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Gini Dietrich

Drive Blog Traffic Without Using Twitter

By: Gini Dietrich | September 7, 2010 | 
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Happy Tuesday everyone! Welcome back to the real world. Other than the wind (I keep telling myself the wind makes me super strong on my bike, though it doesn’t really help when you’re riding in it), we had a perfect weekend in Chicago. Hope you did, too!

I was catching up on my Google Reader on Friday night and I came across Scott Hepburn’sWanna Help a Fellow Blogger?” post. In it, he talks about ways we can each help drive blog traffic without using Twitter. GASP! Not using Twitter?! Is the world ending?

But…I agree. When we look at our referral sources on traffic, Twitter is number one. And it annoys the snot out of me. Why? Because that means our traffic is totally reliant on me and my network to get the blog posts retweeted every day. And why wouldn’t it be? I tweet the posts. I tweet our guest blogger’s posts. And I tweet blogs of people I respect and admire. So why would you go anywhere else to get the information? I make it too easy.

Twitter, however, is killing our bounce rates and it’s killing our subscriptions. On the flip side, though, our traffic is much larger than we planned and we’re enjoying great conversation among our community. I’m smarter and more open-minded because of the conversation you have here in the comments.

I still maintain Twitter is going to die (I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet) so we’re thinking of the future when I pose the question during every staff meeting, “What are we doing to drive traffic that isn’t reliant on Twitter?”

We are using other tools – StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook, for instance. But they don’t drive nearly as much traffic as Twitter. We don’t have the magic answer…yet. So help a fellow blogger out. What do you do to drive traffic, decrease your bounce rates, and increase your subscriptions?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

1 comments
NashuaIndigo1978
NashuaIndigo1978

before twitter, blogs and websites has also ways to increase traffic, you don't really need twitter at all, and twitter has also changing their rules of be founding in search. a lot of tweets with links are even not visible in search anymore, unless you have tons of followers and even then it is up to twitter to decide to bring your tweet visible

Jackie Tithof Steere
Jackie Tithof Steere

I tried posting my tweets on facebook for a day or two and people did NOT like that. I have been tweeting my posts maybe 5-6 times, as I was under the impression that people don't always see all tweets...and certain times of day are better to tweet than others. Am I wrong? I know I do not go through all of mine.

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Jackie, I don't think you're wrong. I use Facebook for a totally different purpose - never for promoting our blog posts (though we have the RSS feed set up there if anyone wants to click on it). Twitter I definitely think you should tweet the same link multiple times a day because, you're right, not everyone will see it the first time.

Eric Pudalov
Eric Pudalov

Hey Gini! Great Follow Friday blog! I, too, have been considering alternatives to Twitter, not only for my regular job, but also for the freelance writing I do on the side.

I'd also like to ask: did you see the blog entry I wrote about Arment Dietrich yesterday? I wanted to make sure that everything I said about you was accurate - I gained just about all the information from your website, but if there's anything you feel needs to be added, please let me know!

Unfortunately, we cannot afford to pay for your services at this time, but if I could guest blog for you, or in some other way "repay" you for helping us, I'd be happy to!

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Eric, I didn't see it! I'll go look now. Typically one of my alerts picks it up - sorry about that!

Kim Luu
Kim Luu

Gini,

Yep, with 14,000 followers, that would make a difference. I only started Twitter a few months ago and not really tweeting about my articles either. It's still an experiment in progress for me as to what I want to share.

How often do you tweet out and promote your articles on Twitter? It's just a drive by shotgun approach unless you do it alot (my perspective).

I've chosen to err on the side of not using Twitter at all to promote vs. being noted as a spammer / marketer.

My staff also can't be diverted from our brick and mortar business. It pays the bills and payroll. So I'm it. Good thing is that people get the scoop on some of what I think is important. Bad thing is that when I'm super busy, I don't always make the time to link to Twitter and share.

Kim Luu
Kim Luu

Gini,

Thanks for sharing your process. I had originally tweeted about twice to three times a day for my articles as well. This is interspersed in about 15-20 other tweets. I even did what you are doing which is to change the headlines so it doesn't seem repetitive.

