That’s the question that has surfaced with increasing regularity the past few months. In addition to the compelling data about Twitter’s growth, anecdotal indicators abound: in the last week, I’ve seen that my pastor and the National Basketball Association are on Twitter.
(I’m following Pastor James, but don’t feel the need to be an NBA disciple just yet.)
Having attracted about 90 followers since opening my Twitter account almost exactly one year ago (May 15, 2008 was my debut), my presence on the social-media service is modest, at best.
But I have seen upticks in traffic when I post links to this blog and other writings on my Twitter account (you can follow me by going to my page on Twitter, “InsideEdge”.
Then, late last night, I got a compelling glimpse of Twitter’s power.
Around 11 p.m, I took a few minutes to provide links to two recent news releases that I had posted previously on Triblocal, with specific introductory verbiage so people would know the gist of what they would see. I had shared the releases with a variety of media outlets, including posting them on Triblocal.com, the Chicago Tribune’s citizen-journalism site.
Here are some preliminary findings:
Link I: After nine days, a piece on an upcoming skin cancer fundraiser at Five Seasons Sports Club in Northbrook had generated a mere four hits. Within 10 minutes of Tweeting about it, the hit count jumped to 14.
As of 8 a.m. today, the tally was up to 23–more than five times the pre-Tweet tally. What will the hit count say when you click on the above link?
Link II: Intrigued to measure the Tweet-pact (Twitter impact) on another Triblocal story, I offered a link to a two-month-old Scheck & Siress news release on a family’s efforts to address their infant son’s plagiocephaly, or flattened head.
Within nine hours, the number of people who had viewed the story climbed from 28 to 41. After a protracted period of stagnation–less than one visit every two days–that’s more than one hit per hour.
Granted, these figures don’t measure what, if anything, anyone will do about having read these pieces.
As a result of my late-night Tweets, will Five Seasons see more visitors at its skin-care fundraiser on Tuesday night, or gain new members down the line?
Will a parent who hadn’t thought about contacting Scheck & Siress do so now that they learned about the company’s various services?
We will probably never know–though any organization ought to be continually asking clients how they found out about them, so they can measure what marketing efforts are working.
Although the extent to which those Tweets make a difference may never be clear, much more obvious is the answer to the alternative question: What if, after having already invested hours upon hours in developing those news releases, I had not taken a few moments make that extra awareness-raising nudge?