The Twitter Impact of SXSW

by Jason Falls |

There were 224 Tweets about South by Southwest on the first day of the interactive conference back in 2006. That was the year the then fledgling microblogging platform became legitimate, largely because the SXSW crowd took to it so well. Quick and easy communication while you’re lost in a sea of people trying to find your friends was the premise that allowed Twitter to become uber useful, uber fast.

On the first day of this year’s SXSW conference, there were 224,302 Tweets about it. I’m pretty sure 87% of those came across my phone in the form of notifications that made me throw it in my backpack and ignore it. Heh.

My friends at Spredfast (client) put together a neat little infographic on the impact a relatively small group of people (100,000 users on Twitter were Tweeting about SXSW in the first 48 hours of the conference) could have while riding a theme (or meme) on Twitter. The impact is summed up nicely in the stat that to get the same number of impressions via Google Ads that SXSW got via Twitter, the conference would have had to spend $2.5 million.

No, this isn’t to infer that you should do away with advertising and just find 100,000 people to Tweet about you. Only that Twitter can have a massive impact on awareness and impressions, provided the brand/event/topic is right and the audience believes in it. SXSW is the conference equivalent to Chevy or GE — It’s a huge brand that has a huge crowd (not to mention an influential one). Your event will not likely be this big. Nor will your company, in comparison.

But if you happen upon the right message and audience, you can leverage social channels like Twitter to amplify what you’re doing at a rate that could cost lots more money in other channels.

Thanks to Spredfast for helping point that out. And thanks to all of you for Tweeting!


About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).