For a long time I did not understand twitter. I thought it was pretty stupid. Then an opportunity came. The person who had the shoemoney account sent me a email and asked if I wanted it. I said I did and they just released the account to me. Pretty cool of them. I still did not do much with it until one day Michael Gray sat me down at SMX West last spring and showed me how he was using it (I had to sign a NDA or I would tell). I was pretty fascinated with it So last May I gave it a serious look.
The first couple months I used twitter it was down more then it was up. But I still had fun learning and now its pretty rock solid.
Starting To See The Light:
For the first month I was using the website only. I started to find other people I
partied with met at conferences and followed them. Most of the people I hang out with at conferences I only talk to them during that time. The value of twitter was starting to become a little bit more clear to me. The best way I can do it is to compare it with other ways of communicating with people:
Traditional ways to keep in touch:
- Email – I honestly hate email. Between not getting email because of spam filters and people that fricking write a book it drives me nuts. I just do not have time to go back and fourth with emails 99% of the time even with friends. Just takes to much time and if the email is longer then a paragraph its probably lost me anyway. Twitter only allows 140 characters in a tweet. Its very easy for me to respond to pretty much 100% of the people who ask me a question and takes little time out of my day to do so. Also a lot of times with my answers to people it has a nice side effect of answering perhaps what other people were interested in also. Double win.
- Instant Messenger – Being most of our team works remote throughout the country we use Instant Messanger services as our key communication tool. I would say 90% of our communication even inter-office is done with Instant Messanger. I never accept anyone to my Instant Messanger unless there is a very good business need. Twitter is much less informal but still has that feel of an instant messenger client… only it does not bug you when you get a message if you are busy.
Ok so that’s what I realized after the first month. The just of the service IMO is that its a great way to contact people that is much more intimate and to the point then an email yet not nearly as invasive as a instant message.
Great way to find local people:
Being centrally located in what is not exactly a tech hub its been very hard to find developers. We have advertised in the local college papers, traditional papers, craigslist and other means but there has just not been one good source to find the people we are looking for…. until I started using twitter.
Twitter has been a great way to find people that fit well with us. For one if they use twitter they already get some social media stuff but lets go beyond that… Lets say I am looking for a developer who lives around me. I can simply search twitter like this.
Its also good to find local recommendations for restraunts, happy hour specials, and other local events.
Quality of traffic from twitter:
The quality of traffic from twitter is pretty awesome for a blogger. Check out these numbers for the last 2 months to shoemoney.com sorted by highest refer’s of traffic. (click on image to enlarge)
Lets break down these numbers a bit from twitter in the last 60 days I recieved almost 17,000 visitors. Of those 17,000 visitors over 40% had never been to shoemoney.com before. Once they were here though they viewed an average of 2.25 pages per visit and stayed on the site for an average of 2 minutes and 18 seconds. They had a 65% bounce rate.
Now if you compare that with Google traffic that was 95% for the search term “Shoemoney” (and should be the highest quality) that brought in double the amount of traffic but had less pages/vist, less time spent on page and higher bounce rate.
I now consider the #2 most important source of traffic in terms of value behind only stumbleupon which always delivers an amazing about of new visotors with the lowest bounce rates.
How do I get the traffic in the first place? Well I twitter everytime I have a post… so once a day. But the cool thing is other people retweet my posts probably 10x for each one I tweet… kind of a domino effect.
I know I hear the excusers saying it can’t happen to them cause they are not me but guess what its all relative.
The badass twitter reach:
Couple months ago we were really stuck in a rut. We were working on a new application and felt that a service amazon was offering called SImpleDB would make a massive impact on its performance. While simpleDB was open for anyone to appy for they only had about 200 people they let use it. I really wanted to try it out and so I twitted asking if anyone knew anyone at amazon that could get us into the SimpleDB program. Within 1 hour I had 2 different AWS people contact me asking what the application was and what SimpleDB was going to be used for. I replied and moments later got the email saying it was now added to our account.
There has been a ton of other times I have asked for tips, contacts, or whatever about a subject and got help within seconds. Twitter is an amazingly powerful tool.
So to those that don’t get twitter hopefully this makes a little sense. You dont have to have a blog or anything you just need to start connecting with friends. Through friends of friends you will develop an amazing reach.
For those already using twitter whats your tips?