Expand Your Social Media Mix: Twitter Alone is Not Enough

Escape VelocityIf you’re using Micromedia (Shish Kabob) tools as your primary tool for thought leadership, then your efforts are out of balance. Add longer lasting, higher impact, larger form content now (Steak) content to your mix now.

Your Mix Is Unbalanced: Twitter’s Limited Features are Overloaded. I’m seeing an unbalance in how individuals are trying to get the word out, and an excess focus on micro tools, resulting in some bad behaviors.

[Unlike Facebook’s intelligent sorting of news items, Twitter is at risk as users are rewarded to publish frequently in order to stay top of mind]

  • In an effort to publish “Shish-Kabob”, brands and individuals have forgotten about “Steaks”. There’s been a change in media consumption.  We consume smaller bits of information at greater quantity, and consume less long-form content.  Five years ago, over dinner, Steve Rubel and I saw this change coming in which we identified as a shift from media diets away from Steak to “Shish-Kabob”.  The challenge is, people and companies have shifted their social media mix so far to the left towards micromedia they’ve forgotten about long form content.
  • Tweets Lack Persistence, Thereby Quickly Losing Value. Tweets are hard to find after being published, and diminish even further over time. For example, Twitter doesn’t make it easy to see and find older tweets, (see how searches on my own company are limited to three pages only), so I believe that data that you publish there becomes harder to find, and therefore less valuable. The net: If you’re investing a lot of time into Twitter, you are not wisely investing your time.
  • Conundrum: To Stay Top of Mind, People Tweet more, Resulting In More Noise. While Lists are nice, and good nuggets won’t always arrive to the top of the stream, and as a result this encourages people to post the same message over and over to stay top of mind (and stream).  As a result, the way Twitter is designed, those who publish the most (or get RTed the most) can actively stay at top of mind.  Of course, there’s a limit, if you cross the (publishing too much rate), people may unfollow you.

Mindset Change: Rebalance Your Social Media Mix
Taking a page from Chris Brogan’s suggestion to re-evaluate our efforts, I see so many people out of balance with their media mix, it’s time to rethink.  Next, recognize that that there’s many tools at our disposal (and new ones arriving like Quora, Focus.com for global Q&A and Namesake, Path for personal use) and they all have a different purpose.  These tools have stronger use cases for thought leaadership, archiving content, sharing tools, and connecting tools –Twitter is not longer enough.  While every tool has a strength and weakness, and it’s important to use them in an integrated fashion.


Fix Your Menu: Insert Longer Form Content “Steaks” Into Your Mix
Here’s a sample of tools that individuals and companies should be integrating into their mix on a regular basis, in fact if you Tweet more than 20 times a day, you should have just blogged.  Not just publishing tweets or linking to your latest corporate press release, I’m listing these tools from the top of the marketing funnel, down towards the more important call-to-action point.

  • Appetizers: Source information in Q&A sites and Communities. While the primary use case is for these tools allow for individuals to ask questions and get answers, they are incredibly valuable in finding out where you need to focus your research, thought leadership and product roadmap.  Use these tools not only to learn, but trigger discussions, share your own knowledge, and then identify contacts to followup with.  Also see online communities where your customers are already located, like brand communities or IT Communities like Spiceworks, one of our clients.
  • Entice The Market: Infographics are the New White Papers. I frequently say that Infographics are the new white paper, they spread further and are consumed by more people.  Infographics are a key way to convey meaningful data to short consumption types, and are easy to spread to blogs, tumblr blogs, and FB wall feeds.  See how Jess3, a design firm that specializes in creates these, and how a variety of brands are using these to get their content into the space.
  • Feed the Information Starved Slideshare Community. Slideshare is a thriving community to share content, in fact, when I publish research reports (like this one), and webinars there they can get up to 40,000 views and 4000+ downloads.  This tool has a thriving community already built in, so releasing higher quality content there makes a lot of sense.  Be sure to use their embedded video Zipcast tool during launches of content.
  • The Main Meal: Your Blog is an Central Platform, Use it Judiciously. Use your blog as your master archive tool, to collect information.  Remember, while all content loses relevance over time, blog content is easier to find, and is centralized in a location closer to your own owned domain or URL, not lost into the ether.
  • Finish With Dessert: Videos, While Limited In Consumption, Have High Engagement. See how Scoble uses videos to capture thought leaders in his interviews, these are longer form content that requires a lot of focus, but if you’re engaged, it’s the highest fidelity distribution on the web as you can capture a portion of the non-verbal communication. Or listen to this podcast interview I did with Jennifer Jones, it only takes a few minutes but it’s permeant archive.  The downside to both video and audio? searching for the video content is difficult as the verbal words aren’t often translated into metadata, and because we’re shifting to a shish kabob media diet over steak it makes it difficult.

