Is anyone else wondering whether or not Twitter "SEM" really works?

Automated SEM on Twitter is getting a bit out of hand. Looks like bots are trying to market to other bots. I've been tracking a couple of key phrases for my marketplace just as a test (eg Marketing Plans, Marketing Consulting), and I've seen 99% what are clearly bot messages fishing for replies. Of course, the other bots looking for those keywords are replying to the first bots....so now we have a bot lovefest which is the definition of insanity. I hope the bots have a checkbook! Can someone out there please tell me you are making money in this madness.

Answer

Justin Seibert (President, Direct Online Marketing)
Nick - the bots are crazy in all things related to marketing, search engines, etc. on twitter. I'm sure you've noticed that the real experts - the people whom you follow and whose posts you read - don't use hash tags for marketing terms.

In terms of making money, the most often discussed stat involves Dell Outlets and the millions they've made the last couple years using twitter, but it goes beyond that to even smaller companies, depending on the industry. I've seen some travel companies use it very effectively and claim that it's made a bottom line impact. I know a small pr firm that's gotten business from remote geographic locations due to tweeting. My general sense, though, is that twitter is usually better for building expertise and business long term as opposed to direct marketing.

Are 90% of tweets garbage? At least. But there are people having some measurable success.
1 Additional Answer
Clickbooth PR (Public Relations Team, Clickbooth)
We've managed to use Twitter to build some very strong relationships (the majority of our partners use Twitter to share their own blogs and info - so it has been an amazing business tool). Of course, the key is finding a nice balance between listening to and engaging followers with relevant and interesting content.

It really amazes me how many people attempt to use bots (and I love that way you phrased it). A successful salesman returns phone calls, listens to his/her customers, and doesn't allow the answering machine to do the talking. I have seen a number of these bots pop up, and the best way to manage them is to click on Twitter's feature 'report for spam' which appears right underneath the individual's account info on the right hand toolbar.

Twitter recently announced that it has drastically reduced it's spam to 1% on its blog recently. I'm not too sure how accurate that is - however, if we all step in to control it, I'm sure will see great improvements in the near future.
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