Return On Tweeting

I think I coined my first acronym a few weeks ago and feel compelled to broadcast it to the interwebs so that I can lay claim to it before it becomes the new LOL or ROI or FMFL.

ROT = Return On Tweeting


Joking aside, the acronym spawned from an email exchange with a friend in which we discussed Twitter's emergence as a mainstream social platform, its inevitable emergence as a real deal marketing channel, and some early-stage technologies that enable marketers to measure the impact of their Twittering - their ROT.

Case in point - in addition to my personal stream of consciousness, I tweet off/on as Kenan-Flagler Business School.  Last week, I tweeted (or twote?) Michael Porter's lecture on campus and used my friend Adam Covati's service to shorten the URL to this:

instead of this:

The short URL from idek not only lets me squeeze in enough characters to serve the link, but it also lets me track the response.  Kenan-Flagler has 135 followers as of today.  Per idek, my link to the Porter press release was clicked 29 times.  I didn't post the link anywhere else, so we can safely assume that all of the clicks came from my tweet.

Some quick math yields an astounding click-through rate:

29 / 135 = 21%

For those of you unfamiliar with online/email marketing - that is a ridiculous number.  If I were an ecommerce site and had 135K followers instead of 135, the 21% click-through rate would represent revenue.  Even better - it represents high margin revenue because Twitter is a free least for now.  (I look forward to testing other types of links and Tweet constructs.)

In my opinion, the strong conversion comes from a mix of the following:

15% - Twitter is still largely comprised of early adopters who voraciously consume information from the service.  I probably could have posted a link to just about anything and gotten a similar response from this crowd.  Yes - I'm talking about you @djwaldow...  :-)

15% - Kenan-Flagler's followers are MBA applicants desperate for any crumb of information that will help them improve their app and chances for acceptance.  This is actually a good thing - I'm aggregating these people and building a conversation keeps them engaged with Kenan-Flagler.

70% - Twitter is the real deal.  Marketing is about conversations...and so is Twitter.  The next Google?  Probably not.  The next Facebook?  Umm.  There is a reason that FB tendered an offer to acquire Twitter...and a reason Twitter declined...and a reason that the forthcoming FB homepage rev looks awfully familiar...

As for the measurement piece - it is a little rudimentary for now, but will get better with time.  There are a handful of apps out there now - and more to come for sure - that enable marketers to aggregate their Twitter and other social web activities, measure the effectiveness of their programs, and ultimately tie it all back to an ROT.

Believe me, this post could go on for much longer.  I'm a big fan of Twitter and continue to be amazed by its utility and evolution as an Internet powerhouse.

I wish more of my friends/family would sign up.  (Mom, Dad, Erin, Evan - HINT!)  It is a great way to keep in touch...

PS - If you're still a Twitter skeptic, then you should try following keywords in real time on during the next big event - televised or otherwise.  You'll be hooked immediately.  The commentary from the masses is WAY more entertaining and sometimes more insightful than the blatherings from the mainstream media talking heads.