You don’t need me to tell you Twitter has been a phenomenon in social media, in much the same way you probably don’t need a soshul meedya gooroo to preach about the power the medium has to be a phenomenal sales tool – for the one-man-bands and the big global monsters alike.
But we’ve all seen examples of how the big boys and girls can get it wrong, not least the way Kenneth Cole used the recent troubles in Cairo and its associated hashtag to communicate a sales message.
Similarly, you may remember search engine, bing’s tongue-tied attempt to provide over $100,000 in aid of Japan’s earthquake victims. Asking for RTs made it come across as a marketing ploy rather than a helping hand.
Not great ways to present your message or yourself. That’s because no matter how much social media and indeed technology moves on, sales and marketing will always be about communication; more specifically about communicating in the right way and, drilling down even further, about how people people ‘talk’ to each other.
Small jump to how one-man-bands and smaller organisations handle their tweets and it’s easy to see people forgetting they’re communicating with other, actual real-life people. It’s easy to see because you could transpose anyone of the following genuine-ish off-the-shelf tweets on any number of accounts.
1 The OH-SO BUSY tweet
“You would not believe who I just had to turn down work from. Aghast myself. But only so many hours in the day, & days in the week. Dammit.”
So busy you’re tweeting about it – and have been doing at the same point every lunchtime, every day. Adding a little jokey, made-up hash tag such as #NotEnoughHoursInTheDay to this kind of tweet does not lessen the impact of the huge smugbag you just dropped from a great height.
2 The NEW BUSINESS PROPOSAL/ OH-SO BUSY cross-tweet
“It’s proposal time – x-platform VoD app for a major UK broadcaster… need a steady stream of coffee for this one…”
Yep, you’re only saying but we don’t need to know. If you said this in a real-life situation, say in one of those room type thingies with proper people in, could you seriously resist the temptation to measure the cringe factor by counting the number of eyebrows that needed lowering and number of jaws you’d need to lift back off the carpeted tiles?
3 The I’M UP WITH THE LATEST TECH tweet
“I’m upscaling – I’m bored with the thickness of the iPad2 – anyone know when iPad3 release date is?”
Okay, it’s a little joke, but any excuse to get across the fact you’re totally tech’d up to the max, eh. Which brings me onto the…
4 The ANY EXCUSE TO TELL ALL I’VE JUST GOT THE LATEST TECH tweet
“Anyone got any ideas how I can entertain my 4yo Persian cat with an iPad2?”
Let me save you some typing time. Don’t bother with the question mark, replace ‘Anyone got any ideas how I can entertain my 4yo Persian cat’ with ‘Just got’ and it will have the same impact: self-congratubollox. In spades.
5 The JUST HAD AN AMAZING PHONECALL, TEASE tweet
“Oooh, 3:15pm on a Friday and I’ve just had a phonecall that makes the next 6 months look incredibly rosy”
Yeah, but you’re not telling us why, right? Smug stuff without the follow-through. Impressive.
6 The JUST HAD AN AMAZING EMAIL, TEASE tweet
“Wow. Just WOW. Something landed in my inbox that’s made my week.”
A nice, and very clever, twist on number 5 for anyone who’s hammered the phonecall route too much in one week.
7 The HANG ON WHILE I RETWEET SOMEONE PRAISING ME tweet
“RT @_______: @________ You’re so brilliant we expect nothing less than Best in Universe!”
Sick bag please. These common tweets are made no less vomit-inducing by augmenting the retweet with a preceding ‘Aw, cheers guys…’ If you were at a party and someone said you’re brilliant, would you then tap everyone else in the room on the shoulder and repeat the comment? If the answer is no, avoid social media schmuckdom and follow that guideline on Twitter.
8 The HANG ON WHILE I RETWEET SOMEONE RETWEETING ME tweet
“RT @X: Great blog post up by @Y RT @Y Ten Ways you’re ruining your online presence ”
Okay they’ve added a praising comment to your original tweet but why not cut out all that time consuming and expensive retweeting business by simply tweeting @X just said my last blog post was great?
Now how does it sound?
9 The I’M A SUPERMAN/WOMAN tweet
“Just did a tenk run before work – 11.25k run to work in just under an hour over 2 big old hills.”
Hang on, while I craft you a medal out of some hardened earwax I accumulated whilst trying to pick my own brain out. And stop wearing your underpants outside your trousers will you – it’s like tweeting every time you do a bit of exercise… oh, you just have…
10 The EXISTENTIAL REAFFIRMATION OF MY VERY BEING tweet
“I’m at Clockwork Creative Technology (Crown House, Armley Road, Leeds) ”
Oh… do one will you. If you are actually alive.
Take any one of the above tweets, mix up a few words here and there and I guarantee, if you follow more than 100 tweeters, they’ll be a regular blight on your Twitter feed. And yep, we’ve all been guilty of trying to oversell ourselves maybe a little too much from time to time – you’ve only got to look at my brown-paper-bag-worthy profile on the right to understand we can’t all be perfect. But if we remember the following few little points we’ll all sell ourselves a little less harder and who knows, a little more easily.
* Have a conversation, not a sales pitch
* Be genuine
* Be helpful
* Be humble
And lastly, because we can afford all that tech on which to read our Twitter updates…
* Be thankful