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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I was recently talking with Chris Abraham about the types of people that use Twitter; and yes I know that there have been lots of blog posts on the subject. But I’m a simple person who likes things to not be too complicated so I decided to take our conversation and dumb it down into three distinct types of users. There could be more but that’s for you to decide.
I look at Twitter Leaders to be those that: Engage others, that ask questions, that announce and alert others about upcoming events. They forward information that can help people. They Retweet info and tweets that are worth sharing. They share links and otherwise do the best they can about engaging worthwhile tweets, but they also have conversations, they bring value. In other words they are leaders.
Repeaters are just going to be forwarding and Retweeting machines. They are not so much into conversing as they are into giving off the semblance of having conversations. They will just read something and supply a link, read and retweet. They may give credit as to the source, they may not. They are using Twitter but they don’t know why. or they think they are using it properly but in actuality, they are not. They might be earnest, but they just don’t get it. They need to understand how to utilize it’s true potential.
The Feeders, might be better associated with bottom feeders. They are just taking whatever they “think” they can get from Twitter. They could care less about conversations. A sample bio from this type might be a cute name, or a company name associated with about 5 or 6 titles, one of which might be the word expert or ninja, and the Follower/Following/Tweets ratio will look something like this 200/5000/53. When looking at the tweets, you’ll see nothing of value and lots of messages that resemble some type of Google Adwords campaign. Zero value, zero relevance and ultiimately zero return on their time and effort.
What others could we add to this list?
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The airlines industry is an easy subject to pick on, to bash and to trash. Of course they don’t help the situation when they have to deal with PR nightmares. Check out the video that currently has, 388,659 views, and then read the whole story at the jump.
Dave Carroll is a musician who makes a living with his guitar.
Check out the comment from a spokesperson with United Airlines after the video went viral:
“This struck a chord with us,” said Robin Urbanski, spokeswoman for Chicago-based United. “We are in conversation with one another to make what happened right.”
It struck a chord? Ya think?
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As more and more companies continue to swarm to Twitter, all trying to see what the buzz is about, there are plenty that are using it now that are just not utilizing it correctly. So here’s a quick primer. These are 10 sure-fire ways to change the monologue to dialogue real quick.
Instead of telling us how great your company is, Respond/Reply to someone else’s tweet to keep the conversation going.
Rather than push your standard one-way message, Retweet something that could have value for others.
Retell some information that perhaps someone missed that can save them time or possibly money-they’ll appreciate it!
If someone shared some information for your benefit, maybe others could benefit from it too. Why no Reshare it?
You see a person asking a question, you know the answer, Reach out to them and answer it!
Don’t always take, try being a Resource to your network or your existing customers sometime.
You get more out of Twitter if you realize that it’s as much about Reciprocity as it is anything else.
You could stay behind your walled garden but why not Rebuild the relationship with your customers?
Revitalize and Reinvigorate brand perception by being accessible and approachable.
But most of all…Be Real
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In marketing, in social media, in PR and in just about every other role. Innovation and great ideas can bubble up from anyone. The key and qualities are many. I know of a number of change agents, some personally, and some not, but in each case, it was a person that truly possessed many of the qualities below. Whether you’re looking for that change agent when deciding on a go or no go on a project, or you are wondering whether you could be that change agent in your company- Ask yourself these 10 questions.
Do you say, “There has to be better way?
Is this you?
Are you the only one who gets it?
Are you willing to walk the plank?
Are you the evangelist?
Do you have the conviction?
Do you have the belief?
Are you willing to take the risk?
Are you willing to be wrong?
Do you have the passion?
Be the change agent
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