A great way to enter the online world of social media is to read other blog posts and comment when you have something to offer to the conversation. This does not mean you should post comments like “I agree!” or “nice article.” We can get more creative than that! Commenting on a blog article is like stepping into a conversation that you are on the outskirts of but want to enter. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion or ask questions.
Often, the comments after a great blog post are as good, if not better, than the article itself. Such is the case in a June 14, 2010 post by MP Mueller titled, “Don’t Bother Following Me On Twitter.” Mueller’s article is his candid view on Twitter and his thought process in determining whether or not to use it in his business. He has some great points for both the pros and cons of the social media tool.
But the comments that appear after Mueller’s article allow readers to listen to an interesting conversation between the director of a multimedia communications company and an author of erotic fiction. Can you guess ahead of time who is a pro-Twitter user and who has not yet embraced the tool?
The 18 comments on the article as of June 17 at 4:47 p.m. (Mountain time) are shown below. I alternated posts in blue and black to make it easier to follow. There are other people who commented on Mueller’s article, but the real fun takes place between Eric Bryant at Gnosis Arts and Laura Stamps, Erotica Novelist. Enjoy the lively debate!
Readers’ comments on Mark Mueller’s article, “Don’t Bother Following Me On Twitter.”
June 14th, 2010
Twitter is okay, if you’re a twit.
2. Natalie at Red Humpy
Pagosa Springs, CO
June 14th, 2010
I’m glad you mentioned that social media takes time – time to use and time to get established. I began as a Twitter skeptic, uninterested in sharing with strangers what I was doing or reading or interested in. But as I watched how the free tool can be used to create connections with others and build relationships with people that reach around the world, I gave in and started Tweeting things that reflect who I am. In return, I have found other like-minded people who have interesting things to say and share.
I think that people that use social media correctly understand that sites like Twitter are less about advertising and selling, and more about communicating and interacting. I’m going to Tweet this article to my small group of Twitter followers, so now there are 34 more people in the world that have an opportunity to read your words. It’s using a media tool to be social, and it works.
Thanks for sharing your candid opinions.
3. Gnosis Arts
June 14th, 2010
Here’s the thing about social media sites like Twitter in particular, and social media marketing in general: Predictability and ROI.
There is way too much hype about the marketing potential of this medium. And I’m not saying that because we’ve had no success in this arena. We offer online marketing services for clients and we’ve had success. I’m saying it because people who hype up social media marketing confuse the issue with weak arguments in favor of.
Let me explain. Just because I can find a business prospect on Twitter, for example, doesn’t mean that the medium, as a whole, is good for online marketing. To be a good online marketer, you must have a methodology that offers your clients some measure of predictability, consistency within a given timeframe. Social media does not offer this.
Sure, I can spend 100 hours on Twitter, and encounter someone who knows someone else, who retweets a tweet, that some fourth person sees … and happen to generate new business. But that is a far cry from anything a marketing department, ad agency or PR firm can hang its hat on as “reliable.”
To be an effective channel – FOR MARKETING PURPOSES – a medium must demonstrate some degree of regularity and repeatability in its generation of leads, prospects and/or revenue. Social media decidedly does NOT. I don’t care what anyone says. The marketing ROI is just not there.
We have found that the best social media sites in terms of anything associated roughly with marketing, are Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Twitter is horrible for generating sales from new business for smaller brands, but excellent for customer service and client relations. So, we suggest to our clients to focus on Twitter primarily for customer service.
LinkedIn is terrible for customer service, but is excellent for lead generation – if used strategically. However, the quality of the leads is debatable, as very few turn into customers.
Facebook is a bit of a paradox with respect to social media marketing. It’s advertising platform, quite frankly, stinks. A pure waste of money. And you cannot do certain kinds of promoting on a Facebook business or fan page, withour risk of being banned. For us, In our opinion, Facebook best serves branding purposes, not strictly marketing or sales purposes.
