Real Marketing – Twitter

In the continuing series on what I’m calling “real marketing” I’m going to tackle Twitter, but first I’d like to alert you to another brief interview I did on Monique Neeley’s blog where she talks about “social style”, and I guess I have one so I hope you check that out.

I tell a lot of people that Twitter is my favorite social media platform. I like it because at any time of the day or night I can go there and talk and probably get someone to talk back to me. That doesn’t happen anywhere else, not even on Facebook with its nearly 900 million participants. It’s a lot of fun but can it really be used in a business marketing plan?

The kneejerk response is “yes”. When one puts a bit more thought into it the response modifies itself to “depends”. I tend to think that too many people have the wrong idea on how to use Twitter for business marketing purposes, and even though I don’t use it properly, I do know how to use it and which businesses would benefit most from it.

For instance, if you’re a business that sells products, you could probably do well on Twitter if people like your products. For instance, if you’re a local business that sells jewelry, and you have a following, you can easily market to those people by highlighting new jewelry, posting sales, and responding to comments anyone makes about your store or your products. If you worked in conjunction with Four Square you could probably increase your business by offering special deals to those people who have both that and Twitter.

What I tend to see more often than not, however, are folks that send out link after link after link, sometimes theirs, sometimes links from others, and never really talk to anyone. Sorry, but “thanx for the RT” isn’t communicating with others; it’s just a waste of time and adds to all the blather that many of us hate. Frankly, I don’t think that’s the best business model either, especially for small or independent businesses like mine.

To me, if one is going to market on Twitter, there has to be a mix of marketing and conversation. I think I fail in that I talk a lot, to almost anyone, but rarely is it about business. True, I’ve had some great connections, and I’m ecstatic to be connected to two of my favorite “old skool” babes, those being Mariel Hemingway and Kathy Ireland (both of whom started following me first and actually talk to me; gush!), I know that I’ll probably never do business with them.

Why is that? At a certain point, if you’re marketing on Twitter you have to aim towards a specific audience. My having only one Twitter account leaves a lot to be desired, and as I’ve said before, I’m not about to start splitting everything up now. If I were starting all over again I’d think seriously about it, and I probably would recommend it to people that offer more than one type of thing, which I do.

Also, I’m coming to believe that one might need to be willing to use more automation, something else I barely used, only using it to send out my first blog post for each of my blogs and that’s that. I’ve always felt like it would be disingenuous to post a link if I wasn’t actually online at the time to respond to someone and I’m starting to rethink that a little bit. I’m fairly available throughout the day, even late into the night, and I’m recognizing that maybe the way to maximize my messages is to get some automated help. One might need to get their own message out multiple times a day; how many is up to them.

One other way of trying to market on Twitter is to follow certain hashtags here and there. You might not find anything to comment on but every once in awhile you do, and sometimes you might even create one in your particular niche. I see so many people abusing hashtags with stupid stuff or things that aren’t within their realm; who wants to see that all day long? It’s rare that I retweet something and keep the hashtag in it; I learned a long time ago after reposting a political tweet that you never know who you’re inviting to contact you and potentially give you grief. Anyway, I temporarily follow hashtags like #healthcare, #seo, #socialmedia, see if there’s any action, and then get out.

There are many other things one can do, and things one shouldn’t do, but I think I got my main point across, which is that for some businesses Twitter would be a great way for them to market themselves, and for others some consideration needs to be taken as to just what they’re trying to do there.

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15 thoughts on “Real Marketing – Twitter”

  1. Hey Mitch,

    I like Twitter a lot too. Actually I much prefer it over Facebook, but I think that FB is gaining momentum on Twitter as I’ve seen a drop off of users and activity on Twitter. Don’t know, that could just be me.

    Anyone else seeing that?


    1. Liz, that’s just you, but for a different reason. Facebook has around 900 million members; Twitter’s around 150 million I think. So Facebook already has the momentum; Twitter’s really becoming more of a niche site for hardcore users, of which I’m one.

