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Should you Tweet? -Maybe

Posted on September 20, 2010 by Sean

With Twitter’s meteoric rise to popularity and its proven success as a marketing channel, many businesses are rushing towards it with arms open, hoping to embrace (and convert) the 105,779,710 existing users and the more than 300,000 active users per day.

Twitter Logo and Bird

But, though the service is evolving, we have to remember that human dynamics (largely) has not. Twitter is a real time conversation mechanism. The same principles that apply to actual, verbal conversation – the perceptions of trust, values, integrity, insight, responsiveness, which fuel our engagement - absolutely apply to this service.

So now, with tightening budgets and unprecedented buzz, a cash-strapped marketer might be inclined to adopt Twitter as a viable marketing channel.

But, if you weren’t an early adopter, maybe it’s time to pause before leaning into the social media giant as new, reliable marketing stream. There are already blog posts explaining “How to use twitter to grow your business” so I’ll leave the “HOW” to them. However, before you “join the conversation.”, pause to consider the WHY.

Whether you’re convinced that Twitter is congruent with your business model or, you’re of the “it’s free, why not?” school of marketing. I humbly submit two suggestions.

1)      Please ADD something to the conversation.

Keep in mind that Twitter, unlike many social networks is actually grounded in conversation. Each Tweet is a pithy, 140 character remark or reply made in real time, by real people. Whereas a blog post (or even Facebook status update) usually requires some level of pre-meditation, a Tweet is often a quick thought fired off (sometimes too) hastily by a person, to another person (or an assembly of followers.) A calculated advertisement is likely to fall on unmotivated eyes if you’re only trying to coax a “follower” to follow you back to your website and make a purchase.

2)      Please add something NEW to the conversation.

If you’re still vacillating on whether or not to market your product through Twitter, consider yourself a late-adopter. Active Twitter users are savvy, we follow selectively and, unlike Facebook or Myspace (yes, I said it), there is delineation between “Followers” and “Following” – meaning, there is more social currency in having an abundance of followers, than there is in following the population of a small country. Consider the hyperbolic, but appropriate example of perpetual comedian/Late Night host, Conan O’Brien – who has over a million followers, but follows only one person, Sarah Killen – who he seemingly picked at random. Companies like Southwest Airlines do well by incorporating personality and customer service into their tweets.

So, if you’re anything like me, you spend as much time as possible avoiding advertising, and Twitter is a great way to selectively reduce the amount of advertising in your life. Don’t go ruining that for us.

The bottom line to would-be Tweetvertisers: We control this conversation, what have you got to say?

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