“My Customers Don’t Use Twitter.” Oh, but they do!

Posted on April 18, 2009

“My Customers Don’t Use Twitter.” Oh, but they do!

By Steve Farnsworth (@Steveology)

The Golden Rule is Delusional: People want to be treated the way THEY want to be treated. Not the way YOU want to be treated.

By Idea-ListicYou may know a lot of things about your customers, but you don’t know what each one of them had for breakfast based on what you had in your bowl this morning. Your own behaviors are not a good place to start when deciding how customers like to interact.

In my early days of marketing I did a lot of direct mail. I would have clients tell me emphatically that direct mail was not effective. The research they had to support this claim? It was because they personally NEVER read junk mail. And they were right about customers not reading junk mail…kindda.

I would ask, “What hobby or interest do you really like? The client would say something like, “I love to fly fish.”

“Do you ever get mail that you didn’t request on fly fishing?”


“Do you sometimes read it?”

They would start to smile a little and say, “Yes.”

It is only “Junk Mail” if it is not relevant to you. They had the facts, but were unable to be objective with the data. You cannot be your own focus group on how your customers want to engage with your company and product. You need to try it and see how they respond.

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I had this conversation hundreds of times regarding dozens of marketing tactics. You can’t know how others will choose to interact with your company and brand. You need to provide ways that make sense and let them decide.

I have had a surprising number of conversations lately with other marketers and business people telling me that there are no reasons to Twitter since their customers don’t use it.

Already knowing the answer I ask, “Do you Twitter?”

“No, not really.” Hmmmm, color me surprised. Same conversation. New tactic.

So, how do you find out if Twitter is for your company? Start learning to Twitter.

  • Find other businesses in your field that are twittering and follow them. Take notes, watch, and learn.
  • Follow a few other companies that are twittering, but are not in your field, and follow them. What are they doing that you can use? What can you do better?
  • Set a goal with your activity, e.g., awareness of your product, drive traffic to your blog or website, or to have a dialog with people who buy products like yours.
  • Promote your Twitter profile on your web page, in the signature of your company’s email, and in other customer touch points.
  • Choose a focus for your Twitter account that supports your branding and your goals.
  • Just like when you are at a cocktail party, the worst offenses are to be uninteresting or boorish. So, start twittering useful, engaging, and relevant tweets!

Don’t let your own head trash get in the way of a great opportunity for you and your company to be successful by engaging with customers. Go out and test it.