Four Styles Of Marketing On Twitter
Four Styles Of Marketing On Twitter
Four Styles Of Marketing On Twitter
by

Marketing on Twitter continues to be one of the most talked about subjects in social media today. The social media purists still sing campfire songs about how you can’t do it. Dell is up to $6.5 million dollars in sales there. While I strongly believe there is no right or wrong way to use Twitter — you can find an audience for anything on any medium with a certain level of critical mass — I believe Twitter to be a mainly conversational platform.

With that, I have noticed four major types of marketing styles emerge among those using Twitter as a marketing platform, each with examples of large followings, audiences and (probably) successes. My description of each has personal observations included, but keep in mind I don’t offer these up as criticisms as each can work, depending upon your audience. That said, consider these as styles you may choose to use in your Twitter marketing efforts.

Twitter Marketing Styles

Twitter Marketing Scale

The Conversationalist

Conversationalists are users who clearly have a reason to use Twitter for their business, but seem more apt and willing to participate in the daily chitter-chatter rather than carve out clear drives or calls to action for their business purpose. Many independent consultants and/or thought leaders fall into this category. Does Geoff Livingston‘s new agency, Zoetica, benefit professionally from his Twitter presence? Certainly. Does he often intermix links or sales messages for Zoetica’s services? No. His Twitter involvement is as a genuinely interested participant in the conversation. The professional benefit is less direct and trackable, but, rest assured, it’s there.

Examples:
•    @Geekmommy
•    @AmberCadabra
•    @shashib
•    @unitedlinen

The Conversational Marketer

Varying slightly from the Conversationalist, the Conversational Marketer has a more obvious, even stated, purpose for using Twitter. Perhaps they link to their own blog posts with more frequency. Maybe they regularly remind you about an e-newsletter or their book. But they still participate in conversations with regularity, even lapsing into a let-your-hair-down approach to the extent you forget they’re using the network for their business. A good example of this is Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. He’s as approachable and engaging as anyone, but a quick glance at his latest 20 tweets while I wrote this showed no fewer than six links to ProBlogger.net posts, four to new job posts on his job board and two to his personal blog. Some people would consider that level of self-promotion spammy. Darren is anything but, however, and his audience loves every link.

Examples:
•    @delloutlet
•    @meijer
•    @briansolis
•    @mcdonalds

The Salesman

Crossing the 50 percent threshold to being mostly promotional with less conversation is the salesman. Now, some in the social media space would say this type of person is disingenuous to the social media audience. I disagree. There are lots of companies and even people on Twitter who sell first, but do engage, provide interesting links and other nuggets of value in their approaches. Michael Stelzner is a good friend of mine and the man behind Social Media Examiner (@smexaminer), a very well done blog (he calls it an online magazine, I call it a blog) on social media. The Twitter account, however, is a sales-first pitch for the website and affiliated learning opportunities that are apart of it and Michael’s business. While this type of approach may not be popular among the social media purists set, there’s always an audience for a sales-driven Twitter account that has a good product on the other end of it.

Examples:
•    @jcpenney
•    @phoenixsuns
•    @chrysler
•    @newyorker

The Spammer Broadcaster

REVISION: Thanks to Tom Webster of Edison Research and BrandSavant.com who suggested the term “broadcaster” might be more appropriate. I agree, so I changed it. Thanks Tom.

I hesitate to use the term “spammer” here, but it is appropriate. Please know I don’t use the term with these accounts as a criticism, per say. It’s a statement of fact, based on their streams, they self-promote almost exclusively and do not appear to participate in conversations (RT, @ replies, etc.). HOWEVER, I don’t necessarily think this is bad. For instance, George Stephanopoulos (@GStephanopoulos) appears to fall into the category of no conversations and ABC News pimp. But 1.6 million people dig that stuff. While that may be a bad example because he’s a celebrity, there are companies out there who have thousands (or more) of fans who would gladly take the spam to get a coupon, find out about new product releases and more. One example I use below is a Raffertys restaurant in Louisville. It’s all spam, but I follow it in case they have a good drink special or something going on when I’m interested in a local deal.

Examples:
•    @nbc
•    @raffbreck
•    @tide
•    @usweekly

So where do you fall in your Twitter approach? Are you solidly in the court that the first two are okay but the other two aren’t? Are you in the second two and have business metrics to prove your approach works? Tell us your story in the comments and let us know the good and bad in your approach. If you haven’t defined an approach yet, tell us which you think you should take and why.

The comments, as always, are yours.

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About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at JasonFalls.com.
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  • I want to add the robotic style in marketing. Those are the people who rely too much on automation, without putting some human touch on their tweets. :) I believe Twitter should be a society of humans, not robots.

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  • normanprather

    “Broadcasters” (which I still call spammers) have cause me to (largely) abandon Twitter.

    • Why? You don't have to follow them. Follow the people that are meaningful to

      you. Ignore the rest of them (or us … heh.)