I wasn't too comfortable about changing the headlines because it seemed deceptive. I was lucky enough to get feedback from my Twitter followers and Facebook people (I don't put Tweets on Facebook anymore).

My followers read my recommendations regularly. I get people retweeting things that I tweet about days earlier. They clicked on every tweet link so these poor people were getting exposed to the same link 3X a day.

Since they were newbies to blog and social media, they felt obliged/guilty to read things that didn't hold any interest for them because I had tweeted the post several times. The changing of headlines really irritated them (just as it worried me) and they felt betrayed. I only did this for one week.

Bottomline, I stopped the active marketing on Twitter and do it very judiciously. I apply the same standards to all my social media as I do in my business. "How would I feel if this happened to me?"

I know that I will be judged professional by how I twitter. I don't want to be known as a marketer. That's not the point of my social media experiment.

The business trust that I built in real life for 25 years can easily be destroyed by one stupid mistake in social media because I don't listen to my common sense and business ethics.

It's a tough line to straddle for some industries.

I think that I've come to a comfort base with twice a day and same exact title so people don't feel scammed. I don't always tweet out the latest posts (except auto by Feedburner at publication) so it balances out.

At the end of the day, I've decided that I prefer to use Twitter more as a research tool to find obscure resources. It's much easier to click on a website in the Twitter profile than to plow through my 100,000+ unread RSS feeds.

Dave
Dave

For the topic of changing titles...the way I do this is I will do my first posting:

A walk around Tokyo ....link to my site....

the next morning when I post, I say:

Good Morning Tokyo..... this was yesterday: A walk around Tokyo ....link to my site....

I have more or less double the number of people that click on my link when I tweet. I will also pepper it a few times through the week so maybe a total of 4 times. People don't seem to mind as they continue to click on the link.

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Ah Peter! GREAT point! I think 500 followers is the magic number. I tweeted nothing until I had 500 followers. I only had @ reply conversations. I was focused soley on building relationships. Those 500 people still follow me and I know most of them in ways, now, other than Twitter. After I hit 500, I felt awkward about tweeting something self-serving more than once a day. I built it up. First it was once a day. Then twice. Then three times. Now four. I also change the headlines so it doesn't look like the same tweet every time. I sort of got over that weird feeling when I realized how few people see it on the first, second, or even third times.

Peter Osborne
Peter Osborne

Hi Gini,
I'm really torn about following your approach, regardless of whether I have a team or am one person (I'm one person, which makes it harder to rationalize the time). My finger twitched over the Unfollow button today for a guy who had obviously queued up an afternoon of self-promotional stuff but he had just enough RTs of other posts that I finally decided to let it go. Because I have TweetDeck on, his face just kept popping up.

I'm conscious that you tweet a lot but it doesn't seem oppressive. But I have struggled with the idea of should I repeat tweets and how often and how irritating Followers find the repeats. It's a bigger deal for me with less than 30 days under my belt and (only) 130 Following but it's something I think about -- would I get more quality Followers if I sent the same message out on a similar schedule to yours. Also, TweetDeck doesn't seem as flexible about scheduling multiple Tweets or letting your copy and paste URLs.

What caused you to decide to take your approach rather than something a bit more conservative?

Peter
@consultantlaunc

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

This is my formula:
* I tweet my blog posts four times a day: 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., and 6 p.m.
* From 8:00-5:00, I tweet about other blogs, articles, videos and podcasts that support my thinking and what we do for a living. That way, people begin to realize not only what we do, but where our expertise lies, but I don't have to tell them. They figure it out from my tweets.
* I set everything up ahead of time. Right now, I have tweets set up through Tuesday. I'm always a couple of days ahead. It takes me about 15 minutes each day to do that.

I completely agree your staff should stay on the attention of the brick and mortar business. We've been at this for nearly two years and it was just me on the online stuff until June of this year. Now I straddle both businesses, but have a team helping on both.

