Twitterise … Shitterise

Today I learned about Twitterise, a Twitter Marketing tool that let’s you schedule messages for future publication, for sending out press releases, or advertsing messages.

It completely misses the point.

Here’s what their website says:

Twittertise allows you to advertise on Twitter and track the success of branded communications with your customers.

Using Twittertise you can schedule your communications on Twitter and using URL tracking technology measure the effectiveness of your traffic driving techniques on the platform.

So, what’s wrong with this message? Well, let’s pull it apart, shall we:

  1. “Twittertise allows you to advertise on Twitter” – They’ve got it wrong from the first sentence. Anyone who thinks Twitter is a vehicle for advertising doesn’t get it. Advertising does not belong here.
  2. “track the success of branded communications” – This phrase just feels slimey. The reason a brand would use Twitter shouldn’t be to track success, it should be to make connections with people. And what exactly does “branded communications” mean anymore anyway.
  3. “with your customers” – Twitter is a place for humans to talk to other humans. Start thinking of Twitter as a vehicle for “customers”, and you’re bound to turn them off.

Now on to paragraph 2:

  1. “Using Twittertise you can schedule your communications on Twitter” – Scheduling communications? So Twitterise is suggesting you should send out messages when you’re not online? Which, to me, sounds like spamming.
  2. “measure the effectiveness of your traffic driving techniques” – Wrong wrong wrong! You should never be posting tweets to drive traffic. And who even talks like this?

Now don’t get me wrong here. I use Twitter to announce news and offers on my site. I’ve got Twitter search feeds set up so that I can be alerted if you’re talking about me. I’m finding it to be an incredibly cool tool to keep in touch with customers, friends, and people I admire.

I’d recommend that big brands do the same. There are definitly good reasons for joining twitter.

But like any other social media tool, the 1.0 approach doesn’t work. It’s not about spamming. It’s not about measuring and tracking. It’s certainly not about driving traffic. It’s about real, human connection. It’s about conversation, individuality, personality.

So if your brand’s Twitter feed is being driven by an automated service, and not a real person, you don’t know a thing about what marketing is about anymore.

Friends with Facebook

There’s no doubt hottest thing online right now is Facebook. As I type, I’m sure that someone is either inviting you to join Facebook, adding you as their friend, poking you or writing on your wall.

For those who haven’t heard about Facebook, I’m willing to bet that you will have by next week. It’s the latest social networking phenomenon. What started as a website for American College students has now become the next big thing. This month, the number of Facebook users reached 30 million :: and that’s users who are visiting the site at least once a month.

What makes Facebook so addictive, and so viral, is that it’s a great way to stay in touch with friends, work colleagues and anyone else you know. God knows what it has done for workplace productivity, but if you want to connect with your mates and reconnect with old ones, Facebook is the place.

When someone says 30 million users, you can smell the marketers that are trying to cash in on the opportunity. Of course they are. But traditional marketing, via ‘banner advertising’, won’t work here – Valleywag has reported that Facebook is very poor performing, based on click through rates.

I’m not surprised. After all, Facebook is about the connections of friends. And when friends are connecting with friends, they’re not in a frame of mind to be advertised to.

In fact, an application like Facebook proves exactly what The Cluetrain Manifesto promised – that the internet isn’t another marketing channel, but a place for global conversation to thrive. Friends are connecting with friends on Facebook, and everywhere you go you can see that the human voice is alive and well.

So can Facebook be used as a marketing opportunity? And how does one tap into it?

I have a few ideas on the subject, which I’ll talk to you about soon.

PS – Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, is 23! Check him out here at the recent Keynote address that he did. Utterly inspiring and (for a 30 year old like me) totally depressing all at the same time.

Be Genuine

Today’s post is ripped completely from Brand Autopsy. It’s a quote by longtail extraordinaire Chris Anderson about being genuine:

“Genuine is an e-mail from a person rather than a company. If the lead singer of some band that I like sends out an e-mail to those of us who have registered our interest, that’s authentic in a way that a record label sending out an e-mail wouldn’t be. If the lead singer responds to his e-mail, that’s even better. A MySpace page is more authentic than a billboard. A blog is more authentic than a press release. It’s all about having a human voice and re-personalizing the connections.”