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  • Guo198706
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  • I think to market successfully you should really focus on what you shouldn't do rather than what you should. I have in the past sent out automated tweets but I make sure in between those to tweet things that are relateble or interesting and to always respond to comments from people. It's not that difficult even if someone has 10 Twitter accounts. All they need is a desktop Twitter client which is logged into all their accounts.

    People unfollow those who just spam like the clappers. Never think that people are stupid, seriously.

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  • I really need to catch up on your blog. I've been so wrapped up in my offline life that my reader is full of “must read Jason's post about…” unread but still marked as unread posts!!

    Can't wait to see you at SXSW.

    P.S. I need a second SME sticker – have one on my netbook, but need another for the laptop. I'll trade you! :)

    • I've got as many as you'd like. Will see you next week!

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  • Thank you for saying so!

  • I also make that point because there are people like me that are totally Conversationlists on one account, but then do the “mostly feeds” activities on another biz account because that's the current company strategy. Of course I'd like to engage much more on the second account but my efforts are directed otherwise.

  • Completely with you here, Jesse. It seems as though the different Twitter feeds cited are associated with different marketing strategies and different sized brands. The conversationalists are more personally branded, social media focused tweeters, which makes conversational engagement more feasible as opposed to the larger companies listed in the other categories. The conversational marketers group does seem like the goal and ideal mix for self-promotion and engagement in my opinion.

    And while spammers/broadcasters do not engage in content, I find it useful as other posters mentioned as an RSS feed of sorts. Also as other posters have noted there exists conversational spam as well in back-and-forth tangents/flame wars.

  • Thanks Mark. Appreciate the comment.

  • RM_InBoundMarketingPR

    What strikes me is that their is an audience for all four styles. Nice way to present that Jason.

    Great post, thanks for sharing with us!

    RM – InBoundMarketingPR

  • marklatimer

    I'd like to read more about twitter. keep it coming! Thanks for the post. @marklatimer

  • marklatimer

    I'd like to read more about twitter. keep it coming! Thanks for the post. @marklatimer

  • Awesome, Rich. Thanks for coming by. Appreciate your thoughts.

  • Jason – I found your blog via @nicobrx and enjoyed your thoughts. It is all about the conversation and being authentic about it!

  • Jason – I found your blog via @nicobrx and enjoyed your thoughts. It is all about the conversation and being authentic about it!

    • Awesome, Rich. Thanks for coming by. Appreciate your thoughts.

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  • Probably are. It appears many want me to add “aggregators/sharers” to
    the list. Are there others?

  • As always a good break down Jason. I would agree with you for the most part, but their are likely a few other types out there as well.

  • As always a good break down Jason. I would agree with you for the most part, but their are likely a few other types out there as well.

    • Probably are. It appears many want me to add “aggregators/sharers” to
      the list. Are there others?

  • Thank you for making it better!

  • Perhaps, but it's a matter of opinion and perspective. I think sharing
    info is participating. It's also hard to find people who share only
    and don't converse as well. I'll give it some more thought but an
    altruistic share-er or aggregator is a conversationalist in my brain.

  • Thanks, A.J. You folks take time to react to something I wrote. The
    least I can do is say thanks. I enjoy the conversations that ensue as
    well. Thanks for noticing.

  • AJ Kidney

    great post and amazing to see you respond all of the comments… :-)

  • AJ Kidney

    great post and amazing to see you respond all of the comments… :-)

    • Thanks, A.J. You folks take time to react to something I wrote. The
      least I can do is say thanks. I enjoy the conversations that ensue as
      well. Thanks for noticing.

  • dh

    By the way, very interesting post. Thanks for the conversation. :-)

  • dh

    Interesting. I really didn't expect this response. It seems to me that there is a difference between a Conversationalist and an Educator (or Sharer or pick some other term). To me, based on your description of a Conversationalist, I have a vision of exactly who you pointed out, Geoff Livingston. He covers a ton of topics, regularly shares a point of view, and “participates” in a conversation. I see this as distinctly different from the people (myself included) who primarily pass on information to others as aggregators of information from multiple sources. There's some editorializing to create a point of view, but by and large it is really about educating or sharing. Am I splitting a hair here?

  • Awesome line cool:

    “very clear content strategy matched to the appropriate audience”

    Couldn't have said it better.

  • Thanks, Mat. Glad we could give you food for thought.

  • Good one, Anish. You're right. There are lots here just because someone told them they should. They'll figure it out one day.

  • Glad to help, Myron. Twitter can be used for marketing, but should be done with care and planning. Good luck as you do both!

  • Thanks Daragh. Certainly welcome the push back. Just did a check of
    Brian's stream. I counted five of the last 20 Tweets with links to
    either BrianSolis.com or Bubilicious – also his site. Not that it's a
    competition, but I just wanted you to know I don't think I labeled him
    unfairly. Brian is a great guy and a pseudo-mentor of mine. I admire
    the hell out of him. I also don't mind at all when he drops his own
    links because his content is always worth reading. But thanks for the
    input.

  • Amen, brother Jay. Thanks man.

  • I looked at content produced because the number of followers has
    nothing to do with marketing methodology in content. And I couldn't
    answer the second part of that if I tried. Sucked at algebra.