Kim Luu
Kim Luu

Hi Gini,

I came over here from Linkedin and only by chance. I ignore Linkedin most of the time but I needed to look up someone's email.

The Twitter dying caught my eye. Yes I agree that Twitter will be dead within a couple of years. Monetization and the sheer amount of fake accounts will kill the platform.

It's interesting to me that the majority of your traffic is from Twitter. I barely promote anything for myself on Twitter and if I do, I get about 15-20 people a day which is too small to be significant as a statistic.

60% of my traffic is from search engines, 25% from direct to site and 15% from referring sites.

I'm also not on blog directory or forums either. My blog is still in beta so we haven't focused on SEO.

I think part of of it is because Google gives a lot of credit for truly original content (not curated). I've somehow found myself on page one of Google search for many terms.

I did a random post on Google Voice Chat and for weeks, I was #4 on search terms behind only Google and one other site. I was ahead of readwriteweb, lifehacker and Cnet. It was very odd. I eventually fell off the front page but it drove a lot of unrelated and unlooked for traffic spike.

It's amazing how much work you all are putting into building traffic. As a business owner, my staff and I don't have that time.

Has anyone considered marketing in the real world, i.e. people not on the blogs or internet? 90% of my network and people I know in business (owners and top executives) don't read blogs or these social media platform.

That would be my #1 choice for marketing my site once we're finished with all the programming.

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Hi Kim! Glad you came over from LinkedIn! I think the reason Twitter is such a big driver of traffic for us is sheer numbers. I have 14,000 followers there. I also speak a ton and do a ton of networking. But that reaches maybe 200 people at one time and not again. Twitter reaches the potential of 14,000 people every day. We see pretty significant spikes in both traffic and subscriptions when I speak, but it's definitely not the number one driver.

As for having time to do this...we have an entire team focused on it, both for us and for the blog. I started it out myself when the economy sucked and I had to figure out a new way to make money. I added staff as it began to support itself.

So get out there and market offline, but also keep doing what you're doing!

Leyla
Leyla

I still use Google Analytics to drive many of my blog posts. When I see something in my keywords getting a lot of organic search results I write more on that topic.

Stumbleupon has been my best traffic source of all the bookmarking sites. I try to build my Stumbleupon connections when I have the time.

I also tag photos on Flickr with my blog URL. I don't get a lot of traffic from Flickr but I get a much lower bounce rate from those who navigate to my site from Flickr.

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Leyla, we use Google analytics, too and write posts like you do. Don't get me wrong...we have A LOT of traffic. It's just way too reliant on my Twitter network. Really interesting thought on Flickr! I've not tried that, but will. Thanks for the tip!

Michael
Michael

Hi Gini--

I am going to throw something pretty radical out there about how I get people to read, follow and/or forward my blogs.

I ask them. In person. Via e-mail. Sometimes even over the phone. I'll even show them what it looks like so they can make the choice for themselves down the road.

Twitter is among the most popular "flavors of the month" when it comes to social media/social networking. Let's face it--we all use it to some degree, and yes, I use it showcase my blog. The key, though, is that I don't rely on it. Rather, I use what I know works best from past experience, and I make it part of my toolkit to demonstrate my value and ideas.

Where Twitter fails is not recognizing the key to smart marketing is about quality, not quantity. While I have ideas about how Twitter could monetize its model based on the quality over quantity debate, I doubt it will ever happen.

That said, I hereby ask you if you would like to see my blog and (if you want) make it part of your readings and learnings down the road. Hopefully, we can learn something from each other down the road.

Many thanks--

Michael Shmarak
Sidney Maxwell Public Relations
Northbrook, IL

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Hey Michael! Great to see you here! We do the same - it's on everything we produce, as well. The issue is not traffic. The issue is it's waaaaay too reliant on my Twitter network. And we should get together and pitch ideas to Twitter on how they could monetize! :)

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Jackie: Don't get me wrong. I am a HUGE fan of Twitter. What scares me is most of our traffic comes from Twitter (mainly my account) and that's not sustainable. The goal is to flip it so all of our traffic isn't in the Twitter basket. So THANK YOU for the ChicagoNow link. We'll check that out!

