So Twitter rules the world does it?

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Twitter is garnering more column inches at present than climate change, but not everyone is taking it so seriously. First it was mocked by The Guardian's Aprils Fools story http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/apr/01/guardian-twitter-media-technology, which claimed that the doyen of British cognoscenti will cease to print the broadsheet in favour of publishing on solely on Twitter, and now UK internet marketers have signalled that Twitter isn't delivering for business.

A survey by web analytics firm WebTrends http://www.webtrends.com/ found that only 2% of UK businesses have used Twitter as a marketing tool. Email at 46% remains the most popular method of marketing online - and rightly so, as Yann Gourvennec points out in this blog post on email marketing best practice. http://blogs.orange-business.com/live/2009/03/when-to-use-and-not-to-use-e-mail-and-boost-personal-productivity.html

The 300 UK marketers surveyed by WebTrends finds that Twitter is way down the list of tools for getting closer to customers.

Marketing Tool

% of companies using always/often

e-Direct mail:

46%

Web analytics:

37%

Online advertising:

35%

Optimized search:

34%

Website e-news sponsorship:

9%

Online competitions:

8%

Internet forums:

8%

Viral marketing:

6%

Blogs:

6%

Podcasts:

6%

Twitter:

2%

 

So does this mean there is no place for Twitter in business? Of course not - listening to what customers say about you in the Twitterverse is a valuable feedback mechanism. But can, and should companies, use Twitter to broadcast new services, offers and updates? Well approach with care - with the noise level ramping up, the sound of tweets is almost deafening, so companies shouldn't pile into this area. The negative connotations from spamming your followers with endless offers would probably outweigh their benefits. I think that companies with Twitter feeds should limit their communications to essential or very valuable communications. Do you agree?

 

Stewart Baines

I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.