Coming to Twerms with Twitter

I’ve been grappling with Twitter for the last four years. I’ve listened into webinars, I’ve read blogs and I’ve watched videos; I’ve downloaded a dozen pdf e-books claiming things like 5-steps to Twitter Mastery, 10 Ways to Triumph over Twitter and so on; I’ve perused introduction-to’s and how-to’s and papers on the ethics of Twitter, the rules of Twitter and Twitter best practise; I’ve found out how often you’re supposed to Tweet and how many off-topic Tweets you can get away with and how you should thank people who re-Tweet you; and I’ve debated the wisdom of following thousands of people simply so they follow you back – even though nobody, nobody could possibly actually read thousands of people’s Tweets every day.

But I confess, after all this, I still haven’t tamed this yabbering monster in any meaningful way. I haven’t made friends with Twitter, I don’t have time to feed Twitter, and resent the white noise which streams from Twitter, day in and day out. I know.  I'm a marketer.  I'm supposed to like Twitter. But... But...

I know somewhere in there, there are gems and usefuls; links to fascinating blogs, tips and insights, information I’d struggle to access in any other way. I get it! But it’s like sifting a barrel of yellow sand to find a handful of white grains. I lose the will.

I know I’m missing a trick. I know I should do Twitter properly – for two very important reasons:

  1. I’m a writer – and a realist. I know I’m more likely to self-publish than be published in the conventional press. I don’t expect to enjoy the benefits of a corporate publicity engine, so Twitter is supposed to be a great platform for me and I’m supposed to embrace it. I’ve made a start, but if I say so myself, it’s a lacklustre one.
  2. I’m a professional freelance marketer. So it’s my job to understand Twitter and promote the opportunities it affords my clients to spread their message further and wider. And I do, I do. Twitter is one of a long list of social media playgrounds in which it's now all but compulsory to play, in pursuit of your target market - and it has much to offer certain types of business. I can set my personal feelings aside and open clients' eyes to the benefits, even show them how to get started and build their presence.  But I’m no advocate; on a personal level I just don’t feel the Twitter love.

It’s the dual-personality that’s giving me the most problems.

A while ago, I decided to commit to using Twitter for Writing Julie only. For a while this worked just fine. I unfollowed a few of the marketing related feeds I’d been tracking. Instead I added agents, publishing houses, writers and bookshops to my follows. I re-Tweeted my writerly blog posts. When other writers followed me I occasionally followed them back – but not always, because that’s how you end up with thousands of followers and follows and I was, and still am, resistant to this approach.

But then Marketing Julie started to creep back in. I began to use Twitter to keep track of feeds for a couple of my clients and, guess what? People I followed, followed me back. Imagine! Not only that, but I’d like to re-Tweet to help build my clients’ profiles and it’s a bit confusing, not to say pointless, to do this to a follower list which is perhaps 75% writerly.

So now I need to make some changes, to tame my two-headed beast. I need two Twitter identities, one marketing and one writerly. But that means I need to split my followers and persuade a sizable population of them to migrate. Unless I just abandon them and re-follow on my new identity, hoping they’ll all jump on-board again? There isn't an easy way to do this, believe me.

Then there’s the issue of devising a Twitter strategy, or rather, TWO Twitter strategies. Because I’m a marketer, and strategies is what we do.

I also need to decide whether I follow the few or the many – given that if I follow the many I’ll almost certainly be wilfully ignoring the majority of them. It feels like a nonsensical approach, with little value for anyone. Yet everyone’s doing it, which makes for a crazy, noisy world. So should I go along with it and add to the noise? I confess, that's not the approach I favour.

But I've made progress and now, on Twitter, I'm two people.  For what is essentially my hobby, for Writing Julie, I'm @julielawford - and for Marketing Julie I am, henceforth, @julielawfordbiz - and we'll just have to see how that goes.

19th Sept 2014

Website Design and Development By Web Preference