Marketers struggle to create engaging content, which prevents Twitter from becoming effective for driving direct sales.

Social media marketing remains an experimental practice for many brands that are not yet ready to funnel significant resource toward outreach programs on sites like Twitter. However, as more people become active participants in social chatter on the web, it’s much harder to ignore the obvious value of social media, despite critics who claim networks provide no real avenue to an increase in direct sales.

According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2013 B2C report, 57 percent of survey respondents say they believe social media content is effective in driving engagement, compared to 43 percent who say the practice doesn’t work. CMI notes that 49 percent of brands say their biggest content marketing challenge, through several avenues like social media, is the creation of audience-engaging content. Nevertheless, 69 percent of CMI’s respondents will use Twitter to reach prospective and current customers online in 2013.

Twitter InfluenceMany brands use Twitter to connect with new and existing leads, but many of their Tweets may be overlooked. According to statistics from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, 79 percent of businesses use Twitter as a core component of their marketing agendas. But brands should focus on creating branded content that increases readership, especially with social users often ignoring content that comes from brands, and focusing on posts from trusted influencers. According to Econsultancy, of the 0.5 percent of Twitter users that influence the rest of the site’s population, product-based brands rarely earn affect consumers’ opinions.

Social media users may actively follow brands via Twitter, but they don’t always read Tweets made by organizations, and they spend more time interacting with celebrities and artists. This fact has encouraged businesses to reach out to top social influencers and work out partnerships that allow brands access to a public figures’ social networks. While this practice may be more appropriate for larger businesses, the trend remains noteworthy even for small shops. Twitter users engage with accounts that provide more than direct sales pitches – consumers want to feel they’re speaking with someone real. While a company can never become a person, it can show transparency by developing a unique persona online.

Twitter outreach may become more successful when brands allocate resources to creating engaging copy. With 49 percent of brands indicating that creating compelling content is their biggest challenge, outsourcing social marketing efforts to content writers can help brands create influential social accounts. Brands don’t need celebrities to increase sales online, companies need their own personalities to shine through posts.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.