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.
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.