So what follows is a blog post about Twitter. Not sure if anyone has written a blog post about Twitter before, so obviously everything you're going to read is going to be literally ground-breaking.
I use Twitter. I use it for a number of reasons: To listen to lots of friends at once (and offer my input), to share links, to randomly stumble across interesting people and for other reasons that I can't remember now. I find it a useful tool that can be used in many ways.
I always liken Twitter to a pub when describing it to people who don't know much about it. If you walk into a pub and there are lots of people chatting about stuff, you'll be drawn to the people that are saying something interesting to you and you'll walk up to them, ask them if it's alright if you listen in and then you'll probably add your comments at the right time. If there is someone there saying stuff that isn't interesting, you'll probably ignore them. If there is someone there only listening to others talking and not adding anything into the relationship, you'll kinda turn your back on them after a while. Especially if they're there wearing a branded uniform...
I get a few brands following me. The way it typically works is: I tweet something; they pick up a keyword and autofollow me; I look at their page and decide whether to follow them too; a sporadic exchange of a few tweets follows; the brand campaign ends; I never hear from them again.
The most recent of these is the VW Escape campaign. (I'm not sure but I think it's Iris?) They started following me about six weeks ago. After an initial few messages, they've been kinda quiet. On their twitter page they say they will help "find out how VW will help you escape this summer, with great competitions, events and more." That's why I followed them. I don't own any VW products, have no intention of buying any VW products but would gladly relish the opportunity of some help on how to get away - hopefully having won a competition through their Twitter account. They're around the 350 mark for followers and who they're following so surely I'd have a decent chance, right?
But after six weeks I'm wondering why I'm stood next to them in the pub. They only seem to be talking about things that interest them (they have no input into anything I say unless it's directed at them), and I'm yet to see any of their help about how I can get away. Plus, I even asked them why I should still be talking to them but they haven't replied.
I'm confused as to whether they want to be my friend, or whether they want to be a brand that talks at me.
If they're a friend:
- Well, friends chat about lots of different stuff. Don't just talk about stuff that you're bothered about. Talk to me about things I'm bothered about. Only talking about things that suit you is kinda selfish and humans don't like selfish people.
- Do what friends do. Interact with me about lots of stuff. Don't just listen to me when I talk to you, overhear me talking to others about stuff that isn't to do with your interests.
- Don't disappear when you've exhausted your current hobby. In other words, I know you're going to do a runner when the campaign ends. What's the point of building up a friendship anyway, if you're going to bugger off when the budget runs out?
If they're a brand:
- Well. I know you're only here for your benefit. You think that in the short term I'll interact with you so that in the longer term I'll remember you and purchase VW. If that's the case, engage with me in a way that adds value to me - not you.
- Also, if I know you're stood in the pub wearing a VW branded uniform, I know you're good for a few freebies. If you're going to stand in the pub on behalf of VW and only talk to me about things that interest VW, then I'm going to expect something in return. And as you're a massively successful international brand, that usually means some kind of freebie. Put your money where your mouth is.
And if you're neither of these, then what's the point in me talking to you? It's an interesting test, that one... sit down and think "if this Twitter account wasn't here tomorrow, who would really miss me?" because at the moment I certainly wouldn't. Surely that's something you want to change?