How Twitter and Yahoo Answers changed the way I market.
Context rules when it comes to internet marketing, and I’ll give up two examples from my life to show what works and better yet – what doesn’t.
About 2 years ago when we launched a social network for advice on dating, love, relationships and sex –we ran into the problem that most social networks launching have: We ran out of money spending it all on technology (but that’s on a different lessons learned post…) I noticed a lot of good questions and answers being posted on the dating section of Yahoo Answers. Then I did what a lot of successful internet marketers do out there. I imagined.
I imagined in my mind’s eye a world where for every person who asked a question. I would be able to answer their question with a phrase like: Hey “Bob” I just saw your post here and found an amazing answer on (insert the url I was pushing at the time) amazing, but it worked and within 2 weeks (First we hired students full time to post, then we added a bit of automation to the mix) we had 4000 registered users who posted their questions to the site, and they also took the time to answer other people’s questions. Long story short: The social network began to grow –Yahoo answers also began to ban in mass our posting accounts. –Lesson learned: when you are penetrating online established communities for your traffic (which is most of the time when you are marketing) toes will get stepped on, so be ready to move on (or adapt fast and scale up your activity) when needed.
Second example happened about 2 weeks ago in twitter. You would think that in twitter –the community of now, when someone asks “where can I buy an entertainment center” –The wet dream of someone driving traffic to a furniture sales site would be to pick up on this tweet and give them an answer immediately saying –yes check out our yahoo store selling these sweet entertainment centers. – Problem here is that ever since a programmer came out with a piece of software called tweetattacks (and other versions of the same software) tons of marketers out there spam twitter to death with these instant marketing attempts which fail and create amazing clutter. Twitter is not about quick context goals. It’s about creating meaningful relationships – sounds a bit counterintuitive but put yourself in the buyer’s shoes for a moment. Would you ever take a recommendation from a complete stranger? We had better results when we asked a question which showed we cared. Something like “what size is your room, maybe we have something you would like let’s discuss” yielded better results. In this case we were not looking for mass amounts of followers but for relationships with perspective buyers.
If you’ve read up until now here is my prize for lasting this long. Hit up socialoomph –they have a great suite of automation tools to make the twitter marketer a happy camper. Also fresh off of Alpha is twtrland – when Alysia Milano twitted about them they had an hour or two of downtime but this tool is by far the best tool for figuring out who to follow and not to follow in twitter. Great deep analytics tool.
Have fun and play nice out there.