A brief look online would seem to indicate that most business owners and online marketing professionals are fully aware of the power which social media has to offer businesses. Yet as the infographic in my previous post clearly demonstrates there is a woefully large gap between assumption and fact.

Why Over 75% Of Businesses On Twitter Are Doing It Wrong

Despite the fact that there are around half a billion Twitter accounts generating around 175 million tweets per day, with 23.8 million Twitter users in the UK alone, it seems that businesses are massively missing out on a golden opportunity to engage with their customers in a positive way, and a potentially profitable way.

It is very worrying that as the infographic demonstrates, almost half of all businesses never actually include any type of call to action in their tweets. In other words, almost half of every business investing time and money in online social media are providing customers with absolutely no reason or motivation whatsoever to engage with the business.

That is an appalling figure, and makes me wonder just what the point is of a business spending time regularly engaging in social media such as Twitter, if they don’t make even the slightest effort to provide customers with any kind of benefit.

A Twit Of A Twitter

It reminds me a little of the other day when I was sitting in my car behind a drain cleaning van. I was clearly somewhat bored since I found myself reading the contact information on the back of the van, when I noticed that in large friendly letters they were encouraging people to follow them on Twitter.

Remember, this was a drain cleaning firm.

No reason was given as to why there I would want to follow them on Twitter. What would I discover? Would I be astonished and mesmerised by a detailed blow by blow account of the things they discovered stuffed down peoples drains and toilets? I would estimate that very few people hurried back home and made sure they signed up to receive these regular drainage updates.

And yet ironically there may well have been a benefit to me for doing just that. Perhaps through their use of social media the company was providing helpful tips and advice on making sure that your drains don’t get blocked in the first place, or even offering discount codes for saving money should you need to call them out in future.

“Ultimately Both The Business And The Customers Could Be Missing Out, And This Seems Completely Pointless When Both The Business And The customers are already signed up to the same social media platform.”

But on the other side of the coin the statistics show that just a little over half of businesses do include a call to action in their tweets. Unfortunately this still doesn’t go far enough, with only a quarter of businesses doing so regularly.

But even if we say that around 26% of businesses do regularly include a call to action, in many cases these are still not successful, because they go about it the wrong way. I regularly find myself unfollowing businesses or individuals simply because I find that they are regularly trying to sell me products and services, and do little else.

When I walk down the street I don’t like to be inundated by people every few yards trying to sell me mobile phones, get me to sign up to their charity, or for me to agree to switch my electricity and gas provider. The occasional approach might be bearable, and possibly even beneficial, but too much and we very quickly close ourselves off.

The same is true with social media.

Do it the right way and you can seriously engage with customers in a very positive way. Do it the wrong way and you’ll certainly find yourself either being ignored, or unfollowed.

Later this week I’m going to be publishing a blog post about how to structure an effective call to action within the field of social media, but in the meantime I would urge you to have a look at the infographic, and take a look at how your business is currently using social media, and in particular, Twitter.

Have a look through your tweets and ask yourself how many times you are providing customers with what you would call an effective call to action. Have a look at how many people stop following you after a relatively short space of time. And ask yourself how often you directly engage with individual customers or clients through Twitter, rather than always talking ‘to the balcony’.

What is your experience of social media? Do you find that you are regularly including a call to action, or do you feel that this could potentially put off your followers? What makes you stop following a business online, and have you ever noticed a business recommending that you follow them on Twitter, and wondered to yourself just exactly why you would ever want to do that?

Join the conversation below, and look out for my blog post on how to craft an effective call to action on Twitter very shortly.