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Twitter 101: Seven Tips for Effective Marketing

by Robert Gourley  |  
June 15, 2010

Millions of people are connecting through social media, so it's no wonder that advertisers and marketers are hustling to get in on the action. In the past year, we've seen many brands step into this new world only to fail miserably.

After one analyzes many of the marketing flops on Twitter, the underlying issue becomes apparent: To be an effective marketer on Twitter, you must first stop thinking like one.

Marketing on Twitter requires a shift in your mindset. Twitter is all about simple conversations; you can't use press releases, marketing copy, or other one-way communication tactics and expect results.

Customers want interaction—with you and with each other. Tweeting is one-to-one, with the benefit of being in a public space where other customers may read your conversation and interact with each other on your behalf.

Below are seven tips for brands looking to grow or establish a Twitter presence.

1. Know the rules: Get to know your neighbors

It's important to remember that Twitter is a community and that every community has its own set of rules. Before you jump into the conversation, spend some time watching and learning. You'll find that most people are very friendly and supportive, but it's best to understand the ground rules first.

The easiest way to jump in is to ask for help. That may seem strange, as brands are used to being in the driver's seat, typically telling consumers what to do. You may think asking for advice makes your brand vulnerable, but the fact is it's one of the things that makes social media great.

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Robert Gourley is the creative strategist at Mojave (, a participation marketing agency that uses social media to build community around brands. Follow Mojave on Twitter @thisisMojave.

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  • by Ben Tue Jun 15, 2010 via web

    I agree to some extent; however, Twitter is evolving. It's transforming from a "community" to more of a "community engine." There's no doubt that the conversations on Twitter will continue, but I think people (tweeple?) are beginning to realize they don't really want to interact with the companies/brands that they like to follow unless it's for customer support.

    Look at Google for example. I don't really care to interact with Google on Twitter. That's not why I follow them. And if I tried to strike up a conversation with Google, I certainly wouldn't expect them to actually reply.

    Or look at college coaches. John Calipari has over a million followers on Twitter, myself included. Do I expect to converse with him? No. But following him puts me on the inside of the loop.

    That's why I dub it a "conversation engine"... It's quickly becoming a place to find the latest news/offers/info on whatever your interest is before any other outlet can report it, and then talk about it with those that share your interest all in one platform.

  • by Dianne Wed Jun 16, 2010 via web

    Excellent article - great summary. I accidently gave it a 1 star when I meant to give it a 5 star! Can you imagine my horror when it said I rated it 1 star.

  • by Raghu Nandhan Wed Jun 30, 2010 via web

    Good Article!!! But it should include some new strategies about secondary research.....

  • by reevhen Tue Jul 13, 2010 via web

    wonderful article, i learn something today but personally i hate follow corporate media ,google and other company.

  • by Morgan Stewart Tue Jul 13, 2010 via web

    Good article, I agree with all your points except that "People don't talk to brands, they talk to people."

    Obviously this is true from a practical perspective, there are people behind every brand. And yes, people like it when companies act genuinely and less polished on Twitter.

    However, we recently asked several focus groups if they would rather interact with brands on Twitter through a official corporate account or if they would rather interact with individuals representing the brand. The overwhelming response was they want to engage the "official" account--that these accounts are more reliable sources of information whereas individuals may act out of their own selfish motivations.

    So, while they want brands to act like people (honest, imperfect, etc.), they still want to interact with the brand. The only consistent exception was when the individuals are executives of large companies (e.g., Tony @Zappos, Barry Judge @BestBuyCMO, etc.)

    If interested, the detailed report will be released on 7/28 @

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