This is an excerpt from “Twitter for Business: Twitter for Friends” that I found particularly interesting as I assemble my marketing team to help promote the book. I believe that you may be a bit surprised by this article, at first. I caution that you will not really understand my message until you read the complete article!
Advertising Using Twitter
Advertising is an extremely sensitive topic for many users of social media. There is an adverse hypersensitivity to advertising in social media that often has a backlash that is wise to be avoided. However, after putting a lot of thought into this, I have realized that it is O.K. to advertise using Twitter. Yes, that is right, I just gave my go-ahead to advertise whatever it is that you sell! Of course, you did not need my approval, but since you are reading my book, I hope that it gives you a bit more confidence.
For the people reading this who know me, go ahead and pick your jaw up off the floor and keep reading. I have been using social media for a good many years, and one of the biggest complaints I hear is about people advertising. I have been one of those people complaining, but now I realize that the one thing worse than the advertising is all of the people who complain about it.
Self-Promotion: The Dirtiest Word Ever
In the lexicon of social media, I would give my vote that the term self-promotion is the ultimate insult, depicting the vilest scum of the Internet. There are many reasons that people will give to complain about promoting oneself, but for each of the complaints, I can find just as many or more reasons that complaining about it is futile, if not just as asinine.
Let us examine for a moment which is worse, and which you hear more complaining about. In my experience, I have found that I witness more people complaining about self-promotion than I actually find self-promotion. It seems that for every one act of self-promotion, there are several people complaining about it. So how does this make the matter any better? When you complain about it, you are not likely to impart your ultimate wisdom upon them and change their business practice. Sure, you can imagine that when enough people complain, that it will shift the tide, but that is unlikely. Consider how much the huge voice against email spam has helped reduce the junk in your inbox. It is still the majority of all email, whether you stomp your feet and get mad about it or not. The difference with social media is not that you have a greater voice to change it, but simply that you have a greater voice to show frustration.
A likely scenario of complaining about self-promotion is that you will bring about negativity that others will join in with and perhaps make you feel stronger and more consolidated, but is it productive? My experience is that it is not only a waste of energy, but also promotes negativity. In a worse scenario, you may bring even more attention to the promotion, and for the person using this as a tactic, they often believe that any attention is good attention. Following this logic, complaining only fans the flame, rather than blow it out.
On the topic of self-promotion, you would perhaps do better to refer them to my book than complain. Now how does that strike you? That was an appropriate self-promotion. If I have value to share, do you really mind that I make you aware of it?
How Will They Know What I Offer?
This is where my earlier statement regarding advertising being O.K. comes true. I really do believe that it is fine to tell people what you do and what you offer. The most effective way I find to do this is to make many friends and let them talk about me when they find it appropriate. That is called networking, and a warm referral from a friend is much more valuable than an advertisement. Just imagine how many more people I can reach when I consider the importance of selling my services to referrals from friends compared with selling to my friends.
Of course I want my friends to know what I do, so I will tweet useful information and direct people to my blog. I write a good blog, and I do it to share good information that people can use. I am providing a value to others. I invite questions, and I provide my responses. There is a value proposition rather than a waste of my readers’ time. I have tweeted that I am accepting new clients, and I have requested others to tell somebody about me if they know people who can benefit from what I offer. When somebody respectfully asks me to pass along their name, I do not find that to be insulting or rude, nor do most other people.
If people want to hire my services, I welcome it, but I realize that there is a far greater volume of business out there for me in the networks of friends than the comparatively small number of people receiving my tweets. In my experience, this is the greatest benefit you can receive from social media marketing.
If you want to simply advertise without being inconvenienced by having friends, be aware that it will not provide the greatest result. Some people will advertise by simply tweeting about their latest sale. You can generally tell this when you click the link to follow them. If you do not like it, do not follow them. On the other hand, if you are planning to purchase a car and there is an automobile dealership that tweets a description of cars they have for sale and their latest sale price, you may find great benefit in following them. I think it is fine for the coffee shop or restaurant to tweet their daily specials or similar uses. I simply understand it for the value it represents, and I do not hold a negative view of them.
Each user has their unique method and purpose. I have created Twitter accounts simply to make announcements about my racing Webcast or storm chasing Webcast, and not for two-way communication. Any people following those accounts were aware of that when they followed.
Time Magazine on Starbucks
As I wrote this chapter, I observed a new criticism on advertising using Twitter. In this case it is an article speculating on the potential backlash of Starbucks Coffee using Twitter to promote their product. The article is titled “Starbucks Brews a Plan to Twitter for Dollars” and is worth a read. Find the article at the URL as follows: http://tfbtff.com/8tXad
I see things every day pointing out somebody’s misuse of social media. I wrote about this in the types of Twitter users, and I call them “The Complainers”. In my opinion, Starbucks should use their social media the way they see fit. Freedom to use our words is arguably the greatest right afforded by the United States Constitution and an important factor in the popularity of social media. The Complainers have their rights, too.
One more thing! Self-promotion is fine when it is on your own blog. Click here to order the book!