Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube are all free to set up and use. And if you know what you’re doing, your messages can reach an audience of thousands or even millions. So isn’t social media basically a form of free advertising?
To answer this question, we’ll be posting a series of blogs on the merits of each of the main social media platforms. Today we’re discussing Twitter.
Is Twitter free?
- It doesn’t cost any money to set up a Twitter account
- All you need are lots of good ideas for posts so that people will read them and respond to you
- You can reach almost anyone on Twitter which is really valuable for sales. For example if you’re an accountant helping start up businesses, you can search for and connect with coaches and mentors who service start-ups and will promote you to their customers. No more cold calls!
- Twitter can act as a giant periscope, enabling you to quickly spot sales opportunities. As nearly all conversations are public, you can monitor what potential customers are saying and identify where they might benefit from your services. In this case study, a sales rep used Twitter to identify an opportunity and get a customer signed up the same afternoon!
- By following influential people and having the right conversations with them, you can reach a much wider audience who’ll be interested in your products. E.g. If you’ve launched a new software package and shared it with a tech blogger, they can then review it and tweet about it to their audience.
- You can use your other social media channels as well as other marketing channels to promote your Twitter account.
- Twitter requires a significant time investment in order to work for you. To build up a target audience, you need to follow a lot of other people in your industry and you need to have regular conversations with them (as many as 5 or 6 Twitter updates per day). And then there is the time spent monitoring conversations for potential opportunities. To attract followers also requires you to come up with original content on a daily basis.
- Twitter is a little bit like courtship. When you first set up your account, your target audience know nothing about you. It will take several months of engagement until they start to get to know, like and trust you. Even the smallest business will need patience. You are unlikely to get a quick sale.
- Although primarily text based, Twitter is becoming increasingly visual. When you link to an image within your tweet you can view it within your Twitter feed. Evidence has shown that visual posts (especially humorous ones) have far higher engagement. We don’t recommend pulling images straight out of Google search as you could be in breach of copyright and end up facing legal action. A safer option is to pay for royalty free images from sites such as www.fototlia.com. They have a massive library of images for you to use on Facebook. Most are only about £1 each and the more images you use, the lower the cost per image.
- Twitter can sometimes feel like a crowded marketplace with literally thousands of other businesses offering something similar to you. In order to stand out from the crowd, you may need to invest in promoted tweets. These appear prominently in your Twitter feed will reach a far wider group of users than your regular audience. Promoted Tweets are clearly labelled as Promoted when an advertiser is paying for their placement on Twitter.
So having seen all the evidence, do you think Twitter is free? You can certainly reach a very large audience without having to pay Twitter anything but it certainly costs time, and even a moderately successful Twitter campaign requires at least a day or two a month of your time. If you’re busy running your own business, you’ll probably need to employ someone to run this for you. And even if you hire an intern, some level of payment will be expected.
Our next blog…Is LinkedIn free?