The Trouble with Twitter

tribblesLike “The Trouble With Tribbles”, I find my headline to be amusing. Tribbles, if you aren’t a Trekie, are these little animals that, like cats, make purring sounds when stroked. Humans  love tribbles because of this endearing factor. Klingons hate them because tribbles shriek when a Klingon touches them. The biggest trouble with tribbles is that they multiply extremely fast and eat too much food.

So…what does this have to do with Twitter? Well, let’s take a look at how Twitter works. It’s what I like to call an information depository. If you stare at a Twitter feed all day long, and I have to stare at a lot of feeds since I have a lot of clients on Twitter, the amount of information flowing can be staggering. It multiplies exponentially the more Twitter accounts you follow. When you start off following 100 accounts, it’s fairly easy, you get enamored with the information you see and start to follow more and more until your feed is filled with information overload! Too many tribbles!

This is a huge problem for businesses that want to market on Twitter. There’s a belief that you NEED to have thousands and thousands of followers. Sure, it’s great if you can break the 1000, 10,000, 100,000 or even the cool million followers mark. But, when you have that many followers/tribbles, what are you feeding them? You could spend all day trying to get tweets out with links back to your website but you never see any referral traffic from Twitter. Why? Is it because you have too many followers? You don’t have enough? You aren’t tweeting enough? Your message is boring? You aren’t cultivating content or you aren’t creating content?

It’s all of these.

Twitter is a place to share AND to have conversations. I see a lot of companies out there posting about themselves and product but not conversing. I have even been a culprit, doing this for some of my clients forgetting my main strategies. There’s a lot of clever marketing going on that doesn’t immediately have a call to action (CLICK on the link and learn more) but there’s a lot more selling happening and that’s a huge turn-off for the people who are on Twitter to learn things, gain information and see what’s popular for the day.

I don’t know if there’s a “right way” to do Twitter. I do know that there is a “wrong way”: trying to sell. That’s the biggest trouble with Twitter – companies that view it as a pure marketing platform as opposed to a brand awareness platform.

Social media is and always will be about awareness, about conversations, about having fun. You can let your followers multiply and grow exponentially, but if you aren’t taking care of them and letting them know who you are not what you sell, the tribbles will just take over and you’ll be lost in space.