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Twitter’s exponential, exhilarating growth, seems to have come to an end.  To social-media-marketing-analytics junkies, the “unstoppable” Twitter has lost its luster.  Perhaps to some it never really gained a real luster and instead only gained a lot of hype  – just a bunch of Every Day Joes hopping on to connect with (or more accurately voyeristically follow) their closest celebrity pals.

What these numbers, charts, and pontifications illustrate to me is that many users are missing the point.  The utility and incredible power of Twitter is the way in which you can connect with others.  A connection that knows few obstacles.  In both the social media and eco-conscious realms I have not only meet amazing thinkers but also built meaningful connections with people from all over the map.

The ability to quickly and succinctly find information in real time is an incredibly powerful tool.  Before I start overly singing the praises of Twitter, I believe its current form is only a stepping stone.  This particular format won’t stick around forever.  Instead it will evolve and with that evolution bring more into its fold.

For now, I will continue to meet incredible people, learn new things, and be apart of a fascinating community.  The flatline of new users may be fodder for the ‘I told you so’ers out there and strike fear into the hearts of social media marketers.  To me it’s just fine, there’s still lots of conversation to be had.

What do you think?  Is Twitter on its way out?  Is this just a blip on the radar?  Should be be looking at a totally different metric to gauge its effectiveness?

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Like a light bulb above my head, marketing on twitter clicked.  Beyond the relationship building (which is uber important), a real and measurable and pretty cheap form of advertising is brewing.  Getting users to do the advertising for you.

Over the last month Squarespace and Moonfruit have been running promotions to win Apple gear.  It’s pretty interesting what twitter users will do to win something valuable.  At the risk of alienating and losing followers people are filling up their twitter stream with pleas for winning these prizes.  All the while keeping these companies at the tip of everyone’s digital tongue.

I really hope they will do some analytics and share it will the twitterverse.  Though the growth in their client list may not be explosive, their names are becoming a part of the digital vernacular like an iPod.  It’s advertising at it’s best – word of mouth.  Guaranteed, in someway, is a glimpse at the future of major advertising.

The news of (Twitter’s) death has be greatly exaggerated. – Mark Twain (with creative licence)

The early adopters and social media gurus have spoken.  Twitter isn’t dying, it’s dead and it’s time to move on to find the next social media juggernaut.   Now that mainstream media is reporting about it and the entire digital universe isn’t using it, its power is gone.

I agree Twitter isn’t the one and only (SPOILER ALERT: I love twitter and think its usefulness has barely been realized) for effective social media marketing.  For an effective digital presence a brand needs to be active and relevant on several platforms.  Let’s face it, as a user there is no way you could be active on EVERY platform and still, well, sleep.  You concentrate your energy on a few platforms. 

A portion of a brand’s fan-base will be hanging out and finding community in different pockets of the digital sphere.  Just like a brand wouldn’t put all of its advertising dollars in banner ads, it shouldn’t be focused on just one platform.  To have the greatest impact a brand has to reside on many platforms to make the most impact.

A clear, concise message is key.  It will carry from one platform to another easily. 

The notion of twitter being dead as the only social media marketing tool that anyone cares about is true.  It is merely one of many tools that will evolve and help create they way we communicate with each other and brands.

It’s getting pretty noisy out there in the twitterverse.  The twitter platform seems to have hit its stride for marketers – give something away and make your would-be winners tweet about it.  Every body is doing it.

I like to keep the number of people I follow small – those that I view as thought leaders in the social media or sustainability realms.  I don’t want to miss anything.  Now there seems to be a analog-TV-signal-white-fuzz over my twhirl app.  So many people are trying to win something and that, frankly, doesn’t benefit me.

Have I entered a few contest by tweeting a certain hashtag?  Yes.  But now I’m realizing that I’m tarnishing my personal brand, quickly.  I want those who take the time to pay attention to my tweets to get something meaningful.  Not be inundated with a lot of noise. 

Is that free iPhone loosing  followers?  Maybe.  But that’s for you to decide.  For me consistency of image is the key.  I’ve already forged connections through my personal brand that never would have happened if I allowed @mjnesta to be a stream of consciousness.  Those connections will have far greater returns than a shiny new iPhone. 

A little self control has already gone a long way.  I can’t loose focus now…

I feel like I have just sold out.  I used my personal brand to try and win an iPhone.  In a moment of weakness and the glimmer of the hipness I would garner with an iPhone in my hand I buckled. 

I would love to know how many followers this agency gained through this promotion.  I have to believe it ripped like a digital tsunami through twitter and several other platforms.  Want more followers?  Give away an iPhone.  You’ll have a guaranteed captive audience, for at least as long as your promotion runs.

So what about us?  Everyday Joe and Sue who just want more exposure, more of an audience to present our awesome message?  And by the way, who don’t have a giveaway budget (and no, giving away that couch of yours that’s followed you around since junior year of college doesn’t count as an attractive offer).  You do have some options.

Interact

Don’t just shout.  Just pushing out information you think is interesting and relevant is shouting.  Engage.  Start and actual dialog with the people who follow you.   A personal interaction will allow for you to know whose following you, why, what they want to hear, and who of their friends might want to hear want you have to say too.

Use the tools

Use hashtags, industry jargon, and retweet what you find interesting.  There are people out there that are looking for you, give them a reason to find you.  I’ve seen so many tweets that would spread a personal brand like wildfire if only a few extra tools were employed.

Use your own metrics

Think metrics are only for the big brands?  Think again.  Use a url shortener that allows you to track the number of clicks.  Take an inventory of how many followers you have over time.  Take note of when you gain more followers at a particular time and what kind of followers you are attracting.  Are they like minded to the message you are communicating or is it just a bunch of spammers.

Treating your personal brand like a big brand will keep you focused and garner you the followers that you long for.

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