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Twitter – traffic grows and marketers jump on board, but why?

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Hitwise data released yesterday shows that Twitter has continued its inexorable rise in popularity, with UK internet visits to the micro-blogging site up by six times since the beginning of the year – leading to its entry into the top 50 UK websites for the first time.

Whilst the name Twitter and all its related Tweet-isms might be breeding ennui in some jaded marketers, it’s also the case that according to Hitwise this site is receiving

‘more UK internet visits than the Daily Mail, RightMove, MSN UK Search, Directgov, and all retail websites – with the exception of eBay, Amazon UK, Play.com and Argos’

- all of which probably pay large parts in many traditional online media plans.

Not only is that a whole lot of eyeballs but Twitter is also proving to be a valuable referrer of traffic. Hitwise reports:

‘As well as being the 50th most visited website in the UK, it was also the 36th biggest source of traffic to other websites in the UK during March’.

All this activity has lead to a rapid growth in the amount of attention paid to Twitter in companies’ marketing strategies, according to Econsultancy’s UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report, released last week. Compared to last year’s 3%, this year 49% of marketers cited in the report are including Twitter in their social media marketing mix.

Ideally this new focus on Twitter would be part of a holistic social media marketing strategy with the tool being chosen to fit the target audience and set objectives – not just a bit of ‘me too’ activity. Sadly the same report carries evidence that this might not be the case – 19% of respondents aren’t tracking their activity at all and 49% have admitted that they have no idea how successful or otherwise their campaigns have been.

So, we can see that there are sound reasons for brands to engage with Twitter – but it’s essential to first identify a clear purpose for the activity, alongside a set of objectives against which you can then measure your success and justify your investment.

This post was filed under Marketing & PR, Social media, The future and tagged , , . Join the conversation - leave a comment.

4 Comments

  1. I absolutely agree. We can see through various case studies that Twitter has been beneficial for businesses, but it is important that if you are to engage with Twitter that there is a clear strategy behind it.

    It makes sense to put a clear set of objectives, a strategy of how Twitter can help you achieve these and determine the measures for this against your Twitter activity, as you would your other marketing channels. It’s a no brainer really, how else can you justify to your peers your investment?

    Some of these objectives may mirror your overall company objectives. If you’re in the business of selling computers, can you measure how many more sales you gained directly from your Twitter activity? Dell reported $1m in revenue direct from Twitter last year by posting links to deals. If you’re in the business of rehoming dogs, can your Twitter activity help you do this? The Dogs Trust reported their first rehoming a dog via Twitter story last November.

    And your objectives for your Twitter activity will also ultimately influence your behaviour and voice on there. For example if you are looking to listen more closely to your customers ‘in the wild’ and offer a greater level of customer service using Twitter, then this will determine the kind of activity you do on there; determining who monitors and responds, what your internal escalation process will be, the system for determining when to and not act, etc.

    That said, I do believe that whatever your objectives are, you may find Twitter offers other value, as determined via the community. If your objective is to drive sales via your Twitter activity, you will almost certainly find there is an opportunity to offer customer service by listening and responding. If your objective is around providing a greater level of customer service, this will almost certainly result in good PR for your organisation for your company.

    Posted 29th April 2009 at 5:22 pm | Permalink
  2. A company that manages their process incredibly well is ASOS. Well worth looking at. A good balance of Business and pleasure.

    Posted 7th May 2009 at 1:33 pm | Permalink
  3. Thank Chris – ASOS is a great example. Quite interesting that their Twitter presence isn’t dependent on a single corporate account, but distributed between lots of team members. It’s a very similar approach to Zappo’s and is a really nice indication that Twitter is part of their wider customer service strategy, not just a short term marketing effort.

    Posted 11th May 2009 at 1:13 pm | Permalink
  4. AnnaNoble

    I found the best thing to my friend’s birthday… It’s really hard to find cool and still unique.
    So today I saw this thing from ZTARLET on facebook where you can name a real star in the sky and have the certificate and a teddy bear sent to you and pay it by a single SMS. So awesome :)

    Posted 5th June 2009 at 8:46 am | Permalink

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