Tag Archives: twitter followers

Twitter execs: PLEASE start accepting ads

In case any of you hadn’t noticed, there’s been something of a civil war on Twitter over the issue of whether advertising should exist there. There’s a lot of finger pointing going on, and a lot of people who seem convinced that they possess the ultimate truth as to how Twitter advertising should work. As far as I can tell, no one will win, a lot of hurt feelings will result, and Twitter will lose some of the irreplaceable camraderie which has made it what it is.

This is why I’m begging, in all seriousness: Please, Biz, Jack and Evan, take this process over and impose an advertising format that works for all before people start rolling out cannons. You may not see advertising as the future of Twitter, but unless you impose some rules on the unruly, it will become the spam-choked Hotmail of new communications platforms.

Yes, I know Twitter, and the myriad of applications leveraging your system, have rolled out naturally and freely with a chaotic zest Timothy Leary would have admired. But now, things aren’t quite so new any more. And I’m telling youyour baby’s in danger unless you put the ad fights to rest once and for all.

Right now, I’d say there’s roughly three groups throwing snowballs at each other:

* First, there’s the Twitizens who believe that no ads should ever invade its sacred soil, and have sworn mighty oaths that they’ll “unfolllow” (the dread punishment of no longer reading a person’s postings) anyone who brings the commercial breath of Mordor to their land. (OK, I admit it, I saw some of the Lord of the Rings trilogy this weekend. But anyway…)

* Another group is at least tolerant of Twitter ad experimentation. (Perhaps they’re remembering how much experimentation it took to get Web and e-mail advertising formats worked out and cutting pioneers some slack?) These folks may not love the idea of being pitched in Twitterspace, but they’re not ready to boot anyone who tries, either.

* Then, there are those who want, at least as a market research experiment, to try out some ad formats on this amazingly well-connected, thoughtful and educated audience, and have no problem enduring what feels like spam for a time as we figure things out.

Some of us (and I consider myself such an experimenter ) want to see how the dynamics of new platforms like Magpie, Adjix and TwittAd actually work. Others, like @madmoneyblogger, actually seem to believe that they can accumulate some real cash this way.

While the various factions try to be civil, I don’t think peace is going to last much longer. So please, brilliant young men behind Twitter, accept that while open source models can work wonders–even in a social setting–sometimes you’ve just got to lay down the law.

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Creating a Twitter explosion, or the FlyLady effect

Editor’s Note: Here’s our first report from new guest contributor Christa Bradney, on the ever-expanding Web phenom that is FlyLady. Christa, take it away…

If you keep track of the trending topics on Twitter, you might have thought that the #flylady channel came out of nowhere yesterday afternoon.  (Even more so if you haven’t heard of FlyLady, the Web-based domestic goddess whose keep-your-life-organized system has attracted devoted followers from around the world.)

Besides, in a matter of speaking, the topic did come out of nowhere.  Yesterday morning, FlyLady was not on Twitter.  Then, somewhere around nine or ten AM, she announced on her e-mail list that she had a Twitter account (@theflylady) and wanted to try it out.  Boom! Less than twelve hours later, nearly two thousand people had already followed her to Twitter-land. 

Of course, word is still out on how many of those 2,000 followers were already Twitter users and how many are new to the service, and it also remains to be seen how much more FlyLady’s presence on Twitter will grow. But this was a heck of a start.

So, if you were ever wondering what would happen if a brand with a devoted following puts a Twitter ID in the hands of its fans, look no further. Clearly, when a someone who a) has a strong Web brand name and b) frequent contact with its customer base spontaneously announces that they are joining a social media website, spontaneous Twitter combustion can occur.

P.S. By the way, FlyLady (and other Web celebrities who follow) may find that the rules for communicating with fans have changed once they enjoy more instant contact with a large portion of their fan base. After all, if FlyLady isn’t careful in mentioning small, third-party websites, they could be brought down by an accidental Slashdot effect, and most don’t take kindly to that.

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Great idea for connecting with your Twitter followers

Now here’s an idea that makes sense not only for Twitter, but also for other forms of social media (including blogs, social networks and bookmarking sites). I love it — not only does it provide great information for the marketer, it also builds a sense of community in the process. Great stuff!

What’s got me stirred up is a site mounted by Eric Miltsch of car dealer AuctionDirect. The site, Tweet and Greet, challenges Miltsch’s Twitter followers to answer 10 quick questions about cars.

The results Miltsch gets are entertaining, revealing and most importantly, memorable. Not only that, the survey is likely to engage rather than frustrate users. As ProBlogger Darren Rowse notes, the odd thing is that people tend to be more committed to your product when you ask them to do some work.

Readers, what’s your favorite technique for learning more about your social media followers and fans? Have you ever built a campaign around information gathered from social media-based research? — Anne

Like what you see in What Matters Online? Want to stay up to date on the latest in Web 2.0, social media and old-school interactive marketing? Get notified of our latest updates by e-mail or RSS. I will never sell or exchange your information, and I won’t deluge your inbox — I promise!

Twitter: Developing a good follower list

You know, it took long enough for the traditional marketing industry to figure out just how to develop e-mail lists effectively (not that there aren’t new techniques left to be discovered). Now, with Twitter becoming an increasingly powerful communications medium–an actual element in people’s marketing strategies–now we’re having to come up with an entirely new set of rules for list development, unlike those from e-mail marketing or even snail-mail direct marketing.

This has become particularly important now that major brands like H&R Block, JetBlue, Best Buy, Intel and Comcast (to name just a scant few) are making appearances on Twitter. Not only do they have to figure out just how to communicate in this new and unique medium, they also have to figure out how to attract the right audience to hear it. Despite their billion-dollar might, these brands could tarnish their rep for some time to come if they make big mistakes on Twitter, to date still a small community which has proven decidedly gossipy.

My methods for developing Twitter follower lists

To date, my methods for developing a follower list, both on my own behalf and on behalf of clients, have been quite simple. I’m well aware that some people will villify me no matter what I say–did I mention Twitterers are touchy?–but the following seems to work:

* Begin by following just a few people who interests seem to be a great fit for you or your company’s brand or personal focus

* Just as you might do when joining an e-mail discussion list, sit and “listen” to the tweets posted by the people you’re following

* Comment on what the followers are saying, if that’s appropriate, or just introduce yourself and say what your goals are (people will find it by tweetscan)

* Make sure you connect to a few friends, not just to have a friendly audience, but also to attract followers from their list of friends. People will also find you through Twitter Friend Adder or similar apps.

* Use Tweetscan to scan for mentions of your company, name or issues you’re following closely. Then respond, though carefully. Be helpful, and be present, but don’t intrude if possible.

* Make sure you Twitter ID (with a link to an explanation of Twitter for those who don’t “get it” yet)

* I haven’t tried this yet, but what about an anouncement on the Web site promising coupons and such to those who subscribe, as well as mentioning that you can solve problems?

Now folks, I’d love to hear how you build follower lists, as I know that what I’ve suggested is pretty elementary. What’s worked for you? — Anne

P.S. Since writing this, I’ve been reminded that some people have feel they have too many followers, which is a subject for another post entirely. More to come on the techniques that are emerging to cull your Twitter list and increase its overall value.

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