Parker PR

If we are to believe the bloom of social marketing gurus in this Spring of social networking, then we should all be twittering to our hearts' content, pushing up tweets on the Internet like a blanket of snowdrops from a frozen forest floor.

There's no doubt that the use of social media has been grasped very firmly by many; especially us marketing, PR and advertising types. Although we are not alone, just look at the amount of trainers, recruiters and HR professionals twittering, the medium is now recognised as the latest critical marketing tool.

I've spent time looking at Twitter and its value as a marketing tool. I've conducted tests by promoting my clients for free. I've looked at developing profitable relationships on-line and tried to directly win business through Tweeting. The various responses I've had, personal experience and researching authoritative perspectives has led me to conclude that Twitter is probably the most flexible, ungoverned, potentially direct and yet awfully ineffective tool in the whole marketing kit.

Being a Tweeter is akin to angling; to be precise it's like sea fishing. You sit on the dock of the bay, cast out your line into the Twitter Atlantic and hope that you can fill your keep net. With a bit of look you attract a good shoal of valuable healthy fish, although in the early hours of your dabbling you are unlikely to catch anything more than passing interest from a jellyfish, a few crabs and a limpet.

Getting you bait right is very important if you want to catch profitable fish.

Ask any small to medium sized business owner how they get new business and I can guarantee what the response will be – word of mouth and referrals. Irrespective of the industry sector and age, unless it is a very new company and or has really switched on marketing nous behind it, the power of word of mouth will be its main route to market engine.

Word of mouth or referrals, which are essentially the same things, are incredibly powerful marketing tools – they have to be, otherwise the majority of these businesses would not rely on them.