We’ve written and researched and experimented extensively on the subject on our blog – http://im0z.blogspot.com
So, my recommendation for any small business seeking to get into the “social media marketing scene”, would be
1. Don’t believe the hype
2. Use Twitter primarily for customer service/client relations. This requires, obviously, that you learn how to locate current and prospective customers on
3. Use Facebook primarily for branding purposes. This requires that you hire a developer who can customize a Facebook business/fan page using FBML scripting – or do it yourself, if you know how. (For an example of what I’m talking about, take a peek at our business Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com…
4. Use LinkedIn primarily for lead generation. We have written ebooks covering the subject in depth. Visit http://s.gnoss.us/seonj to download V.2 of our social media guide, where we cover the uses of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook in some detail.
5. Understand that, yes, mastery over these environments will require a substantial time investment, all of which factors into the measurable ROI fo the whole enterprise.
Eric Bryant, Director
Gnosis Arts Multimedia Communications LLC
New Smyrna Beach, FL
June 14th, 2010
You said, “so Ashley Cass, who manages Birds’ social media, posted a three-hour, 25-percent rain discount at one of the Austin locations and got lots of takers immediately.”
What is “lots of takers” mean to you? The money that it takes to keep a business open, rent, payroll, utilities, insurance ect, getting a few people to come in at 25% off is probably just a drop in the bucket and not worth the time and effort put into social media sites like twitter and facebook.
5. Dave Larson
June 14th, 2010
You’ve right, but you’ve overlooked something. Twitter was a “serendipity generator” for individuals before businesses found a way to use it. It still is. And people create and develop warm personal relationships on Twitter all the time.
The problem in understanding Twitter is that it can be all things to all people.
You see businesses doing something and you think that means there isn’t benefit to individuals. There is tremendous connecting and personal, friendly relationships taking place on Twitter, to the joy of all involved.
But—true—it’s complicated to use for individuals. It’s easier to see what the media says Twitter is for and scratch your head at the confusion of tweets about things you don’t care about.
The motto of understanding Twitter could be: “Focus not on what your neighbor does but on what you can do.”
June 14th, 2010
My problem is that Twitter is just the latest fad. It’s a gimmick. It’s a flash in the pan the same way Friendster/MySpace and now, Facebook are/is. It won’t be around in any significant way within a year or two. There’s something to be said about keeping up with the times, but there also seems to be an air of desperation around companies that use social media heavily. I don’t really think that respectable companies necessarily should be jumping on the same bandwagon as individuals because they’re not individuals. How does “Hewlett Packard” tweet? It doesn’t even make very much sense. I think that companies should be able to communicate with their customers without having to resort to whatever the fad of the week is.
For example, the example given is Whole Foods’ Twitter… I don’t even know the word. But their Twitter Web Page is an absolute mess. It doesn’t communicate anything at all. It’s a lot of unrelated, partial conversations, most of which should be private. I don’t know what it accomplishes. It doesn’t provide a cohesive message. It doesn’t provide information in any kind of useful format. It looks like there are at least a dozen Whole Foods Twitter accounts…. It’s a mess, and I don’t think that it reflects positively on the company as a whole.
My company is sticking with the tried and true: face-to-face, telephone, and now, a web page. We’ll leave Twitter for the kids and celebrities.
7. Laura Stamps, Erotica Novelist
June 15th, 2010
You people are missing the boat here. Twitter ROCKS! I don’t do any social media that doesn’t sell books for me. I don’t have the time. Back in January my ex-agent said I had to get in Twitter. At the time I was selling lots of books to Facebook people. I had figured out a way to drive traffic to my site and sell a steady stream of my novels every week and I was happy.
I didn’t like Twitter at first. Most people were tweeting links and I didn’t see how that was gonna sell books for me. It took me several weeks to figure out how to do it on Twitter. But when I did, I stopped spending so much time on Facebook. Know why? Cause I can sell more books faster on Twitter. Facebook just takes too much time. It’s that lovely 140 character limit on Twitter that makes it so profitable. You can talk to waaaaay more people and sell more in the process.
Of course when I got on Twitter I googled all the articles I could find on how to sell books on Twitter. Not that many out there, and none seemed to work well for my market (erotica and romance novel addicts). Know what I did? I tweaked and tested and discovered a strategy that goes against almost all the Twitter rules for marketing. And it works. Yeah, it sells books for me every week, and I don’t spam anyone. In fact I block spammers and bots.
So Twitter rocks for selling product. You just gotta know how to work it. In the process it has become my fav social media site for book sales. Really.
