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Does Twitter Drive Sales?



Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...


Cutting through the hype and understanding the realities of trends or statistics is an action which happens instinctively. After setting up several of my own businesses, which were not always successful, I have learnt to scrutinise information more thoroughly through experience. It saves money and time in the long run.

Twitter is one such trend which I have been signed up to since its early days, although I confess I was unsure of how to use it, attract followers and find interesting people to follow.

I also saw that in December 2008 that Dell uses Twitter to advertise special offers for their products, which they now offer exclusively to their Twitter followers. They claim to have gained $1m in sales through this channel. This is good business although it might be easier if you already have a name and brand like Dell to gain followers. 

After a six week business trip to India in the autumn of 2008, where I spent much of my spare time keeping up with my family, friends and workmates through Blogger, Skype, Facebook and SMS, I decided to use my Twitter account in earnest to see if it was any good for business.

Like most new ‘tweeters’, I expect, I had to find my way around the ‘system’ and to work out a way to measure its effect. I decided my goal was to promote my blog.

The starting point was from having one or two visitors a week to my blog in November 2008. I now have between forty and sixty visitors to my blog per day at the time of writing.

Currently, I have 595 followers on Twitter to my alias (http://twitter.com/whawkins). I follow about 800 people, although I do cut down the number of people I follow each week. So, it would seem that about 10% of my followers visit my blog from my Twitter ‘tweets.’

I then set up a Twitter alias for our business (http://twitter.com/mmt_digital) to see if I could attract visitors to our web site. In the first week, this increased web site visitors by 14.6% according to our Google Analytics account. Two of us sent out about four tweets per day on subjects relevant to our business.

Attracting followers is achieved by following others who are interested in the same things as you. They generally follow you back. This can be automated to save time. There are various tools to help you with this such as ‘TwitterPerch‘.

Being a bit fanatical about the ‘numbers’, we also used ‘Hootsuite‘ to measure the amount of clicks on our tweets and to test out which subjects were more popular.

Have we gained any new business yet either from the business site or my blog? No, not yet. But this experiment has shown that it is a good way to get interest in your site or blog. I have been invited to talk about technology by a local BBC Radio station which originated from a Twitter conversation with the show host.

Has it cost anything yet?  No, apart from an hour a day for the last two weeks.

Will we carry on ‘Twittering’? Of course. It is a good publicity tool and a good way to find information out which you are unlikely to have found through Google unless you knew what you were looking for. The more we work on writing interesting tweets, the more traffic we will gain, which is likely to raise our Google rankings when people are looking for digital communications agencies or bloggers like me.

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