The Twitter About Twitter

Twitter is one application of a broader category called microblogging. You've seen it on The View, you've watched it creep into night time dramas, you've heard it in the news, you've seen Larry King take on Ashton Kutcher with their one million follower challenge. Ashton Kutcher got over one million followers and beat Larry King / CNN. Ashton had 1,230,000+ and CNN had 980,000+ where the match actually bought malaria nets for children in Africa. Isn't this a great application of social media; helping kids?

Then of course, that led to the Ding-Dong Ditch where Ashton Kutcher "punked" Ted Turner the owner of CNN. If you're not familiar with the Ding-Dong Ditch; you ring someone's doorbell, then when answered, you begin throwing Ding-Dongs, literally. CNN lost, so they bombed his house with Ding-Dongs. I learned that even Demi was Ding Donging with the rest of them.

Back to discussing Twitter though. Twitter is text messaging on steroids. Recently, I was in Atlanta presenting to Jerry McGuire's clients (Leigh Steinberg), and there were more Super Bowl rings in the room than I had ever seen before. I made the same statement and this crowd went dead. Steroids...not a good thing; the marketing moral is, know your audience.

a twitter about twitterOn Twitter, you voluntarily select to receive text messages from people that you respect so you "follow" them. People who respect you receive your text messages or "follow" you. Anytime you get an inspiration or something intelligent to say, send out a Tweet. When others have something intelligent to share (and sometimes not so intelligent) they Tweet it and you see it. This way you're instantly informed. That's all there is to it.

At my most recent conference, we had a Twitter Roll on a separate screen at the front stage. It was a laptop connected to the Internet that simply received any text messages sent via Twitter that mentioned the conference. That way anytime someone in the audience had something to say about what was being presented or any questions, I could address them immediately in real-time. A phenomenon I recognized for the first time, was we had as many questions from the conference audience on the screen as we had from people from around the world, not at the conference. I'd answer their questions and people would Tweet my answers back out to the Twittersphere.

Everyone keeps asking me about Twitter metrics; how can you make money using Twitter. Whether it's Twitter or any other social network, it takes time to build your trusted network, but when you do, they're there for you. Here's one case study that makes it easy to see the ROI. If you haven't already seen Gary Vaynerchuk, you have to go and look at some of his videos. Gary has produced nearly 700 videos about wine. He's a Jersey boy. He took over his dad's wine distributorship, which had annual revenues at about $5M. He started using Twitter and creating short, self produced videos about wine and within 36 months built his company to $50M. And recently, he signed a $1M contract to write a series of ten books on social media marketing. That's the power of this genre. Click here to listen to my conversation with Gary V:

In December, Gary wanted to understand the value of his twitter relationships. He wanted to specifically compare conventional marketing that we are all comfortable with, with this new Tweet stuff. He started by creating three different codes that when entered on his wine Web site would give the customer free shipping on their next wine order. This discount would range from $9 on one bottle of wine to $49 on a case of wine. He then created a direct mail piece, which offered one of the codes. He did a billboard on one of the local highways with its own code and then he sent out a text message (a Tweet) on Twitter with the third code. Here are the results.

The direct mail piece cost him $15,000 to produce and mail. We've all been there; $15,000 is a reasonable cost for a decent direct mail campaign. This conventional marketing technique acquired Gary 200 new customers. He got 200 new customers for $15,000 using direct mail. The ROI or Cost Of Customer Acquisition was $15,000 divided by 200 or $75 per new customer. His billboard cost him $7,500 and he generated 300 new customers. His ROI or CCA here was $7,500 divided by 300 customers or $25 per new customer.

His one free text message, a Tweet using Twitter, brought in 1,800 new customers. This marketing was 100% free. What was the ROI here; $0 divided by 1,800 customers or infinity. That's the power of Twitter. That's the power of social networks. That's why this stuff is so important. People follow you, people trust you. They'll listen to you when you have something to say.

Read more of Lon Safko's Social Media Bible blog

Lon Safko is the co-author of The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies For Business Success. He is also an innovator and professional speaker with over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship, marketing, sales, strategic partnering, speaking, training, writing, and e-commerce. He is the founder of eight successful companies, including Paper Models, Inc.

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  • JoeAnne JoeAnne

    This Twiter technology seems awesome to be honest. I always wanted to switch on it from this normal way of blogging. People are buying steroids because of my blog cause that`s what I advertise there. I`m glad that I can be helpful for something at least.

  • JoeAnne JoeAnne

    This Twiter technology seems awesome to be honest. I always wanted to switch on it from this normal way of blogging. People are buying steroids
    because of my blog cause that`s what I advertise there. I`m glad that I can be helpful for something at least.

  • Justin Sullivan

    I think the best thing about Twitter is the way that it rewards people who are really passionate about what they do. Gary is a perfect example of this. His genuine love for his craft can not be faked. Conversely, I think this why so many people who struggle to find the monetary value in a site like twitter or any other social media site will continue to struggle. Social media is geared to really help people find out more about what they love where as traditional media is geared to tell people more about what they think you should love.

  • DrSandraCottingham

    I have been using Twitter to promote my new book, "Lead Babies" - a book about Pb and breaking the cycle of learning and behavior problems, and autism. Well over half of the new visitors to my web site are Twitter followers. While very misunderstood by the non-users, users discover a powerful tool for reaching targeted
    leads. I have 2 issues. The first is the saturation of e-commerce promoters flogging affiliate programs to get more people to sign up for affliliate programs. I can live with though. I just hope that the Twitter field grows as exponentially as the number of e-markets looking for enrollees.
    My real issue is the amount of porn. I am finding this a bit hard to take, especially when there are sex acts right in the Twitterers picture. Surely there is a way for TWITTER to remove sites such as these, or allow us to refer site names for Twitter to look into and ban.
    Apart from that, I'm thrilled and continue to learn new things daily. Its helped me really understand who my market is and how to best reach out to them.
    Final comment - I would love to connect with other authors who are successfully promoting their book using Twitter.
    Best regards,
    Dr. Sandra Cottingham
    Breaking the cycle of learning disabilities, declining IQ, ADHD, behavior problems, and autism

    Authors: Joanna Cerazy M.Ed. and Sandra Cottingham Ph.D

  • Philip Nowak

    When I first joined Twitter, I thought it was a complete waste of time. After I downloaded TweetDeck, my Twitter experience changed dramtically and I became an addict. It is amazing to me that I can engage in conversation with followers around the entire world. I found my blog logo designer after she responded to one of my tweets. She happens to be in Vancouver, Canada and is one of the most creative people I have ever met. Would I have ever contacted someone outside of Illinois to work on my logo? Maybe, but doubtful.

    I am also currently in the job market for a social media career opportunity and I added the term "Unemployed" into my Twitter biography. That was the best decision I ever made. People contact me everyday with job opportunities as well as job hunting advice. I am sure that it is a matter of time before I find a perfect match. :-)

    Twitter has proven itself to be a great tool to meet unique individuals around the world as well as a great tool for my job search. Don't forget- download TweetDeck for the optimal Twitter experience.

    Philip Nowak
    Twitter: @philipnowak