Twitter Can Be a Weird, Wonderful Place

February 6, 2014

Twitter EggsOnce you’ve gotten the hang of Twitter, it can be a great place to discover content, contacts and much more. Yet it also can be a very weird place even for long-time users. That weirdness most likely looks even weirder to people new to Twitter.

Today I want to discuss some of the weirdness so you can avoid being part of it along with ways that you can put it to use for your benefit.

One thing that always surprises me are the large number of users who still have an egg for an avatar. Any new user is assigned an egg by default, but you have the opportunity to upload your own graphic. It is best if you choose a nice headshot of yourself or a logo of the brand you are representing. C’mon, you’re a designer, right? Is it that hard to upload a graphic?

Even worse are the “eggs” who put absolutely nothing in their bio. When an “egg” follows me and there is nothing in their bio, I immediately assume they are a robot or at least fake. I encourage you all to read Five Tips For Getting Started on Twitter as I have some suggestions that only take a few minutes to implement.

Of course I also get followers who have an avatar and bio that just makes me laugh and not for a good reason. I got one the other day promising “I will give you 24500+ real twitter followers for $10”. Yuck, a spammer. But if this person really can deliver a lot of fake followers, you would expect them to have a lot of followers themselves, right? This person had 419. Guess they couldn’t afford the $10 to buy their own fake followers. I can’t stress enough that there is no benefit at all to purchase followers, no matter the price!

Now let’s look at a very smart marketing plan that took place a few days ago during the Super Bowl. More than 100 million people watched the game on television. Big brands paid $4 million dollars for a 30-second commercial during the game. Small businesses can’t even imagine spending that much on a single ad. One big business got more buzz than many companies buying the expensive ads and they did it with a few tweets.

Those of us in the United States know JC Penney well. It is a large department store that isn’t nearly as popular as it was in years past. Earlier in the game, their corporate account sent out a couple of tweets filled with typos so that the message was almost unreadable. You’ll see the two tweets below.

Almost immediately, those tweets were being retweeted by their followers. This greatly increased the number of people who saw the messages. As an example, I don’t follow JC Penney myself though I did see retweeted versions. Many of the retweets also said whoever ran the account must have had too many drinks and maybe they shouldn’t be tweeting from a corporate account.

It seems this was all part of the JC Penney plan. If they had not had all the typos, the messages would have gotten very little attention. Instead, the mistakes helped the message go viral. Soon afterwards, JC Penney sent another tweet explaining the typos while also promoting their product. You’ll see it below. Those who are not reading this on the Web site probably won’t see the picture that is an integral part of the message. Please read on the Web site to see the tweet with picture.

Had JC Penney simply tweeted out a message about Olympic-themed mittens, it would have gotten very little attention. Yet by sending the two messages full of typos first, they got more attention than many of the products advertised on television. They are still getting attention as I’m writing about this as are others.

For those of you with a limited marketing budget, this is a great story about how some messages went viral. Of course you’ll need to have some followers as a starting point, but the right social media marketing plan can put your message in front of a much larger audience if planned correctly.

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