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Most readers, firms not active on Twitter

Twitter turned 10 years old on Monday. The social media platform noted this week’s milestone with a blog post that linked to the first tweet, from co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey (“just setting up my twttr”), and said: “Since then, every moment of every day, people connect about the things they care about most — all over the world.”

Today, Twitter has more than 300 million monthly active users. It has played a key role in global events such as the Arab Spring and is helping to shape the 2016 U.S. presidential contest.

In business, Twitter has become an important marketing tool for many firms—but not all. In fact, more than 60 percent of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll say their business is not active on Twitter. An even larger share—nearly three-quarters—say they’re not personally active on the social media platform.

A narrow majority say, however, that social media is important to their business. Of these, one in five say it is very important and 31 percent say it is somewhat important. This compares with 23 percent who say social media use is not very important to their business and 26 percent who say it’s not important at all.

A plurality of respondents—39 percent—picked LinkedIn as the social media platform most useful to their businesses.

As a business, Twitter itself has struggled. Its active-users count has been flat over the past year, and while revenue has grown, it has posted losses of more than a half-billion dollars in each of the last three years.

Nearly 270 readers participated in this week’s poll, conducted March 22 and 23.

Is your business active on Twitter?
No: 61%  Yes:  39%

Are you personally active on Twitter?
No:  73%  Yes:  27%

In general, how important is social media use to your business today?
Very important:  20%
Somewhat important:  31% 
Not very important: 23% 
Not at all important:  26%

Which social media site is most useful to your business?
LinkedIn:  39% 
Facebook:  30% 
Twitter: 5% 
YouTube:  4% 
Google+: 2% 
Instagram:  1% 
None:  18%

COMMENTS:
As a company that is in B2B automation and integration sales, specifically in the industrial and manufacturing sectors, we leverage LinkedIn and YouTube. We find that the majority of customers are actively viewing these sites looking for information on professional projects or answers to challenges they are facing at work. We do use Google+, Facebook and Twitter, but don’t see a great deal of our customers using these sites for professional solutions.
—Patrick Tobin, vice president of business development, Han-Tek Inc.

Used strategically, the right social media platforms provide us and our clients around the world with a better way to listen and learn. They’re windows into public sentiment, industry trends and competitive insights, whether in Brighton, Boston or Beijing, proving themselves indispensable.
—Mike McDougall,
McDougall Communications

While social media is critical to every business, the most important element is having dynamic content. Social media is merely the publishing platform for good content. If you’re not telling stories that connect with your audience and providing value, you’re just going to be spinning your wheels.
 —John Jiloty, social media director, The Martin Group

Being a Luddite, I was dragged kicking and screaming into using social media. It’s incredible how many customers and potential customers rely on the Internet for shopping and contact. Our visit and clickthrough rates are incredible and have resulted in awareness of our business never achieved through very expensive radio, TV, print and billboard ads. I’m on board!
—Art Elting, Palmyra

In today’s world, you need social media to get the buzz going with the younger generation; but I have found the majority of my actual business (paid services) is from older clientele, who may sign on to Facebook once a day.
—John Costello,
Good Knight CommonWealth

I belonged to an organization, RPCN, which has been quick to jump on the bandwagon of all the social media sites. We had meetings and talks about the sites and how best to use them. I’m a small shop, and the social media sites are a great way for me to get my message out and to do advertising. I also have a website.
—Clifford Jacobson M.D., Vanguard Psychiatric Services PC

3/25/2016 (c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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