What percent of Nytimes.com's traffic comes from Twitter? 1%? 2%? No, 10%. Yup, one of every 10 visitors to the web's 58th largest site comes from Twitter. This is likely a contributing factor to Nytimes.com traffic growing ~1MM monthly uniques over the last year to boot. Yet people in our industry still don't choose to understand Twitter's importance.
Facebook was once relegated to this same "I don't get it" status but is now the darling of our industry. A quick look at the numbers show why Twitter, and any other up and coming social communication tool is worth watching.
New York Times
Facebook fans: 473,692
Twitter followers: 1,898,952
Not fair because it's a communications outlet and not a brand?
Facebook fans: 2,624
Twitter followers: 1,364,991
Or Jet Blue:
Facebook fans: 30,864
Twitter followers: 1,285,797
This report by Nielsen online also shows that Twitter is the fastest growing member community destination, increasing 1,382 percent year over year.
Yes, there are plenty of brands with many more Facebook fans than Twitter followers but this post isn't saying Twitter is better than Facebook, just something industry participants can no longer ignore. Yet, it still baffles me how many people within our industry haven't bothered to just get on Twitter to "get it".
If you suggest that Twitter (or facebook for that matter) is only a place where people post 140-character statements about what they ate for dinner, think again. Most all major brands now have some form of monitoring in place to listen to what customers are saying about them . Other companies use it as a way to humanize their brand and speak to their customers. Tweet about Dunkin Donuts and, chances are, they will respond to your tweet with a personal message. That kind of real-time engagement excites customers, keeps them engaged, and most importantly, drives them to become hardcore fans of your brand.
So, if you're reading this and indeed are one of these people, sign up for Twitter today. Pick ten 'handles' to follow (you can start here or here.) Then give it a month. You'll frequently learn something new and most importantly, even if you never tweet, you'll "get" a very important trend in our industry.