My seminal moment for Twitter


As I sat with a client yesterday explaining Twitter, something significant happened. I was broadsided by my complete and utter sense of hypocrisy-I told the client, who is the largest manufacturer of a certain niche based consumer product, to use Twitter strictly as a broadcast based one way communication tool. Huh?

On the surface, for some of you, that might not seem like such a big deal. However, for the better part of the last 12+ months, I have been waxing philosophically here, and telling people and clients and whoever would listen, that “Twitter is a two way communications tool to create, share, and nurture ideas, conversations and resources.”

You see, for this client, it makes more sense to just Tweet deals and sales for those that are, or might be, looking for the keywords that surround their products, instead of trying to engage in conversations. The reality is that for them, conversations on a day to day basis, both internally and externally revolve around…sales. They have products that don’t require a whole lot of pitch. Short to zero sales cycle. You either want it or you don’t. Why do they need to get to know a customer that knows what they are looking for?  For these people, Twitter would be more of a sales tool, a recommendation engine and a conduit to a product that once they find, they buy. So why not just tweet deals and sales?

That’s what I thought.

Simply put, it dawned on me that the usage of Twitter for certain clients will not necessarily adhere to a standard set of rules for engagement. The only thing that is etched in stone is the ambiguity on how to use Twitter. And maybe, just maybe, that is the beauty of Twitter.

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4 Responses to “My seminal moment for Twitter”

  1. 1 Kyle Flaherty July 17, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Twitter, like any communication platform, is what you make of it and that changes both personally and professionally for everyone over time. It is important that we recognize those changes, particularly when advising our clients or companies on communication strategy. The beauty is that for this client Twitter may be a great broadcast tools, which actually turns around and becomes an amazing support tool or community engagement tool. Ultimately it is just that, a tool, and I can use a hammer to do a lot of different things!

    Great post Marc, a smart strategic partner always can realize when there is a divide between what they have thought and what is best for a particular situation (client). Hope this client realizes that you are one of the smart ones.


  2. 2 Ivan E Nunez July 17, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I agree that there are many ways to use Twitter, including as a broadcasting, one way, communication tool. However, even a company with a niche product with zero sales cycle can establish a relationship with their customers that goes beyond the product itself. The relationship can be around the experience of the transaction, the emotional aspects of the product, the characteristics buyers of this product have in common. Maybe Twitter can be used as a tool to acknowledge the transaction in a personalized way. Will this approach to using Twitter increase their sales? Not sure. Perhaps no more or less than saying “thank you” over the phone after each transaction, and I am hoping they at least do that.

  3. 3 Ari Herzog July 17, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Whether you cite @BarackObama during his presidential campaign or @CNN today, it is common for large trafficked sources to use Twitter as a broadcasting channel — as a mirror to their other channels.

    Whether you use social media as a monologue or a dialogue, the important part is the social media tool is used.

  4. 4 marc meyer July 17, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    @ari’s about the communication and not the how or the specicifc tool
    @Ivan I thought the same thing, but this company and their products is more about the quality of the sale and yes it is about customer experience but the customer is not looking for a relationship per se.
    @Kyle Thanks for your kind words, coming from you, it means a lot.

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Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.


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