November 15, 2009

Guy Kawasaki’s top Twitter tips for businesses

David SparkAfter a hit presentation at The CMO [Chief Marketing Officer] Club Summit in San Francisco on how to kick ass on Twitter, I asked Guy Kawasaki if he could go over his top three “must do” tips for businesses that want to get engaged on Twitter. One of his tips is to respond to everyone who @ replies you on Twitter. That is really good advice, but I must admit that I’m really bad at replying back to all the people who @ reply me. Most of it has to do with the fact that I don’t want to just say “Thanks for acknowledging me.” I’d want to add some value. And one of my rules on Twitter is that all tweets have to make sense and have substance within themselves (read: “My personal Twitter policy. What’s yours?”.

My two questions for readers:

1. Do you respond to everyone who @ replies you? And if you do, do you say something of substance that would be of value to your other followers? Or do you just simply publicly say, “Thank you”? Or, do you send a direct message instead and say, “Thank you”?

2. I brought up the subject of Twitter actually being lame traffic in that the time people spend on your blog from Twitter traffic is very low compared to other traffic. Kawasaki skirted the question, but I was hoping readers could answer the question. Have you had similar experiences with Twitter traffic? And do you think that the focus on Twitter traffic is just everyone jumping on the Twitter bandwagon without anyone stopping to analyze the value of that traffic?

Check out more coverage from The CMO Club Summit in San Francisco.David Spark, a partner in, helps businesses grow by developing thought leadership through storytelling and covering live events. Contact David by email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.

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13 thoughts on “Guy Kawasaki’s top Twitter tips for businesses

  1. I always @reply to anyone who contacts me whether for personal or for work. But I also don't have the status that you have so the handful I receive today I feel I have to and in as short time as possible. I understand your concerns, but from a new guy, getting a response from a well known guy or author like yourself could make that persons day, even make them want to read your other stuff more because they feel more connected.

  2. Just so you know, my traffic was from Tweetdeck so you would have a big fat ZERO from Twitter on my connection. I like what Guy said, “Traffic is traffic!”

  3. I don't do it often enough — chiefly because I'm overextended — but I certainly see the wisdom of replying to people publicly (if you can add value) or privately (just to thank them personally).

  4. @dspark type response only when my comment would mean something to strangers, drive traffic to you, create interest in a topic, etc and DM for anything awkward, personal or business related. Always engage when the opportunity presents itself.

  5. 1) I almost always publicly reply to people that “@” me on twitter. Showing that I'm approachable and join in on conversations is important. I only say “almost” instead of “always” simply because there is so much reply spam out there and accounts replying to me simply because I tweeted some keyword that they are monitoring.

    2) With just one of my blogs, the time on site is almost identical when looking at if they came in from or typed in the URL directly. In some instances, the time on site of twitter traffic is significantly higher than other referring sites. Guy is right. It doesn't count traffic from TweetDeck or other apps, but it is interesting to note.

    I'd guess that it is either a content issue, or an audience issue. You may just be sending the wrong people to the blog via twitter.

    Great questions BTW.

  6. Thanks David for posting this. It succinctly shows business professionals why and how to use Twitter in three easy steps. By the way, I came to your post from TweetDeck too. Just more messin’ with your analytics.

  7. I reply to @ as much as possible, checking first recent tweets and bio to see what is interesting or noteworthy, and to see what I have in my bag that will be of interest. Mostly DM, unless there can be added value to public at large.

  8. I always try to @ reply people out of common courtesy – if someone's directing a query or remark at you, you ought to respond in some way or another. It also builds up dialogue to which others will chime in, listen to, or retweet – all lifting your exposure and branding (which is a bonus :D)

    I would agree with Guy though, I don't see any traffic being “bad” except for spambot-crawling and the like (which just messes with your analytics). And quality-of-traffic can't really be measured solely by time spent on the site – different people read at different rates and use sites in different way.

  9. The last time I looked at my Twitter traffic, the time on my site equaled my other traffic. So that was comforting to see, but too many times I've seen Twitter traffic yielding less than five second average time spent on my site where other traffic is in multiple minutes. I understand people can read quickly, but not that quickly.

    My argument is that Guy Kawasaki is SO focused on Twitter and he believes it to be the panacea for all traffic. I was just pointing out that while it is valuable and exciting, that when you dig down deep, the quality of the traffic is often poor and if that's the case, maybe you shouldn't be so completely focused on Twitter as the main means of promotion. Not only that, but a whopping 74% of ALL Twitter traffic is generated by 5% of users and Twitter constitutes a mere 11% of all activity on the real-time web.