24 August 2012

"DON'T Follow Us on Twitter"

Old Media meets New Media

You see it everywhere.  Advertisers invite you to "Follow us on Twitter".  It’s all too easy to add this short message to traditional ad executions. 

So Why Not?

The problem is that Twitter in this way is treated as a mass medium just like the ads themselves.  They might as well say “Follow us on Twitter so we can send you more messages just like this one.”  Sadly, this is exactly how many marketers use Twitter.  You can just hear the conference room chatter:  We’ve got to surround the consumer at all brand contact points!  Or:  This is a lead generator!

You’ve read about companies who inadvertently start public relations disasters on Twitter, or practice poor customer service.  Those things happen.  I’m pointing out here that many companies never run that risk because they only tweet lawyer-approved ad copy 140 characters at a time.

Twitter and Traditional Ads CAN Mix

Maybe you or your clients are more enlightened and use Twitter properly, to engage with or listen to your customers.  In that case, maybe you can use ads to invite new followers more creatively, and in line with what they can expect.  Here are some examples.

“Tell @Moleskine what you’re writing”

“How hot is your @TacoBell #SaucePacket?”

“Suggest ideas to @SomePublicServant”

“What flavor should @Lays make?  #DoUsAFlavor”

“We update you on train delays @Metra on Twitter"

Don’t Close a Sale, Start a Relationship

The point is, you’ve got to give people a reason to follow or at least engage.  Just don’t expect someone to follow you just because they saw your ad.

What other ideas do you have for companies to engage with their customers on Twitter?  What really bad examples have you seen?  Put your responses in the comments section below.


  1. Not a twitter example, but a facebook parody of what many brands end up doing on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Condescending-Corporate-Brand-Page/207349746059033?ref=stream

  2. Oddie, thanks... I had not seen this parody and it is a perfect example of corporations trying to be social.