I talked about gradual engagement before and especially how Facebook forces gradual engagement. Where in Facebook, engagement is needed to stay in the user news feed, Twitter has a similar, but different, problem.
Tweets (even more than Facebook status updates) have an extremely short life.
They quickly drown in the sheer amount of tweets people produce. Most tweets only live for an hour. An analysis by Sysomos of 1.2 billion tweets in 2010 showed that 29% of tweets get a reaction (which is similar to our own InSites Consulting research that showed that 75% of social media messages comes unanswered). A stunning 92.4% of all retweets happen within the first hour of the original tweet being published, while an additional 1.63% of retweets happen in the second hour, and 0.94% take place in the third hour.
That’s a serious attention challenge. To counter this content decay, there are different approaches:
- Timing Understanding when our community is listening or watching. If we understand when our community is engaged then it becomes easier for us to engage, meaningfully.
- Frequency The more we repeat the conversation the better our chances are of the community seeing that content.
- Relevancy Understanding what our community actually wants to read, share and talk about instead of pushing a campaign message is soooo much more effective.
- A story worth sharing Building a story that goes beyond single campaign tweets increases the chance that the community picks up at least parts of the story.
- Relationship Building a long term relationship aroung an ongoing conversation makes sure tweets go less unnoticed.
That, again, shows that merely campaigns (short intensive brand efforts to have high impact and reach) won’t do and that brands need to move towards a more gradual approach and engage consumers throughout the year. That brands have to adopt a conversation management approach that is both reactive and proactive and both service-driven and marketing-driven (more here).
As much as Facebook does, Twitter forces gradual engagement.
Interested in more about content decay and attentionomics? Check Steve Rubel’s talk on this years The Next Web in Amsterdam (as captured by @wilg).
Thanks so much for sharing some of our Sysomos data in here.
I also agree with you that these gradual relationships are the ones that really work today. It’s no longer about coming up with an awesome one off campaign (although they still can work), it’s now about forming a relationship with your customer and keeping in touch with them so that you’re at the top of mind when it comes to making decisions. While these new tactics aren’t maybe as quick and easy a fix as a good one off campaign, the more work that gets put into developing a relationship the more it will pay off in the end.
Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos