• John Walker

Twitter is Great. But Not for My Marketing Clients.



I love Twitter and I spend time there frequently. I like to see what’s trending, what people are talking about and hear opinions from people I respect. It’s loud and crowded like a New York City street during rush hour. But I’d never suggest that my clients use Twitter for marketing. Let me explain.


As social media platforms go, Twitter is healthy and growing. It’s now 15 years old, has almost 200 million daily active users with 67 million of those in the U.S. More Americans use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn but heck, 67 millions users- that’s a lot! And did you know Twitter is most popular social media platform in Japan? Who knew!


In terms of popularity, Barack Obama has the most followers (over 130 million) followed by Justin Bieber (over 110 million) with Katy Perry coming in third (just over 100 million). And did you know there were 7,000 Tweets about TV or movies every minute in 2020? (Actually, that seems about right.)


Twitter vs Other Social Media Platforms

Let’s look at how Twitter compares with the other big dogs. Pretend the topic is Yurts.


Pinterest: Research prior to action. “I think I’ll research Yurts- I might want to live in one.”


Facebook: Connect with others. “Yo, hit me up @YurtFest2022, we’re all gonna be there!”


Instagram: Share photos. “These fairy lights make my yurt the perfect place to enjoy vegan cupcakes.”


LinkedIn: Professional networking. “I’m honored to be the new marketing director at Yurts.com. Take a look at this slide deck showing amazing growth in the mobile-habitation market.”


Twitter: Share a point of view. “The Yurt industry needs to be investigated!! This article reveals that the marketing director at Yurts.com has been taking kickbacks.”


So Twitter is the place where you say something; where you make a point; where you argue your view. And in that loud, crowded space, the stories that break through are only the most dramatic, the most outrageous or ones with famous faces.


Why Not for Marketing?

So why don’t I recommend that my clients use it for marketing? The reason is simply that it is a hard place to get attention unless you have a very dramatic message or unless you’re already a celebrity. That’s just the nature of the platform based on how its used.


As an example, here’s how I use it. I open it on my phone and I scroll pretty fast until I get to something that catches my attention. What might that be?

· Pictures with faces stop me. “Hello, Kevin Durant.”

· Profiles I know stop me. “I wonder what Scott Galloway has to say about this?”

· Humor stops me. @AdWeak spoofs another pretentious ad agency.

· Political drama stops me. It makes me feel mad or alarmed.

· Pictures of dogs being rescued from thin ice by firemen stop me.


So where does this leave my clients- the building product manufacturer or the local event marketer? It leaves them muted in all the noise.


Please note that I’m not saying Twitter is wrong for any kind of marketing, just for the type of clients I usually work with. Twitter would be a good place to start a movement, raise awareness for a cause, leverage a celebrity spokesperson or spread the news on something heroic. But for launching that new line of colors in vinyl siding that’s both durable and easy to install- save your breath.


This post was written by John Walker, Principal at J. Walker Marketing, a marketing consultancy. Contact John directly to discuss your marketing challenges.