So it’s offical: Twitter is as popular as Digg according to new findings from Hitwise. This makes it the 291st favourite website in the UK, IT Pro portal report. With a 974% jump in users over the last 12 months, Twitter is hitting the mainstream in a big way. Helped by celebrity endorsers such as Jonathan Ross and widespread press coverage, Twitter is now inescapable.
All of which is wonderful, and long may it continue, but does this huge rise in popularity mean that it should now be included as a primary part of a PR’s social media offering to clients they represent?
In simple terms, if it already isn’t, it soon will be.
Many MDs, CEOs or founders may be sceptical of Twitter and how much use it actually is. There are a number of reasons for this:
They’ve got bigger things to be wondering about, like sorting out thier budgets
There’s no accurate way of measuring how much influence or what PR actually does on Twitter
It could be a fad, and something that will fade in the next 12 months
They just don’t get it
However, what we must exercise here is patience.
At the moment, ROI is a huge HUGE influencer on where investment is going to be made. How can PRs show that social media, and Twitter, is providing a bigger ROI than a £100k advertising campaign. At the moment we can’t really. Unless you sit and count through every single conversation every day for 6 months instead of being on the phone trying to get coverage – no-one would pay someone purely to do that.
Upto now, success with a social media campaign could be measured by the amount of views a video has and if it goes viral, how many members your Facebook group gets and how many Diggs a webpage gets. And how important is getting on to that first page of Digg?
Digg gets 327 million page views a month and about 30 million uniques. That’s a lot of pairs of eyes rolling over your brand name in a short space of time. What Digg allows us to do is measure the initial uptake of an article in readership. We can measure. That is the key here.
We’ll only truly be able to prove Twitter’s value to PR when there are consistent and accurate tools that let us compare positive/negative content over a period of time set by a specific keyword. I’d argue we’re not far off that. Twitter Search is one of many key word monitoring tools out there, and there is a tool called Happy Tweets that calculates how morose or jovial your tweets are. If there is a clever bod out there who can amalgamate the two and make it measure set periods of time then chuck the results out in graphical form, tell me about it and we’ll make some money ;-)