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Is Twitter the “New Social Media Ghost Town”?

Recently Robert Scoble posted on his Google+ profile, “What is the new social media ghost town?“. In this post he suggests that it is Twitter based upon his own follower growth since July 2011. I have heard the joke about Twitter that is mainly used by social media strategists that tweet and retweet at each other all day long. Personally I can vouch that that is at least partially true in my own experience. But Twitter is still the third largest social network behind Facebook and YouTube.

Let’s take a closer look.

Ghost town

Ghost town

Since July 2011 Scoble’s follower counts have been on the rise. For Google+ he went from 0 to 1.5 million followers, including the fact that he is on their suggested user list, through May 2012. His Facebook subscribers increased 1,908% or nearly 250,000 in the same time period according to his post and has actually increased even more to 315,000 subscribers in the past few days. On Twitter his follower count is up 20,000 or only 7.7%.

It looks like he primarily posts to his Google+ account first, followed by his Facebook profile. He tweets several times a day. But he has not posted to his blog Scobleizer since March 2, 2012. To his credit some believe that Google+ also seems to appeal most to technology fans for now.

My experience with Twitter is that you need to work on it daily. You need to actively manage your account. What do I mean by that? Each day you need to spend time following people, unfollowing, and following back. You need to tweet regularly and often. Share what you find and what interests you as well. Retweet as well and don’t forget to thank people for mentioning you often. That is how I gained 10,000 followers in the past 6 months.

Honestly I need to work on both my Facebook and Google+ profiles. I need to share more and engage more with others. Comments, Likes, and +1s need to be distributed more. I also need to reach out and follow, friend, subscribe, and add to circles as part of my daily routine. In addition to communicating and sharing what I learn, I need to remember that I am building a platform.

Not apples-to-apples, but MarketingCharts published a nice chart on their website showing April 2012 data for the Top 10 Visited Social Networking Websites, U.S. market share.

Facebook was ranked #1 by U.S. market share of visits, Twitter was #3, and Google+ #8. Even though the report measures U.S. visitors not user growth, which is probably somewhat more closely related to follower growth, both are important to consider.

According to this Experian Hitwise report, “The 2012 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report“:
Twitter grew 45% by traffic from December 2011 to December 2012.
Facebook increased at a slower rate from December 2011 to December 2012.
Google+ increased 800% from August 2011 to December 2011.

According to this article on Mashable, Twitter growth is slowing but is still projected to double in users by 2014. Still looks like a viable and compelling social network to me.

Also consider Pinterest. In addition to posting images, you can also link to videos for even more exposure. From my recent blog post, “10 Reasons to Love Pinterest“, “Pinterest has a highly engaged audience of over 4 million users. 80% are women and 20% are men. 1.5 million unique visits per day and they spend a huge 14+ minutes average visit. Unique visits have increased 429% since Summer 2011. Pinterest has become a top referrer ahead of Google+ on top retailers sites.”

What does it all mean and what can I do?

  • Twitter is not a “ghost town” and neither is Google+.
  • To really leverage the power of Twitter you need to actively manage your account.
  • Build it into your daily routine: Following, unfollowing, follow backs.
  • Tweet, retweet, and thank people for mentioning you often.
  • Use lists to to filter out a short list of your favorite tweeters.
  • Get to know Google+ and find ways to use it more while building up your circles.

My wish list for Twitter

  • Remove limits on the number of lists and how many people you can add per list.
  • Continuously improve the Twitter interface and user experience.
  • Make built-in Twitter analytics tools available to all.

About Peter Trapasso

Used by IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, GM + more! Hire me for your social media marketing needs: http://bit.ly/hiremesocial Klout 77 Social Media Strategist + Influencer 15+ years Marketing Experience. Backed 200 #crowdfunding #apps #startups #Fortune500 100 most followed on Twitter in San Francisco. Crowdfunding expert: http://bit.ly/1oNVr7Z Massive Followers: Twitter 40000, Google+ 7600, Facebook 2500, and Pinterest 3900.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • JDuffield May 30, 2012, 2:07 pm

    Twitter is quickly becoming the social connection/conversation hub moreso that Facebook has been. Google+ is essential for the mere fact you get your submitted pages in the search engine quicker by sharing them there.

  • Skot Pare May 30, 2012, 2:16 pm

    Unfortunately I don’t utilize any of my accounts as effectively as I should. Lack of time, lack of focus on purpose and lack of all the options available all play a roll. That will change in the near future … Yeah bet you never heard that before!

  • soror Nishi May 30, 2012, 2:20 pm

    Yep, good post. An interesting remark though from a teenager the other day…” Facebook is for old people”…

  • Gaye Crispin May 30, 2012, 2:34 pm

    Hi Peter,
    I thoroughly enjoyed this read. Twitter is probably my favourite platform because it’s fast, furious and fully alive. Thanks for the reminder that all these things take time and work .. and of course consistency.

    Gaye

  • Adi Gaskell May 30, 2012, 4:41 pm

    I think this kinda underpins the ego of Robert Scoble if nothing else. That he suggests that a network is thriving or dying based purely on his own accounts activity really just reflects on his own sense of self importance.

    Of course the other point that escapes many marketers is that what Robert Scoble says is really kinda irrelevant because he’s talking about what works well for him. You aren’t him. Your target market is quite probably nothing like his target market. Your unique selling point will be nothing like his.

    For you and your efforts Pinterest might be great, or it could be Facebook that gives you best bang for your buck, or LinkedIn, or maybe YouTube. Every network is unique both in the market they attract and the means they offer of engaging with them. As marketers it’s your job to find the best network that works for you. So ignore Robert Scoble. Ignore what every other marketers says is trendy or fashionable and figure out for yourself what is best for you and your business.

    • Peter Trapasso May 30, 2012, 4:49 pm

      Thank you for your comment Adi.

    • Steve Hughes June 2, 2012, 5:29 pm

      You hit a HR here Adi. Scoble is looking at from a micro level (his personal accounts) and not a macro level. How does this guy have so many followers and fans? That sounds like an entertaining post.

  • Frederic Gonzalo May 30, 2012, 4:56 pm

    A good thought-provoking post, Peter. No, I don’t think Twitter is anywhere near a ghost town – but Google+, hmmm… Gotta agree with Adi’s perspective up there: it’s all about your target audience, and how you wish to reach it. As you stated, it takes a lot of work to maintain a healthy network on Twitter, just like it does on Facebook, G+, Pinterest or in real life. But it all boils down to figuring out which network is most relevant for your business model or whatever goals you are seeking to achieve online.

    Cheers from Quebec City,
    Frederic

  • Steve Hughes June 2, 2012, 5:32 pm

    Any network, if worked properly, can provide positive results. Even “named” people can see a drop off if they don’t work that network. So if you enjoy Twitter and think it has value you need to work it daily. The results will come.

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