The Art of the Twitter Fart

April 27th, 2009

Apparently if you add “the art of’ to a subject title it is viewed a lot more creatively than how to. Who knows. Anyway….

What is a Twitter Fart? It’s a lapse of judgement that results in a misguided tweet that impacts your brand negatively.

Real Estate Agents, Social Media Experts and Wealth coaches are farting all over Twitter and quite frankly ruining the experience. I thought I’d put together a bit of a guide for those using Twitter for marketing to avoid the Twitter Fart.

The key to Twitter (and of course at which I love) is that it constrains you to fit your message in and thus stimulates creativity. You have 140 characters to sell your message. However you don’t really. That is what people miss…

  1. You have 140 characters to get your reader to take action, to click a link, to ask a question, to make a connection. You ARE NOT going to close a sale in a tweet. A series of tweets yes but not a tweet. In your micro message view it as a way or reaching out to shake someones hand, if you’re good enough they will return the handshake and pave the way for a conversation to happen. Then once you have their permission & engagement you can get closer to a sale. Go straight for the sale without building a relationship people will shut you out quick snap.
  2. If you run a freemium based service; use twitter to engage people in the free edition, give them a free ebook, trial, coupons. Use the concept of free to start to build the relationship above.
  3. When you run a competition let the winner pick someone else to also receive the prize in fact let them give it to as many people as they want to tweet. Get them to help you spread your product.
  4. You have 140 characters to ignite a spark, an idea, a curiousity, don’t necessarily answer the questions going on in your readers mind, give them an url so they find the answer. Ie Grab bens latest book The Best Ideas are Free – it’s all abouts ideas’ vs ‘Grab a copy of @bwagy latest book The Best Ideas are Free, download free sample here’. Stop answering the questions for your readers… you are doing them (and you) a disservice.
  5. Remember it is all about branding and consistency, be consistent in your message, do not get angry at other readers, swear, or share whilst drunk (I know but see it all the time). This reflects badly on you (unless you’re a party brand?).
  6. Ask for feedback from your users and actually implement them, thank them publicly for helping you. It helps enhance their status but shows you value their input.
  7. Remember others are always watching. The 1 in 100 rule still applies 100 may read your message and only 1 respond. I often get a ‘hey I read your tweet….’
  8. Always thank people. Do not stop thanking them. If someone takes the time to retweet your tweets, share them, make a comment. Make sure they know you value their input.
  9. Pretending to be mystic, asking airy fairy questions, or hinting at your next product release doesn’t work unless your Apple stop it. People are only going to find that annoying. We don’t love your product as much as you do.
  10. Reward your fans, look after them, keep an eye on what they do and help them spread the word when they need it. A loyal fan is going to spread your message more than you can ever imagine. So try not to burn them!
  11. Use Twitter not in isolation but to reinforce other campaigns, those that spark an interest will spread through your channel, from twitter to your blog to youtube to subscription to purchase. It is a long dance not a short one, so let Twitter boost your other avenues.
  12. Sometimes you aren’t on topic, don’t sweat the small things, we realise there is a real person behind the account.
  13. Frequency of engagement pays off.
  14. Measure, measure, measure! Measure the time of day you release content, visits to your site, conversions, language use vs traffic, number of retweets. You can measure virtually everything. So do so! Once you find something that works focus your energy on that.
  15. Reward participation to stimulate it, offer competitions for best reply or question, or video reply, leveraging the conversations you create achieves coverage in the second tier network.
  16. Second tier is where the real value is. If 100 people read to 1 comment, garnering 5 comments from 5 different people has a potential second tier reach of 2500 people! If I talk to all of my 3000 followers I have a second tier reach of 20 million! Remember someone is always watching.
  17. Measure your time investment into Twitter with Rescuetime, compare vs return over time. Astounding how it changes.
  18. Evry chrctr is vluable, use them wisely. People understand that you don’t need full or proper english. That being said remember this is branding.
  19. Think ahead strategically, what kind of conversations would you like to stimulate? how can you do that or lead a conversation in that manner.
  20. Live Campaigns work best, can you tie in retweets to, where prizes are given out instantly? in a world of instant you can really leverage that.

5 Responses to “The Art of the Twitter Fart”

  1. Nathaniel Flick Says:

    Excellent points. Twitter Fart definitely got my attention. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Twitter is a huge unknown for most companies because they are opening themselves up for criticism. The ones that handle it well, and don’t react negatively, earn more followers and increase positive brand recognition.

    This can very well lead to more customers!

  2. Addy Says:

    Great post. I especially liked “Use Twitter not in isolation but to reinforce other campaigns, those that spark an interest will spread through your channel, from twitter to your BLOG to youtube to subscription to purchase. It is a long dance not a short one, so let Twitter boost your other avenues.”

    The blog is still important. Many people are misguided by thinking twitter replaces blogs when it doesn’t. They both complement and compliment each other!

  3. Rob Coup Says:

    re #18 – remember that using the full 140 characters in every tweet isn’t necessary. In fact, it’s easier to re-tweet if its a lot shorter. can help for URLs and has good measurements (#14!) as well.

  4. Ben Young Says:

    @Nathaniel For sure, it is a risk but those that are proactive benefit.

    @Addy I see Twitter & Blogging as part of an evolving eco-system as you say they compliment one another.

    @Rob Good point, ensuring your tweet is short enough to be retweeted definitely helps those that want to spread your message.

    Thanks all for your comments, much appreciated.

  5. Social Media Links | Business Blogs Says:

    […] A comprehensive list of things a business should not do on Twitter. This article is fantastic for making you aware that you can damage your brand on Twitter. Click here […]

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