  • Awesome! While I don't want to imply the far right of that spectrum is
    bad in all cases, I have a personal preference for conversational
    marketing and conversationalists. Sure is nice to see the scale opened
    your eyes to how you use Twitter. Best of luck as grow into it!

  • Thank you, LaTara. I'm glad you came and can't wait to have you back.

  • Guest

    Thank you for this great information! I am brand new to internet marketing and had no idea Twitter could be useful for marketing. I will do more research right here as I see there are many links to more info.

  • myronsholdt

    Thank you for this great information! I am brand new to internet marketing and had no idea Twitter could be useful for marketing. I will do more research right here as I see there are many links to more info.

    • Glad to help, Myron. Twitter can be used for marketing, but should be done with care and planning. Good luck as you do both!

  • Thanks, Stephanie. Perhaps there is a fifth category. I just think
    sharing fits into conversations nicely. Happy to give it some thought,
    though.

  • Didn't forget. I consider that part of conversation. You're sharing,
    which is as good as speaking. And you forget that an educator with a
    call to action or end result in mind is also a marketer! But thanks
    for the feedback.

  • Agreed, Rich. But like the Stephanopolous example, sometimes it works
    for people. Thanks for chiming in.

  • LOL! I read somewhere that 96% of all people on Twitter have less than 100 followers…so maybe you are right!

  • Thanks Jason! This post is filled with great information. How about one more type of marketers, who just have their profile up on Twitter because they have heard that “Twitter is the next cool thing to do”? I feel there would be many who will fit in this category.

    Thanks again, your post was very good read.

  • Thanks Jason! This post is filled with great information. How about one more type of marketers, who just have their profile up on Twitter because they have heard that “Twitter is the next cool thing to do”? I feel there would be many who will fit in this category.

    Thanks again, your post was very good read.

    • LOL! I read somewhere that 96% of all people on Twitter have less than 100 followers…so maybe you are right!

    • Good one, Anish. You're right. There are lots here just because someone told them they should. They'll figure it out one day.

  • Amen to that, Jesse. Nice way to nail that point.

  • A question about your process based on something you wrote:

    “…I have noticed four major types of marketing styles emerge among those using Twitter as a marketing platform, each with examples of large followings, audiences and (probably) successes.”

    Did you look first at the number of followers or the content produced? Asked differently, if X has 20,000 followers and Y has 100 followers, but Y produces a greater degree of Z than X, but followers leads you to include X, what about Y?

  • A question about your process based on something you wrote:

    “…I have noticed four major types of marketing styles emerge among those using Twitter as a marketing platform, each with examples of large followings, audiences and (probably) successes.”

    Did you look first at the number of followers or the content produced? Asked differently, if X has 20,000 followers and Y has 100 followers, but Y produces a greater degree of Z than X, but followers leads you to include X, what about Y?

    • I looked at content produced because the number of followers has
      nothing to do with marketing methodology in content. An I couldn't
      answer the second part of that if I tried. Sucked at algebra.

  • I call 'em like I see 'em, my friend. Thank you for being a leader
    among us all in this space. We learn from you a lot.

  • Definitely, Beth. And honored you stop by. I think crowdsourcing is
    probably between conversationalist and conversational marketing. You
    are, after all, using your network for information (gain) but it's not
    like you're asking them to buy something. Still, it's a marketing
    activity. And sharing is just another form of having conversations in
    my book. A link is almost as good as added value in conversations.
    Sometimes moreso.

    Thanks for the questions. What do YOU think, though? You're more
    qualified to answer than I! (Congrats on Zoetica, by the way. Excited
    for you.)

  • Thanks Ron. I appreciate the encouragement. Glad to have your thoughts
    here, too.

  • Excellent added thought, Rod. And I agree with you … if you can
    answer the value proposition question, you can better justify your
    classification and how you're serving your audience. Well done, sir.

  • Great question, DH. If you're a share-er then you're solidly in the
    first two sections — Conversationalist or Conversational Marketer. If
    you share links to your own stuff, you'll move toward the second of
    those two a bit more. Your sharing is your conversation, though I'd
    bet you're conversing a bit more than never. Thanks for asking.

  • Thanks, Jason, for this construct! Agreed with other commenters that there may be a fifth designation – those that primarily use Twitter for link sharing, pointing to (3rd party) news & events, and crowdsourcing. Not sure where it fits, though – maybe it's a combo of #1, 2 and 4?

  • Thanks, Jason, for this construct! Agreed with other commenters that there may be a fifth designation – those that primarily use Twitter for link sharing, pointing to (3rd party) news & events, and crowdsourcing. Not sure where it fits, though – maybe it's a combo of #1, 2 and 4?

    • Thanks, Stephanie. Perhaps there is a fifth category. I just think
      sharing fits into conversations nicely. Happy to give it some thought,
      though.

  • Jason,

    I like this list. However I think you forgot one, “The Educator” This would be the Twitter user who primarily uses Twitter to educate followers on topical subjects.

