Trying Too Hard: Why Your Twitter Marketing is Failing

missed target

I wish every question was as simple to address as this one, but let me spell it out as clearly as I can:

Your social media strategy on Twitter is failing because you don’t understand how social networks behave. Unless you take some steps in another direction, and learn how to use Twitter effectively, you’re going to invest more marketing dollars in something that never gives you the ROI you’re looking for.

You’ve probably read this quote before, but it’s appropriate to apply it to social media marketing:

You can’t do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow.

If your Twitter social media marketing campaign isn’t working, it’s because you’re probably using old marketing techniques and shoe-horning them into a social media plan.

Change isn’t difficult, but you have to go back to the beginning and go through the question you ask yourself with any product or campaign development.

Who is my customer? 

And this is where you may not have been used to segmenting in this way: for this part of my marketing, who is my customer?

If you’re using Twitter, chances are your customer is:

  • technologically aware;
  • an early adopter or influencer;
  • highly engaged in their online community.

And the next question is — do I need to reach this customer? Because it you’re just adding Twitter to your marketing because everyone else is, that’s going to cost you time and energy for very little return. If your product isn’t innovative, and can’t be easily shared online, you might think about not using Twitter for your marketing. If it can’t be shared online, it won’t be shared online, and more traditional marketing might be the best thing for that product.

The Twitter-defined user is a significantly different customer to the guy who flips past your ad in Golf Digest or the woman who passes your billboard on her way to work. That isn’t to say that those people can’t be avid Twitterati, but the way you’re reaching them is designed for a less subtle attention-getting strategy.

Which is the first thing you have to change. Sure, we all would like a million followers in Twitter, but social media is a pay-it-forward model, it isn’t about how much attention you can get for yourself. If you want someone to follow you, you have to add value to what they’re doing, not ask them to buy what you’re selling.

And that’s a huge difference.

You have to be part of multiple, possibly very different, conversations at the same time. In most marketing, you offer a call to action with a goal, ultimately, of asking for a sale. Not so in Twitter.

Twitter followers won’t convert into sales, not in the same way sales can turn into Twitter followers. So add a button on your Web site, put your Twitter name on your business card, on your invoices, and in every communication you send to everyone. Start building your network from people who already trust you, and are invested in the success of your business.

Twitter is about engaging your followers and adding value to their endeavors. It’s about personal reputation. Would you recommend a MLM scheme to your family and friends if you didn’t know anything about it? Would you refer them to a mechanic you met in line at a grocery store? When you follow a Twitter user, you’re giving them credibility to your followers, just as they are giving you credibility with theirs. The cost of that? Be credible. Be authentic. Be informative.

Try a social media engagement plan instead of a marketing plan. Twitter isn’t for getting people to buy your product — it’s for getting people to buy into you and, by extension, your product.

Click here to follow me on Twitter.

See, it’s not so hard.

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