Twitter Better for Nonsense than Business Sense

Aug 24, 2009 10:34 PM  By

Are you still thinking about using Twitter as a channel to communicate with your customers? If so, keep in mind there’s a lot of clutter to cut through.

More than 40% of all tweets are “pointless babble.” That’s from a study released this month by San Antonio-based marketing firm Pear Analytics.

If you’re trying to reach your customers with a targeted offer, you’re competing against a bunch of twitters telling their followers that they are eating a sandwich, Pear Analytics said. Of the random sampling of 2,000 tweets, 811 fit the pointless babble category.

From there, 751 tweets were considered “conversational” (with the “@” symbol),”and 174 had “pass-along value” (as indicated by an “RT” at the beginning of the tweet).

Pear Analytics said the point of the study was to prove Twitter was being used for self-promotional purposes. Instead, only 117 tweets of the 2,000 fit that bill.

Sure, we hear stories of companies like Dell using Twitter to generate $3 million in sales. But in reality, that’s just a tiny fraction of the $51.9 billion it did in direct sales in 2008.

A recent report by New York-based research firm The Conference Board seems to back up Pear Analytics’ study: Its Consumer Internet Barometer for June said the top reasons for tweeting are to connect with friends (42% ), update their status (29%) and look for news (26%). They also use Twitter for work-related (22%) reasons.

The study, co-authored with research firm TNS, also shows that 30% of users are tweeting to interact with family, 30% connect with celebrities, and 24% interact with other bloggers.

On the bright side, members of Twitter also are likely to interact with TV shows, employers, co-workers, companies/brands and TV anchors/journalists.

So, maybe there’s a chance Twitter can develop into a viable marketing tool?

“Social media will also transform marketing as we know it,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, in a press release. “They’re powerful communication tools, and are becoming an essential part of successful marketing strategies.”