  • Jason,

    I like this list. However I think you forgot one, “The Educator” This would be the Twitter user who primarily uses Twitter to educate followers on topical subjects.

    • Didn't forget. I consider that part of conversation. You're sharing,
      which is as good as speaking. And you forget that an educator with a
      call to action or end result in mind is also a marketer! But thanks
      for the feedback.

  • Jason,

    You know, I really think spammer fits the bill sometimes. So maybe there are broadcasters and spammers, with the later burping out all sorts of useless junk. :)

    Best, Rich

  • Jason,

    You know, I really think spammer fits the bill sometimes. So maybe there are broadcasters and spammers, with the later burping out all sorts of useless junk. :)

    Best, Rich

    • Agreed, Rich. But like the Stephanopolous example, sometimes it works
      for people. Thanks for chiming in.

  • I think the marketing styles are tied to marketing strategies. For some of the feed-oriented accounts, the strategy may be to just “touch” Twitter by pumping through feeds. This could be in lieu of investing resources to actually engage Twitter users. The question is whether it's better to have to only have a feed presence than to not be on at all. The answer is, “it depends.”

  • I think the marketing styles are tied to marketing strategies. For some of the feed-oriented accounts, the strategy may be to just “touch” Twitter by pumping through feeds. This could be in lieu of investing resources to actually engage Twitter users. The question is whether it's better to have to only have a feed presence than to not be on at all. The answer is, “it depends.”

    • Amen to that, Jesse. Nice way to nail that point.

    • Completely with you here, Jesse. It seems as though the different Twitter feeds cited are associated with different marketing strategies and different sized brands. The conversationalists are more personally branded, social media focused tweeters, which makes conversational engagement more feasible as opposed to the larger companies listed in the other categories. The conversational marketers group does seem like the goal and ideal mix for self-promotion and engagement in my opinion.

      And while spammers/broadcasters do not engage in content, I find it useful as other posters mentioned as an RSS feed of sorts. Also as other posters have noted there exists conversational spam as well in back-and-forth tangents/flame wars.

      • I also make that point because there are people like me that are totally Conversationlists on one account, but then do the “mostly feeds” activities on another biz account because that's the current company strategy. Of course I'd like to engage much more on the second account but my efforts are directed otherwise.

  • Good observations and post. I'm solidly in the conversationalist arena now, but will likely transition to the conversational marketer when I have additional activities that I'd like to post and promote.

  • Good observations and post. I'm solidly in the conversationalist arena now, but will likely transition to the conversational marketer when I have additional activities that I'd like to post and promote.

    • Thanks, Mat. Glad we could give you food for thought.

  • I'll email you later today!

  • I think I teeter the line a bit between being a conversationalist and a conversational marketer. I have days when all I want to do is engage in chitter chatter and then I have days when I am more of the conversational marketer bringing my followers into the conversation and sharing valuable useful information.

    I am such a proponent of being who you are in social media marketing and teetering between the two is sooo me!

    This was a great post. I think this is first time I have visited your blog but trust me when I say I will not be the last.

  • I think I teeter the line a bit between being a conversationalist and a conversational marketer. I have days when all I want to do is engage in chitter chatter and then I have days when I am more of the conversational marketer bringing my followers into the conversation and sharing valuable useful information.

    I am such a proponent of being who you are in social media marketing and teetering between the two is sooo me!

    This was a great post. I think this is first time I have visited your blog but trust me when I say I will not be the last.

    • Thank you, LaTara. I'm glad you came and can't wait to have you back.

  • Very insightful article. As a company that is fairly new to the twitterverse we're still learning the ropes. The ultimate goal is to be a conversational marketer however after reading through your descriptions I think that in my enthusiasm I've crossed the line into salesman bordering on “broadcaster”. These breakdowns are going to serve as a nice reminder for me in the future! Thanks for the great information.

  • Very insightful article. As a company that is fairly new to the twitterverse we're still learning the ropes. The ultimate goal is to be a conversational marketer however after reading through your descriptions I think that in my enthusiasm I've crossed the line into salesman bordering on “broadcaster”. These breakdowns are going to serve as a nice reminder for me in the future! Thanks for the great information.

    • Awesome! While I don't want to imply the far right of that spectrum is
      bad in all cases, I have a personal preference for conversational
      marketing and conversationalists. Sure is nice to see the scale opened
      your eyes to how you use Twitter. Best of luck as grow into it!

  • Rod

    Very interesting post, I think I fall under the “The Conversational Marketer.” I engage my audience with high ratios, but I also put out links to my blog and outside activities. It's a part of my value proposition to them. They give me great insights, news, information, and traffic, and I continue to provide them with the same.

    To add to your post, I think it's a fair question to ask one-self, “what's my social media value-proposition?” How am I going to add value to my followers no matter which style of marketer I have?

  • Rod

    Very interesting post, I think I fall under the “The Conversational Marketer.” I engage my audience with high ratios, but I also put out links to my blog and outside activities. It's a part of my value proposition to them. They give me great insights, news, information, and traffic, and I continue to provide them with the same.

