Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Twitter: The ads are coming

Posted By on Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Who cares? I don't know about you, but it will only take milliseconds before my ad-avoiding sensors blind me to the proposed interruptions in my Tweet stream.

Kinda like we fast forward through ads thanks to TiVO and DVRs. Kinda like we change the channel on the radio or TV when obnoxious, often too-loud, ads break into our favorite shows. Kinda like we don't notice the billboards along the side of the road. Kinda like we trash the junk mail.

In my rarely humble opinion, I'd like to suggest to advertisers that the best way to reach potential customers on Twitter is to engage them and act like you genuinely give a crap about them and what they care about. And, here's the key: Don't try to sell anything. Answer questions and complaints, offer an insiders view into your company's inner workings, throw out a coupon on occasion, talk about how you're excited about a new product. But, for chrissake, don't aggressively try to sell anything. Seriously. Don't do it.

Instead, hire a conversationalist who loves your company and then set them free in the social media world. Try it for one year. If it doesn't work out, quit. What I believe you'll find instead, however, is that people want to be engaged and become more brand-loyal than ever because they enjoy being treated like individuals instead of lumped under the "customer" label.

About those ads:

Twitter announced Tuesday that it is introducing advertising by allowing companies to pay to have their messages show up first in searches on its site.

The debut of "Promoted Tweets" comes as Twitter increasingly faces questions about how it can turn its wide usage into profits.

The ads will be rolled out gradually, with fewer than 10 percent of Twitter's users likely to see them Tuesday. The company says the ads should be appearing in all relevant searches within the next few days.

Twitter has grown quickly in popularity since it started in 2006, with celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Ashton Kutcher "tweeting" messages of 140 characters or less alongside everyday users. About 69 million people worldwide used last month, up from roughly 4 million at the end of 2008, according to comScore Inc.

Read the rest of this MSNBC/Reuters article here.

In other tech news, from The Charlotte Business Journal, Cisco: E-mail has to change.

For those of you still resisting Twitter, you'll appreciate these videos:

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