Entertainers like David Copperfield and Chris Angel are hugely successful. With a slight of hand or misdirection, they create a controlled environment of alternate realities. The staple of any magician’s repertoire is the vanishing act – impossibly turning solid objects into ether. Almost any physical object can vanish in the blink of an eye, including the Statue of Liberty.
Businesses on social media platforms, such as blogs and Twitter, are performing their own vanishing acts. After starting good intentions and ambitious goals, reality sets in. Social media, done well, requires a clearly defined direction and lots of time. By design, anyone can create a profile and join social media sites for free. An easy barrier to entry might explain why only 7 to 10 million blogs are active at any point according to research by blog search engine Technorati. To add further insult to injury Technorati’s CEO, Richard Jalichandra, stated in a New York Times article that a paltry 50,000 to 100,000 garner most of the attention.
95% of Blogs Abandoned – New York Times
Recent research into Twitter shows the same bleak results. According to post at the Harvard Business Review blog, the average number of lifetime tweets per user is 1! Twitter must be one heck of a boring place, right? On the contrary, the reality is Twitter has a very active user group. Based upon their research and my own experience, Twitter is made up of a small percentage of prolific tweeters and a tremendous amount of people standing around with their hands in their pockets. Nielson Media confirmed this trend by finding up to 60% of users quit after a month leaving behind idle accounts.
Social media requires a lot of sweat, blood, and maybe tears, and a little luck. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses run out of luck before realizing the true costs of developing their social outposts.