  2. Hi Mitch

    I agree with you on the link after link after hashtag issue which is annoying but if your posting regularly then I think it is perfectly reasonable to add some automation in there so having an automated tweet every time you write an article is perfectly reasonable and time saving.

    You do have several options for this, twitterfeed (you can schedule tweets), wp plugins that can do that for you, it sometimes can take one good article picked up by a follower and RT’d to go viral so don’t get too caught up in the moral argument.

    I agree with the issue of not being on Twitter when someone tweets you – we cant be online all the time unless we use iphones but what you can do is plug your account into tweetymail or twittermail so any DMs or mentions are sent to your inbox and you can reply from there, even if the reply is delayed at least you have still replied – perfectly reasonable.

    There’s more than one way to skin a cat – you do need some automation but you also need to engage in conversation, as long as theres a balance between the two it means you are using the platform to its full potential.

    Liz made a comment about the reduced usage of Twitter. Theres another player on the scene now – pinterest which has around a 100 million users, though its not an instant communications platform its seeing a lot of activity.

    Also Twitter has just launched a major legal court case against 5 applications providers that enable accounts to send automated follows and tweets etc so these have been taken down by the owners – this might be something to do with the reduced activity being seen right now.

    1. Great stuff Peter. Twitter filed suit only against spammers, so I think other automated companies are fine so far. Still, I hadn’t noticed any slow down in tweets other than the spam has been drastically reduced, though I still got one yesterday.

      I may look into a plugin to see about handling some of my tweets a second or third time. I’ve seen one many people are using called Tweet Old Posts, but I don’t like it because some of the posts that show up are not only old but dated, in that the information isn’t relevant any longer.

  3. Twitter is probably the first micro-blogging platform and I think one of the first social sites that had application for mobile phones. May be one of the driving power of bloggers. Technically Pinterest is Twitter on steroids, but I doubt that anything similar even including Thumbr is getting close to Twitter. There was a period of time when the network used to have problems and was offline almost on daily basis, but as soon as it moved to NoSQL structure, it is rock solid. I’ve never think about that, but I think it is probably my 3rd favorite social network.

    1. Carl, I’m not sure I equate Twitter and Pinterest in any way. Twitter is still people talking and sharing links, while Pinterest is sharing images but, at least from what I’ve seen, not much conversation going on. Still, I think there are a few businesses that will benefit more from Pinterest than others, and the same can be said for Twitter.

      1. Sure both are different kinds of micro blogging. Actually I’ve started driving good traffic to two of my websites through Pinterest and I hope this will continue.

      2. Well most people don’t know much about web development and classification on different CMS. Twitter, Thumblr, Pinterest, FriendFeed, Plurk, Identica, etc. are all micro-blogging platforms and it doesn’t matter people like it or not.

  4. I have already told you that I’m not a big fan of Twitter, but the arguments you wrote above sound quite persuasive. Probably I will try to change my opinion about it, thanks)

  5. Yeah, this is why i predicted facebook to fall off. The fact is people use facebook less and less as time goes by.

    Do you use facebook more or less these days? Exactly.

    If it isn’t Twitter, its Pinterest or something new going on, twitter has a brighter future than myspace i mean facebook, lol.

    1. Jacko, I don’t use Facebook all that often, but then I never did, though I do try to get people engaged on my business page. But Twitter seems to get more attention, even if it’s not the biggest driver of traffic to my sites.

  6. Ah, the blessings and curses of Twitter. I’m actually addicted to Twitter because I can go on at anytime and find conversation. However, I have been uberly blessed by the connections made on Twitter. It is highly recommended if you are using it to brand yourself, promote your business or your cause and to make connections.

    1. Thanks for the contribution Marcie. I love the connections as well, but I think I’ll be shocked the first time I actually get some real business from Twitter.

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