The Seven Deadly Sins of Twitter
In my previous post, I talked about how to add LOTS of new followers to your Twitter account. I briefly touched on a few things that you need to avoid to create an authentic, meaningful strategy on Twitter, but in this post, I want to talk about the Seven Deadly Sins of Twitter marketing.
Vanity, Twitter Style
It can be easy when you look at your Twitter account to get caught up in “vanity metrics” – how many followers you have. What’s important is not the number of followers you have, but the amount of engagement you have. It’s better to have a high Klout score than a lot of Twitter followers who you never interact with! Instead of focusing on the number of followers, look at metrics that measure actual engagement: Retweets, favorites, mentions, and (most importantly!) the number of people who go from Twitter to your website to do something like read a longer blog post, sign up for your email list, or make a purchase.
Greed, Twitter Style
I get it, I really do. You’re on Twitter because you’re trying to sell your product or service. But constantly posting about YOUR stuff turns people off. It’s greedy and selfish, and it backfires eventually as all your followers either unfollow you or just mute you. Share the wealth! Introduce your audience to great stuff from other people. If you want to see an excellent example of how this plays out in real life, check out @patflynn from the Smart Passive Income site and podcast. Listening to him has introduced me to @garyvee and @bizmastery1 and @fizzle and @johnleedumas – all of whom I listen to on a regular basis. Here’s what happens when you share others with your audience:
- You become an authority. When your audience knows that your goal is to share great content, they trust you more. Keeping it all to yourself sends the message that you don’t actually care about what’s best for your audience. They see you as a marketer – a sleazy salesman – rather than an authority.
- Your audience will always be grateful to you for these virtual introductions, making them more loyal to you over the years. Think about it in real life terms. My mother-in-law and father-in-law met on a blind date, and they are both still dear friends with the couple who set them up. When you “set up” your friends (either in real life or virtually), they will be grateful to you for the introduction.
- Internet people (present company included) LOVE getting the attention, and most of them will pay it forward. By sharing a blog post from somebody else, you’re giving them exposure to your audience. Eventually, they’re much more likely to share you with THEIR audience if you’ve already been sharing their stuff.
- It keeps you from becoming stale and boring. Your audience wants your content, and coming up with unique content to meet their voracious appetites can be a challenge. By featuring material from other people, you keep your own Twitter stream fresh and interesting.
- To put it bluntly, it’s the right thing to do. Twitter is designed to allow people to share cool stuff with other people. If you’re not doing that, you’re not using it right.
Anger, Twitter Style
This one should go without saying, so I’l be brief. Nothing ever disappears on the Internet. Say something stupid, post an uninformed rant, and the next thing you know it’ll be screenshot and posted to Reddit or some other site so that people can make fun of you.
But there’s another side to this beyond throwing temper tantrums on Twitter. Your audience doesn’t want to be depressed. If you’re tweeting about something bad that happened to you, make sure that you’re tweeting about the GOOD thing that came out of it. Make sure that the information you tweet leaves your audience feeling good. Maybe you’re giving practical, actionable tips. Maybe you’re tweeting something inspiring or motivational. But whatever you tweet, make sure that it’s not hopeless, cynical, and negative.
Sloth, Twitter Style
Twitter is a FAST social media network! What you post in the morning is usually buried by afternoon, and trends move quickly on Twitter. Even viral content on Twitter is usually gone within a couple of days! Don’t neglect your Twitter account. Don’t take a week-long break from posting, because a week on Twitter is like a year in the real world. (And this is advice that even pros like me often have a hard time following!)
But in addition to your posting strategy, don’t ignore engagement. I’m a big fan of scheduling posts and putting them into my Buffer or HootSuite to post later. But I still spend at least a half-hour or more on Twitter every single day, because I have to respond to messages, mentions, and retweets. I have to be PRESENT and involved on my Twitter account to help promote engagement.
Gluttony, Twitter Style
Gluttony isn’t really about food, but about obsession. Thomas Aquinas argued that gluttony could include things like obsessing over meals, obsessing over delicacies, or over-indulging in expensive food. On Twitter, gluttony is about being obsessive with your account and Twitter feed, and it’s made far easier by the proliferation of apps and tools that help you to automate your obsession.
