Twitter is widely known but little-used in the U.S., according to the lead story in today’s SmartBrief on Social Media. A study by Edison Research found that 87% of Americans have heard of the network, but just 7% use it. By contrast, Facebook has an 88% awareness rate and a 41% user rate.

Now compare that with a study of social marketers’ network preferences, which found that 88% of social marketers used Twitter — more than any other network. When the question was put to social marketers with years of experience, the number jumped to 96%.

One of the biggest axioms in social marketing is that you have to “go fishing where the fish are” — you need to embrace the networks your audience already uses instead of trying to lure them to your platform of choice. So why aren’t social marketers taking their own advice?

It might be a case of reality not matching up to our expectations, as Jason Falls notes. Or it might be about the kind of user who’s on Twitter. The Edison Research survey found regular Twitter users are more than three times as likely to follow brands than the average social-network user. Perhaps being able to target the small number of highly connected users who are receptive to brands and love to share information — the people Andy Sernovitz calls “talkers” — is worth the effort. What do you think?

Why do you think social marketers are so much more likely to use Twitter than everyday users? Do these surveys change how you feel about Twitter’s usefulness? How did you decide which social networks to join?

Image credit, Sashkin, via Shutterstock

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2 responses to “Is Twitter still a good bet for marketers?”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kevin Fisher. Kevin Fisher said: Is Twitter still a good bet for marketers? | SmartBlog On Social Media: via @addthis […]

  2. carbonware says:

    I've been saying this for some time now on groups. It seems the only people using twitter is the media hyping themselves, a few million egomaniacs, and marketing people, myself included. Read back through the endless stream of media endorsements and it boils down to everyone claiming that everyone else needs to be there but no one provides any reasonable proof that it's working as a marketing vehicle. It is one great conversational pyramid scheme, each new layer evangelizing the wonders of twitter to get the next level down to to join to keep from collapsing. But the fact it many are also falling off and many people and businesses you think you are reading and following are posting via automatic tools and interns.

    It reminds me of the college professor who comes to give a lecture and half the seats are just tape recorders, next time he comes all the seats are tape recorders, finally you hear the lecture and the camera sweeps forward to show a reel to reel giving the lecture and the room filled with tape recorders recording it. No one is actually there. Twitter is a lot like that, lots of activity going on and lots of zealots, and talking heads preaching it's wonders but for the most part no one is listening and many of the tweets are artificial or come from 3rd hand sources at best.

    Twitter is not done yet heck it's still getting going the pyramid continues to grow, but I fear it will become like myspace or second-life both once the latest wonder-child that "Everyone" must be on. In the mean time I will continue to tweet, re-tweet, and auto send my comments in the middle of the night so the people auto tracking me can have their twitter bots record every move I don't actually make.