How Twitter Can Help You Lose Clients and Frustrate Your Friends

It seems Twitter is all the buzz right now. My relationship with Twitter, like many, has been an interesting journey. At first, I was like so many other Twitter doubters. I even quoted the famous line of “I don’t get Twitter. Does anyone really care that I am eating breakfast or brushing my teeth?” I then decided to take another shot at it. Unfortunately, I again grew frustrated at Twitter because I couldn’t keep up with everyone’s conversations. I mistakenly thought it was because I was following too many people. Frustrated again, I set Twitter aside for a few months. Suddenly, one day it dawned on me. I didn’t have to follow every single conversation on Twitter. I simply could jump in, get a quick snapshot, reply to a few people and jump out. I finally “got” Twitter!

Inman Connect Made Me A Twitterholic!

So off to Inman Connect I went with my renewed love for Twitter. In an effort to make my life easier, I put automation to work for me. I decided to have my Facebook status automatically update based on my Twitter updates. Twitter life was good – so I thought.

From the first session at Iman, I started feverously tweeting different updates about what was happening at the conference. The Twitter community loved it. I knew because I quickly started gaining more and more followers. I thought to myself that I had finally achieved Twitter Zen.

What’s Good Content for Twitter is Not Good for Facebook

My Twitter Zen didn’t last for very long. A tip from Jeff Turner turned into a harsh reality. You see, Jeff mentioned that he’s not a big fan of syncing your Twitter and Facebook status updates because the two social networks appeal to two difference audiences. His point was proven when my Facebook friends started messaging me saying things like “What’s your obsession with this Iman guy” “What the heck is #ICNY” “Your status updates make absolutely no sense!” While the information was quite relevant to the Twitter community (since they knew the context), my Facebook friends had no interest in seeing every detail of the Iman Connect conference.

I looked back at my Facebook Wall and quickly saw what they were referring to. It was ridden with tons of updates about a conference that they had no interest in. My effort to automate my social media back fired! Needless to say, I quickly disabled my Twitter/Facebook sync and now update the two sites separately with difference (relevant) pieces of information.

Automation Isn’t Always the Best Choice

The entire point of automation is to reach more for less – basically increase your ROI. But it’s important to see how much time you are actually saving compared to the benefit of a personal touch. Let me give you one more quick example.

ActiveRain gives you the ability to automatically update Twitter every time you write a new blog post on ActiveRain. On the surface, it seems like a great feature. Right? WRONG! That’s because the Twitter update looks something like this… “Just Posted on ActiveRain – www.activerain.com/blah.” Now doesn’t that make you want to just run out and view the blog post? <sarcasm> Sure, having this automation saves you 20 seconds in having to manually update your Twitter status, but the problem is that it doesn’t compel anyone to actually click the link! What good is automation if it doesn’t increase your ROI? Instead, what if you took just 20 seconds to personally go to twitter.com and tease your blog post?

I asked Bobby (@rewebcoach) to help me out testing this. Instead of using the standard automated “just posted at…” approach, he created a personal tweet on a recent blog post. It was simple but a great Twitter tease. “Loose Lips Sinks Ships” and a link to the article was all he put on Twitter. Yet he had over 50 people immediately click to view his article. Why? Because it wasn’t the canned tweet that so many people see continually roll across their Twitter stream. In other words, those few seconds to create that personal tweet was much more valuable than zero seconds to create something that would have yielded zero results.

Automation Still has Its Place

Don’t get me wrong. I still love automation and I think it’s a great way to extend your social reach. But it’s important to make sure you understand when to use it and when not to use it. Just because you can save yourself a few seconds here and there, doesn’t mean you always should.

To Your Success,

Brad Carroll
Follow me on Twitter: @dakno

13 thoughts on “How Twitter Can Help You Lose Clients and Frustrate Your Friends

  1. Great post- I learned this way back- but I think many need to hear it. I just saw on my FB all these tweets, some of them just conversations that out of context would mean nothing to FB users….I also had the feed on my blog and removed that too for the same reason. Very well written piece here.
    ;-)KELLY O

  2. Brad-I just love it when I learn I intuitively made the right decision. I didn’t check the twitter update on AR, and I don’t use it from Twitter to FB. It is frustrating seeing people you would like to hear from only have that automated verbiage.

  3. I agree with you and Jeff on this Brad. I make a point to keep my Twitter and Facebook lives very separate. For me, I mainly use Facebook to keep up with old friends and keep things very non-commercial. Although, I do have some business contacts on Facebook. Twitter is more of my catchall. A lot of my Tweets are either replies, or all the wall comments that I find interesting. I also love using Twitpic. I wish that I used 12 seconds more, but I haven’t yet.

    Thanks for keeping us informed 🙂

  4. Great points Brad. I have never done the automatic updates from my Blog posts to Twitter but I do have Twitter streaming into my Facebook page. I’m going go look at it and disable. Thanks to Jeff T for pointing it out to you!

  5. Brad – I followed most every one of your tweets from Inman. I loved it, thanks for doing that!

    Bombarding your Facebook stream is the byproduct but as a part time FB’r I never saw that. Proof that the two are very different audiences (or can be).

    I’ve never been a fan of the ActiveRain AutoTwitter feed myself, yet I use that as a search parameter to find out who on ActiveRain has a twitter account. If all they do is “Just Posted on ActiveRain” they don’t get a follow from me, however if they have real tweets in their stream they’ll get a follow from me.

    Good stuff!

  6. I had my twitter feeds going to my facebook page for a while and came to the same conclusion. Twitter is definitely a place of the present and the future while my facebook page is a strange combination of old and new friends. I haven’t automated blog posts to twitter either-seems like the personal touch is best.

  7. Kelly: Thanks. Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way
    Kathy McGraw: Yeah I am not a big fan of the AutoTweet feature on blogs
    Jeff: Thanks man for making me think about this. Loved the presentation at REBarCamp
    Ryan: This seems to be the common theme. Different social networks attract different audiences. It’s important to properly engage with each audience
    Monika: I say do it. Even if it’s not two different audiences, people don’t care about reading the same message twice.
    Mike: Thanks Yeah not a fan of the “Just Posted on ActiveRain” tweets. It doesn’t engage with people the way a personal tweet does.
    Teri: Glad I could help
    Carolyn G-Tu: Indeed. My Facebook friends seem to be a pretty eclectic mix.
    Kathleen: Me too. Give me something catchy and I will click it. “Just Blogged At…” doesn’t compel me to click.

  8. Brad,

    Good to know long time friends are still learning new tricks. I am still trying to get into the language of ABC abbreviations. Still working with Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper in Comal County.

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