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June 2, 2009

Breaking The "Twitter Code"

A recent post on the Community Marketing Blog  talks about how more blog traffic comes from LinkedIn than from Twitter or Facebook.

For me this wasn't really news, as LinkedIn has always been a part of my traffic strategy. i stands to reason. The core of the worlds net-traveling business community is firmly entrenched on LinkedIn - and they are likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. (Always means the end when somebody says that doesn't it?)

But the post really got me to thinking about Twitter and how it can be more useful in the marketing strategy for this blog.

We use Twitter as if it were like the rest of the social media tools we have out there. Even Joel Comm's book on it seemed to do the same - but it's not is it. It is actually far different. There was another post today on how 10% of Twitter users account for 90% of the tweets .

Twitter is not about friendship or nurturing a relationship - it is actually about sparking one off. Then email, Skype, Facebook and whatever other tool you want to use takes over.

I have met a lot of people there. But my real interaction with them has occurred off-Twitter. (Through blog posts and so on)

This is the real secret of Twitter I think, the real code. It is a many to many communications tool. It is not about relating and forming relationships, rather it is about broadcasting information.

And if you are going to be successful at it then your brand, or your micro-brand to be more precise, needs to have some gravity.

Seth Godin joins and picks up 3,000 followers. BUT - he isn't there tweeting away. It is just for his blog feed whenever he publishes. As always, Seth "gets it".

Many of the really successful Twitter members are news sources (or Oprah, but again - brand counts), CNN, Mashable, Tech Crunch, NY Times and many more.

They get subscribers because people are familiar with, and trust, their brand. And when they send stuff out some of us use groups on programs like Tweetdeck to capture that news and check out their articles.

Once you start to see things like that it changes the medium altogether. Instead of a Facebook for very pithy people it becomes another more sophisticated means of getting your messages out there. Like RSS but with interaction thrown in.

It also explains why follower drives, much like what I did over the past ten days (2,000 followers now . its hailing auto DM's here) are of little real value for driving up blog traffic or for internet marketing in general.

Why? No brand.. they didn't know me and I have very little idea who they are. They followed because they have auto following set up, and some of them think to sell me stuff - almost immediately if you can believe that.

When I send out a Tweet they aren't waiting for it. They have no clue what I blog about, and they are likely to miss it among the 30,000 other people they are following.

It is a smaller room - but I am still just shouting into it hoping someone will hear me.

The Code is also the reason why auto DM's offering gifts, books and whatever else don't work. I deleted mine today after two days of experimentation. Really left a bad taste in my mouth and I am glad I got rid of them.

Understanding and using the Twitter code is what will separate the winners of the battle to get revenues out of Twitter, from those who play around with it, get bored and give up.

Personal Brand + Twitter = Larger, broader audience to hear the information that you want to broadcast.

Twitter - Personal Brand = a social media toy to kick around for a while.

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