Jay: We have a client who uses a list serve, as well, and he sees great return from it. Thanks for the tip!

Jay S. Fleischman
Jay S. Fleischman

I typically promote my blog posts on various listservs on which I participate (that's so awkward, and I'm not even sure if it's proper English). I post the excerpt and a link to the rest of the content (I use Tynt to track the clicks, which is really handy).

Works like a charm.

Of course, it does require me to engage on those platforms as well.

ChicagoJason
ChicagoJason

I've been thinking about this same question a great deal for the last two weeks. My site recently moved platforms and Hosts (domain name used to forward, now doesn't), so in some ways I'm starting over, albeit with a loyal-ish user base.
Twitter accounts for a solid 20% of my traffic.
Our Facebook fan page is another 5%, and we send a weekly newsletter that brings 8-9% of our traffic directly by click throughs.

Guest bloggers are a great idea, as well as link exchange with similar, but ideally non-competing, sites and resources.

SEO is obviously exceptionally important, and a constant effort (battle?) If there are others competing in your space, you not only have to stay ahead of the webcrawlers (search engine indexing tools), but also ahead of your competitors attempts to take higher ranking in your search terms.

Like anything else, the answer is dressed in overalls, and looks like work. It is so rewarding to see the results - that's the good news.

P.S. I love Twitter. Love it. Something shiny will come along, or the way we get our information will invariably change. The question is, will our Twitter jones be satisfied by it, and will Twitter themselves be on the bandwagon or fall victim to it?

Elissa Freeman
Elissa Freeman

Your post got me thinking...as it always does!

I also no longer have to the time to actively seek more Twitter connections - and basically let them happen by osmosis -or by participating with others in like-minded chats (#journchat #pr20chat)

For me, Twitter has become a 'connector without borders' - of ideas, people and communities. Yet, there are not as many people as you think using it - in Canada, user rates are very low, as Facebook rules north of the 49th.

It seems all these community-building, connecting models (eg LinkedIn, Facebook) only go so far in their scope of use - and their business models seem strategically gridlocked.

You're right. Somebody is going to develop another means of driving eyeballs and influencers...and it will take these guys 'by surprise'.

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

I disagree with BccList that Twitter isn't for business. In my opinion, that's its main focus for individuals. Yes, media outlets and celebrities have flocked there, as well. But most people use Twitter as a giant, international networking event. That's why it hasn't caught on with members of Gen Y, who are more interested in the more personal socializing that Facebook provides.

But, as community manager of Spin Sucks, I agree with Gini. We're far too dependent on Twitter. We also have a solid following on Facebook, and our LinkedIn audience is growing. We're trying to get better at SEO, which is where bounce rates start to decline. And we plan to build out this site to show our readers more of what we do as a business and how they can get access to our services, which I think will also help bounce rates and conversions.

But Gini's question is indeed the multi-million dollar question. We grew this blog almost solely because of our presence on Twitter, but now we're getting to the point where we need to wean ourselves off and diversify. It's easier said than done, but we'll keep you posted as we move further down that path.

Brigitte
Brigitte

Oh...and the other part of your question! Many of the top bloggers say that guest blogging is THE way to drive traffic. For your business, find out what blogs executives are reading in droves and submit customized content to them, just like you do offline with trade publications.

Brigitte
Brigitte

I've been thinking about this post all day, and I want to challenge the base issue: Why does it matter that Twitter is killing your bounce rates and subscriptions?

Here's why I ask. I use Twitter to do two things: network with my peers and follow people that interest me without making my reader unmanageable. In the first instance, I’ve had some amazing opportunities that I learned about through Twitter and would never have access to otherwise (such as the free advance copy of The Art of Non-Conformity sitting in my purse right now). It’s the second that is most relevant here, though. I am tapped into bloggers and thinkers in a variety of industries, and my google reader is already swollen. When I learn of someone new that I’m interested in, I may add them to my reader to check them out, or more frequently, I’ll see if they’re on Twitter. Unless I cannot live without their content, it’s an easy, low-commitment way to check in on people I’d otherwise forget. In effect, I’m subscribing via Twitter. It follows, then, that the bounce rate will be high, as I’m likely only reading one or two posts, so I’m only visiting a page each visit. It’s still a commitment from the reader (me), but it affects stats differently.

