Does Promotion Work on Twitter?

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So, if you’ve made it here from twitter you’ve probably concluded that this is either a brilliant ploy or I’m an idiot, but either way, there will be learning. If that’s not how you got here you should know that I tweeted this today [Please click my junk ->< – and RT, *PLEASE* you know you want to] I couldn’t think of a more obnoxious promo tweet, but it did seem to get the desired effect.

salesmanAh, but to my real point today – Can you use twitter to promote? To that I say absolutely, but only to the same extent you can use any platform to promote. Selling something in any environment is a function of trust and/or expectation – you can sell almost anywhere you have established trust and your efforts to sell are in line with the expectations of those who receive your message. While this varies depending upon what you are trying to sell, it’s essentially true of TV, radio, direct mail, in-person sales, email, and on twitter.

I have grown to trust many people on twitter and their attempts to directly promote their blog content, products, and events are often welcome reads for me. I’ve also found some folks that only use twitter to promote special prices and promotions and I follow them expecting to read about deals. I know that there are those in the twitterverse that cringe at the thought of using the platform for anything blatantly commercial, but that’s just silly – almost every business or person engaged in some business enterprise on twitter is using it for things blatantly commercial – it’s some are way better at the subtle art of building trust and setting expectations.

For illustration I’ll pick on the master of the trust building approach – Chris Brogan. Chris is amazing at engaging his following on twitter. Anyone could learn by watching how active and authentic he is and how willing he is to give. Throw on top of that the fact that writes an incredibly useful and thoughtful blog and you’ve got a dynamic duo. Chris has built an asset on twitter that creates direct commercial value for him, but he’s done it in a way that’s all about building trust. (It’s just a side benefit that the twitterverse is a better place because of him) Now, I don’t know that he thinks about it this way and I’m not quoting from his business plan, I’m merely observing reality – this is one rockin way to sell on twitter.

I call this approach the 3-step shimmy. It’s the ultimate in permission based marketing and very effective in social media settings. Back in the day, marketers learned to effectively use 2-step ads: step 1 – get them interested with the lure of valuable info and step 2 – deliver that valuable info along with a sales message. In the social media model it’s: step 1- build awareness and trust 140 characters at a time, step 2 – allow folks to find a treasure trove of content on your blog, and step 3 – overwhelm them with so much expertise and engagement that they simply can’t do anything but ask how they can employ you and your products and services at a premium price. That’s the 3-step shimmy.

So, what about direct selling by way of expectation? By now you’ve surely heard about @delloutlet. When you follow Dell Outlet you are signing on to receive ads, you expect to get great deals tweeted at you. Because that’s what you agreed to and expect, Dell has your permission to promote directly through twitter. (It, of course, doesn’t hurt that you may already trust Dell too.) What about pizza though – you may not be as aware of NakedPizza in New Orleans but they have over 5,000 twitter followers who anticipate their 2 for 1 tweets. In addition, you can always use filtered search to find people who are asking for specific solutions in their tweets and thereby kind of broadcasting for an expectation. All great ways to tap trust and expectation to promote on twitter.

And special shout out to AmberCadabra, from whom I borrowed the click my junk riff . Amber’s points and mine mesh nicely, just from a slightly different view.

Image credit: griffhome

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Chris Brogan, Dell Outlet, Naked Pizza, New Orleans, Social Networking, twitter

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