As of late, it seems that the world is obsessed with big data, and what to do with it. Within the next few weeks, you’re likely to hear more astounding facts about data. Every few months since 2008, analysts have been proclaiming that more data was generated in that particular year than in the previous 5000 years. Stories of organizations complaining that they are generating more data than humans can analyze are as common as roadkill on a Texas highway.
Accordingly, social media API company Gnip recently announced their 30 Day Replay for Twitter service. For a fee, Gnip will provide access to any of the 7.5 billion or so Twitter posts that are generated in the past 30 days. If you’ve ever tried searching for an old Tweet that mentioned you, your company or something else you cared about, you understand why this service can be valuable. Even Twitter cannot really store so much data in its index. It’s simply being generated too quickly, there is too much of it, and it is very difficult to catalog.
The existence of both the problem, and the solution, should make all evidence-based marketers think about what they are really doing with Twitter. Here are two sobering facts:
# 1 – Tweets Only Fuel Short-Term Content Marketing Efforts
By short term, we mean a week or two. Shocking, I know. But really, unless someone goes to your profile page and systematically scrolls through your profile, or buys historical Tweets from a service like Gnip’s, nobody is going to click on something you Tweeted even three or four weeks ago. Again, they won’t be found in Twitter search. They really are lost.
#2 – Tweets Don’t Help You in Google
From 2008 to 2010, we couldn’t say enough about how much your SEO efforts could be helped by Twitter. My how times have changed. Twitter and Google have been having a public spat for quite a while, and for reasons that both companies can’t agree on, Tweets have not appeared in the Google index for quite awhile.
WHAT TWITTER IS GOOD FOR
We’re not advocating that you give up your Twitter efforts. However, you should really be realistic about why you’re doing it in order to make the best possible use of your time.
#1 Nurturing Relationships
Are you showing your product off at a conference, or did your company just air a Superbowl ad? You’ll make friends and strengthen brand loyalty if you actually monitor Twitter and respond same-minute/hour/day to those who are giving you shout-outs. A Twitter reply or retweet goes a long way. And while you’re at it, thank Twitter users who add you to relevant lists. Those are valuable for exposure and are one of the few things on the site that are semi-permanent.
And obviously, if someone is complaining about your brand, contact them immediately and attempt to solve their problem through another channel. If you help them, they’ll probably Tweet something nice about you later.
#2 Creating Instant Buzz
Have at least a few thousand engaged followers? You only need a few of those die-hard followers to retweet your buzzworthy news to hit paydirt. Realize, however, that for most brands, things like hiring a celebrity spokesmodel, a TV appearance or releasing news of a highly anticipated product are really buzzworthy. Your expectations about the return on lesser announcements, such as key hires into your organization, should fall accordingly.
#3 A short-term website traffic stream
Most of your Twitter traffic will be same-hour or same-day. A few may trickle in as you get retweets throughout a week. Also, there’s always a bit of traffic that comes in from the fixed links you have on your Twitter profile page. If you operate multiple sites, consider the ones that you list on your profile page carefully.