BTW, if you’re on Twitter and you read romantic erotica follow me. I’m SexWitch there (gee, what a surprise). But if you do follow me send me a DM and tell me you read erotica or romance novels. If you don’t, I’ll probably block you. Yes, I will. Hey, not my fault! I’m there to sell, ya know? lol
June 15th, 2010
I set up a Facebook fan page, offered 50% off a color service to all first-time customers for one month, received 40 fans and no business. I agree with some of the posters on here about social media sites being fads that fade over time. I like the fact that pics can be posted on the page and that it’s been a substitute for a web page. But I think a web page for SEO would be better and sending out an email blast, rather than using Twitter or social media sites at all, would be best. The most successful business people I know (example: doctors) are too busy to fool around with internet marketing.
9. Mandy Queen, CRED Communications
June 15th, 2010
I have a feeling that Twitter is like marmite (a beefy UK sandwich spread), you either love it or hate it! I agree with MP, I didn’t take it too seriously either until it was relevant to me, And even then, I didn’t get results until I developed a strategy for using it.
Twitter now generates about 15% of my web traffic, it peaks whenever I share links to my blog posts or send out press releases. But the main value for me is that Twitter helps me to engage with prospects, opinion leaders and journalists that I haven’t met before. Another cool aspect is that I get to see trends/news firsthand – I don’t have to search for this anymore.
The media, F2F and WOM will remain the most powerful channels for generating awareness in your business, but twitter is currently an impressive and effective tool and therefore must be considered in any communications plan. Twitter may be a fad, but it does get results for some businesses – take a look at Coke’s recent social media strategy. But, as with any communications tool, it only works if you have a long-term strategy. And if you don’t have a plan then it won’t work and then you’ll give up. And that’s why there are thousands of abandoned accounts out there with people complaining that twitter doesn’t work for them.
10. Gnosis Arts
June 15th, 2010
@SexWitch – oh boy
I feel compelled to respond here.
I visited your Twitter page. Erotica (a nice word for soft porn) sells just about anywhere. There are always exceptions. Exceptions don’t prove the rules.
Secondly, you’re only selling your ebooks for $0.99 – $1.99 !! Any decent marketer can sell an ebook for such a low price. That proves nothing. And ebooks about erotica! that’s a no brainer.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, how do you know the business is coming from twitter? Do you track the conversion funnel, from point of departure (at twitter) to your ebook site to purchase pages to confirmation pages? Do you have some sort of contact form or registration form that requires people to tell you where they came from, before they can purchase?
If you don’t, then you really have no way of actually knowing whether the sales are BEING GENERATED from Twitter. You have no way of know, for example, whether the person first saw you on Facebook, then found you on Twitter, THEN went to purchase. Or, perhaps the person found you through organic search, visited your website, then found you later on twitter, after making a purchase.
See, Internet marketing, while it may not be rocket science, it is more complex than people like to make it. If it were not so, there wouldn’t be so many marketing agencies out there geared to helping non-specialists sort all this stuff out.
11. Laura Stamps, Erotica Novelist
June 15th, 2010
Gnosis Arts, chill, darlin’! Don’t get so excited. The answer to your question is easy. When they buy they tweet me about it and tell me how much they loved the books, or that they just bought, or that they are reading them, or that they just finished them. I also sell signed paperback copies from my books site for $15-40.00. They tweet me every week about those too. It’s all about collecting data, right? And the data is in the tweets. Sound good?
12. Gnosis Arts
June 16th, 2010
Oh I’m sorry, Laura, I’m not trying to ruffle your feathers. This just happens to be a subject I’m very passionate about, most probably b/c I make a living out of it. Nothing personal, just trying to parse the data, is all )
And I use ALLCAPS only b/c you can’t use italics here )
I’m very happy you’re able to sell your ebooks online. I ive you props for that. Cheers, Sister.
But your reply only goes to demonstrate my previous point. You say customers tweet you about your books after purchasing. But tweeting you about the book is not hardly the same as demonstrating a causal link b/t
A. Your promoting the book on Twitter, and
B. A customer purchasing an ebook, AS A RESULT OF YOUR TWITTER MARKETING
Do you see the difference? This is a common mistake online marketers make with respect to measuring ROI of a particular marketing medium. It’s what I meant earlier when I said that those who hype social media tend to make weak (i.e., not data-driven, not statistic-driven) arguments.
