When Apple released its latest software update for iPhones, one new feature intrigued me more than others: spoken, turn-by-turn directions from Apple Maps.
I wondered if this app would allow me to replace the GPS I place on my vehicle’s dashboard. And would I no longer need to pay to regularly update a GPS?
My excitement quickly turned to disappointment. The spoken part of the turn-by-turn navigation is not available for my older iPhone.
A few days later, I saw the promoted Tweet at the top of this blog:
“@MapQuest: Free voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation for *EVERY* iPhone – ”
I almost always skip over promoted Tweets. I don’t even read them most of the time. It’s as if I see out of the corner of my eye the small symbol representing the promoted Tweet and quickly avoid looking at it. I’m seeing (and not reading) more promoted Tweets. I’m receiving more messages encouraging me to promote a Tweet myself. I wasn’t buying any of it.
But the Tweet promoted by MapQuest stopped my scrolling finger in its tracks. It was as if I were the Tweet’s ideally drawn up target audience. I favorited the Tweet and later tried out MapQuest’s spoken, turn-by-turn navigational app, making myself the almost too perfect example of using social media to convert readers into customers.
Do promoted Tweets work? For me personally, not most of the time. Only one has spoken to me. However, in a game such as baseball, success is reached by getting a hit only 30% of the time. Someone might argue my one example shows how well promoted Tweets can succeed.
I’m also curious if this example was simply a successful shot in the dark or part of a well-crafted strategy. Did MapQuest somehow know I needed spoken navigation? Did people with no need see the same Tweet?
One of social media’s most difficult aspects is ROI. Some of those considered experts sound like professors when writing about ROI, but I often feel like they’re full of it and put emphasis on statistics that mean little in reality. Sharing anecdotes might be just as important in determining what in social media actually works.