    To add to your post, I think it's a fair question to ask one-self, “what's my social media value-proposition?” How am I going to add value to my followers no matter which style of marketer I have?

    • Excellent added thought, Rod. And I agree with you … if you can
      answer the value proposition question, you can better justify your
      classification and how you're serving your audience. Well done, sir.

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  • Ron Davis

    Jason; What a great article! Your segmentation of Twitter marketing based on interactive communications really helps clarify the various groups. Your article forces us to think in terms of providing our readers with better content in this really new information age. RD Twitter/RDWORKS Excitingtwitter@earthlink.net

  • Ron Davis

    Jason; What a great article! Your segmentation of Twitter marketing based on interactive communications really helps clarify the various groups. Your article forces us to think in terms of providing our readers with better content in this really new information age. RD Twitter/RDWORKS Excitingtwitter@earthlink.net

    • Thanks Ron. I appreciate the encouragement. Glad to have your thoughts
      here, too.

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  • dh

    Where do the people who primarily share information they think others would be interested in fit in your model?

  • dh

    Where do the people who primarily share information they think others would be interested in fit in your model?

    • Great question, DH. If you're a share-er then you're solidly in the
      first two sections — Conversationalist or Conversational Marketer. If
      you share links to your own stuff, you'll move toward the second of
      those two a bit more. Your sharing is your conversation, though I'd
      bet you're conversing a bit more than never. Thanks for asking.

      • dh

        Interesting. I really didn't expect this response. It seems to me that there is a difference between a Conversationalist and an Educator (or Sharer or pick some other term). To me, based on your description of a Conversationalist, I have a vision of exactly who you pointed out, Geoff Livingston. He covers a ton of topics, regularly shares a point of view, and “participates” in a conversation. I see this as distinctly different from the people (myself included) who primarily pass on information to others as aggregators of information from multiple sources. There's some editorializing to create a point of view, but by and large it is really about educating or sharing. Am I splitting a hair here?

        • Perhaps, but it's a matter of opinion and perspective. I think sharing
          info is participating. It's also hard to find people who share only
          and don't converse as well. I'll give it some more thought but an
          altruistic share-er or aggregator is a conversationalist in my brain.

      • dh

        By the way, very interesting post. Thanks for the conversation. :-)

  • geofflivingston

    Hey, Jason, I did see this first thing this morning, but did not comment because I am really humbled by this designation! There are so many great conversationalists out there who do this. It's the right way, according to Doc Searls and the Cluetrain.

    You are kind to choose me. I for one am continuing to evolve my style so I can be of maximum service to my community, and in particular I hope to deliver a more gentle debate in the future. Thank you again for this post, and in general for being a great intellectual in my life.

  • geofflivingston

    Hey, Jason, I did see this first thing this morning, but did not comment because I am really humbled by this designation! There are so many great conversationalists out there who do this. It's the right way, according to Doc Searls and the Cluetrain.

    You are kind to choose me. I for one am continuing to evolve my style so I can be of maximum service to my community, and in particular I hope to deliver a more gentle debate in the future. Thank you again for this post, and in general for being a great intellectual in my life.

    • I call 'em like I see 'em, my friend. Thank you for being a leader
      among us all in this space. We learn from you a lot.

  • I'm a conversationalist but I should probably work towards being a bit closer to conversational marketer. I don't think it would hurt to promote a wee bit more often. I think the way you've broken this down is nice because it shows that the salesmen and broadcaster approaches are not entirely evil. They can work, but I think it takes a very clear content strategy matched to the appropriate audience. One can't just broadcast or push a sales message without a plan.

    I do follow some broadcast only accounts such as weather reports or humor. If an account is regularly posting content that provides value to me, then I don't mind if they aren't replying, following me back or whatever. They're filling a need, be that one for information or entertainment. I think people fail at this approach when they don't put the needs of the audience in mind. For instance if I have a favorite brand of dog food, I'm not going to follow the company just to hear about dog nutrition or the latest products. But I might follow them if they were offering a regular mix of good advice for dog owners that happens to include a small mix of product placement. As with so many things, content tends to be the driver that will differentiate between success and failure no matter which Tweeting strategy is in play.

  • I'm a conversationalist but I should probably work towards being a bit closer to conversational marketer. I don't think it would hurt to promote a wee bit more often. I think the way you've broken this down is nice because it shows that the salesmen and broadcaster approaches are not entirely evil. They can work, but I think it takes a very clear content strategy matched to the appropriate audience. One can't just broadcast or push a sales message without a plan.

    I do follow some broadcast only accounts such as weather reports or humor. If an account is regularly posting content that provides value to me, then I don't mind if they aren't replying, following me back or whatever. They're filling a need, be that one for information or entertainment. I think people fail at this approach when they don't put the needs of the audience in mind. For instance if I have a favorite brand of dog food, I'm not going to follow the company just to hear about dog nutrition or the latest products. But I might follow them if they were offering a regular mix of good advice for dog owners that happens to include a small mix of product placement. As with so many things, content tends to be the driver that will differentiate between success and failure no matter which Tweeting strategy is in play.