All you’ve established is. correlation b/t 1. someone purchasing you ebook and 2. Them tweeting you about on Twitter. That’s not hardly the kind of data that would lead a professonal marketer to conclude that, BECAUSE of your twitter marketing, so and so made a purchase.
June 16th, 2010
Frank (Post 6)–MySpace and Facebook are two of the most heavily trafficked sites on the internet–and more importantly, users spend a lot of time on them (as opposed to say, Google.com–you go, you search, you leave). Facebook has been hugely popular among my age group (early 20′s) since 2003 or 2004, and MySpace was around before that. Both sites have been big for over six years, which doesn’t really strike me as “flash in the pan,” or something that won’t be around in two years. It sounds like you just got a website (“and now, a web page”), which makes it seem like you’re a little slow to pick up on technology, so forgive me for not trusting your assessment.
I think that, obviously, Twitter and Facebook are going to be better suited to certain types of businesses. Any company that caters to young people, or has a presence in media (from PR companies to TV shows), or has devoted fans (a lot of clothing lines, schools, and businesses) can benefit more than, say, a printing company.
New Smyrna Beach, FL
June 16th, 2010
Just because you like facebook and use it does not mean a business can make money off of it. Yes, like you said, some business can benefit but this site is dedicated to small business and I agree with Gnosis Arts and Frank when they say they don’t do much.
15. Laura Stamps, Erotica Novelist
June 16th, 2010
10:53 amThanks, for your clarification, Eric! You’re a sweetheart.
I obviously misunderstood your intent. I thought by the wording of your response to my post that you were sneering at the fact that I write romantic erotica. Only people who are not fans of it would call it “soft porn.” It is not. You also made it sound as if selling books in my market is easy. It is not. And you know that. You also know the price of my ebooks in the Kindle Store was set at $0.99 – $1.99 due to extensive market research into pricing for that venue.
Nah, you didn’t ruffle my feathers. I’m the kind of person who likes to have fun rather than flaunt my professional accomplishments (like the fact my publishing resume is 80+ pages long with awards and honors, including a “Pulitzer Prize” nomination in 2005). That’s my fault. My branding is what I am in real life: a lusty chick who likes to have fun and writes lusty books. So I totally understand when someone thinks I might be a bit shallow. lol
Actually, I thought I had ruffled your feathers, so I was trying to chill the situation.
Okay, back to biz. I’m not dense, but I’m not getting what you are saying. If I meet people for the first time on Twitter, and they buy my books because of that, how is that not a direct selling link? They never heard of me before I met them on Twitter, and many of them tell me that. When they do meet me on Twitter and find out what I write, they buy my books. Isn’t that a DIRECT RESULT OF MY TWITTER MARKETING? I mean, you can’t get more direct than that, right?
True, tracking social media results is not as simple as it was in the old days when you could key a classified ad in a print mag and track your results by number (okay, I’ve been in the biz for 23 years and remember the days before the web *lol*). Is that what you mean? Still, if you meet the prospect for the first time on Twitter and sell her a product you can’t get any more direct than that, right? And if you do it every week that’s even better. Or I think it is.
You can see why I’m confused, so explain this to me. I’m all ears!
June 16th, 2010
A lusty chick who writes lusty books! I love it!
Who doesn’t like a little lust every now and then? And, wow, Pulitzer nominee – now that is impressive.
Ok, NOW we’re getting at the truth. This is NYT not a rinky-dink pub, arguably the most prestigious pub in the world. You can’t come on here and use terms and data and anecdotal evidence loosely and expect to be taken seriously.
See, you never said that – you never said that people meet you for the first time on Twitter, and then buy a book. That is a pretty important fact you left out of your first two comments.
Kudos to you. You’ve used Twitter to generate sales.
But now, let’s take it one step further. How regular is this? How consistent is it? Once a week, twice a month, once a day?
AND … how much time does it take, in terms of man(woman) hours, cultivating a relationship, nurturing it, conversing on twitter, promoting your wares, etc … to make the sale?
How many customers have you gotten from Twitter? Over what time period? And how much gross revenue did they generate for you?
You don’t have to answer here. All I’m saying is: These are all factors to consider when evaluating the cost-effectiveness of a particular medium for mkt.
