Can Twitter be effective for small business owners? It really just depends, but for most small business owners the answer is no. Small business is typically defined as smaller than $50 million in annual revenue. If that is the criteria, then the higher end of the range could possibly make twitter effective, but the lower end of the range, less than $15 million, are probably not going to see great results from twitter. There are a few reasons for this assessment.
1. Twitter requires a significant time investment – For a small business on the higher end of the range, it is more likely that hey will have a full marketing department and resources that could be fully or partially dedicated to to Twitter and other social media efforts. For smaller businesses, this task will most likely fall on someone who is fairly overextended already, therefore an analysis must be done to determine if the time investment is worth the uncertain returns. In most cases, the answer is a resounding no! Twitter can be effective for some, but there are many more sellers on Twitter looking to sell their products than their are buyers. For that reason, the time that it takes to interact and influence the buyers is significant and competitive. Keep that in mind when trying to measure results of your Twitter efforts.
2. Difficult to cut through the useless chatter – Attempting to have a true business conversation on Twitter is equivalent to attempting to talk business in a crowded nightclub with the music blaring. Some things will be heard, but expect most of the conversation to be missed by your target audience. On average, most people are “following” a few dozen people which in many cases includes celebrities who constantly update their Twitter statuses. Your messages may get lost in the chatter many times or surrounded by more interesting chatter, therefore causing your message to get lost. Twitter success is a numbers game in that it requires large volumes of updates and constant interaction to cause any positive results.
Twitter will continue to dominate the news channels for a time to come, but due to the overwhelming amount of time required for the uncertain return, my recommendation is that Twitter is good for customer service or branding, but is not a great plan for business development.