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Archive for January 2010

How to sell Twitter to your boss

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A quick glance through the papers will show you that there are only two types of people in the world; those that hate Twitter and those that love it. If your boss is a Hater, you might have a problem.

I don’t know your boss, maybe they never changed their mind about anything ever, but as an editor in the digital space, you need to be trying very hard to turn the Big Cheese on to Twitter. It has the potential to be a powerful weapon in your digital armoury.

There are a million “emotional” reasons for hating Twitter; Celebrity tweets are only one. Of the valid business reasons, there’s really only one that matters – It appears to demand resource for no discernible ROI.

Now, you don’t often see Twitter and ROI used in the same same sentence and that’s part of the problem. How do you get serious commercial managers to engage with a service that has barely sent out invoice?

A while back Dan Blank at Reed Business Information put together an awesome cost/benefit analysis of Twitter for School Library Journal that might help you bring your boss round.

Dan presents strong arguments on Twitter delivering better reader engagement, improved industry contacts and solid news gathering opportunities, but if you’re boss is anything like mine, these won’t sway the day. My guy would say these are soft, unmeasurable, fuzzy. He wants numbers.

So lets give him numbers.

Dan Blank’s ROI equation for SLJ, is a great starting point: 277 tweets posted in a month delivered “a few thousand page views”. This squares with my own experience of Twitter – it does deliver traffic. On Pharm Exec Digest we have seen as much as 5% of our visitors come directly from links posted on Twitter.

Finally the Face in the corner office is listening.

But you just know what’s coming next. “OK so we get some traffic, but how much work are we doing to get it?”

Well, Twitter doesn’t need to be the time sink that many see it as. It can be, but with a little self discipline you and your staff can fit Twitter in between everything else that you have to do. If you’re worried that you’ll lose track of time spent on Twitter, or that your boss won’t believe you, there are some interesting tools out there to help.

Tweetstats will let you count the average number of tweets you and your team make in a day, and see what days of the week and what hours of the day you are most actively tweeting. Squeeze everything in around 9 am, at lunch and after 5 pm and no one’s going to argue. Tweetstats will also show you how many of your tweets illicit a reply i.e. generate audience engagement.

To gauge your “pass along readership” on Twitter, take a look at Retweetrank. This will show you how many of your posts have been re-posted, or re-tweeted, by your followers. This is an important metric as it is the key extending your reach beyond your direct followers.

Finally, Twittercounter lets you graph your progress in gaining followers and predicts where you might be in 30 days. The growth chart is a sure way to hook in the money men. When was the last time they saw a chart rising like your followers’ chart?

Like the best salesperson, you will sell Twitter to your boss by pitching the benefits. Match your web analytics against your Twitter stats and demonstrate the upturn in traffic is worth the effort. Prove that you can win extra visitors and page views without spending on promotions. You’re boss may never become a Twitter Lover, but he or she will leave you alone to get on with it.

Written by Peter Houston

January 26, 2010 at 4:12 pm

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