Ps. For the first reason, I certainly hope Twitter doesn't die!

Christa Conte
Christa Conte

I love blog directories! They help categorize your blog and allow people looking for a specific topic to find you. Also, SEO and keywords - 50% of the referrals to our company's blog come from people searching for specific topics and trends on Google and other search engines.

Steve Congdon
Steve Congdon

Hey there, Daddyo! Thanks for this post. Yours truly is now about 2.5 months in to this crazy thing you kids call social media. So, take the next bits w/ a generous grain o' Morton's...

My number one source for traffic isn't Twitter, but online industry trade pubs. I go where the target is.

Might there be an oppty for some win-win partnership for you with online target destinations? (Beyond a link or guest post or something) Something bigger than a one-off.

What can you do that others can't?

Steve Congdon
http://thunderclapcg.com
free marcom agency new business tips

Davina K. Brewer
Davina K. Brewer

Gini,

It's a mixed bag and I don't think any one formula will work. Ruth is right about using them in combination.

Twitter sort of replaced RSS for some but not all; my Google reader is on overload as I've subscribed to so many blogs and feeds. As I mentioned above, LinkedIn does work with the right audience, right post. See also YouTube, Facebook (if you use it for business) it'll depend on the content and the audience of subscribers.

I agree with Vince about "old fashioned" SEO, optimizing posts for traffic, but that only works when someone is actually looking for, then finding your relevant posts.

IDK about Twitter's future. It's my key networking tool right now (and primary promotional point for my blog), but I do know I need to step that up, improve subscription options as well as expand my strategy. Thanks!

Eric Pudalov
Eric Pudalov

Hey Gini! Loved this post...although it got me thinking, "Are we relying too much on Twitter?"

We definitely could be making better efforts to network with other organizations, which is something I'm in the process of helping with right now.

I often make personal calls to other disability support organizations in Georgia, as well as posting entries on our blog, making updates to our Facebook page, and even checking to make sure our homepage is up-to-date.

Those sorts of ideas seem to bring us more page views and visits to our website than Twitter has, although it varies from week to week. Any other suggestions?

Erik Hare
Erik Hare

I don't know if twitter will be around 6 months or a year from now, but I'm sure some kind of messaging depository will be around. There are many - identi.ca is one of my favorites because PostRank and google index it very quickly (there's a hint for ya!).

So no matter what happens something will be there - it's a matter of keeping your eyes open and watching for new things. Facebook might take off as a messaging center if twitter dies, for example.

Julie Walraven | Resume Services
Julie Walraven | Resume Services

Hi Gini, Today, I got here because I did subscribe. However, the only reason that worked is because I also cleaned my inbox furiously yesterday and deleted or moved 850 e-mails. I unsubscribed to all incoming e-mail from LinkedIn because though once in awhile, I connect with something there, the flow of e-mail from the groups I belong to clogs my inbox.

As far as the ability for Twitter to monetize, I would guess they could but right now, everyone who uses it heavily does so because it is free.

As far as how I find what I want to read, I have my favorites which I can find whether or not I see a link on Twitter. But others, like this one, I would never have found if it hadn't been for the connection with Brent Peterson - who I met on Twitter.

Twitter works for those who want it to work for them but only if they turn it into something more than a broadcasting tool. I have taken numerous Twitter first relationships to real life and even met some of them face-to-face. I have both gained clients, given clients, and become a client because of Twitter relationships so I would rather like it to live on.

Yes, there probably will be a shiny new thing someday and then I may use it instead. I tend to use Skype for client consultations more than the phone... but cell phones were the shiny new thing not so long ago... wasn't the telephone itself in land line form a shiny new thing about 100 years ago or so?