To Regain Balance, I’ll focus on Fewer Higher Quality Tweets, and Less on Quantity.
Twitter, while low cost to the user, makes sense as a quick broadcasting tool, but those that are trying to use it as their only thought leadership mechanism are missing out.  Two years ago I began an exercise in self-control and took nearly 3 weeks off from Twitter, but this time, follow along, as I will use Twitter sparingly, in an experiment to find how media continues to evolve.

59 Replies to “Expand Your Social Media Mix: Twitter Alone is Not Enough”

  1. It’s nice to see that social is becoming more than the “big 3” of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I agree that there is a lot of value in Q&A sites, infographics, presentations, blogs, and videos. I worry though about all of these still being too “ahead of the curve” though to have real value yet?

  2. Some smart thinking here, Jeremiah, and a good reminder of potential staying power of blogging. Searing for material on “best practices for XXXX”, for example? Good luck finding that in a tweet that’s more than a few days old. Weeks-, months-, and years-old blog posts, on the other hand, can be found in a quick Google search if they’ve been well optimized.

  3. Good to hear. I un-followed you long ago for the same reasons you describe. You have my vote for the new way.

  4. Perfect Jeremiah, and I hope you keep us posted on your findings about your Twitter experiment. It is such an extraordinary tool that demands new learning every day. Cheers! ~Paul

  5. As always, good post, Jeremy

    I was wondering if you had looked at the medium-form of ebook publishing.

    The format seems to have some unique strengths – multiple platforms, obviously, including mobile. And perhaps a higher perceived value.

    I have just re-packaged a small collection of my older blogs (not technology-related) into a short ebook, which I am offering at a very modest price. I really don’t expect this to generate a lot of revenue, but am hoping to build awareness for the blog.

    I hadn’t seen anything about this in your previous posts. Was wondering if you might comment on this strategy.

  6. As always, good post, Jeremy

    I was wondering if you had looked at the medium-form of ebook publishing.

    The format seems to have some unique strengths – multiple platforms, obviously, including mobile. And perhaps a higher perceived value.

    I have just re-packaged a small collection of my older blogs (not technology-related) into a short ebook, which I am offering at a very modest price. I really don’t expect this to generate a lot of revenue, but am hoping to build awareness for the blog.

    I hadn’t seen anything about this in your previous posts. Was wondering if you might comment on this strategy.

  7. As always, good post, Jeremy

    I was wondering if you had looked at the medium-form of ebook publishing.

    The format seems to have some unique strengths – multiple platforms, obviously, including mobile. And perhaps a higher perceived value.

    I have just re-packaged a small collection of my older blogs (not technology-related) into a short ebook, which I am offering at a very modest price. I really don’t expect this to generate a lot of revenue, but am hoping to build awareness for the blog.

    I hadn’t seen anything about this in your previous posts. Was wondering if you might comment on this strategy.

  8. Jerimiah- I agree that a business cannot market by Twitter alone, but what about creating a software that creates a more sustainable view of past tweets? There is a new software called Twylah that seemed to do it quite well. I have no affiliation to them other than they were nice enough to let me test drive it, but parsing tweets by subject may give some sustainability beyond the 10-second lifespan of a tweet. I think many of us would agree that Twitter’s Achilles’ Heel is the breakneck speeds at which information flows by, forcing saturation of information to be the only solution.

  9. Jerimiah- I agree that a business cannot market by Twitter alone, but what about creating a software that creates a more sustainable view of past tweets? There is a new software called Twylah that seemed to do it quite well. I have no affiliation to them other than they were nice enough to let me test drive it, but parsing tweets by subject may give some sustainability beyond the 10-second lifespan of a tweet. I think many of us would agree that Twitter’s Achilles’ Heel is the breakneck speeds at which information flows by, forcing saturation of information to be the only solution.

  10. Hi Jeremiah,

    I have to agree. After reading your post on influence and Klout last week and thinking about Twitter, I’ve concluded that it’s really not the best platform for engaging in non-trivial ways. For example, your point about the noise from the fact that the people who post the most get the most coverage is a good one.

    I think the emphasis on the # of followers has a similar paradox. Because of auto-followbacks, a person’s # of followers is usually somewhat proportional to the # of people he follows. So, for someone who has 3000 followers, it’s likely that many of those followers also follow over 1000 people. Which means that the person with 3000 followers isn’t really so influential, because of the decreased likelihood that his tweets will be noticed and read.

  11. Hi Jeremiah,

    I have to agree. After reading your post on influence and Klout last week and thinking about Twitter, I’ve concluded that it’s really not the best platform for engaging in non-trivial ways. For example, your point about the noise from the fact that the people who post the most get the most coverage is a good one.

