The news on Twitter can be a bit deceiving at first glance. Hubspot recently reported a noticeable decline in Twitter’s growth along with an increase in the amount individual users, Tweeps, use Twitter. This mixed bag of information can leave some businesses at a loss, wondering if social network is still of value as a marketing tool or element of search engine optimization.
Taken at face value, a slowdown in growth for any website can signal a decline, but the context makes a huge difference. The first thing to consider is that the decline in growth refers to Twitter’s international traffic. If your market is either locally or nationally targeted, the impact to your business’ social networking is minimal.
The second consideration is the growing use of tools such as Tweetdeck, Echofon and Hootsuite. While these tools simplify managing a Twitter account, improve mobile access and in some cases provide metrics cabability, they don’t actually involve a visit to the Twitter site. As a result, someone can be happily tweeting away with any one of these tool and not be “counted” as part of Twitter’s activity, if you look at growth alone.
Website Magazine has in interesting perspective that suggests Twitter use remains a significant social networking tool for businesses. Rather than consider Twitter’s growth as the sole metric, look also at how its current use compares over time. Specifically, the average volume of a followers list, the number of tweeps an average account follows and the volume of posts or tweets have all increased since last year.
In a nutshell, this shows people using Twitter are becoming more engaged in it.
Further, results of a recent Pew Internet Project study found that the greater the number of Internet-ready devices a person has, the more likely they are active in social networking. A quick glance anywhere in public shows the volume of Internet-ready devices we use shows no sign of slowing down.
What is the bottom line for business owners considering social networking then? Despite news of slowed growth, Twitter remains an active, viable platform for social networking, a cost-effective vehicle for marketing and a critical part of any search engine optimization strategy.