I hate “being sold.” If I feel like someone is trying to sell me something, I get irrationally angry and start making vows to never buy their product again. I dislike all but only the extra clever television commercials (always ones that aren’t directly trying to sell me something), and pop-up and peel-back online ads make me want to pull my hair out.
So I was not at all surprised this week to read multiple articles saying if you want to sell something using Twitter, don’t make it so freaking obvious. Twitter is not about the sale; Twitter is about the people. So you’ve got to take your time building your community on the network and engage each follower, as Aaron Lee says he would do early on if he could start over with his account. If every company utilized “pull” marketing — attracting potential customers through interaction and excitement — rather than trying to push their products into people’s arms, I would probably be making a lot fewer of those never-buy-that-again vows.
Has a brand’s performance on Twitter ever convinced you to buy — or not buy — a product?
An easy way to get your brand away from that pushy approach on Twitter is to take the conversation from one-way to two-way. Instead of using Twitter as a tool for broadcasting your brand’s message, use it to talk to your community. Ask questions, answer questions, solve problems and even request retweets. (Interesting tidbit: Spelling out the word retweet instead of using abbreviation RT gets you 23 times more retweets, according to Ask Aaron Lee.) Look for people who are talking about you, even if they don’t directly mention you. At AL.com, we set up search streams in Hootsuite to find conversations taking place about our brand or topics that we cover so we can get involved in the conversation.
Do you or your company search for any hashtags or key words as entry points into Twitter conversations? If so, what are they?
The most engaged brand on Twitter, @Notebook, told Forbes that they answer every single tweet that comes their way. Their content might not be for everyone (ahem, me); but never having spent a dollar on advertising, Notebook of Love is certainly a brand to examine for best practices. @Notebook creator Branden Hampton says brands should focus on the message of their companies, not the product they’re trying to sell. When instead of cramming a car down your followers’ throats, you tweet about your car’s safety features, fuel economy and even a story about someone who did something cool with the car (all the while, of course, answering customers tweeting at you), you’ll attract more customers. Because having a car crammed down your throat would probably hurt.