All of my clients, including the agencies I work with, are watching the evolution of social media with keen interest, and one of the most curious phenomena to power social media is Twitter. Although they still don’t seem to have a revenue model, Twitter and the whole concept of microblogging has taken the Web by storm. I recall when Twitter first launched two years ago at the Web 2.0 Expo at San Francisco. I was there to help launch Vidoop, an innovative security solution for logging into Web sites, and the Vidoop marketing team were all abuzz about Twitter. They actually started using the service on their mobile phones to keep track of each other during the show.
Now Twitter seems to have grown up, a lot. In March, Mashable reported that Twitter was growing at a rate of 1,382 percent with 7 million unique visitors. And more services continue to leverage Twitter as part of their social media strategy; the latest being LinkedIn, which just launched a Twitter feed for users, and Yahoo which is harnessing Twitter to promote search.
But how effective is Twitter as a marketing mechanism? Can you use Twitter to reach your target audience? According to a new study by Pew Research, 19 percent of Internet users are using Twitter, up from 11 percent in April. Not surprisingly, web users who are already using social networking sites such as MySpace, LinkedIn, or Facebook seem more likely to use Twitter (35 perce
nt). And the more devices a user owns, the more likely they are to use Twitter to update their activities – 39 percent of Twitter users have four Web-linked devices, 28 percent with three devices, 19 percent with two devices, and 10 percent with one device.
What was really interesting about the Pew study were the Twitter demographics. As of September, 54 percent of Internet users have a wireless Internet connection, either from a cell phone, laptop, game console, or other mobile device. Twenty-five percent of those 54 percent use Twitter, which is up from 14 percent in December 2008. The median age for T
witter users is 31, with users between the ages of 18 and 44 up dramatically in the last six months, and
Internet users over 45 are coming on at a slower adoption rate.
I think the most interesting statistic, and the most important to consider from a marketing perspective, is that according to Harvard Business School researchers, 10 percent of Twitter users account for 90 percent of all tweets. In addition, of the 11.5 million Twitter accounts, most people post once a day and one in five have never posted on Twitter.
So what does this mean for your personal PR and marketing program? Understand your objectives before you embark on a social media program, and who you are trying to target. Twitter exposure can be valuable in promoting your online brand, but you want to make sure that you have the right followers. Twitter can be a valuable tool for market research and information dissemination, but only if you can tap a demographic that you care about.