    • Awesome line cool:

      “very clear content strategy matched to the appropriate audience”

      Couldn't have said it better.

  • Great post, and spot on categorizing of twitter styles. I will say that I don’t think your graphic is entirely representative of your post though. It seems to imply a progress, whether chronological or status. As if most twitter accounts start out conversational and move horizontally across the arrow to eventually grow into broadcasting. That is obviously not the case, as your post clearly explains. I just wonder if there’s a more accurate way to represent it visually. Well written, definitely.

  • I agree with many others although with conversational and conversationalist I find little distinction. The Brain Solis example does not ring true as he does not drop his blog link that often on Twitter. I feel he is more word of mouth among other marketeers.

  • I agree with many others although with conversational and conversationalist I find little distinction. The Brain Solis example does not ring true as he does not drop his blog link that often on Twitter. I feel he is more word of mouth among other marketeers.

    • Thanks Daragh. Certainly welcome the push back. Just did a check of
      Brian's stream. I counted five of the last 20 Tweets with links to
      either BrianSolis.com or Bubilicious – also his site. Not that it's a
      competition, but I just wanted you to know I don't think I labeled him
      unfairly. Brian is a great guy and a pseudo-mentor of mine. I admire
      the hell out of him. I also don't mind at all when he drops his own
      links because his content is always worth reading. But thanks for the
      input.

  • Jason: This is a terrific post! I like your framework. And, thanks for mentioning our company, Zoetica. Where do you think people fall who share links and insights via their Twitter feed and use it to crowdsource? Where does that fit? As a sub-set of the conversationalist?

  • Jason: This is a terrific post! I like your framework. And, thanks for mentioning our company, Zoetica. Where do you think people fall who share links and insights via their Twitter feed and use it to crowdsource? Where does that fit? As a sub-set of the conversationalist?

    • Definitely, Beth. And honored you stop by. I think crowdsourcing is
      probably between conversationalist and conversational marketing. You
      are, after all, using your network for information (gain) but it's not
      like you're asking them to buy something. Still, it's a marketing
      activity. And sharing is just another form of having conversations in
      my book. A link is almost as good as added value in conversations.
      Sometimes moreso.

      Thanks for the questions. What do YOU think, though? You're more
      qualified to answer than I! (Congrats on Zoetica, by the way. Excited
      for you.)

  • lauraleedooley

    Do you have a larger version of the “Twitter Marketing Styles” graphic – I'd like to refer to it in an upcoming presentation – giving proper credit, of course.

  • lauraleedooley

    Do you have a larger version of the “Twitter Marketing Styles” graphic – I'd like to refer to it in an upcoming presentation – giving proper credit, of course.

  • Well done. What I particularly like about this post – and you – is the realization and endorsement that just because a modality isn't pure, it can be successful. Ultimately, this is business, right? And while I hope I never become a broadcaster, I recognize their right to do Twitter how they want to do Twitter, not how I prefer it to be done. We all need to remember that social media is the only form of marketing that is 100% opt-in. You don't like someone's tweets? Vote with your unfollow button.

  • Well done. What I particularly like about this post – and you – is the realization and endorsement that just because a modality isn't pure, it can be successful. Ultimately, this is business, right? And while I hope I never become a broadcaster, I recognize their right to do Twitter how they want to do Twitter, not how I prefer it to be done. We all need to remember that social media is the only form of marketing that is 100% opt-in. You don't like someone's tweets? Vote with your unfollow button.

  • Yes, I agree. Especially given the communal nature of what we *now* call Social Media. And I count myself among the Shape-Shifters. Still in process of figuring out what I can offer in the greater conversation.

  • Good thoughts, Jon-Mikel. Thank you!

  • I would say i fall somewhere between the Conversationalist and the Conversational Marketer. I engage most of the time in the conversation and RT when I see something my followers might find useful. But I do promote my personal blog as well as my company – http://jonmikelbailey.com and http://woodstreet.com respectively. :) I think there is certainly room to market on Twitter as long as you remain authentic in your approach. The way you have these broken out really illustrates the varying levels of marketing done on Twitter quite well, thanks!

  • I would say i fall somewhere between the Conversationalist and the Conversational Marketer. I engage most of the time in the conversation and RT when I see something my followers might find useful. But I do promote my personal blog as well as my company – http://jonmikelbailey.com and http://woodstreet.com respectively. :) I think there is certainly room to market on Twitter as long as you remain authentic in your approach. The way you have these broken out really illustrates the varying levels of marketing done on Twitter quite well, thanks!

  • Excellent perspective, David. I certainly can see how some friendly
    convos can come across as senseless interruption. Point taken there.

    On the notion of using “spammer.” You hinted at it and someone on
    Twitter pointed out earlier that it's probably better to label them
    “Broadcasters” since there is usefulness to some in their tweets and
    “spam” has such a negative connotation. When I have time, I'm going to
    change the labeling.