Shannon
Shannon

Whether one agrees or not with the demise of Twitter, I think the key is diversification. If you are pulling a lot of traffic from your efforts on Twitter that is great, but what else is working. Maybe I'm gun shy from seeing so many platforms rise and fall in the last 10 years that I am hesitant to hitch my wagon to any one traffic source. So ride the Twitter bandwagon, but I think the point is to make sure that should it go away, there are plenty of other ways to get people to your content.

Julie
Julie

Agree with Shannon, diversification. I also agree withe Dianna as I found you through Twitter as well, funny!But even as a more seasoned business person, I love Twitter, and certainly wish it a long and healthy life!

drlori71
drlori71

How do I drive traffic to my blog? I get down on my hands and knees and beg people to read my blog. And when that doesn't work, I resort to good old fashioned bribery. Uh-huh...I'm talking cold hard cash simply for reading my blog. Want some? Just go to www.loripalooza.wordpress.com
[Yes, it's true, I have no shame. :-)]

Dianna Huff
Dianna Huff

Gini,

Great post -- and you got me here via Twitter. :-)

I agree with you. Twitter drives lots of traffic to my blog but I'm finding my newsletter subscriptions are declining even as my blog subscriptions are increasing.

It's my newsletter however, that brings in the business.

The other thing I do to drive traffic -- and have done for years now -- is write articles for other sites that are in line with what I do: B2B marketing.

I also agree with Scott Hepburn. I no longer have time to troll Twitter for people to follow. It's also become another outlet I have to maintain yet I also use it to keep in touch with my network, which has grown due to Twitter.

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Dianna, hilarious that we got you here via Twitter! Like I said, it's our #1 driver of traffic. We just want to switch up the numbers a bit. If I get hit by a bus, we want the blog to live on without me. :)

Ruth Seeley
Ruth Seeley

I'm going to disagree with the original post and a couple of the comments on several fronts (you know, in the nicest possible way).

Twitter could monetize in a heartbeat by introducing very modest user fees for folks with more than 1000 followers/following more than 1000 people - these tend to be the people who really see its value and who won't want to lose the chance to interact on a global stage. I think people who've invested the amount of time in Twitter to understand how meaningful it can be will be very reluctant to go elsewhere and painstakingly start all over again.

I guess my next point is more of a question than a quibble: if you aren't monetizing your blog, why do subscriptions really matter? As for bounce rates: isn't that all about the content, rather than how someone arrived at your post? There's absolutely no reason not to use LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and YouTube of course (and certainly every reason to use all three). But if you look at FriendFeed - I have all sorts of folks who've subscribed to mine - I never log on there - I'm busy enough with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, trying to dash off the occasional blog post and doing my client work. And while I heard a fair bit of initial enthusiasm for FriendFeed a year or so ago, I haven't heard anyone mention it in months.

I think what Twitter makes easy is finding vast amounts of info fast. Isn't that a good thing? And as content synthesizers/purveyors, don't we demonstrate our expertise by making it easy for others to find that info via our own networks?

Vince DeGeorge
Vince DeGeorge

There will always be a "hot" social network to drive traffic even with the (possible?) death of Twitter.

Good 'ole fashioned SEO never hurt either to get some "organic" search traffic from Google.

I have to say that I don't agree that Twitter will "die," but I do think it will evolve. Your traffic source from Twitter will remain, and one of the things it will be best used for. The best part of Twitter is that it's a great source for real-time information - a "live" RSS feed of topic and news. The back and forth communication part of Twitter will eventually fade away. It's horrible for communicating (with the limit exception of potential customer service -- but even that should be redirected).

Twitter is still relatively new and blogs are not - there was obviously traffic without Twitter and there will continue to be.

Mark Robins
Mark Robins

Twitter is Not Dying!
Nor is it lacking in funding.
Come on folks Wake and smell the Coffee...

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Mark, I didn't say Twitter is lacking in funding. I said they haven't figured out how to monetize themselves. If they don't figure that out, the funding will dry up eventually, which does cause a cash flow problem.

I do agree with Ruth that there are PLENTY of ways for them to make money. They just haven't done any of it yet.

