The Twitter experiment – Final report

Have you tried Twitter for business yet?

I’ve been Tweeting since April this year. It’s about time I got my act together and published the results. So here goes; the outcome of my experiment to crack lead generation and use Twitter for business.

First, here’s what I’ve done re. marketing on Twitter:

  • started off following everyone on the planet, but soon ditched about 50% of the people I was following because they were boring, too much of a hard sell or way off-piste as regards relevance
  • from then on I followed a carefully chosen bunch of people and businesses in the Brighton area across varied sectors including estate agency, entertainment, festivals, events, art, conservation, charity and eating out
  • only followed people back when they were either in my target market, local or especially entertaining
  • Tweeted an extremely low key, slow-burn freelance writing sales pitch, only including the occasional link – usually once or twice a week
  • written honest, plain English Tweets about my everyday copywriting work and personal life
  • taken Rory Sutherland’s advice to heart – he’s head honcho at Ogilvy – and made my Tweets “useful and interesting”
  • employed the theory of Likeonomics to build an engaging, friendly, approachable Twitter personality
  • Tweeted about five times a day on average, taking about a minute each
  • started giving away a free ebook via Twitter every week, on Fridays when people are feeling jolly and receptive
  • included occasional links to photos of Dave the Kitten; natural comedian, heart breaker and raconteur, disgustingly cute and brilliant link bait
  • re-Tweeted people’s stuff and thanked them for re-tweeting/favouriting/replying to mine
  • been helpful whenever someone asked for advice
  • kept an eye open for new business opportunities, like agencies looking for freelance writers to boost their internal teams

My Twitter experiment on a human level:

  • lots of warm glows. It feels lovely when someone re-Tweets your stuff and everyone’s very friendly and polite
  • now and again I feel cornered, knowing I’m supposed to Tweet when I’d much rather let it lie. I’m not the world’s most gregarious person and all this ‘socialising’ is sometimes a bit much
  • when I’m in the right mood it’s easy to get obsessive and spend all day glued to Twitter, so I diary it five times day to rein myself in. Otherwise I’d get nothing done
  • I love the character restriction and get a huge kick every time a Tweet comes in bang on 140. Just a tad anal! But there you go. I’m a writer. If I could eat words for breakfast, dinner and tea, I would

Here’s what’s happened from a lead generation and ROI perspective:

  • I’ve landed two really good projects directly from Twitter, both because the people in question simply liked the cut of my Twitter jib! I’m set to make about £3,000 from the two and there’s a couple more new prospects in the pipeline
  • I’ve spent 24 weeks Tweeting five times a day, give or take, at a cost of £25 of my time a week. Tweeting has cost me about £600. So far, the sums work

And here’s what I’ve learned about Twitter

  • the more people you follow, the less good stuff you get to see. I’ve gone for quality instead of quantity, creating a smaller but better-targeted network of people I genuinely enjoy communicating with. Laughs make marketing more fun, and when something’s fun we tend to do a better job of it. It’s difficult to interact on any kind of personal level with thousands of people so I’m limiting myself to following no more than 400
  • I’ve ‘met’ a load of people and businesses I’d be delighted to spend money with. It’s fascinating how a series of short, friendly, informative, useful and interesting communications can, over time, make you feel loyal to an organisation or person. This, I suspect, is Twitter marketing gold dust
  • There’s a substantial element of brand building in successful Twitter SEM as well as considerable direct marketing potential. As far as I can tell it takes both to attract new business, making Twitter a very interesting marketing animal indeed

In conclusion…

  • it’s good to find that direct response wisdom sits at the heart of Twitter SMM, just as it does in every other medium
  • it’s obviously easy to get Social Media Marketing on Twitter wrong – no wonder we’re getting reports of businesses leaving Twitter in droves
  • it’s entirely possible to generate leads and make money from Twitter. It has proved itself cost-effective and I’ll definitely keep it up… while keeping a careful eye on its long term performance