Embedding A Twitter Feed On Your Website – Should You Do It?

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I am a fan of Twitter. Twitter is a great place to connect, share information, and build relationships.

You have no doubt seen websites that have their Twitter feed embedded in their website, generally in the footer or sidebar.

It’s fairly easy to do, but should you do it? My answer is no. Here’s why.

  1. Twitter Conversations Belong On Twitter, Not On Your Website – Viewing 3 or 4 one-sided tweets in a website widget does nothing to tell me who you are, either as an individual or a brand. To engage in Social Media, you have to be on Social Media. I’m not going to do business with you just because you have a Twitter feed on your website. I may, however, do business with you if I build a two-sided relationship with you on Twitter (or other social network), but that is not going to happen because I see a widget on your website, it’s going to happen because you are producing (and Tweeting) content that I find valuable.
  2. There Are Better Elements To Put On Your Website – A Twitter feed on your website is, quite frankly, a waste of space. What I would rather see is what you are blogging about (you are blogging, right?), or if you have a special offer, or if you are giving something away, or if you have an event coming up … something that engages me.  I will very likely never even take a second-glance at your widget.
  3. You Can Appear Unengaged – Unless you are posting on Twitter on a regular basis (meaning at least 5 – 10 times a day), a Twitter feed on your website can make you appear like you dropped off the face of the earth. If I don’t see your Tweets in my timeline, I probably won’t even notice, but if you are actively and purposely advertising on your website the fact that you haven’t Tweeted for a week, and are socially unengaged, that’s a huge turn off. It does more harm than good.
  4. You Can Appear Non-Business Like – If the majority of your Tweets are more personal than business-like, people may assume that you are not serious about your business. If you want to Tweet about what a blast a party was, or that you are hitting the slopes, that’s fine, but it doesn’t belong on your business website. On your Twitter feed? Sure! I like to see personal Tweets – it gives me a better idea of who you are, and people do business with people that they have got to know, and have formed a relationship with. But on your business website? No way.
  5. Tweets Can Be Taken Out Of Context – If I am following you on Twitter, I can get a bit of a feel of how and what you Tweet. I get a sense of your “voice” and your “isms”. So if you say something a bit out of left field, I can judge your Tweet by what I have seen from you in the past. But, if I am not following you, and I see that same Tweet, out of context, on your business website, I have nothing to compare it to. I follow a few people who could be seen as fairly politically incorrect, and don’t really watch their cursing. I know, however, that these people are very passionate about what they believe in, so I am okay with their Tweets. But, if I saw one of their Tweets, say, in a widget on a website, without knowing them, I could easily form a bad opinion of them.

So there you have it.  I love Twitter.  I use it a lot and I think it’s a great place to form social relationships.

Twitter widgets embedded on a business website, not so much.

I’d be very interested in what your take is on this. Do you think a Twitter feed belongs on your website, or are you like me and think it’s a really bad idea. Let me know in the comments

Mark Pridham

Mark Pridham is the owner of The Pridham Group, a digital agency based in Saint John, New Brunswick. A life long resident of Saint John, Mark is passionate about design, entrepreneurship, and supporting and promoting local businesses.