I read this post today by Marc Meyer at Direct Marketing Observations called “The sea change in Twitter sentiment” where he reflects, ever so eloquently, on the changing nature of Twitter: from conversation to broadcast. He says:
Conversations on Twitter have deteriorated into flat out unadulterated pimping of one’s wares, or the company they work for.
As new marketers and companies flock to Twitter, their predisposed notions of how to use Twitter have been fueled not only by us subconsciously, but also by other marketers and individuals who “think” that the best way to use Twitter is as a one to many broadcast mechanism.
Subconsciously, we have become a party to and have embraced traditional marketing on Twitter.
I agree. As more and more people and businesses learn to use Twitter and other social media tools to connect to potential consumers they are missing the point of the medium…it’s a conversation, not a broadcast. Followers want to know about your product, want to ask questions about it, want to get special deals on it, want to call you out when it sucks, and want a real person with whom they can relate to respond. It’s all part of the beauty of directly connecting with consumers. But as Meyer points out, Twitter is seen by some as just a place to “pimp wares.”
I was also disheartened to learn about how some celebrities, like Kim Kardashian, are paid upwards of $10,000 per tweet to tell their followers they love Carl’s Jr. and their Reebok EasyTones. Twitter was a way for us normal folks to get a glimpse into the glamorous (or not so glamorous) lives of celebs (they’re just like us!), but now Twitter is just another way for them to make a buck – or 10,000 – by taking advantage of our Twitter trust.
So companies and advertisers, I hope you continue to use Twitter as part of your marketing strategy, its a wonderful way to reach your consumers. But do it right. Don’t corrupt it with your “buy me, buy me, buy me” plugs or surreptitious celebrity endorsement. Make it an honest conversation, and people will respond accordingly.