Quantity Trumps Quality
Most of us have a love-hate relationship with Twitter.
Some of us (or them, I should say) are entirely addicted to it, and the rest of us use it because we feel like we grew an extra limb and, even though we don’t really need it, it’s still a part of our body – our overall traffic generation strategy, in other words.
Since this is Nick’s blog, you are very much aware of the kind of social guy that he is.
Everybody loves Nick!
Here’s a screen shot of his Twitter stream WHILE he was in Kuwait!
What a lovable and engageable guy! (so what, I just made up a word.)
What does it do for his blog?
Sure his posts get retweeted. Sure he gets some traffic.
However, in my humble opinion, “some” is not good enough.
This is the time when I ask the readers: “Your Honors, may I treat Nick as a hostile witness?” After all, this is a faceoff, not a picnick, right?
Oh, wait, it is a pick-nick… (Yes, pun intended, permission to chuckle granted).
Side note: I am really nice and cuddly most of the time!
My Twitter Philosophy
In short, I go for numbers.
Now let me tell you up front: I NEVER spam, I ALWAYS provide quality information, so that’s not the issue.
Truth is I believe that the more followers I have, the more opportunities I’ll have to “invite” them to my blog, where the REAL networking starts.
Here are some statistics behind my point of view:
1. According to Nielsen Online, 60 percent of Twitter users stop using it within a month, meaning that just 40 percent (on average) return after a month of signing up for it.
I know, I know, these statistics are not the freshest, but it’s hard to find anything better and judging by the amount of “dead” accounts, I think the numbers are still pretty close.
2. More recently, an article at Forbes.com quotes:
“Month over month, the fact remains that the majority of Twitter users are not going to be around the following month,” says David Martin, the primary researcher at Nielsen. “In order to maintain growth, you have to continue to retain a large number of users.”
3. Found this graphic in a post titled Twitter Quitters Say Twitter is Boring – thought it would be interesting to include here:
4. Judging by comment feedback from MY readers, most people have no idea how to use Twitter for their businesses and generally find it a waste of time.
I am pretty sure that’s enough reasons to convince anyone that we, online business owners, have a very short window of opportunity to catch the attention of our potential readers, clients, customers.
Now of course this post assumes that we are on Twitter to find ways to use it for our business, right?
Not just chit-chat with strangers about how their day went. I’d rather talk to my husband and daughter about that.
Twitter = Traffic Generation = List Building
That’s why I use Twitter.
It brings me traffic – pure and simple.
When Traffic Generation Cafe first started in July of 2010, I knew no one and no one knew who I was.
The first traffic generation strategy I decided to study and master was Twitter.
Why? No reason, really, other than the fact that it used to irritate the heck out of me, I really knew nothing about it, and I considered it a challenge. And some of you who know me know that I love myself a good challenge!
I am not going to tell you exactly HOW I learned to use Twitter to my advantage – that’s not what this post is about. If you really want to know, read this one I wrote not so long ago: How Ana Got Her Twitter Groove Back.
The point here is the fact that I went for numbers.
- I created several Twitter accounts.
- I started following everybody who followed some of the bloggers I loved.
- I crafted a nice DM that had nothing to do with promoting me and my blog, but everything with promoting them. I sent that message to the new followers and it worked like a charm.
I started getting traffic. And lots of it. AND people stayed, read more, became my subscribers and loyal readers.
I won’t bore you with a bunch of Google Analytics screen shots. Let me just tell you that I got 888 visits my first month online from Twitter, and it kept steadily going up since then.
Twitter has quickly become my largest referral traffic source and stayed there until… well, something happened that made me go “Nick’s way”, although Nick had nothing to do with it back then.
How I Became a Twitter Turncoat
It inspired me. It made me change my ways. It made me want to interact, engage, and… downsize.
Quality trumps quantity.
And I believed that until… I got only 252 new Twitter visitors in the month of October, the first month I started working on deeper engagement over mass numbers and some engagement.
I spent hours on Twitter – hours that I didn’t have since I had a very active blog to keep up with.
I was getting weary, tired, and my blood type was turning into Caffeine+.
Worst of all, my traffic numbers kept going down.
Get the picture?
Why I Think My Experiment Failed
Essentially, I kept interacting with the same people.
Sure I tried to expand my horizon by jumping into all kinds of blog-related conversation, meet new people, etc.
What was the result? Lots of time spent on Twitter with a few more RTs.
But you know what? Just because your post might get lots of RTs, doesn’t mean it gets TRAFFIC, and that’s what we are talking about here.
By November – December time frame, I said forget about it; this quality thing doesn’t work. For me, anyway.
So I went back to doing what I was doing before, meaning working on getting as big of following as I could, bringing them to my blog, and interacting with them ON MY BLOG.
So you see, I am not against engagement.
On the contrary, and my blog clearly shows that. BUT I want to do it on my territory, through my RSS feed, my email list, my loyal readership.
And it works.
Time for Some Numbers
OK, here come Google Analytics.
Let’s not go too far and check out the month of February.
1700 visits… not too bad. About 12% of my overall blog traffic.
But wait, it gets much better.
Take a look at this:
You see that first referral path under “/”?
That’s the path followed by people via Direct Messages (DMs) I send to them!
So you see, most of my traffic DOESN’T come through RTs, although I do get anywhere between 20 to 100 RTs per post.
They follow my DMs, they see and like my content (what’s there not to like?), and they stay.
THAT’S how I use Twitter: minimum time invested, maximum targeted traffic returned.
So, Nick, how’s it going? What do you have to say for yourself?
How much time do you spend engaging with your followers and how much traffic do you get out of it?
As you can see, my position is clear: QUANTITY trumps QUALITY.
I am looking forward to you proving me wrong, my friend!