I just saw (and in fact retweeted because it made me think) a tweet from @shanegibson that Twitter is the marketing tool of choice for Fortune 500 companies. Is that true? I don’t know, but I could see it being a true statement.
So, if Twitter is the marketing tool of choice, what happens when people know that it’s the marketing tool of choice? What are they going to do? Continue to flock to Twitter? I think they’ll avoid Twitter, it’s noisy enough as it is for the average person, now we’re throwing in marketing and ads? I don’t think so.
Which brings me to an old lesson which apparently some new folks haven’t learnt yet. IT’S NOT A MARKETING TOOL. It’s a relationship tool. If I’m having a bad experience with my product from ABC company and I tweet about it, I don’t want to be marketed or sold to. I want ABC company to fix my problem or leave me alone. If I’m looking for recommendations on a product, I’m way less likely to listen to you telling me about your promotion than if you genuinely want to help me find what is going to suit me.
So really, is Twitter, or any social media site for that matter, a marketer’s dream tool? Sure for now. But what about as the consumer continues to find more ways to avoid your promotional crap? What will you do then? Find another new media to conform to your old habits? Dare I bring it up again…? Perhaps instead of trying to sell me something, you can have something useful to say to me. At the end of the conversation, if your product isn’t the best fit for my needs, but you know the competitor’s product is, I’m going to appreciate that piece of information so much more… and most likely remember you the next time somebody is asking me about who to check out for the product you sell. Anytime I’ve had that experience in a retail store, I’ve routinely gone back to that store for other things. Think about that side of social media. Being helpful, actually paying attention to what a customer needs… finding the win/win rather than the ‘I just want to sell you stuff even if it’s not quite what you need’.