The Disadvantages of Twitter

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Twitter offers the chance to reach hundreds of millions of people without any direct costs. It may seem like a dream marketing opportunity for businesses, particularly those on a budget, to market inexpensively. In reality, there are several reasons why Twitter's appeal may be limited when you are considering marketing options.



Both the official terms of service and unofficial social norms mean there are limits on the way you can market on Twitter. The thresholds are not fixed, but you will create a poor impression among users and possibly risk sanctions from Twitter itself if most or all of your tweets are blatantly commercial and you do not seem to be using Twitter to engage in discussion with other users. You also run the risk of antagonizing current or potential customers if too many of your tweets look like unsolicited ads.


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Time Consumption and Expectations

Twitter can be time-consuming if you don't manage it carefully. Customers who would normally not have bothered writing or calling with a complaint or comment may now expect an immediate response when they post a tweet about your business. This may pressure you into trying to respond to every post and not having time to deal with wider issues. You may also find you spend a lot of time reading other people's posts on Twitter and becoming distracted from your other work.



Unlike advertising or public relations through the media, it can be difficult to target a specific audience on Twitter such as people with a certain interest or those who live in a particular location. This is because the people who choose to follow you and read your messages are self-selecting and others will see your messages only if they are retweeted. One way round this is to use automated software to follow any Twitter user who mentions a particular topic, in the hope they will become aware of your account and follow it back. But this is very hit and miss, and may come across as spam.



The person who physically posts tweets on your company's Twitter account effectively controls the online voice of your business. If this person has a distinctive style such as a particular sense of humor or an abrupt nature, Twitter users may see their words as reflecting upon the company.



Because it takes only a few seconds to post a tweet, people will often expect a company to react much more quickly than through traditional media. If, for example, your business is engaged in a scandal or controversy, you might normally prepare a press statement or even paid advertising, taking a couple of days to get it signed off by management, your marketing team and even your lawyers. If you have a Twitter account, taking this long to reply may mean people think you are evading the issue.




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