Twitter as a Ticker Tape Machine

Yesterday, I had a meeting with a well known brand regarding GaggleAMP and how it might help their marketing efforts. One of their questions is worth discussing here.

“Glenn, we have 70,000 followers on Twitter. How can you possibly do better?

I admit, 70,000 followers is a nice number for many brands. However, I responded with my own question,

“How many re-tweets do you normally get?”

The answer I got was twenty. This is a re-tweet rate of .00028%. What many marketing professionals forget to do is to apply some traditional marketing analysis to the new world of social media. Certainly, one can track click-through rates and should on any message containing a URL. However, a very telling number on Twitter is re-tweet rates. In this case, 70,000 people liked the content enough to follow the brand’s Twitter feed. However, very few are re-tweeting. The answer may be best described by looking at the Twitter of the 1800s.

Beginning in the late 1800s, stock market analysts would watch trades via information transmitted through the telegraph system to a machine that would print out the trades as they happened. It was a printed record on a long and thin piece of paper or what they called ticker tape.  However, the more trades that happened, the longer this tape record got. You can now see what this transformed into by watch the bottom of CNBC as the stock trades stream by… fast. If you are not watching at the time the trade information appears on the tape or now on the screen, you missed it. The only way you will know about that trade is if you go back and research it.

Now let’s come back to Twitter. Like the ticker tape approach for the stock market, Twitter itself is an electronic ticker tape. If the follower is not watching at the very time that you post your tweet, the chances of them coming back to research your tweets are very slim. With GaggleAMP, we take a proactive approach and let the members of a Gaggle know that the tweet exists. In the case of the brand with 70,000 followers, imagine if these followers were part of the brand’s Gaggle. What percentage of people would retweet if only they knew about the tweet? I’d venture to say a lot more than .00028%.

The next time you post a tweet, think about the ticker tape analogy. This will help you with timing and expectations. Remember, most people follow a lot of other people, so your tweet will get buried fast. Consider this when you are developing your social media messaging strategy.

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