Why Twitter is best at testing sales or marketing messages

4 minute read


This is a true story about being able to measure the effectiveness of a marketing message in just 6 hours using Twitter.

First, some background.

Whenever I write a blog entry here on the Sales20Network, I always post a link on my Twitter account (@sales20network). For blogs that I read, I prefer to be notified about new entries on Twitter rather than using RSS or having to visit the blogger’s site to see if there is anything new. That way I have one place where I monitor the external information feeds that interest me. If that works for me, then I presume it works for some of you as well, and I try to make access to this blog as easy as possible, and provide multiple ways to get here.

For the Sales20Network, I provide an RSS feed; I include the post on my LinkedIn profile; there is a link to this blog from The TAS Group‘s home page; I tweet about the post on Twitter, and thankfully, there are many external sites or blogs that have included the Sales20Network in their ‘useful resources’ or blogrolls. I’m grateful to anyone who takes the time to visit and read this blog, and I try to provide as many entry points as possible.

Last Saturday (August 8, 2009) I wrote a post about Pipeline Management. As usual I posted a link on Twitter. Here’s what happened:

Within 4 hours there were 25 clicks-throughs from Twitter to the blog post. Now, 25 is not a big number, per se, when you look at the population of Twitter World. But, in the context of those following me @sales20network it’s an interesting statistic.

I have just over 1,100 followers on Twitter. My assumption is that many Twitter-folk are very casual users, are building big Twitter communities for the sake of it, are following me so that I might follow them, or are just dabbling in Twitter as a social media learning exercise. So, my working premise is that, at most, only half of the followers are remotely interested in what I tweet. That reduces the “active” followers to 550. Bearing in mind that the tweet was submitted on a Saturday at 4am in the morning Twitter time (I was in Europe at the time), the number gets reduced further. I know that for this blog, and my Twitter account, activity on a Saturday is roughly 2/3rds of what it is on a week-day. Also, the time of post was pretty anti-social (no pun intended).

Using some pretty crude assumptions, combined with the empirical data that I have, I would say that perhaps 250 people, at most, viewed the tweet. And I know 25 people clicked through. Given the ‘scanning’ of how people use Twitter, I think that’s pretty good.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Of the 25 people who clicked through, 6 people re-tweeted the post. Yep, nearly 25% of those who read it thought it was interesting enough, or of sufficient value, to share with their followers. As they re-tweeted they added comments like: “This is great”, “Good post on Pipeline management”, “Basics R Gold”, “On the $$, wish I’d written this”,”Smart, clear, thinking”, “Good read for sales pros”. This is really useful feedback.

Now, at the same time, during the same 4 hour period, I know that about 300 people accessed the post through RSS. The problem is though, I don’t know if they actually read it at all. That’s one of the real limitations of RSS from the author’s perspective. You just don’t know what’s happening.

Although Twitter is primarily a recipient driven communications medium, it’s a lot more conducive to starting a ‘conversation’ than other methods. The 140 character limitation forces you to be concise in message and response. There’s an immediacy there unlike anything else. As said in Twitter101, “When you combine messages that are quick to write, easy to read, public, controlled by the recipient and exchangeable anywhere, you’ve got a powerful, real-time communications medium. And that medium is turning out to be ground-breaking for users and businesses alike.”

I could go on about this for a while longer, but I’ve now got to figure out why “The 10 Truths about Pipeline Management” was a compelling message, and why the content resonated with the readers. I also promised in that post that it was the first of three on Pipeline Management, so I’ve got to get moving. All comments or suggestions welcome.



Reliable products. Real results.

Every day, thousands of companies rely on Upland to get their jobs done simply and effectively. See how brands are putting Upland to work.

View Success Stories