Twitter Reaches New Heights

Businesses jump onboard as site usage increases by 131 percent.

by staff writer
- Apr 24, 2009

More people are tweeting than ever before, research firm comScore reports—and this could benefit e-merchants.

Twitter saw significant growth in March, increasing by 131 percent to 9.3 million visitors in the U.S. alone—and 19 million worldwide. The actual numbers may be even higher, as comScore's analysis only counts visitors to Twitter's Web site, not those who interact with the service using desktop or mobile clients.

The microblogging site allows people to stay connected with others by answering one question: "What are you doing?" But e-merchants and other businesses are using the tool to promote their businesses and products. That's because sellers can tweet to tell customers about special promotions and sales, says Auctiva marketing specialist Stephanie Seufert.

A tweet, or status update, can be about virtually any subject, as long as it's expressed in 140 characters or less.

"Twitter is quickly becoming a go-to tool for businesses looking to capitalize on the community-building aspect of the Internet," Seufert says. "It has a simple format; it's easy to manage and it's a medium that is being adapted across all industries. Users are finding innovative ways to utilize it."

People ages 45 to 54 represent the largest group tweeting, according to comScore, accounting for 36 percent of users. Ages 25 to 34 make up 30 percent of users.

"The skew toward older visitors, although perhaps initially surprising for the social media site, actually makes more sense than you might think at first," notes comScore blogger Sarah Radwanick. "With so many businesses using Twitter, along with the first generations of Internet users 'growing up' and comfortable with technology, this is a sign that the early-adopter model might need to be revisited."

Older demographics have also begun frequenting other social-networking sites such as Facebook, another source for promoting sellers’ online businesses.

Seufert started Auctiva's own Twitter account in February and posts updates several times a week, informing people about everything from how the company's softball team performed the night before, to links to articles to help Auctiva users improve their e-commerce businesses. Click on the links to follow Auctiva and Auctiva Commerce on Twitter.

Some businesses have several different Twitter feeds, notes Biz Stone, Twitter's co-founder. Dell has 80 and about 11,000 people who follow the feeds. Companies have also started following Twitter users to see what people are saying about them.

Since last February, the number of Twitter users has increased 700 percent, comScore reports. The mainstream media may be one of the reasons for the site's massive growth, since celebrities and news organizations are giving Twitter a lot of publicity, reports say.

"It seems you can't get through a typical newscast anymore without some mention of Twitter," writes Andrew Lipsman, a blogger for comScore. "You might have heard that Newt Gingrich levied criticism of President Obama's response to the Somali pirate standoff over Twitter."

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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