    I think the emphasis on the # of followers has a similar paradox. Because of auto-followbacks, a person’s # of followers is usually somewhat proportional to the # of people he follows. So, for someone who has 3000 followers, it’s likely that many of those followers also follow over 1000 people. Which means that the person with 3000 followers isn’t really so influential, because of the decreased likelihood that his tweets will be noticed and read.

  12. I like this thinking, Jeremiah. And in an ideal world, I think everything should either “build up”—tweets/Quora posts/Facebook updates lay groundwork for blog posts or fall into a regular life/workstream.

    Also, whether I was tweeting for myself or for a business, I created a blog that could serve as a catchall and digital footprint for everything. Posterous served as the way to archive all tweeted pictures, articles, announcements, contests and promotions. The added benefit was that I could see the clickthrough across social media channels — whether it was Facebook, Twitter, or another platform. I think it’s served me pretty well.

    My two cents.

    Noelle

  13. I like this thinking, Jeremiah. And in an ideal world, I think everything should either “build up”—tweets/Quora posts/Facebook updates lay groundwork for blog posts or fall into a regular life/workstream.

    Also, whether I was tweeting for myself or for a business, I created a blog that could serve as a catchall and digital footprint for everything. Posterous served as the way to archive all tweeted pictures, articles, announcements, contests and promotions. The added benefit was that I could see the clickthrough across social media channels — whether it was Facebook, Twitter, or another platform. I think it’s served me pretty well.

    My two cents.

    Noelle

  14. It’s on my radar, but I haven’t seen anything compelling, yet.

    To be honest, I can accomplish a lot of things authors can with my existing strategy.

  15. Great post! If people get the steak with great content (like this post:), then they won’t go hungry and keep coming back for the nice juicy steak. I think that alot of us are time starved and should learn to step aside every now and then to deliver that nice steak. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Great post, thank you. I’m trying to Tweet less but sometimes it hard to contain the enthusiasm. I have found that videos on my Blog posts get a lot of interest, maybe because not that many people implement the idea.

  17. Looking back over my Twitter usage in recent years (let alone months and weeks), I’ve lately noticed that if I ask a question or broadcast something without mentioning someone in the tweet, it’s not seen. If I include an @ mention, it’s seen and replied. So, I’m using Twitter less for watching and more for replying, as a communications medium similar to email.

  18. You can be social anywhere, everywhere. Why focus on where numbers are? Why not be social at your local Starbucks, giving someone a business card or a posting a paper flyer or, better, interjecting a conversation among two people in front of you? Why should you not treat quote-unquote real life with the tactics learned in quote-unquote virtual life?

  19. Thanks Jeremiah, you’ve got me thinking. I am new at twitter and I can see how it swallows up time and how things disappear quickly.. I wonder where things will be in 12months? The dynamic thing about twitter is the immediacy – especially in situations like the recent monster tropical cyclone Yasi in Queensland where people were sending twitter updates from!

  20. This was incredibly helpful to me, as I was using Twitter more than my blog. I have a personal blog with more writer-related links and my businesses’ blog that has more publishing industry content. I’ve only been retweeting links I find useful and not putting them in my blog. Perhaps I should fix this.

  21. Twitter is in a vicious cycle of tweeters responding to lower click thru rates by publishing more often, which repeats the cycle. Not surprisingly, Alexa is showing that Twitter page views per user are declining. Good advice on spreading your efforts.

  22. Great post! Love the entire presentation. Really great way to keep readers interested while they are given knowledge. I personally am a fan of ‘The Main Meal.’

  23. Great post! Love the entire presentation. Really great way to keep readers interested while they are given knowledge. I personally am a fan of ‘The Main Meal.’

  24. very yummy article : ) lol. Thanks for the great info, i’ve learned a lot and definitely changed the way I think about marketing. I think I am gonna have shish kabab for dinner tonight : )

  25. Ha Ha! I found this because I was searching for Shish-Kabob recipes, but I ended up reading the whole post anyway. I do think there’s an over-saturation of tweets. Paring your Twitter-related marketing efforts to nicely thought out essentials is a tantalizing concept and would be very well received.

  26. Interesting take on video all the research shows that it is the most engaging medium to get messages across online. But you make a great point no point in being a fabulous comms platform if know one can find it.

  27. Hi Jeremiah, good article and I agree with the sentiment – however is there any reason you’ve missed out Facebook from this mix? For the vast majority of B2C brands, there are much larger communities on Facebook pages than Twitter accounts; and of course Facebook do allow longer form content as well as media, notes etc. What’s your view on how that fits into the mix with Twitter?

  28. Yes, it is more work to expand your focus beyond Twitter, but noone said this would be easy. As Edison said: Opportunity is often overlooked, because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work.

  29. Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

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