Why Twitter Is Catch-22

20 May, 2014 – 5 Comments

There’s a fine line between doing the right thing, or thinking that you’re doing the right thing on Twitter… But take a wrong step and it could cost you dearly.


Okay. I admit. The title of this post is a little misleading. Really, it should be “Why Twitter is Catch-22 if you’re looking to make fast profits (which you’re probably not going to anyway)”.

So, Twitter. A medium that gives you a reach like no other. Mr and Mrs So-and-so at the other side of the world – regardless if they’re following you or not – have access to all your 140 characters in seconds.

Is this a problem? Not at all.

PR and social media marketers are going to great lengths to reach their (and potential) customers to keep them informed about the what and what not’s circulating their companies. You simply follow, or you don’t. You search for specific keywords or discover what’s trending, or not.

That’s how it works on Twitter. Well, in a perfect world that’s how it works. But to all of us that know and use Twitter, you’ll know that’s not the case.

Like all “communication channels,” there’s a catch.

A familiar situation…
I’ve just followed Company X because I want Company X’s tweets. What I then get is a DM from Company X to visit an offer on their website. I know where your website is, but thanks for the offer anyway. (By the way, a DM is only acceptable if it comes from a customer service representative.) Then a week later comes another. And then another. And then after a little I’m getting targeted ads on my feed from Company X. Then one week Company X’s social media guy has misunderstood HootSuite, and within 20 seconds I’m sucker punched with 8 of Company X’s tweets all at once on my timeline.

Then I unfollow Company X.

Is this supposed to happen in PR? In my opinion, this is what Twitter is, mainly a PR tool. And, by the way, the answer is No.

Is this a problem, then? Yes. Yes, it absolutely is.

But it’s Catch-22. And here’s where it gets tricky. The Catch-22 situation is that marketers think that followers are opting-in when in fact they’re not. However, it’s an easy mistake to make. I certainly feel this way. But you are marketing here, so who makes the rules? Well, you have to.

Yes, get tweets automated and queued up to go at the right (and researched) times. Yes, think of your 140 characters as your Q for a catchy ‘headline’. Yes, have your ROI tools ready to measure… Choose your audience, use a picture, a hashtag and a link. But most of all, ENGAGE.

At the end of the day, social media is now part of your job spec. Whether you’re a marketing strategist or researcher, you’re expected to get social. And that’s it. To get social. You’re not a direct marketer. You’re not just “selling” Dan Kennedy style.

Twitter is all about PR. Public Relations. Share great content, yes, share special offers. But that’s the keyword here: share. Not sell. This cannot be emphasized enough.

Businesses can make great profits from any social media channel. Especially Twitter! But not in this manner. The process of following to opting-in to customer to repeat purchases is a long and winding road.

Twitter has changed a lot since it launched 7 years ago. But the principles are still the same. Only now that it boasts over 230 million users. So whatever your Twitter strategy, there’ll be some investment – mostly your time and attention to your followers.

The twitter bird sure has been working out in the gym. And sure it’s direct, it’s grown, it’s evolved;  it’s had to be a little similar to Facebook to become profitable when it comes to ads. But there’s also reasons why Twitter isn’t Facebook. Just don’t forget the principles behind why Twitter was born in the first place, and how we used to Tweet back in the glory days. Simply because we wanted to share, not sell.

6 thoughts on “Why Twitter Is Catch-22

  1. i agree with you that its really really hard to make money off twitter. thanks for the post 🙂

  2. Excellent job. I’ll definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends.
    I am sure they will benefit from this blog.

  3. I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter
    a blog that’s equally educative and entertaining and you have hit the nail
    on the head.

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