Twitter: Is Marketing Doing it Wrong?

06/04/2010

Trip Caution 150x150 Twitter: Is Marketing Doing it Wrong?Marketers love Twitter these days for a list of reasons including using it converse with customers and influencers, sharing content and driving traffic to websites.  There has been so much talk about Twitter in Marketing circles, you would think that everyone would have it figured out by now.  I’m not claiming to be a Twitter expert but I have been a fairly heavy user for the past couple of years and here are a few things I see folks doing that I believe are just wrong:

1/ Focusing on followers instead of engagement – Social Media folks have been saying “it’s about the conversation” over and over for years now but this is still a stumbling block for a large number of marketers.  There are plenty of tools out there that for a fee, will follow people based on keywords, unfollow those that don’t return the favor and follow some more until you have thousands of followers.  That’s great, right?  It is if your only goal is to try to impress people (who know nothing about Twitter) with the number of followers you have.  If your goal however is to drive some awareness or action, 15,000 followers could well be the same as 100 if none of your 15,000 ever talks to you or shares your stuff.  There are some interesting tools coming to market to judge how “influential” a Twitter user actually is.  Klout seems to be the most sophisticated out there, creating a score that takes into account how often people respond to you or share things you’ve posted and how influential those people are.  Topsy (the folks that power the retweet button on this blog) is also measuring how influential folks are by tracking how often they are cited in other people’s Tweets.  People should stop bragging about the number of followers they have – it’s easy to buy followers therefore the number is meaningless.

2/ Broadcasting instead of interacting – I’m not saying you can’t share your own stuff on Twitter, you can.  I never post a blog post without Tweeting about it a couple of times because frankly, if I cared enough to spend the time writing it down, I generally care enough to share it.  Where this doesn’t work however, is when that’s ALL you are doing.  It becomes like advertising, and by that I mean boring and really easy to ignore.  Yeah, I get that this works for Mashable but chances are, you and your company are nothing like Mashable.  You are going to have to do a whole lot more listening and talking to be taken seriously within a community and that means interacting and being helpful instead of just pitching and selling.

3/ Ignoring people that are trying to talk to you – Sure you might get away with this if you are Ashton but what amazes me is when regular old tech folks, or worse, people representing companies ignore people.  I’ve had this happen to me more than a few times and every time it does, I’m perplexed and annoyed.  Why don’t they want to talk to people?  Do they think we won’t notice that we are being ignored and be mad about that?  I can see missing a few messages (it happens to me) but I’ve seen many users that only interact with a small group and pretend the rest of us don’t exist. I do exist.  I exist and not only will I unfollow you, I will mock you and your lousy social skills over drinks for the next 6 months.  If you’re Ashton, that might not matter.  If you are a regular person like the rest of us, (even a somewhat well-known one) it might not kill your brand but at a minimum you are missing out on an opportunity to expand your community.

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