Peter Osborne
Peter Osborne

I think the other problem with Twitter -- at least for bloggers with older target audiences -- is that the adoption rates for the over 50s (and maybe even the over 40s) is far lower and therefore isn't a particularly efficient distribution channel.

For me, I'm trying to use LinkedIn Groups that I belong to (similar interests or needs). I'm still in the early phases of traffic-building and message consistency, but I think in the long run it's going to be the right strategy.

I'm one of those 50+ who is trying to figure out how to use Twitter for Business and am doing my best to learn from the experts and create "content" that will get retweeted...so I can get exposed to a much larger audience than my current list would indicate.

Great discussion! Thanks.

Peter
@consultantlaunc

Scott Hepburn
Scott Hepburn

Peter, one approach that's worked for me is to re-imagine who you're looking for. That is, stop trying to use Twitter to reach the audience that cuts the check, and use it instead to forge bonds with people who CAN reach that audience.

Nobody reads my Tweets and hires me. But by providing value to others (mostly other PR and marketing folks), I've earned their trust and stayed top of mind with them. They're essentially a coast-to-coast referral army. And I'm a salesperson in their armies, too.

It's a more nuanced, less A-to-B approach, but it works. And here's the beauty of it: Help other people reach their goals and it comes back tenfold. The less I promote myself and the more I promote others, the more my business grows.

Call it "The Gini Dietrich Approach to Winning." I'm a subscriber.

Brigitte
Brigitte

I completely disagree with this assertion -- or, at minimum, I'd clarify to say that it depends on your audience. My community is in the indie space, and Twitter is a huge source of business for many of the people I meet.

BccList.com
BccList.com

Twitter isn't for business. That's sort of the point of Twitter (and the challenge of monetizing it). I'd look elsewhere for business...great idea with LinkedIn.

Davina K. Brewer
Davina K. Brewer

Peter,

I've had a little luck with LinkedIn groups, and you're right: it's about strategy and the right audience (group). But like Twitter, there is the time commitment, as you should read and comment on other discussions as well as share your own blog posts. And it's about who's really using it: colleagues, other entrepreneurs.. or decision makers (potential clients).

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Peter - I totally agree with you in that our audience (CEOs and business owners) aren't on Twitter. Perhaps that's why it bothers me so much. Yes, we have lots and lots of traffic. Yes, some of that traffic is our target audience. Most most of that traffic is not.

To Ruth's point below, we eventually will monetize the blog through a subscription-based model (though the blog content will be free) and Twitter allows us to increase our traffic month-over-month. But for the core business, the blog isn't driving as much new business as it could and should.

Chuck Gose
Chuck Gose

Just curious, what do you think will cause Twitter's death? Old age? Neglect? Poison?

BccList.com
BccList.com

Here's how twitter start monetizing tomorrow...

http://bcclist.com/2009/03/25/tweet-ads/

Yes, the posting is 18 months old but you gotta remember that Twitter is full of internet/social networking geeks...not salespeople. Fortunately, they hired Adam Bain recently. He'll find a way for Twitter to make money.

Eric Pudalov
Eric Pudalov

Paige, you're awesome. You just made my day with that post.

Jon Buscall
Jon Buscall

Email for the 21st century ! Complete with mass spam.

Scott Hepburn
Scott Hepburn

I'm with Gini: Twitter faces a lot of threats. The obvious one is cash flow, but I think the boredom issue is a bigger one. The best business plan in the world won't save you if your users have already yawned and walked away.

The big draw of Twitter (for me) was meeting new people, discovering a community to belong to, and engaging in conversation about our evolving industry.

Unfortunately for Twitter, I'm now too busy to surf Twitter looking for new people, I've now found a community to belong to, and the important conversations now happen with members of that community everywhere but Twitter.

In other words, Twitter is now about as exciting to me as email. Useful, sure...but exciting, no.

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

They haven't figured out how to monetize themselves yet so I think it'll be cash flow. If that doesn't kill them, I think people will get bored and move to the newest shiny penny.