As a person I would always have been cautious.
By this I mean I would be sceptical of most things I would be told or hear unless there was sound evidence or data to support the assertion.
Once that is present, however, I have no problem accepting the proposition.
I am not a man for conspiracy theories based on thin air or hunches or feelings or rumours or unsubstantiated nonsense to be found on social media platforms, and elsewhere.
As a small business owner, I probably exercise an even greater degree of reticence about what works and doesn’t work when it comes to marketing my business. I tend to test and verify for myself.
And my strong view is that a great deal of small business owners are wasting their time, attention, and money on things that will not work for them.
Or if they do work, they will only do so to such a small extent as to render the effort virtually pointless and prodigiously costly.
Drinking the Twitter Kool Aid
Take Twitter, for example. I see large numbers of small business owners involved in professional services-for example solicitors, accountants, tax advisors-wasting a lot of time on a platform that will not deliver clients and will only provide a fraction of the brand building impact that they might obtain on YouTube or Instagram or Facebook.
I have tested the social media platforms extensively and have subjected each one to a wide range of experiments as to what works and what does not work. What type of content, how often, timing, and so on.
And I have no doubt in saying that for the vast majority of solicitors or other professional service providers Twitter is a stunning waste of time and resources.
I see top law firms tweeting, or paying someone to tweet for them, presumably as part of some marketing effort.
The results they obtain are, I would wager, hopeless.
They would be far better off fishing where the fish are-on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube.
Young couples striving to get a few bob together for a house deposit, who are concerned about rising house prices, interest rates, the best lender and similar concerns, are not on Twitter. They are on Instagram or Facebook or YouTube.
The same story applies to persons with employment problems such as unfair dismissal, discrimination, part time contracts, banded hours, harassment, sexual harassment, bullying.
They are not on Twitter, or if they are they are only there to vent or be entertained. They are on Facebook and Instagram and YouTube. On these platforms they will engage, ask questions, reach out, ask questions, look for a quotation.
Ultimately, they will become leads and clients. Not on Twitter, though. It does not happen is my experience.
But Twitter is high profile, loved and used by the media, and many social media consultants have persuaded their clients to drink the Twitter Kool Aid.
The consequence is the inefficient, ineffective strategy and/or tactic of top legal firms, sole practitioners, and other providers of professional services wasting time on Twitter with not a new client or lead in sight.
Twitter is good fun sometimes. Sometimes, it is a sewer.
Mostly, however, it is simply a platform for journalists and politicians to spin their story and try to influence the narrative and perception. And the proletariat, the hoi polloi are given the opportunity, in so many characters, to vent their frustration and anger at life in general and certain politicians or issues in particular.
And then you have the predictable handwringing about defamation, abuse, online bullying and pious calls for those who must be heard to the social media companies “to do something about it”.
I spend about 5/10 minutes a day setting up automated tweets. Aside from that I use Twitter for research.
Paradoxically it is great for research precisely on account of the wasted time and resources I have discussed in this article. I can leverage the misguided efforts of the bigger legal firms who are tweeting away links to their well-researched, excellent articles about legal developments in Ireland.
I don’t need to maintain any type of legal research department. The big firms do that for me.
All this stuff is free for a small guy like me and being able to access the blog post/article output of well-resourced departments in the top 10 law firms in Ireland is great.
But for the tweeters? A prodigiously poor return on marketing spend of time and money.
Drinking the Twitter Kool Aid? Long may it continue.