Many thanks to Paul Gillen for sharing his latest insight on Twitter traffic trends. There is a common perception that Twitter generates mostly meaningless traffic, like what I am having with my coffee or who I am voting for on American Idol. Paul conducted an innovative experiment. He clipped a 100-block stream of Twitter traffic go assess the amount of useful traffic. If you are discriminating about your Twitter followers (I at least make sure there is a bio with something remotely relevant before I follow someone), then you should see similar results.
What Paul found was:
- 42% of the tweets were random.
- 12% contained news of general interest, including a lot off real-time information about the Samoan tsunami.
- 33% were referral links to interesting information.
- 7% were notable quotes.
- 6% were either self-promotional messages or requests for advice.
Actually, the most telling statistic was Paul’s statement:
“The bottom line is that the 4 1/2 minutes it took me to read 100 tweets yielded at least 20 items of interest.”
That’s powerful. And it demonstrates the power of Twitter to promote your brand online. If you can come up with an online persona that you can promote through multiple social media outlets – Twitter, Facebook, Plaxo, LinkedIn, whatever – then you have something worth promoting.
The other aspect of Paul’s anecdotal research I found interesting was that 45 percent of the tweets included a link. I tell my clients that social networking is about laying out a trail of online bread crumbs that lead a path do your door. Linking to interesting content is what makes you interesting and significant on the social networking world.
I follow a number of people on Twitter, but there are only a few I listen to closely. Like the old EF Hutton commercials, when they tweet, I listen. That’s online brand building.