Think You’re Engaging with People on Twitter?
(Long Island, N.Y.) I often tout the “social” aspects of social media — the format’s ability to help us build relationships, form business contacts and otherwise connect with a whole wide world of people. But if you’re using Twitter as a medium to engage with others, a study released by Sysomos, a social media analytics company, may surprise you.
First, the study discovered that 72% of all tweets are made by 5% of Twitter users. This isn’t a shock. Conventional wisdom states that 90% of all the work in an organization is done by 10% of the people, so this is merely a corollary of that rule. (Some sources quote this as the 80/20 rule, rather than 90/10.)
What is surprising is that, of those 5% of tweets, more than one-third are automatically generated. Even more surprising: Nearly one-quarter of ALL tweets are made by computer programs. Many of these bots generate more than 150 tweets per day.
That’s not to say the Twitter stream is clogged up with spam. These twitter users get your permission when you follow them to share their message. It doesn’t matter that they’re not delivering it personally but, instead, using a software app (aka, a “bot”) to send out scheduled tweets.
The top Tweet bots, according to Sysomos?
The top live people using Twitter — people with more than 50,000 followers — send out an average of between 33 and 43 tweets per day, with blogger and social media expert Chris Brogan topping that list.
A Society of Voyeurs
On the other end of that spectrum, 85% of all users post less than one tweet per day. Nevertheless, they stick around to read, observe and, yes, click those links tweeted by bots and real users alike.
Social media consultant Chris Voss brings up a key observation in his video about the Sysomos study, posted at http://thechrisvossshow.com/?p=3230. He reminds us that we are a society of voyeurs. People are accustomed to watching television, movies, sporting events… Even as much as the Web is an interactive medium, the number of comments on a well visited blog will reflect only a very small percentage of the blog’s overall traffic. Most people would rather watch than participate in almost anything.
Celebrity Influence a Myth?
Just who are the vast majority of people on Twitter are listening to and watching? While many users (not bots) on the list of Top 25 users with more than 50,000 followers are celebrities, not all are. Even though celebrity Twitter accounts gain massive amounts of followers, the Sysomos study shows that celebrities have very little influence on Twitter. It’s the Chris Brogans of the Web — and the lesser known bloggers, coaches, social media experts and Internet marketers — that hold the most influence, getting people to retweet, click and, yes, buy.
How This Can Help Your Business
So what does this mean to small business owners who want to use Twitter as a marketing channel? As of the beginning of this year, Twitter had 75 million users. In short, you’ll find massive amounts of people giving you permission to share you message. With the clever use of hashtags, your bio, and applications such as FourSquare, you can even target your tweets and followers to your region to attract customers to your local business. Or you can cast a broad net for Internet marketing.
That top 5% of Twitter is not yet a glutted market. It’s not dominated by celebrities. multimillionaires or people who spend every waking moment in front of the computer. To match Brogan’s average of 43 tweets a day doesn’t take much time. By putting out interesting content consistently, you, too, can become one of the top Twitter influencers, share your message and expand your business.