If you are an advocate of Twitter, you have probably run across Joel Comm, author of Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time. I first heard about Joel when he agreed to host an Experts Connection teleseminar for a client on “Twitter for Executives.” I have been reading Joel’s book and following his blog, which is why I was surprised to see his latest blog entry announcing that he purged his Twitter account.
What? The Twitter guru has abandoned Twitter? What’s going on here?
When I read the blog post I see the wisdom of Joel’s desire to start over. As he says, Twitter has changed the way we communicate, and our use of Twitter needs to evolve with our needs. Many marketers approach social media as a numbers game, and you can make some assumptions about the quality of your Twitter followers by their bio and the number of followers they have acquired. But as Joel points out, the numbers have gotten out of control. His Twitter follower count had reach 83,000, and you can’t have a meaningful dialogue with 83,000 people. On top of that, the nature of a number of those followers was questionable. A number of followers were simply promoting their own businesses with direct marketing messages and not interested in an online dialogue. Other followers were spammers or generated by bots so they had no networking value.
To make social networking valuable and meaningful, you have to be prepared to engage with your followers, and be judicious about how you build your online network. As Joel points out:
“Twitter was just an extension of my life. It’s another way to be myself and interact with the world and people around me. To this day, when people ask me how often they should tweet, I tell them that I “tweet like I eat.” That is, when I am hungry or have food in front of me. It’s as natural as breathing. It’s just living my life. I may disappear for days and I may go on a streak of @replies. I don’t build my life around Twitter. I weave in and out as fits my own goals and lifestyle.”
Any social media outlet should be an extension of your marketing program, not an end unto itself.
The key to success with online marketing is being targeted with your strategy and selective with your follower outreach. Don’t try to pick up every Tom, Dick, or Harry who asks to connect with you on LinkedIn or Twitter. Check their bios and determine if you can have a meaningful dialogue about issues that matter to you, your clients, and your business.
The thing that a lot of social media mavens forget is the “social” aspect of online connections. It’s all about exchanging information, about dialogue. So I agree with Joel about his new Twitter strategy:
“…my new Twitter strategy is this.
1) I will follow who I want to follow because I want to follow them. That means I will follow friends, family, associates, those I find personally interesting and those who interact with me.
2) Don’t follow me if you aren’t interested in following me. My tweets will just clutter your stream.
It’s amazing how many people got hacked off because I unfollowed them. It’s almost an entitlement mentality. ‘GASP! I deserve to be followed by you!'”
Don’t let the noise drown out the conversation. Engage in meaningful online exchanges and you will reap greater benefits from your social media strategy.