  • Excellent perspective, David. I certainly can see how some friendly
    convos can come across as senseless interruption. Point taken there.

    On the notion of using “spammer.” You hinted at it and someone on
    Twitter pointed out earlier that it's probably better to label them
    “Broadcasters” since there is usefulness to some in their tweets and
    “spam” has such a negative connotation. When I have time, I'm going to
    change the labeling.

  • Hi Jason. A lot of media outlets fall into the “spammer” category, but people follow them because they broadcast news. I am not sure I like the term “spammer” (I acknowkledge your caveat about it not being a bad thing), since the connotation implies that people do not want their information. The original reason I joined Twitter was because it is like RSS on steroids. First and foremost, I want Twitter to be my ear to the ground, and so I value some of these “spammers”. I don't expect to converse with the Globe and Mail or Maclean's. And I don't think it's fair to call them a word with such a meaning, just because they use Twitter for broadcast.

    Let's flip this on its head now. There are many great conversationalists who I would be tempted to label spammers. These are people whose tweets are mostly directed at a single person. In some cases, they can go back and forth all day in private conversations that with a few dozen private conversations they are having with just a dozen people. DMs are for private discussions, not tweets. I might follow some of these people on someone's recommendation or because I hear they have a great reputation, but then my tweetstream (and all the tweetstreams of their 5000 followers) is bombarded with their private conversations. I would be more tempted to label these types of tweets as spam than those who broadcast news.

  • Hi Jason. A lot of media outlets fall into the “spammer” category, but people follow them because they broadcast news. I am not sure I like the term “spammer” (I acknowkledge your caveat about it not being a bad thing), since the connotation implies that people do not want their information. The original reason I joined Twitter was because it is like RSS on steroids. First and foremost, I want Twitter to be my ear to the ground, and so I value some of these “spammers”. I don't expect to converse with the Globe and Mail or Maclean's. And I don't think it's fair to call them a word with such a meaning, just because they use Twitter for broadcast.

    Let's flip this on its head now. There are many great conversationalists who I would be tempted to label spammers. These are people whose tweets are mostly directed at a single person. In some cases, they can go back and forth all day in private conversations that with a few dozen private conversations they are having with just a dozen people. DMs are for private discussions, not tweets. I might follow some of these people on someone's recommendation or because I hear they have a great reputation, but then my tweetstream (and all the tweetstreams of their 5000 followers) is bombarded with their private conversations. I would be more tempted to label these types of tweets as spam than those who broadcast news.

    • Excellent perspective, David. I certainly can see how some friendly
      convos can come across as senseless interruption. Point taken there.

      On the notion of using “spammer.” You hinted at it and someone on
      Twitter pointed out earlier that it's probably better to label them
      “Broadcasters” since there is usefulness to some in their tweets and
      “spam” has such a negative connotation. When I have time, I'm going to
      change the labeling.

  • Certainly agree, Craig. Thanks for the feedback!

  • I'm definitely the conversational marketer and think that's the best type out there. As long as you are honest with the audience, and interact on a human level, I don't think there is anything wrong with promoting your own stuff from time to time. If you do a good job, others will actually then help you promote it as well.

  • I'm definitely the conversational marketer and think that's the best type out there. As long as you are honest with the audience, and interact on a human level, I don't think there is anything wrong with promoting your own stuff from time to time. If you do a good job, others will actually then help you promote it as well.

    • Certainly agree, Craig. Thanks for the feedback!

  • I think that's a good thing, both because of the evolution of the
    medium (shows the brands are paying attention) and that it's human. I
    don't use Twitter the same way today that I did a year ago. I also use
    it differently from day to day sometimes. A brand that follows a
    script is a brand that isn't really engaging in a genuine fashion.
    Evolution and shape shifting is almost required, I would think. You?

  • Despite all the marketing advice on brand, authenticity and finding your voice, etc., given the ease and immediacy of social networks, I think there are a lot of “Shape-Shifters” out there as well. Is that a bad thing, or is it just a reflection of the ever-evolving nature of the medium?

  • Despite all the marketing advice on brand, authenticity and finding your voice, etc., given the ease and immediacy of social networks, I think there are a lot of “Shape-Shifters” out there as well. Is that a bad thing, or is it just a reflection of the ever-evolving nature of the medium?

    • I think that's a good thing, both because of the evolution of the
      medium (shows the brands are paying attention) and that it's human. I
      don't use Twitter the same way today that I did a year ago. I also use
      it differently from day to day sometimes. A brand that follows a
      script is a brand that isn't really engaging in a genuine fashion.
      Evolution and shape shifting is almost required, I would think. You?

      • Yes, I agree. Especially given the communal nature of what we *now* call Social Media. And I count myself among the Shape-Shifters. Still in process of figuring out what I can offer in the greater conversation.

  • Fair question, Brian. I honestly bounced around to a number of brands
    and accounts I knew existed looking for examples. When I happened upon
    Tide, it fit the description of a spammer (again, not that an approach
    like that is always bad). I didn't take into account number of Tweets
    or followers, just looked at what the Tweets were and made the call.

