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Use Twitter to 'live' test your business
2013-01-09: One of the great things about Twitter is that you can test your proposition really quickly against the real world.
So let's assume you have a way to find and follow new prospects on Twitter, and every day you measure how many follow you back. Let's say on days 1 and 2 you find and follow 100 new prospects, total 200, and 20 follow you back. So your follow-back percentage is 10%.
That's pretty much unsustainable because after 20 days you'll have followed 2,000 people and you'll have 200 followers and Twitter will stop you following more. After 2,000, Twitter wants you to have about 2,000 followers before it lets you follow more people, precisely to stop spam operators from just following as many people as they can and making everyone's life a misery. You don't want to be that person.
So you need your follow-back percentage to be more like 100%. Actually, it's OK if you follow 100 and your follow-back percentage is 50% (so 50 follow you back) but also another 50 follow you from other places, like they've seen you on LinkedIn or they've clicked the link on your website or you've gone out in a mailshot or you've displayed a QR code in your shop or at your exhibition or on your t-shirt or car or spaceship. So long as the same number of people are following you as you are following, everything's cool.
So, you got 10% follow-back in your first two days. That tells you you're not setting the world alight. That might not be your product or service, it might just be the way you're presenting it, and in Twitter that's fairly simple. You have your profile pic, your header pic, your 160 characters of profile text, and the page on your website that you link to. So on day three you can change one of those and see if things improve.
There's a whole world of branding, persuasive copywriting, fabulous photography and persuasive psychology to dive into here.
The other side of this is what I spent my first twenty years in marketing being concerned about: targeting.
If, say, you're a pub trying to publicise yourself on Twitter, if the quality of your beer is the thing, you'll want to be finding Twitter users who like beer. If it's the music that makes the difference, then you need music fans. In other words, your Twitter following strategy should be very targeted .. perhaps you shouldn't be following 100 people a day, perhaps you should be trying to guess which of those 100 candidates will be most likely to follow you.
And of course, there's no point following people who aren't active users.
  • Have a 'following' strategy that runs every day
  • Measure your follow-back percentage
  • Constantly test your 'offer' and try to improve your targeting
  • Make sure anyone who connects with you has the opportunity to follow you on Twitter
  • Aim to get as many new followers as you follow each day.
Think of Twitter as a test-bed for your business. If it turns out beer's the thing, then roll out beer as your thing across all of your marketing. If it's music, roll out the music. Just remember it's Twitter that told you that, with 'live' daily testing against the real people in your market.

By John Allsopp
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