Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 13, 2010
I just finished reading the book below, Twitter Marketing, and found that I had some things I wanted to talk about as it concerns using Twitter as a marketing tool as opposed to just a conversation piece. This isn’t a book review as much as it is a look at the ethics and possibilities of using Twitter to market oneself and their business.
The book pointed out some very interesting things, some I knew, some I didn’t. One, it seems that the majority of people using Twitter are between 35 and 44. that’s somewhat surprising because I’d have thought more young people would be using the technology because my mindset has always been that it’s younger people who are drawn to it. What I hadn’t taken into account is that this is the age group that was really the first group that grew up with the technology as close to the technology of today. In my very early 20’s, we had Space Invaders and Asteroids, which were relatively simple (I was my college’s Asteroids champ in 1980), and only 5 years later there was this more interactive game of the guy who dressed like a knight and had his adventures (Dragon’s Lair), and my mind couldn’t deal with it, yet the younger kids took to it like walking.
The second thing I knew was that, overall, less than 10% of everyone who signs up for Twitter could be considered an active user. What I didn’t know was that around 37% of those who are considered active users are actually bot accounts, which means that no actual person is ever tweeting a single thing. I’ve always wondered about that one, and now we have a figure.
The third thing I knew, but didn’t have any figures for, was just how fast bad customer service might bring you down, and some of the lingering effects. The writer, Hollis Thomases, pointed out the big Motrin fiasco, which I’d heard about but never knew what it was, and a potential Crocs episode that was nipped in the bud, but had the CEO so rattled by this weird attempt at extortion that he went to his blog, then to Twitter, to state his case before this woman, who apparently ended up with great fear that something bad could happen to her, followed through on a threat that was unwarranted.
On the first one, I believe it is ethical to market on Twitter, as long as it’s done properly. I don’t know a single person who enjoys immediately receiving an automated private message about buying something or signing up for something once you’ve decided to follow someone. Even the messages offering me something for free irk me because I don’t trust them. I immediately stop following those people, figuring I haven’t invested anything in them, and they really haven’t invested anything in getting to know me first.
But what about other marketing? If I have all my blog posts immediately go to Twitter, that’s marketing, and I believe it’s ethical, but is it? I think so because I’m really advertising my opinions and rarely advertising a product. I’m looking for readers for my blog; if money ends up coming in some fashion later on, I won’t be depressed by that.
The how of this question is a different matter. The only other marketing I ever do, which is rare, is when I announce my office hours. It’s rare that I do it because I’ve only ever had one person take me up on it, which tells me it’s probably a major waste of time, but I still pop it out there from time to time.
But other marketing? Truthfully, even though I see how some people do it, I can’t figure out if it really works for them or not. Yeah, they might get clicks, but are they irritating people? For instance, if you see a headline that looks intriguing enough to click the link, and you’re taken to one of those pages where you have to put in your name and email address to get any information about it, how do you feel? Or if the topic looks like you’re going to get information, and instead it takes you to a product; how do you feel?
I guess overall I don’t have a problem with marketing if two things occur. One, I know it’s a marketing message instead of a set up. Two, if that’s not the only thing a person’s doing with Twitter. Because when all is said and done, at least in my mind, they call it “social media” for a reason. It might not be everyone’s primary motivation, but they should at least try. Am I wrong?
By the way, not a bad book; check it out.