Most People Are Doing Twitter Wrong!
That’s right! Most of the people I see on Twitter are doing Twitter wrong. Sadly it didn’t use to be that way… but in the last year or so I’ve noticed more and more people who are just doing it ALL wrong On Twitter. I’m afraid its turning into a giant soapbox and it is getting harder to find people who are engaged in conversation.
Back in the early days of Twitter, I loved the beauty of it. 140 characters were blissfully simple. find a cool article, say a few words add a hashtag and link and share it. Then the tools came out and honestly they were cool. We were able to find similar Tweeps, hashtag, and follow hashtags in tools like Tweetdeck. You could even set your blog to auto tweet. Then we got HootSuite and Buffer and that is where the fall started. Once twitter could become completely automated people started just rebroadcasting RSS feeds in mass and loading up posts into Buffer to tweet every 30 minutes. The theory was that the chance of your stuff being seen was so small that you NEEDED to blast out as much data as possible as fast as possible. If you didn’t there was no hope anyone would see anything. Twitter had become a soapbox and not a place for quality conversation.
The engineers at Twitter got wise to this and set API limits that slowed this down, but it was really too late. Don’t get me wrong, there are still great people holding fabulous conversations on Twitter, but many of your “active” people you follow are not listening at all. The reality is Twitter is better for you if you engage a few people and don’t worry about every follower seeing every tweet. Position yourself so people are seeing you out possibly even visiting your profile to scan it. I use lists to do this with the people I find the most engaging or interesting.
To be fair, I have no harsh feelings for either HootSuite or Buffer. They are great tools and I used HootSuite for a long time and still use Buffer and Revive Old Posts to keep my feed fresh. I surf the web late at night and find good stuff compose tweets, and then set them to send the next day while I am busy working or out with my family. The difference is, I’m still checking in. I’m reviewing my notifications, responding to people who reply to me and thanking people who retweet me. I’m using the tools but I’m not doing Twitter wrong. I’m making every effort to be efficient, share good content, and still be as engaged as possible.
The Key To Social Media Is being Social
The tools are there to make you more efficient not something you just turn over to a computer and set on ignore. It’s called “Social Media” and not digital broadcast for a reason. The point is to be social, make connections, and share ideas (or cat memes) with others. If you are just looking for more ways to blast out more “stuff” so you can get more traffic to your content marketing blog YOU are doing Twitter wrong.
What Spawned This Twitter Rant?
So what spawned this Twitter rant? Has this just been stewing in my mind for years? Am I turning into a crotchety old man that just thinks that things aren’t as good as they use to be? or did I have an epiphany?
Monday afternoon I decided I wanted to do a top 10 list of must follow sales bloggers. To get unbiased research I reached out to 15 respected and established sales bloggers. Not A-list celebrities who pack stadiums, but solid people in the industry whom I have followed for years and watched grow solid businesses. I tweeted all of them with a reply letting them know I was writing a blog post. I ask them to give a shout out to one or two top people in the industry they thought others should follow. I got one reply back from Mary T Morgan within minutes with two names and one other blogger liked my tweet but failed to answer the question. the rest? Crickets…
This irritated me partly because I have worked on things with some of these people and several of the write about social selling! These people look busy with dozens of tweets a day, many of them mentioning peers… but it’s obviously all automated. It’s an illusion of presence. How can you write about social selling and not monitor your own account? How can you grow a business if you are asleep at the wheel of some of your best communication tools?
The short answer is this: You can’t. Many of these people are in a group together. Their streams are full of mentions, but all they are doing is auto-tweeting about each other. Yes, it extends reach, but they are missing the point. You need to engage with your audience not to give the illusion of engagement.
How To Do Twitter Right
Look, I’m not advocating for everyone to stop using the tools that are out there. In fact, I think they are GREAT! I use several social media marketing tools myself. I’ve also been in groups where I committed to rebroadcasting a few posts a day from a peer in return for them doing the same. There is NOTHING wrong with that at all.
What I’m asking people to do is think about their personal brand and how to manage and grow it through building solid connections and relationships. Really think about your social media marketing and consider whether you are helping or harming your brand.
Ive talked a lot in the last few weeks about being generous with your time and knowledge. Social media is the easiest place to do that. Remember the point of social media is to build connections and be social. Yes, as marketers or salespeople we do this to drive business, sell a product, or spread a social cause. However, the key difference between social media and traditional media is our ability to have a conversation. If you look at a few days of your twitter stream and all you see is a long list of your own links you are doing Twitter wrong.
What Can I do Different?
Reach out to people! See an article you like? Say thank you! Notice someone tweets on a topic you love? Ask a question! See someone asking a question? Answer it or offer to help! Use a Twitter Poll. Set up lists of interesting people so you can follow them more closely. Make an effort to engage one or two people a day and over time, you will see your own click-through rates climb. Your blog traffic will improve, and you will get more retweets. Why? Because people remember the people who engage them and are more likely to notice and re-engage if they had a positive experience with you the first time.
For Further Study
There is a lot of great stuff out there, but my favorite book on the topic is Social Media Marketing Workbook: 2017 Edition – How to Use Social Media for Business This is a hands-on workbook that will give you actionable advice on how to get better results and increase engagement.
The other book is 500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and More! I love lists, and top 500 lists are hard to come by, but this book is packed full of content to give you never-ending ending supply of fresh ideas.
Here are some ways we can discuss doing Twitter wrong:
How are you engaging people on social media? Is it as effective as you would like? What would you like to do differently going forward?