“The key is in catalyzing word of mouth. If consumers don’t trust institutions and do trust individuals, if they don’t want to be marketed at and do want to be influenced by their peers, how can marketers influence those influencers, those alpha peers? Some companies have done lots of experiments in this. There are fake blogs and fake viral videos and fake buzz marketing. It sometimes works, but if you’re busted, it turns into a PR nightmare.”

There’s nothing really new or surprising here. But from time to time, it’s nice to hear someone reiterate these thoughts.

Thanks John. And Chris. Quote via Deliver Magazine.

Cool community of characters at Mojizu

mojbob.gifOK, I'm a sucker for illustration and social / community websites.

So when Michael Arrington reviewed the cool new contemporary character site, Mojizu, I was bound to notice.

mojboss.pngMojizu is a great little site where you can upload, showcase, vote for and rate user-submitted illustrated characters. I could waste hours on this thing rating monsters, aliens and robots.

Sites like this are a clear sign that social media websites are appearing in more and more niche areas. They're really taking off. First there was links (del.icio.us). Then photos (flickr). Then music (last.fm). Then books (librarything), then clothes (Stylehive), then wine (cork'd). Now there's cartoon characters.

mojninj.gif"Where's the business model?", I hear you ask. Mojizu receives it revenue through Mojishop, which it shares with the artists. So while it is mostly for fun, there is some money to be made.

mojfist.pngBut does it always have to be about business models?
I think all sorts of people are seeing the social benefits of the second internet revolution. Some are working out how to make money from it. Others, like Mojizu, are just having a bit of fun.

Communities – Good or Evil?

Over at Vitamin, Jeffrey Kalmikoff has written a superb article about building communities. They key points that he raises are:

  • If you don’t trust your customers then you won’t be able to build a community
  • Communities aren’t an ‘add-on’
  • If you’re doing nothing wrong, people won’t have anything to complain about

Marketing these days is about building a communtiy, not just a customer base. You need to read this article to appreciate how traditional marketing has been turned on its head.  

Passion beats greed

You may have heard about Thomas Mahon, the famous Saville Row Tailor made famous by the famous blogger Hugh Macleod.

According to Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s Naked Conversations, Mahon was selling less than 20 suits in a good year before he started the English Cut blog back in January 2005. Recently Mahon has announced that he will be limiting his production of suits to 100 per year.

This isn’t a post about the virtues of blogging – English Cut has already proven that. Instead, this is a post about passion over greed. Mahon could have easily sold out and scaled up to meet the huge increase in demand for his suits. And he could have made a lot more money by doing so. Instead, he remained true to himself and his passion which is making good suits.
Just because you have the option to be greedy doesn’t mean you have to take it.

Blogging? The Environment? New Marketing?

For anyone who has stumbled upon my blog, you’ll see that it’s essentially about marketing. But it’s also a hotch-potch of posts about the environment, socially responsible marketing, a little on blogging and a sprinkle of web 2.0.

I’m still relatively new to the blogging thing, but as I start to crystalise what this blog is about, I realise that I’m interested in all of these topics. I want to be a part of all of this.

And actually, I think that there are a lot of similarities in a conversational marketing strategy (a blogging stategy or a two-way marketing strategy) versus a responsible marketing strategy (environmentally or socially responsible). Here’s just some of them:

  • To start with, these aren’t band-aid strategies – You can’t implement a blog in the short term. To write a blog means that you have to read other blogs. It requires longer term listening. You need to be part of the conversation. The same is true of responsible marketing. You can’t just whack a socially responsible marketing strategy on as an afterthought. It has to be longer term.
  • Culture – It’s been said that blogging is cultural. Responsible marketing also needs to be inherent in your company’s culture.
  • Trustworthiness and transparency. To survive in the blogosphere, you have to be trustworthy. And you’d better get those skeletons out of the closet, or else someone else will for you. So too with responsible marketing.

I’m sure that there are more examples of how these two worlds collide, and it’s a subject that I’d like to explore some more. In fact I think that this is actually the what my blog will be about.

If anyone has any thoughts on the matter, I’d love to hear them.