What marketing execs don’t get about Twitter

April 20, 2009 § 3 Comments

So the world is all a-twitter now that Oprah is on, and I’m sure there will be millionns of new people trying it out just because She is on.

I was watching the news this morning and heard a story about Pizza Hut looking for an intern in social media.  Of course, the news story called it a twittern.  But here’s the thing. Big companies just don’t get it.

What I envision is some marketing hot shot thinking “Hey, let’s get Pizza Hut on this Twitter thing.  Oprah’s doing it, why can’t we?”  The problem is, people who use social media aren’t dumb. They use it because the want to follow someone, not because they’re forced to.  Social media is so completely different than traditional media…you don’t sit idly by while you are bombarded with advertisements.  In fact, in my own experience, if someone in the social media groups you follow starts throwing out advertisements, you just block, unfriend, or don’t follow them.

I’m starting to notice this trend on Twitter of people following me who don’t have anything in common with me.  It’s so easy to follow someone, why not just mass follow a whole bunch of people in the hopes that they’ll reciprocate, right? But like most of the people I know who use social media tools, I check out everyone who follows me.  If their twitter page looks like a bunch of ads, or if they aren’t giving me information I need, I’m not going to follow them.

The people I follow on my social networks fall into three categories: 1) Family and friends, 2) Learning network – professionals who are in education and technology, 3) Celebs I like.

If anyone that I follow abuses twitter, I stop following them.  Simple as that.  Early on, there was a professional contact who tweeted 5 times within about 10 minutes.  To me, that’s abusing the system.  You’re not tweeting, you’re putting up a blog post in 5 parts.  Use your blog for that.

And that’s what ad execs don’t get.  I see them flooding their followers with advertisements, and the thing about social media is that we don’t want to watch ads.  If we did, we’d sit in front of the TV, where we don’t have to participate.

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§ 3 Responses to What marketing execs don’t get about Twitter

  • I agree with you, once there are ads all over the place…BLOCK!

    Business & Twitter is not so much about selling as it is building engaging relationships with your customers in hopes of building loyalty.

    I do think an ad every now and again that has REAL VALUE to the people follow you is ok.

    twitter.com/tylerkessler

  • I enjoyed reading your post and couldn’t agree with you more. Our foray into the Twittershpere is definitely not about bombarding people with ads. It’s about connecting and conversing with people in an environment that they are used to. That’s a lot of the reason why we are hiring someone from the outside to tweet on our behalf. We want this to be an outsider’s perspective in to our company and culture. That’s what makes the conversation authentic and quite frankly, more interesting.

  • Scott says:

    Thanks for the feedback Tyler and Chris, and maybe I’m just being narrow minded and skeptical here, but I don’t see how that works. I understand that not everyone follows folks on Twitter in the same way I do, that is, just following people of the same profession/industry and family/friends. But people just don’t want to be advertised to anymore. I’ll go out searching for a deal on the web, but if someone I don’t know sends me something that feels advertise-ish, I’m going to block them rather than follow.

    So how exactly does a tweet from Pizza Hut get started without turning people off?

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