Curmudgeon alert. Twitter certainly works for some businesses, but not all. After a year of listening to the sturm und drang mixed with the euphoric hype of religious converts, I’d like to add my own two cents. Twitter really does work for some very large companies. It has helped Dell move computers and it and other large companies like Home Depot use it for customer service.

And if you’ve been on a spiritual quest in Tibet you might missed one of the thousand articles about how great Twitter’s been for the Korean taco trucks in Los Angeles. They can tweet what corners they will be parked at and throngs of customers are lined up before they arrive. Twitter’s also been great for bars and anyone with a quick lunch special to share.

Are you in a business where you wish you could talk to your peers but it’s not conference season? Twitter’s great for that. It’s a great way to ask questions of your cohorts and share resources.

But let’s look at it from the point of view of a regional B to C. How many Twitter users are really in the area, compared to say…Facebook? And how many of those people are on Twitter when you are on Twitter? And how many people are they following? The number of people that an average person is following is creeping up (anonymous source, wink). I just logged into Twitter to see what I was missing from the 300 people I follow and here’s what I found out:

  • I can get a discount on coffee at Gimme Coffee this month.
  • A local restaurant is giving a great discount to 1 person who uses a different social media web site a lot.
  • I should check this one B & B in the region that uses YouTube that I haven’t heard of yet.

And that’s where I think the gaping hole is. I can’t find great models of Twitter use for the mid size business, for someone who serves consumers in 5 cities. Sure you could give a coupon or announce a special but the ROI on it doesn’t necessarily make sense. Of course, if you are already creating content for Facebook (blog posts, contests, recipes, or whatever your business does) it’s not a stretch to also try Twitter, I’m just not convinced anyone’s going to be writing your success story up in the Wall Street Journal or USA Today.

I might change my mind though. Stay posted. Next week I could be writing why I think everyone should be using twitter. Or at least invite a guest post from someone who adores it. This debate has just begun.

Diane Goodman-Daniel, Social Media Strategist

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