Online marketing: How to not get new customers…

I am not an expert in marketing, even less when it comes to online marketing. So why would I have anything to say about the subject? I think this is how some people might argue, at least this one person I had a very short and explosive exchange with on Twitter the other day. I am a fairly avid user of social media, but no, no expert. I buy social media services, I might be your customer, and since we live in a fairly free society, I am entitled to an opinion. If you work with (social media) marketing, here’s what you do NOT want to do when dealing with a potential customer:

One of the services I use on Twitter is a free tool (Crowdfire) that greets all my new followers with a greeting. I’ve used it for more than a year and so far, I’ve only had one negative reaction (one man unfollowed me directly since he felt my automated greeting was impersonal. We actually had a short conversation about it, but no, he did not re-follow me. I respect his choice, of course.) I use this tool because I want to thank people for following me without being on Twitter 24×7. I just can’t. My ‘real’ life is too precious, no offense.

This guy reacted to my greeting, which does happen every now and then, and I do respond to DMs, I don’t get that many:

Twitter_conversation_1

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my response. Was I rude? Was it off? Twitter is extremely limiting with its 140 character messages. I tried to a) be kind (thanks), show interest (cost inquiry) and let him know that I already use a tool that enables me to reach millions (Triberr):

Triberr_screenshot_reach

I’m not stupid. I know of course that of the 21 million people in my Triberr network only a fraction will ever even see my blog, simply because only about 150 of my 2K Triberr mates ever share my blog posts at any given time.

However, Triberr has worked really well for me. And here’s why I asked the gentleman about Triberr: I know that if you have more than 40-50 people you follow on Twitter, your stream will be moving so fast that you won’t be able to read it all, that is of course if you’re looking at it constantly. And who does that? No one! Which is why I think Triberr is a great tool, because of my 4K followers (I know, not a great many), most will never see me posting my daily blog post. The same is true for all my friends on Triberr who share my posts. However, if 150 people share a tweet, the likelihood that someone sees it, is exponentially greater, and it works. I see how Triberr brings people to my blog, because every time Triberr is down (for whatever reason), my reading numbers drop measurably! Is it perfect? No, it’s not, but like so many online tools, it’s as good as you make it work.

My online friend chose to interpret my question differently. He was the expert, I was the fool:

Twitter_conversation_2

The term “with all due respect” has always been a bit suspicious to me. It reminds me a bit of “give me a break idiot! You have no clue what you’re talking about, but since I’m using these nice big words, you have no reason to be offended about me telling you off…” But alas, it is what it is, and I was trying to be kind and responded positively. Thing is, I’ve used a service recently that was so expensive and provided me with such miserable results that I’ll never use that again. But like anyone in need of marketing services, I am curious about new services, and even though I’m not a huge fan of unsolicited messages, this one had sparked my interest, and I did check out his website. I wanted to learn more. But here’s the deal:

Don’t ever talk down your competition…

I’ve always been a bit allergic to sales people feeling the need to promote their own product by speaking negatively about the competition. Besides, just because I use Triberr doesn’t mean I can’t use something else, because all these services work differently. Triberr is to promote my blog, I was thinking about my next novel. Triberr is, by the way, not the only online marketing service I use…

But alas, he did not pick up on my buying signal (which was about as obvious as I was going to give him at this point in time. I wanted more information, and had still not seen any price):

Twitter_conversation_3

Instead, he not only unfollowed me, and blocked (!) me, he also told me off… I was baffled. What had just happened? I have spent some time thinking about this, and quite honestly, I don’t think I did anything wrong. And even if, give me a break, I’m the customer. He wanted something from me, he contacted me, I showed my interest, I gave him information about how I market myself today and tried not to be too impressed, which I guess is fairly normal, isn’t it? You can’t just roll over and open your wallet every time someone tries to sell you something. I am too easy that way as it is, ask my husband…

I’ve been a buyer of services for several decades and this was the first time that a sales person told me off. This is the risk of interacting through social media. He didn’t have to look me in the eyes, he couldn’t interpret my body language, my gestures, the tone of my voice. This distance also gets people to react more “openly” (honest?) than they might in a face-to-face setting. For better or worse. I still think he made a big mistake. And if you work in this industry, learn, and don’t ever treat a customer this way, even if the customer treats you the way this guy treated me.

I’m not saying “customer is king”, but the customer deserves to be treated politely.

I have deleted any reference to the person in question. I don’t believe in hanging people out to dry. He may have made a mistake, but I’m not a vengeful person. The screen dumps have not been edited more than removing the repeat messages. The above is the entire DM exchange on Twitter.

What is your take? Could I have handled this differently? Do you often get unsolicited sales messages on Twitter? Are there Twitter marketing services that work well for you? The comment section is open…

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Have a great week and be kind to each other!

Hans

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