Monday, April 26, 2010

Tweet me well

Recently, I read on our friends’ business blog that our local butcher was using Facebook to interact with customers. Since I was already a customer, I decided to log onto Facebook and “like” their page (“like” having replaced “become a fan”; neither one seems quite right to me, but I digress).

There’s one slight problem with this arrangement: I very seldom log into Facebook (it bores me silly), so I don’t see what they post. I also don’t subscribe to their newsletter, so I never know about upcoming specials.

For me, it would be far more efficient if they used Twitter to tell me about specials. I follow a few businesses on Twitter, most of them because they asked to follow me. I added a fast food restaurant we like because I thought it was funny, but they never Tweet anything.

How much promotion on Twitter would be too much? I don’t know, but all the folks I follow on Twitter have one thing in common: I get something of value from the connection. It could be simple interaction with friends, or it could be interesting or thought-provoking comments from people I don’t know, or maybe links to interesting articles, websites or YouTube videos. It can also be news, not just from journalists, but especially from ordinary people writing about news events they’re experiencing (like a rally, for example).

A business like my local butcher should respect that many people are competing for my attention on Twitter. They would have to post often enough that I might actually see it, and then offer something rewarding, like an announcement of a special (especially a secret one that people have to give a code to get!). They could post a link to something they just posted on their site, too (like, for my butcher, a new recipe).

However, they shouldn’t post so much that they’re competing with friends or other interesting people. What I definitely don’t want is the sort of banality I sometimes see from other Twitter users (imagine: “I was late for morning tea. I had a lot of chicken blood to wash off.” Or maybe, “OMG! Someone just ordered 50kg of sausages!”). That offers me nothing of value; I’ll tolerate that sort of thing from friends or people who are otherwise interesting, but probably not from a business wanting to market to me over Twitter.

To me, the beauty of them using Twitter is that I can opt-in and choose to follow. If I don’t want to be bothered anymore, I can always un-follow, and much more easily than unsubscribing from an e-newsletter. Besides, Twitter is the ultimate amalgamator of information on the web, so it makes sense that local businesses should use it, too.

So, local businesses, if you want to market to me through Twitter, respect my time and attention and offer me something of value. In other words, Tweet me well.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the mention. I think you're right about the butcher - they'll need to post often to capture all their 'fans' attention. Facebook and Twitter have a similar problem in that you must post updates regularly with something of interest to capture your friends/followers attention. I don't think any social media app will work well in isolation unless you really work it.

Arthur Schenck said...

I completely agree, there's no "one size fits all" solution. And while I was talking specifically about how local businesses could successfully market to me on Twitter (because, after all, everything is about me…), for other people a different medium might be a better choice. Which is precisely why, as you say, no social media works well in isolation.