- Apps like TrueTwit allow you to obsess over the quality of your followers, insisting that every single follower must jump through hoops, sit through ads, and answer a short quiz before you deem them “worthy” to follow you. Let’s be honest about it: There are a lot of people who resent being made to go through verification when they’re looking to follow your business page.
- Automated DMs sent to new followers are annoying and rude. At least the ones that say, “Thanks for following!” without a spam link attached are a nice gesture, even though they’re poorly executed.
- It’s not enough for me to follow you on Twitter? You want all my social media accounts? NOT FAIR! If I just followed you on Twitter, do NOT send me a link to your Facebook or your Google+ or your YouTube account. If I want to follow your other networks, I will. But for now, just be grateful I’m following you on Twitter!
- If I just followed you on Twitter, I don’t yet know you. I’m following your Twitter account because I WANT to get to know you, but you haven’t built up any trust with me yet. If you send me a link to your store or your book or project, it will be ignored.
Twitter is about making friends and connecting with them. I don’t CARE what you’re selling, and sending me the same automated spam message you send everyone is not going to let me engage with you. So quit obsessing and be a real PERSON instead of just another bot.
Lust, Twitter Style
Lust is intense desire. We usually think about it in terms of sex, but in reality it’s just an intense, overwhelming desire for much of anything. In the Twitter sphere, it’s usually about a lust for money.
Selling things is fine, but you can’t lose sight of the real reason you’re selling. If you’re selling just to make a buck, YOU WILL FAIL!
Zig Ziglar likes to say that you can have anything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want. Pat Flynn, the guys from Internet Business Mastery, and the guys from the Fizzle Show all say the same thing in slightly different ways: If you can solve another person’s problem, they will pay you for that solution. But the key element here is that you have to be solving their problem.
This is one of the areas where Twitter can be most beneficial, but is often most underutilized. If you want to make money, you have to start FIRST with your prospective customers. You have to know what their “pain points” are – what problem they need solved. Then you find a solution to the problem, share it with them, and you make money. Use Twitter to find out what their problems are, and change your focus from lusting after the cash to serving your community.
Envy, Twitter Style
I have no idea who said it, but I think it was first said about Facebook and it’s traveled around to become a meme. It says, “Don’t compare your bloopers reel to somebody else’s highlights reel.” While it may be true for Twitter and is definitely true on Facebook, I personally see it the most on Pinterest! The basic premise here is that what other people post online is usually their highlights reel. People seldom post about how they’re depressed, overwhelmed, and frustrated; they post about their victories, their successes, and their joys. It’s not fair for you to look at their “best of” and compare it to your own challenges and struggles.
This is important for everyone, but it applies in the business world as much as it does to people’s personal lives. It’s easy to look at the “big dogs” in the internet marketing and blogging sphere and to think that everything always turns up roses for them, but that’s just not true. Take a look at the things they did when they started out, and you’ll realize that although they might be further along than you, they’re really no different. Pat Flynn was just another “nobody” six years ago, and now he’s one of the biggest names in the Internet business arena. Gary Vaynerchuk has always been an entrepreneur, but his star didn’t really start to rise until about 2006 (although he already had a successful wine business before that); now he’s a New York Times Bestselling author! And if you really listen to these guys (especially Pat Flynn who’s very transparent), you’ll hear them talk about projects that failed, experiments that ended horribly, and great ideas that turned into disasters!
Don’t give up on your dreams because your path doesn’t look as perfect and flawless as the path of another person.
Pride, Twitter Style
Last but not least, we look at pride. Pride is perhaps the most common and ubiquitous sin that we all make online and off-line. On Twitter, it manifests itself by people not being transparent, real, flawed, human beings.
People on Twitter aren’t interested in your “brand”. They’re not interested in the image you project or the products that you sell. They’re there because they want to get to know YOU. They want to know the person behind the brand – the brain behind the machine. This is why Richard Branson has 4.71 million Twitter followers, whereas his company (Virgin) only has 168 thousand.
Twitter is a great place to go with amazing potential to build your business, but Twitter is a SOCIAL network. Be social. Be authentic. Be real. And be yourself!