 – 10pm.

If you are targeting parents of young children, you are not going to get them at breakfast or supper time, and the golden bedtime hours are likely to be very dry.

There might also be a good crowd going in the late crowd who are around from 10 – midnight, or perhaps your potential audience are up at 6 am to check e-mails and social media before heading off to the office.


With the speed of Twitter and the need to be able to concentrate on  multi streams at once, being an Idiot is something that a  Twitter user who maximises its potential is certainly not.    To be completely effective, Social Media needs to fit in with our lives, and not just with our work patterns.

Outsourced Twitter accounts with someone doing 5 or 10 tweets a month is really not doing much for a business.   It will simply be a holding account.   It may work where there is a large audience and provides regular incentives such as competitions and giveaways for followers to read the tweetstream, but those campaigns also take time and effort to run.

Another way it might work is if the Twitter stream is fed from Facebook.  It may be popular on Facebook, but it won’t be as popular on Twitter unless there is something in it for the readers.

I have to ask you though, is it worth the hundreds of pounds a month that some consultants are charging to update a few tweets a month when you could spend as little as 5 – 10 minutes every day or two interacting personally?


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