On using Twitter to promote stuff

by on Jul.29, 2009, under Blog

A good friend of mine—who hasn’t yet placed so much as one delicate toe into the opaque waters of Twitter—asked me whether it’s something she could use to promote a product that she sells. Personally, I’m not a fan of Twitter marketing, but I also don’t believe in forcing my world view upon others.

Here’s what I told her (sans anything identifying):

OK, so – Twitter.

Most people use Twitter to just blurt out little tidbits of info about what they’re doing. Some people use it to promote a product, service, or to build their “personal brand” (ugh!). Many (most?) of the people who just use it as a great big chat room to hang out with their friends resent the ‘intrusion’ of the marketers & promoters into ‘their’ fun space. Some don’t, but many do.

Like the ‘net has “netiquette”, so has Twitter (“Twittiquette”?). It isn’t written down anywhere, and the rules are not universally agreed upon – but when you breach it, you’ll certainly know. It’s really easy to go from hero to persona non grata in the blink of an eye.

All of which is not to say “god no, don’t do it!!!” But just a heads-up on some of the traps for young players in the Twitterverse.  🙂

I suggest that you create yourself a personal account first – you just go to and sign up. Your username can be whatever you want it to be, like AIM or MSN. Have a play. Test the waters. Search for topics that interest you and follow some people who tweet about those topics. In other words, get a feel for how it all works before you start trying to do any promotion. You can always sign up for a second account later, which you can use to talk about [your product], or you may choose to gradually bring that into your own conversations on your personal account.

Oh, and if you just don’t “get” Twitter at first, you’re not alone. It took me a couple of goes at it, separated by months, before I actually started using it on a regular basis. There’s an excellent diagram of the ‘Twitter Cycle’ over at which is funny, ‘coz it’s true.  🙂

Anyway, dive in and play with it for a bit. Enjoy!



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