Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

You all knew this day would come. I’ve talked about Facebook, I’ve talked about Google+, and I’ve mentioned blogging more than a few times. But what about Twitter, the social media platform that literally causes marketing professionals to lose control of their saliva production?

What is Twitter good for?

  • fast and brief conversation; anything in depth doesn’t fit in 140 characters
  • feeling like part of a community/building community
  • being able to respond, quickly and briefly, to fans/readers/customers/etc.
  • access to people who are well-known in their fields and have a large(ish) fan base, aka networking
  • small amounts of self-promotion (the key word being SMALL) about your latest book, blog post, upcoming appearance, or what-have-you
  • finding out if it was just you or was that really just an earthquake

However, I have noticed certain habits of Twitter users that can be, to state it bluntly, irritating or even off-putting. Here are my top three:

1. Huge volume. Last week someone I follow on Twitter must have posted twenty or thirty different “truism” tweets within fifteen minutes, completely flooding my timeline for that entire period. Another person has tweeted twelve random links (not RTs, mind you) in the past hour; and this isn’t rare or unusual behavior for him. At a certain point, volume no longer provides value for your followers, but instead merely feels like spam.

2. Automated Direct Message Upon Following. I can only assume people do this because they have failed to comprehend how slimy and inauthentic it feels to be on its receiving end. If you want to automate your Twitter account to follow everyone back and happily give numbers to spammers, well, at least it doesn’t affect me directly. But sending me a spam message because I was interested enough to follow you has the effect of giving a poor first impression. Happily others agree with me.

3. Large amount of repetition/over-promotion. Twitter is a fleeting platform, so I understand the need to share an important piece of information (my book is out! I have an awesome new blog post! my story is out!) more than once so that your followers don’t miss it. Share it more than twice in twenty-four hours, though, and my patience wears thin–plus it had better be really important to you. Tweet about the same blog post every couple of days, while possibly disguising that it is the same blog post, and I will never again click on any links you share. I made the mistake of following one well-known personality who not only has a volume problem, but has scheduled all of his tweets to be shared four times a day. Yes, that’s FOUR times. For ALL his tweets, most of which are random links that I can’t imagine he’s super invested in. Again, this feels like spam, and perhaps more importantly, it makes this person appear to be inauthentic. And being inauthentic on Twitter is the kiss of death.

People don’t like to be marketed to, they like to be connected with. Social media is all about achieving marketing through connection, which will hopefully make the experience more palatable for everyone. Commit regular acts of spam and no one wins.

Disagree with any of my pet peeves? Have any of your own to add? Let me know!

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Since I talked about blogging last week, I decided to continue my trend and talk a little more social media. Only this time, I will turn my attention to Google+ and Twitter, and one of the strategies I see being discussed and implemented. Okay, time to test out my backbone!The strategy I’ve been thinking about is automatic mutual following or circling. The idea is this: when someone follows you, you automatically follow that person back (unless it’s a spambot, although some people even auto-follow them). In your turn, you can hope for similar reciprocity when you follow somebody else. By doing this, you can build your Following count and therefore your social media reach and presence, presumably for the purpose of connecting with your audience.

I’ve seen this strategy pushed all the time and tried it myself on Twitter. I didn’t just do automatic follow-backs either; I regularly retweeted, shared cool content, joined in conversations, etc. This took a fair amount of time to do properly (sifting through all the material to find the articles I thought merited retweets, for example), and as the number of people I followed grew, my stream became so noisy I began to be unable to find quality content or the people I actually wanted to talk to.

I know, I know, Tweetdeck. But all Tweetdeck does is allow you to divide people into lists, and show those lists in different columns. It’s still the same amount of information to read. And most people don’t have time to read that much information. I began to realize that, in fact, most people weren’t reading the information I was sharing. The whole “I’ll follow you if you follow me” game was resulting in a torrent of what I like to call “Fake Follows:” follows in which neither person actually reads anything the other person is sharing, instead using lists and circles to avoid each other, while boosting up Follower count.

So when I got the opportunity to start over again on Google+, I decided to try something different. I don’t feel obligated to circle someone when they’ve circled me. A revolutionary thought! Instead, if I have the time, I go look at the person’s posts that are visible to me, and I decide whether or not to add the person to my circles based on how interesting she is to me. And if someone starts posting up a storm about topics that make me feel stressed or bored, I remove them from my circles. (For instance, anyone who starts complaining all the time about Google+ while not being constructive or actually saying much of anything? Kaput. Life is seriously too short.) Meanwhile, if people who are reading me comment intelligently about something I’m sharing, I’m very likely to check them out again and see if their posts have become more interesting, giving them another chance to be added to my circles.

What I am left with is a much higher quality stream than I would otherwise have, without the charade that I’m following people who I never read. I circle people who I think are interesting without worrying about whether they’ll find me interesting in return. And I curate the “Amy feed” knowing that if anybody finds it extremely dull, they can always remove me from circles, which means I don’t have to censor myself from sharing on a variety of topics.

I don’t think Fake Following is effective at marketing or spreading the word about your book or getting people to spend money. What I think is truly effective is following people who give you value: with whom you can engage on a personal level, or who feed your artistic spirit (I follow some great photographers for this reason), or who give you interesting food for thought. These are the people who will enrich your life, and if you begin to develop a relationship or even a friendship with them, these are the people who will support you in your endeavors. You can’t fake this support; it must be earned.

So for those of you on Google+, I encourage you to share some posts publicly, so that other users can tell if they might enjoy adding you to their circles. And for those of you on Google+ or Twitter, I encourage you to choose authenticity over the Fake Follow, to follow people because you are truly interested in them, not just to add to your numbers.

How about you? How do you decide who to follow on social media? Are you interested in following people you don’t know personally?

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