Just Call Me an Angry Twitter Bird

ANGRY TWITTER BIRDThere’s something really annoying going on in some of my favorite Twitter hashtag streams. There’s a lot of business owners who fancy themselves as being pretty savvy when it comes to social media. I wonder if their followers view them the same way.

Scenario: a person owns a business. The business has a Twitter account. The business owner has a personal Twitter account. Someone posts a tweet via the business Twitter account and uses the #Lkld hashtag. Then the business owner retweets the tweet and keeps the #Lkld hashtag.

Even if I lived under a rock and had no access to TV and newspapers (but had Internet access, obviously) I could tell you who owns what businesses in Lakeland simply by following the #Lkld hashtag.

Day after day, I see business postings, followed immediately by the owners of those businesses retweeting the posts. And if the person owns more than one business, Katy bar the door! Be prepared to read several identical posts, all in a neat little row.

Business owners who are on Twitter are all after the same thing. We want to get the word out about our businesses. We want clients and customers. Recently, I wrote about writing reviews for businesses and how if we’re not careful, those reviews come across as disingenuous. I feel like these retweets also can fall into that same category if we’re not careful.

The original intent of the retweet was to re-broadcast information that users felt would be of interest to their followers. Mark Evans over at Twitterrati has an interesting take on the value of the retweet.

I think we need to look at the value of our retweets. Business owners, when someone else retweets something you post, all who see that RT see it as coming from an objective third party. That has value, in my mind. I liken it to an advertisement vs. a mention in a newspaper article. Given enough money, you can say whatever you want to say about your business in an advertisement. But people are savvy and often won’t even read an ad. If you can get a reporter to write a story that says those same things about you, readers buy into that. Why? It’s seen as more objective.

So what’s the solution? As a business owner, of course you want your business to succeed and you absolutely should use every tool in your marketing/PR/publicity tool kit to help make that happen- particularly if the tool is free. And believe it or not, I’m not saying you should not RT the tweets posted by your business. But why not give those retweets some legs? If your business tweet uses the #lkld hashtag, why not change it to a different area when you RT it? That way, you help ensure that new eyes will read it, which is your goal in the first place, isn’t it?

If you don’t change your approach, here’s one thing that you’ll never accomplish- building “buzz” for your business (My apologies to Peter Shankman, whom I adore, and I know he despises that term)

These are just my thoughts on the topic. I’m sure there are those who disagree with me. I would love to hear your feedback on this, whether or not it aligns with my opinion.

3 Responses for Just Call Me an Angry Twitter Bird

  1. Tim says:

    Good post, Lorrie. I’ve seen the same thing and have been able to decipher who is involved in what business, or who might be getting paid to promote a certain business, and kind of scratched my head and wondered if they see how that comes across.

  2. Lorie,

    Nice article and from a high level I agree with everything you’re saying. Marketing messages (especially through Social Media) should not be pushed too hard. I can’t stand when I see business owners essentially using spam tactics.

    In my personal opinion, I don’t think there is a valid reason for the business owner to Retweet something he just said – even if he does use a different hashtag. In most cases, the same people are following both accounts anyway. If the owner wants to send the message to a different audience, he/she should find a new unique way to say it.

    For example:
    Original Business Tweet: “Visit XYZ Hamburgers this weekend and show your ID. #LKLD residents receive 35% off their order.”

    Owner’s Modified Tweet: “I’m hoping all my Lakeland friends visit my XYZ Hamburgers this weekend. Get 35% by showing your ID”.

    Maybe it’s not the best example, but I hope you get the point. In one case it is a business message. The second is more of a personal invite. Again, in my opinion, I doubt the second one is even necessary.

    P.S. Another Twitter Pet Peeve is business owners who think it is a good idea to automate their Twitter feed. Plugging in 30 random messages at the beginning of the month to autotweet is not social media is about. It’s called “Social” for a reason. Social Media is about listening and contributing – not broadcasting. Unfortunately I know consultants who actually recommend this. If you don’t have the time to post a timely, sincere thought provoking message, then you probably don’t have the time to get involved in responding and engaging with the potential audience anyway.

    Done with my rant.

    • Kevin, that is a great example. And as for your personal pet peeve, I agree with you wholeheartedly while also hanging my head in shame slightly, for I have been guilty of scheduled tweets in the past.

      A great takeaway is that the Internet grows and changes, Web 2.0 opens new doors to us, but the tradition of engagement and customer service remains the same. I think if we treat what we post on social media as a conversation with someone in person, we will stay on the right track.