Tony Hsieh the CEO of the rapidly growing and really interesting Internet store Zappos.com is busy on Twitter as is most of his staff. He uses it as a marketing tool and engages his audience with many entertaining Tweets. It’s an internal tool for him too and used as such for internal communications with great skill. Not surprising then that he is followed by well over 500,000 people. On the other hand he is following 411,146 at the last count. My question is – who is reading these Tweets he is receiving? If every one of them Tweets twice a week it is impossible but many of these people are Tweeting many times a day. It makes the days when we were getting worried about e-mail overload, with 50-100 messages a day, look like a relaxation in the park.
In my modest way I follow about 150 people and already I reckon it is an impossible task. I am aided as the last few weeks I have been recuperating from an operation on my back so have had time to lie in my bed with an iTouch. But what happens when you go off on a trip. Land after a five hour flight to find near 1000 messages – impossible.
And the messages have changed too. Initially it was getting your message in 140 words but now most messages are links to web pages, podcasts or YouTube. Interesting enough, but even more time consuming. And some celebrities are hiring staff to do it, making it even more irksome. So it is not surprising that we are being told that 60% of those who sign up drop off after a month. Yet that does not mean you can ignore it since like My Space even if it declines a bit it will remain a huge and target audience for marketers. And Twitter is not yet mature. It has a lot of evolution still to come. And even more it seems like Nielsen were less than thorough in their process as they ignored many of the feeder applications, like the superb TweetDeck, which I have just started using after advice from a LinkedIn Group.
If you are a user or are thinking of getting started then Lucy Kellaway http://tinyurl.com/cgv5wb is something you must read. Some people use the iTouch for entertainment, some for information and some for communication. Twitter is like that, and you need to think out what you are saying, for whom and why: and the same for those you follow. This is an evolving tool, but clearly a powerful which all marketers need to get to grips with. If you have any doubt, just look up Domino Pizza. Then make sure you have a well thought out social network policy.
I sent Tony a direct message asking him how he manages but have not had a reply yet; too busy reading the other 411,145 messages!