If my hourly rate is $70 / hr. and if I have to spend, say, 10 hrs on “Twitter marketing” to make a sale, then that sale better be at least $700, otherwise, I don’t break even.
Let’s cut it in half, to be conservative, and say $350.
Even worse, if I have to hire a “social media specialist” – b/c she has to be paid for her labor, regardless of whether that sale is made. Otherwise, as a biz owner, I cannot justify the expense.
I’m talking about ROI in THIS sense – and I have yet to see a marketing analyst justify soc. media mkt, in this regard.
17. Laura Stamps, Erotica Novelist
June 16th, 2010
Thanks for the congrats, Eric! Yeah, I work hard, and I’ve been blessed.
Okay, you know my MO by now and that I’m not the kinda chick who spouts data right away. My main purpose in my initial post was to let people know in a general way that it is possible to sell enough product on Twitter to make it a viable marketing strategy. And to tell them a little about how I do it in case they would wanna give it a shot for their biz.
But when you asked me for more info I gave you more, as I would anyone. I can say I have been working Twitter since the end of January. It took about a month to figure out what would work for me. But after lots of testing and tweaking I discovered a wealth of romance/erotica novel addicts there, as well as book review bloggers (the kind who receive ARCs from the big NYC publishers to review). They have kept me slammed with blog tours, reviews, and interviews ever since, even though the sales from these interviews and reviews have been minimal from their readership.
That’s something you might not know about the book biz. People don’t buy books from reviews and ads like they used to 5-10 years ago. They don’t trust them. Now they buy what their friends rec at social media sites. Still the interviews and reviews are good PR. Plus, I post them on my blog and my book site, and it sells more product to my people cause I make sure my interviews are entertaining and rather wicked (which is what they expect from me *lol*).
Then I discovered these readers/reviewers were also at Goodreads and Facebook. So they hooked up with me there. One of the many reasons I love Twitter is because I don’t have to spend as much time marketing at Facebook and Goodreads now because some of those people are at Twitter. So new people I have met at Twitter have hooked up with me at Facebook and Goodreads. And people I know from Goodreads and Facebook have hooked up with me at Twitter.
Like I said, Twitter actually saves me time. I can hit new fans and existing fans in less time and in greater quantities at Twitter cause of the 140-word limit. And time is something no small biz owner has enough of.
So you could say there is a bit of synergy that happens when you use Twitter.
Speaking of time, I don’t sit down and spend a solid hour or more on Twitter every day. I open a window to Twitter at night when I’ve worked through my fan mail and all the other biz stuff for the day. Then every 30 minutes or so I answer replies to my tweets and check out what my fans are tweeting, while I work on my latest novel. It’s great for taking a break and clearing my mind when I get stuck on a sentence or a word.
I’m also a fan of email marketing and send out a monthly e-newsletter to my list through iContact, weekly email notifications when my Wednesday post goes up on my naughty blog, and notifications when new books are published (about 6-10 mailings/month). It has been very effective in bringing in sales to me. I also clean my list regularly so my open rate stays between 22-37% for each mailing.
So if you aren’t high on social media as a primary marketing strategy to increase ROI, what are you high on? Email marketing, videos, SEO, blog tours, a combo of trad and online strategies, etc.?
BTW, I hear you’re on Twitter (my PR person has been following this conversation between us, and she found you on Twitter), so I’m gonna check you out. If you don’t mind a lusty chick following you I will. Could be a blast, ya know?
18. Gnosis Arts
June 16th, 2010
Oh I NEVER mind a lusty chick following me ha! (Just don’t tell my wife I said that =] )
I may need to hire you to work our Twitter for us! lol. I will always bow before reason and data. Rather than argue against you, I’d prob. be smarter 2 pick ur brain about your twitter tactics.
Again, I’m always thrilled to hear about successes ppl have in the online space, whether they are our clients or not. I wish you best of success in all your business endeavors. (oh, and, yeah, I do know Erotica isn’t the same as porn. I misspoke on that one, more for effect than anything else =) Erotica to many is a form of fine art, I get it.
Thanks for a lively debate, Laura! and thanks for following us on Twitter. Our main Twitter feeds are @seo_service_ and _seo_services. My personal “Director’s” twitter feed is @slashcareer.