    To be fair, I'm not even sure if the @tide account is run by P&G. Even
    if it is, what's to say they don't come out tomorrow with a strategy
    that makes the approach different.

    While I would agree that the spam approach (unless you're a celebrity
    apparently) makes it hard to gain followers, there IS an audience even
    for those accounts. I do follow that local Raffertys account because I
    like the restaurant and am interested in specials there. I don't like
    how they use Twitter, but that doesn't stop me from following them.
    Tide's activity here isn't interesting to me, but if someone digs
    Tide, loves coupons, etc., they'll follow this account. I'd bet if
    they had more activity (even spammy type) and publicized the fact you
    could get coupons and other deals on the Tide Twitter account, they'd
    have a lot more followers.

    Fair?

  • Nice summary. Just curious, how did you pick Tide, which has all of 196 followers? I don't mean they're not worthy of mention, but how did you decide they were one of your four examples? Is it a coincidence that two of the four Profiles you mention in category four (The Spammer) have so few followers. Are you making a point or is the point making itself? Thanks as always.

  • Nice summary. Just curious, how did you pick Tide, which has all of 196 followers? I don't mean they're not worthy of mention, but how did you decide they were one of your four examples? Is it a coincidence that two of the four Profiles you mention in category four (The Spammer) have so few followers. Are you making a point or is the point making itself? Thanks as always.

    • Fair question, Brian. I honestly bounced around to a number of brands
      and accounts I knew existed looking for examples. When I happened upon
      Tide, it fit the description of a spammer (again, not that an approach
      like that is always bad). I didn't take into account number of Tweets
      or followers, just looked at what the Tweets were and made the call.

      To be fair, I'm not even sure if the @tide account is run by P&G. Even
      if it is, what's to say they don't come out tomorrow with a strategy
      that makes the approach different.

      While I would agree that the spam approach (unless you're a celebrity
      apparently) makes it hard to gain followers, there IS an audience even
      for those accounts. I do follow that local Raffertys account because I
      like the restaurant and am interested in specials there. I don't like
      how they use Twitter, but that doesn't stop me from following them.
      Tide's activity here isn't interesting to me, but if someone digs
      Tide, loves coupons, etc., they'll follow this account. I'd bet if
      they had more activity (even spammy type) and publicized the fact you
      could get coupons and other deals on the Tide Twitter account, they'd
      have a lot more followers.

      Fair?

  • Arg. I sure hope it wasn't a technical glitch …. and that it wasn't
    me. It shouldn't have been. Heh. Thanks Dave.

  • Thanks Joseph. I hope it proves useful.

  • Good thoughts, John. Will have to chew on those a bit. I like the idea.

  • Thanks, Nathan. It's certainly a good place to be on the scale. I'm
    probably in that same area myself. Thanks for sharing.

  • I won't say who, but after six tweets promoting the same blog post in about three hours, I have just unfollowed an apparently unrepentant spammer

  • I won't say who, but after six tweets promoting the same blog post in about three hours, I have just unfollowed an apparently unrepentant spammer

    • Arg. I sure hope it wasn't a technical glitch …. and that it wasn't
      me. It shouldn't have been. Heh. Thanks Dave.

  • Very good categorization of the Twitter users – it would be nice to develop some sort of matrix, similar the one created by @klout – but the problem with the latter, is that sometimes, they classify what you and I would call a spammer as a “Persona” … I think the axes could include audience but i'm not sure what i would place on the y-axis
    It would also be interesting to actually how many twitter users fall in each of the four categories you mentioned in your post.
    Thank you for a great post.

  • Very good categorization of the Twitter users – it would be nice to develop some sort of matrix, similar the one created by @klout – but the problem with the latter, is that sometimes, they classify what you and I would call a spammer as a “Persona” … I think the axes could include audience but i'm not sure what i would place on the y-axis
    It would also be interesting to actually how many twitter users fall in each of the four categories you mentioned in your post.
    Thank you for a great post.

    • Good thoughts, John. Will have to chew on those a bit. I like the idea.

  • I think I tend to sway back and fourth between Conversationist and Conversational Marketer. When I have an event to market or a recent blog post to promote, I will tweet those more, otherwise, I just try to have conversations. The more I focus on conversation, the more I feel more connected to my followers and those that I am following.

  • I think I tend to sway back and fourth between Conversationist and Conversational Marketer. When I have an event to market or a recent blog post to promote, I will tweet those more, otherwise, I just try to have conversations. The more I focus on conversation, the more I feel more connected to my followers and those that I am following.

    • Thanks, Nathan. It's certainly a good place to be on the scale. I'm
      probably in that same area myself. Thanks for sharing.

  • Now, I see what you were asking about this. ;)

    Great explanation, many people will gain a lot by seeing real-examples of the four styles of Twitter marketing.

    ~joe

  • Now, I see what you were asking about this. ;)

    Great explanation, many people will gain a lot by seeing real-examples of the four styles of Twitter marketing.

    ~joe

    • Thanks Joseph. I hope it proves useful.