How Not to Market on Twitter

I have been attending the NYXPO over the last two days, and have enjoyed meeting many new people and connecting with many more over Twitter.

In fact, I love Twitter.  It makes it easy to connect with those people you may not otherwise get to connect with, and it gives you access to people you may not be able to access.  For example, I arrived early on the second day of the conference to attend a panel discussion that included Frank Eliason (@FrankEliason), and after a 10 minute delay because of sound issues, the panel began, but Mr.  Eliason’s chair remained empty.  So I did what any self-respecting social media person would do — I sent a tweet that said, “Where is @FrankEliason for the morning panel at #NYXPO?  Was looking forward to him.”. Seconds later he replied that he had “complications”. And so began a conversation with Mr. Comcast Cares himself (he is no longer with them).

How cool is that?  Very cool.  Social media cool.

So imagine my surprise when my Foursquare check-in at the Javits Center resulted in some of the worst marketing I’ve been involved with on Twitter.  One hour later, I received a tweet from someone that said, “Gdm! I see you used to be Attorney.  Ever heard of XXXXX (product name hidden to protect the guilt)?”  and, so began our “conversation” which included him telling me to go to a friend “in 5 minutes”, and to call several different phone numbers and press several different options, so I could learn more about this product (his website is all video, no words, because “too much to write.”)

Oh, and did I mention that he doesn’t follow me, nor I him, on Twitter?  We have absolutely no relationship.  We’ve never even “tweeted” to each other.

Social media marketing is about engagement.  It is about conversation.  It is about listening.  It is not about the hard sell.  What gave this person the idea that I wanted to hear about his company or product, or that I needed to know about it so badly that I should meet an “assoc” within 5 minutes?  Oh, and had he really read my profile, he would have noticed that I am a FORMER Attorney!  My profile is very clear:  Chief Social Marketer at EsquireTech Solutions, father, husband, traveler, Trekkie, former attorney.

So,  how do you market within Twitter?  You engage people in conversation.  You offer assistance when needed, and advice when warranted.  You share valuable information, you share what others have tweeted.  Then, and only then, do you even have the right to “ask for the sale”.  And don’t make it difficult.  It should be incredibly easy for me to learn about your product.  And since we already know each other, the sale should be easy.

So, how do you market on Twitter?  By not marketing.  By not selling.

This person will never get me to recommend his product.  It could be the best thing since sliced bread, but it wouldn’t matter.  I’ve been treated like nothing more than a dollar sign.


Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you.  He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line.  EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business.  Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107.




  1. Craig,
    Right on the mark as always. My thoughts:
    • twitter is the quickest and simplest way to make direct contact with someone possibly starting an immediate conversation.
    • people who use social media to cold call are Neanderthals
    • Since I am visual (and like to talk a lot) I lean more towards facebook and google+ but twitter sure can come in handy.
    Sounds like another great conference. Thanks for the mini report, too.

    • Thanks for the comment, Alison.

      I agree. Twitter is a great way to “reach out and touch someone”. I just don’t like having things shoved down my throat, which is exactly what this person did. It’s about conversation.

      Have a great day!

      • I think it should be against the law to ‘cold call’ or use ‘intrusion selling techniques’ on social media. The whole idea of social media is to get away from that antiquated method. When used properly, those methods are not only unnecessary, they are obnoxious and a total turn off. Let’s get the social media police after them.


  1. […] originally appeared at Digital Brand Marketing Education Filed Under: Business, Social Media, Twitter · Tagged: Advertising, Business, Business […]

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