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3+1 Reasons I Suck At Twitter Marketing

May 14th, 2009 · 16 Comments

Twitter feed fail

The online world is awash with stories about Twitter and how it’s going to revolutionise the way we interact on the Internet. No matter where you look, Twitter is there in your face. Newspapers, radio, TV, your grandmother. Everyone is talking about Twitter.

As regular readers will know, I jumped on the Twitter bandwagon comparatively recently and, in the comments to that post, people have asked me how I was getting on with it and, crucially, whether I was making any money on Twitter.

Now if you’ve been reading my occasional ramblings on Twenty Steps for any length of time, you’ll know that one of the underpinning foundations to this site is that I blog the mistakes I make trying to make money online. Don’t presume that since I haven’t posted anything for a while that I haven’t made any mistakes. Quite the opposite. I regularly fuck up. I just don’t tell you every time it happens.

However on Wednesday 13 May 2009 I did something so monumentally stupid that it warrants a blog post.

As you may or may not know, I work in the independent film industry and I’ve been working on a zombie movie for the last few years. I once posted a request for stuff for the movie and got a lot of really good people helping me out including the guys at Digg, Mashable, Delicious, SMX, Aviva, SEO Chicks, Modern Gent and ePromos.

Today, I decided to launch an Amazon aStore for the film. The way I see it is that any independent film needs to find ways to fund their movies. The film establishment aren’t going to help you so why not look for alternative ways of making a few dollars? So I trot off to my Amazon affiliate page, create an aStore and publish it. Once I check to make sure everything is working OK, I decide to announce it to the world via the recently created zombie movies Twitter profile.

Here, in no particular order, are the three things I right royally screwed up on.

  1. I didn’t use a single keyword, #hashtag or anything that people might be likely to use to search for on Twitter. Outside of the handful of people who are following either me or the movie page, nobody will ever see that tweet
  2. I linked to the blog post about the launch of the store rather than the store itself. I thought I was so clever using the “zombieshop” part of the shortened URL that I forgot to actually link to the shop itself
  3. I decided to tweet at 7.55pm UK time. 7.55pm=11.55am some US time. 5 minutes before the scheduled maintenance that had been advertised on Twitter all day which led to Twitter being unavailable for the next hour or so.

What a complete and utter clueless fuckwit I am. You’d think that after tinkering with online marketing for the last few years that I would have got the hang of it by now.

You’d be wrong.

In all of my…ooohhh…let’s see…four months of using Twitter, I’ve not seeded my tweets with many affiliate links or been overly aggressive about promoting any of my blog posts. The one time I do it, I screw up.

How many clicks have I had from that one post?


I got more clicks from a link about a homosexual elephant than I did from this one attempt at using Twitter to market something. Still, in the spirit of Twenty Steps I have learned a number of things today.

Firstly make sure you check to see when Twitter is going down for maintenance. You might want to hold your best stuff back.

Secondly, look beyond your immediate audience when composing a tweet. Y’know, like you do when you’re writing your web copy and stuff.

And finally, no matter how much of a twat you think you are, there are always opportunities to prove you’ve been underrating yourself.


Sometimes 3 reasons just isn’t enough to illustrate why I’m a clueless numpty so here’s another one for you:

4. Rather than do the sensible thing and schedule this post to come out around midday UK time on Thursday (i.e. when anyone might be up to read it), my Kronenbourg addled brain thought it would be a splendid idea to hit publish at 4am, send a tweet and then crash out for 7 hours of alcohol induced coma. Needless to say when I threw woke up this morning, the traffic to the post was less than inspiring. In fact it was less than 1.

Lesson – drinking and blogging do not mix well together. Step away from the keyboard, you drunken bum.

Tags: Making Money Online

16 responses so far ↓

  • Mike // May 14, 2009 at 3:38 am

    P.S. I should also make clear that these are my own thoughts and not associated with the film, the production company or its producers.

  • Callista // May 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    LOL if it’s any concilation you had me laughing. No seriously, although I don’t have a business to market on twitter, I guess I market my blogs and those tips are helpful. A couple times I’ve tweeted something then logged off only to find out later a bunch of people replied to me and I could have had an ongoing conversation about the topic, but no.

  • Stancja // May 26, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    You can only have yourself to blame. Seriously mixing alcohol with twitter can have only one of 2 results – either it’ll be hilarious or you’ll wake up the next morning regreting everything. The latter is true a lot more often unfortunately.

  • Bill // Jun 3, 2009 at 1:06 am

    I guess it is better to screw up then to not have tried at all. I must be one of the last people to join Twitter, and to be honest I probably will never join. It’s not that I don’t want to, but it is a matter of time. The funny thing is all the police departments around here are starting to Tweet about things such as traffic problems and other issues that impact commuters.

  • Ninah // Jun 5, 2009 at 3:47 am

    :) Excuse me for smiling at your mistakes but this post really made my day. I semi hate Twitter probably because I am an idiot too when it comes to using it for marketing purposes

  • Mike // Jun 6, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    I’m going back to just having fun on Twitter. Seems like a much better idea!

    I’d give it a whirl, Bill. Invest as much time into it as you want. There’s no right or wrong way in using it despite what the “gurus” say. If you can only invest 1 hour a week, give it a whirl

  • Ella // Jun 9, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Twitter helped a lot of to develop my work. The best ad is definitely alive word, but the immediately after are the different types of reporting through the media. Twitter certainly deserves a great position.

  • Dennis Cover // Jun 10, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Recently, I’ve been noticing more and more articles\blog posts from famous marketers that they stop using Twitter for marketing due to its low effect.
    Mike (or blog readers), do you have your own success stories or use-cases for Twitter marketing?

  • Montana // Jun 10, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    I really think Twitter is just a fad, and it’s just not worth it to invest time and effort into marketing with it.

  • Mike // Jun 12, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    I think the question is whether it represents good ROI or not.

    You have to put a lot of effort in to gain followers – and I mean real people who are interested in what you have to say rather than the blind sheep or spambots – and not make your Twitter feed like one, long marketing spiel.

    I have had limited success so far in terms of generating money. I have used it to boost page views to sites I run which, indirectly, may lead to new RSS subscribers and business longer term. I’ve also picked up some potential voiceover work via Twitter but I’ve also spent waaaaaay too many hours on there so is it worth it?

    My answer is yes but others may not consider it worth investing the time when you can run an AdWords of Facebook campaign for a handful of dollars.

  • Odchudzanie Poznan // Jun 23, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Oh come on, drinking mixes well with everything. You just cannot stop drinking to appreciate it because as soon as you sober up you’re all like “irresponsible” this and “embarassing” that. But it’s a great fun while it lasts.

  • Mike // Jun 24, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Very good. So now folks are trying to leave spammy comments using Polish keywords. ::Applause:: I can see a change of comment policy is required…

  • John - Wrestling Moves // Jun 26, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Twitter is still relatively new and changing all the time. The best use is just to have fun with it like suggested above.

  • Ruri // Jul 20, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    I also new twitter user. Up until now I don’t use twitter for marketing purpose. As I see your mistake, It could be a good input to avoid that. Not many people post their mistake..Thanks for sharing.

  • Kaca // Jul 21, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Twitter is great for all and for marketing it is the best thing. I think that people are not aware of how powerful Twitter. I tried it, try it and you.


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